By Tom Schultz
For the Herald
KEWANEE, Ill. —
For the first time in five years the Fulton Steamers started out 1-0 and were unable to improve to 2-0. On Friday, they lost to the Kewanee Boilermakers in Week 2 of the season 32-14. A key injury and inconsistency from the offense and defense spelled doom for the Steamers in their loss.
In the first quarter, the Steamers found themselves down 12-7, when quarterback Ethan Jones kept the ball on an option play. Although he gained 3 yards on the play, a twisted ankle forced him out for the rest of the game, and his exit had a resounding effect on the Steamers offense for the rest of the night.
“We took a blow right away with Ethan going down on a late hit. For the most part I thought they (Fulton) hung in there as well as they could,” Fulton coach Patrick Lower said. “We put Devin Kuehl in a tough situation there, calling some plays that he’s not used to running.”
Kuehl was thrust in at quarterback after spending most of the time leading up as a player used on sweep or pitch plays in the back field. Both Kuehl and Coach Lower said more reps for Kuehl at the position would have helped the Steamers.
“He (Kuehl) just was in a tough situation where he asked to do all these things that he hasn’t really prepared for and that’s on us (coaches) not getting him enough reps,” Lower said.
“I’ve only taken a few reps at quarterback in practice,” Kuehl said. “We could still run most the plays, but we had to kind of make the offense a little bit simpler.
The Steamers made some adjustments on the fly, but they weren’t able to put together enough of a drive to get into the end zone. Running back Austin Regenwether posted 145 yards on the night with five carries of over 10 yards and one touchdown.
“It’s always good to have a workhorse like him,” Kuehl said of Regenwether.
Inconsistencies on the field had already started to wreak havoc on the Steamers before Jones left with his injury. The defense started out a series well but couldn’t finish off Kewanee. That trend haunted them through the rest of the game.
Early on Kewanee got around the Steamer defense through the air, scoring two quick touchdowns in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Kewanee quarterback David Washburn was sacked twice by Fulton's Jake Wilging and Paul Velasco. The Boilermakers changed up their approach and went to the run.
At first it didn’t work and the Steamers were stuffing them at the line of scrimmage. But as the game wore on the Boilers came up with several break out plays.
The Steamers' offense didn’t fair any better. Unfortunately the Steamers exceeded a wider margin for error and committed four turnovers, which Kewanee took advantage of.
“We had too many turnovers, we couldn’t hold on to the football,” Lower stated.
The Steamers will begin preparing for their next game against the Morrison Mustangs, a team they played closely last year before a touchdown late in the game left Fulton with a loss and bitter taste in their mouths. The Steamers and Mustangs kickoff at 7:30 from Morrison High School next Friday night.
KEWANEE 32, FULTON 14
Kewanee 12 0 14 6 — 32
Fulton 7 0 7 0 — 14
K — Austin Vervynck 2 run (kick failed), 9:02
K— 6:41 17yd carry Vervynck 17 run (kick blocked), 6:41
F — Austin Regenwether 3 run (Lemke kick), 2:59
K— David Washburn 3 run (Vervynck run), 9:44
F — Jason Osbourne 95 kickoff return (Lemke kick), 9:38
K – Vervynck 3 run (PAT failed), 2:05
K – Washburn 2 run (PAT failed), 6:04
Rushing — Fulton, E. Jones 2-6, Regenwether 26-145, Kuehl 10-32, Holesinger 2-7, Tristan Smith 1-2; Kewanee, Vervynck 20-112, Ryan Hicks 7-34, Washburn 13-42.
Passing — Fulton, E. Jones 1-1-0-25, Devin Kuehl 1-4-2-36; Kewanee, Washburn 9-12-0-98.
Receiving — Fulton, Holesinger 1-25, Brevin Mason 1-36; Kewanee, Jared Nimrick 2-23, Trayvond Taylor 2-8, Alan Vervynck 4-50, Hicks 1-16.