Turnovers hurt Burlington Central’s bid to lock up a postseason berth Friday night in a 29-21 Big Northern crossover defeat at Rock Falls.
“Plain and simple we didn’t make plays,” Burlington Central coach Rich Crabel said. “We had opportunities to make plays and we didn’t make them.”
Burlington Central (5-3) isn’t technically playoff eligible just yet, even with five wins. If they don’t beat North Boone in Week 9, they may not have enough playoff points to garner a spot in the postseason.
“This game was huge,” Crabel said. “(If we would have won), we would have made the playoffs. Now I don’t know, we’ll see.”
With his team down by eight points and at its own 27-yard line, Burlington Central quarterback Casey Matthews threw a pass in desperation, only to have it picked off by Rock Falls defensive back Austin Donoho.
“I thought I was going to play better tonight and I feel like I let the team down,” said Matthews, who passed for 106 yards and one touchdown but threw three interceptions.
But the loss didn’t directly fall upon just Matthews. Overall, Burlington Central lost two of its five fumbles and committed eight penalties. There were also numerous times where the game was for the taking, but Burlington Central simply couldn’t take advantage.
“(Burlington Central) stopped us a bunch of times — we got the ball, they’d turn the ball over,” said Rock Falls coach Jay Mammosser. “They turned the ball over quite a bit and put us in great field position, but we didn’t do anything with it for awhile.”
With North Boone up next, Matthews said Burlington Central will need to make some drastic changes on both of the sides of the ball if it wants to clinch a spot in the postseason.
“Our (defensive) coverage needs to be better,” said Matthews. “We need to complete all of our plays offensively and just get it done.”