Such was the case Friday night when a multitude of factors contributed to Cass’ freshman quarterback Trevor Lowe throwing five interceptions, three for defensive touchdowns, leading to a 52-35 loss at home to Northwest Whitfield.
Five interceptions does not look good in the stat sheet, but the turnovers had less to do with poor decision making from the quarterback and more to do with these three factors:
1. Pressure in the backfield
Lowe threw an interception on Cass’ fourth offensive play of the night. Its first play resulted in a 1-yard loss. The team’s second play was a 3-yard loss on a running play. On the third offensive play for the Colonels, Lowe was sacked. In all three of the Colonels’ plays in that first drive, there was immediate penetration into the backfield.
The penetration from Northwest Whitfield continued on the ensuing fourth-down punt when the punter was tackled before he could drop the football to his foot.
On Cass’ second drive, a first-down run resulted in a 2-yard loss due to more defenders in the backfield.
The next two offensive plays resulted in interceptions, but after allowing defenders to get into the backfield on the first five offensive plays, it would be understandable if the freshman felt like he needed to make a play, especially knowing he did not have much time to get rid of the football.
2. Early deficit
If the pressure in the backfield contributed to Lowe throwing those first two interceptions, then the first two interceptions were the reason he threw three more. The turnovers, combined with a punt block, a few fumbles and a kickoff return for a touchdown by Northwest Whitfield, created a large deficit that Lowe and the rest of the Colonels had to dig out of. Falling behind 31-0 early forced Cass to throw the football even more often and take even more risks to get back in the game. It worked to some degree as the Colonels outscored Northwest Whitfield 35-21 from the midway point in the second quarter. The coaching staff and players deserve some credit for keeping their composure and making the game closer than it could have been. Interceptions are often an occupational hazard when a quarterback tries to lead his team back from a 31-point deficit.
3. Northwest Whitfield
The turnovers were costly for the Colonels, but they are not the first team Northwest Whitfield has turned over at least five times. Pickens had six costly turnovers in its loss to the Bruins the week before. Cass actually scored as many points as Northwest Whitfield’s first two opponents combined. The Bruin defense did an excellent job of reading the short bubble screen pass on one play the resulted in a pick-six in the third quarter. Their speed was also evident during interception return yards.
The good news is Cass still has not reached its actual region schedule as of yet and with every game, its freshman quarterback should only improve.