Offense and defense improve in Shocker loss to Bridgeport

By David Heiling
Empire Press correspondent

BRIDGEPORT — The Waterville/Mansfield Shockers football team scored its first points of the young season on Sept. 15 against the host Bridgeport Mustangs, but ultimately fell in the Central Washington 2B league contest by a final tally of 31-6.

Even fielding a team after questionable turnout numbers and abysmal practicing conditions due to the fires ravaging the area this summer can be seen as a positive for assistant coach Tayn Kendrick’s young team.

Although the success did not come in the form of a victory against the Mustangs, Kendrick said that the success on the night came in a different way.

“Tonight our success was more about playing together and playing hard,” he said. “We did better than last week and are still getting better.”

As most young teams implement as a measuring stick for success, improvement is still, and will continue to be, paramount with every practice and game.

That improvement on Friday came in the form of more aggression and intensity on the field.

“We saw more aggression and a much improved passing game offensively, and (better) containment on defense,” Kendrick said.

The Shockers were led through the air by quarterback Evan Simmons and wide receiver Kayden Browning. Thomas Moser led Waterville/Mansfield on the ground through the rushing game.

Ironing out the kinks from a shutout loss a week earlier, Kendrick said that although the offense and defense worked more cohesively as a unit, the Shockers made too many mistakes to emerge victorious. The errors came in the form of big plays for the talented and athletic Mustangs squad, which contributed to the final score.

Kendrick lauded Moser and Browning, along with Alex Capi for their doggedness on the field, and their continued effort throughout the game.

Next up on the docket for the Shockers is a home tilt against the visiting Tonasket Tigers on Sept. 22. Tonasket is coming off a state berth a season ago, and should pose a good test for the young Waterville/Mansfield squad.

For any high school football team, having young players presents a learning curve that is only rectified with experience. The Shockers are undoubtedly one of the youngest teams in the whole league, and Kendrick said the team will continue to preach improvement over the course of the season.