Jasper drops close one to Castle

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Jasper senior Caleb Burger (21) takes off during a reception on a third down and long play for a first. Burger caught two passes for 30 yards and a touchdown, but the Wildcats fell to Castle, 14-10, on Friday night. 


NEWBURGH - Jasper led almost the whole way through on Friday, but the time that it didn't lead ended unfavorably.

The Wildcats (5-2, 5-2) nearly escaped a high stakes Southern Indiana Athletic Conference showdown with Castle at John Lidy Field. Jasper held a 10-0 lead, and kept the Knights at bay after they scored a second quarter touchdown, but a 38-yard fourth quarter keeper by sophomore quarterback Cameron Tilly propelled an 80-yard drive. The Knights took the lead with 6:07 to go in the game, and never looked back. The Wildcats fell, 14-10.

"We left a lot of things out on the field," Jasper coach Tony Lewis said. "We felt like offensively, we just didn't get it done in the second half. There were plays there to be made, and we couldn't get anything going."

Lewis felt the Wildcats didn't do a good job of finishing drives, having turned the ball over on downs twice in the third quarter. Jasper tried to orchestrate something after Tilly's one-yard goal line sneak gave the Knights the lead, but when Mann dropped back to pass with fourth down and five yards to go, his pass was incomplete, and that sealed it. Mann was 7-of-15 passing for 88 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked twice.

Jasper controlled the clock for 30:16, racking up 16 first downs compared to Castle's nine. The Wildcats also rushed for 146 yards, compared to 119 for Castle, but in the end, they lost their second straight game.

The Wildcats had multiple third down conversions in the first quarter, and one of them turned into points on the board. Mann rolled out and found fellow senior Caleb Burger on third down for a touchdown reception. Senior Alex Sermersheim booted the extra point, and it was 7-0 Jasper with 5:50 to go in the first.

They found insurance when Sermersheim kicked a 28-yard field goal with 7:15 to go in the second quarter and make it 10-0. Even then, however, Lewis felt they should've left that drive with a touchdown, only for it not to be.

"We felt like their offensive and defensive line was the best that we've seen all year," Lewis said. "They gave us trouble up front, but again, we've got to be able to react to those kind of things and move the ball offensively in a different fashion."

The Knights got their offense going after Sermersheim's field goal. Their first drive after resulted in sophomore Peyton Guerzini crossing the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown run with 3:56 to play, and it stayed that way until Castle rallied in the fourth quarter.

Jasper will try to prevent a third straight loss when it is scheduled Oct. 9 to travel to Evansville North in the penultimate game of the regular season, and Lewis said the Wildcats need to have a better week of practice.

"We've got to pay attention to detail in practice, and we've got to practice with a purpose," he said. "We got to do a better job of practicing with a purpose, being intense in practice and running plays the whole way through. I'm not sure that we've gotten that done up to this point, and we've got to do a better job - I have to do a better job of getting our guys to understand that we've got to finish drives, and make plays in big situations."

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