BONANZA — Some of the community in Bonanza might be worried after a 0-3 preseason start for the high school’s football team, but head coach Ed Gomes is optimistic.
Technically, the only damage to the football team is the winless record and a No. 36 spot in the OSAA rankings. The damage was added to Friday night at home against North Douglas when the Antlers had one of their worst losses in recent memory and fell, 60-14.
After winning their first playoff game since 2007 and losing key players last season, Gomes knew it was going to be another journey to get back to where the team finished a year ago.
“I am OK with the tough preseason, which we have had. We have lot of freshman after having a few injuries,” Gomes said. “Sometimes the game is a little bigger and faster compared to when you are in practice. It catches those young kids off guard.”
The Antlers did not seem like they were in much trouble after the only touchdown in the first quarter was a 21-yard touchdown pass from North Douglas’ Cade Olds to Tyler Kallinger.
What doomed Bonanza was the relentless attack by the Warriors in the following quarter, which included 30 points to put the team in a hole.
Wyatt McDaniel became a force the Antlers could not stop.
Back-to-back rushing touchdowns by McDaniel, first a six-yard and then a four-yard score, helped put his team up by three scores.
Bonanza junior Bradley Ireland was one of the bright spots.
The two-year starting quarter back inched his team closer with a 27-yard rushing touchdown on his team’s following series.
The punishment carried into the second half, mostly with turnovers that could have been avoided.
In the red zone, with 10 yards to go for a score, the Antlers fumbled the football, which was retrieved by Austin Frieze and ran the distance for a score.
North Douglas then saw another moment to pester Bonanza and recovered an onside kick.
From the first play of scrimmage, McDaniel ran into the end zone yet again for a 50-yard score.
The agile McDaniel ended with four rushing touchdowns on the day.
“We are just lacking on size, people not really knowing what they are doing because we have a lot of young players,” Ireland said, “Once we start league, we will get better. I just really threw the football a lot more this summer to get better at throwing because I was not the best last year.”
Ireland ended with another rushing touchdown in the second half.
Normally having Monday as its light practice day, Gomes said his team will practice with intensity.
The weather did not help his team before North Douglas Friday.
Wednesday the Antlers attempted to practice before the team heard thunder and was forced to wait 30 minutes, an OSAA regulation.
The team waited and went back on the field before more thunder was heard.
The same occurrence occurred the day before the football game.
The team is hoping to get senior tight end Oak Tenold back, who is recovering from a broken rib injury.
He will be checked by a doctor Monday to see if he can play before the team’s league opener at Prospect.
“Our goal is to get better as the season goes on. We had a fantastic end of the year last year and things fell right for us,” Gomes said. “It takes not being hurt. You go into a season expecting to be just as good but it does not always work that way.
“Last year, we had no injuries or things that got in our way.
“This year we have seven freshman getting a lot of playing time. We are hoping to get back to that, of course, but somethings take time. Monday will not be a day off.”