After wrapping the 2012 regular season undefeated and winning its season opener a week ago, Crown (1-1) sought to continue its winning streak.
This was not to be.
After the game, as mud from the Dominion football field still covered the maroon jerseys of Crown’s players, they knelt in the center of the field, listening to coach Chip Buhler.
“We weren’t in good enough condition,” Buhler said. “Because of this, (Dominion’s) guys were able to make plays on us.”
The first quarter of the game passed without a score, something Buhler said should not have happened.
“We needed to take advantage of the opportunities and momentum,” he said. “We got three turnovers with no points off them in the first quarter. In the future, we’ve got to do better with that and not give up the big plays.”
One minute into the second quarter, Crown linebacker Simeon Buhler recovered a Dominion fumble, which set up a 41-yard field goal kicked by A.J. Redlinger.
Dominion fumbled again 3 minutes later, this time recovered by defensive end Sam Buhler, and it was followed by a touchdown pass to Simeon Buhler from quarterback Hamilton Armour.
Dominion was soon picked off again, and a 20-yard return for another touchdown quickly followed, and Crown seemed to be on a roll as it raised its lead to 17-0.
Dominion, however, was quick to counter, and after two touchdowns and another field goal for Crown, the first half came to a close with a 20-13 lead for Crown.
At the beginning of the third quarter, Dominion quickly scored another touchdown, tying the score at 20-all. Dominion’s next punt attempt was blocked by Crown, which took the ball at the Dominion 15-yard line. Tailback Joey Cellino ran for a touchdown on the next play, bringing the score to 27-20 just 5 minutes into the third quarter.
At the end of the quarter, Armour successfully completed another touchdown pass, this time to Daniel Matteson, setting the count at 34-20.
Crown, however, didn’t score again.
“We had a number of players get hurt,” Chip Buhler said. “We had three or four guys who started and played well the first two or three quarters, and we seemed to be doing good while they were in the game. After four guys got hurt and came out, we had players who weren’t in shape taking their places, and (Dominion) just had some guys who were faster than us. We had too many guys on the sidelines who couldn’t play that were more prepared than those on the field, so they beat us.”
Over the course of the fourth quarter, Dominion took off flying, scoring four straight touchdowns while Crown was unable to make up lost ground or keep the ball under its control.
As Buhler spoke to his players afterward, he offered the encouraging point of taking away positive knowledge from mistakes.
“(The players) can learn firstly from this that we need to get in better shape,” he said. “They can learn that, when bad things happen, you have to have a good attitude and push yourself through it. So we’re going to go back, we’re going to get healed up, and get ready for our league game next Friday night.”
Crown will host East Atlanta at home on Friday.