The throngs of ravenous fans packed the stands at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium in Jasper, IN to bear witness to a great Southern Indiana football game as the Evansville Memorial Tigers were set to take on the Jasper Wildcats.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Jasper, a source inside the program said. Judging from week one I believe they have already rebuilt. Jasper dominated Evansville Memorial in almost every aspect of the game Friday night coming away with a huge win in their first contest of the year. Here’s how it all went down.
Jasper would take the opening kick at the Wildcats 30 and would methodically drive all the way down the field culminating in a four yard rushing TD by lead back Braylen Bair. Jasper would however miss the extra point wide right. This would be a recurring theme for the Wildcats special teams as they could just not seem to get on track. Jasper takes the early lead 6-0 with about 4 minutes to go in the first quarter. This drive would be indicative of the entire game as Memorial would have no answer to Jasper’s triple option. Memorial would respond with a drive of their own. Early on in the game it looked like it was gonna be a shootout. Memorial would complete an amazing pass for 22 yards putting them all the way down to Jasper’s 39 in the blink of an eye. Memorial would continue driving all the way down to the Jasper 10 before the Wildcats defense tightened and would force a field goal. Memorial kicker Pate Barrett would knock one in from 20 yards out to cut the lead to 3 at 6-3 early in the second quarter.
Jasper’s lack of discipline on special teams would haunt them yet again as they fumbled the ensuing kickoff resulting in the Tigers recovering the ball way into Jasper territory at the 34. Memorial however could not capitalize on this new found momentum as Jasper’s pass rush forced QB Caleb Ellspermann out of the pocket and he tossed a drive crushing interception on the steps of the red zone. Jasper senior QB/DB Grant Young would come up with the pick to give the ball back to the Wildcats.
Jasper would not be able to capitalize on this turnover however as both teams traded punts late in the second quarter. Jasper would add another TD with a sneaky pass from Grant Young to sophomore big man Evan Nordhoff. The Wildcats would add a 2 pt conversion and take the lead into the half 14-3.
The second half would start out with a bang. Memorial would juke and jive through the Wildcats kickoff unit for an 85 yard return for a TD. Memorial would add the PAT to bring the score back to a manageable 14-10. Memorial’s defense would use this new found momentum to force the Wildcats into a punt on the next possession. The Tigers offense would sputter though and punt the ball right back to the Wildcats. Jasper would regain the momentum with an incredible 68 yard TD drive punctuated by a powerful rushing TD. Memorial would get the ball back but could not get in sync as Jasper’s pass rush would continue to get pressure on QB Caleb Ellspermann and force him out of the pocket and into some very bad passes. Jasper’s secondary would pick off Ellspermann for a second time late in the third quarter. The Wildcats would capitalize yet again with another methodical drive resulting in a 5 yard rushing TD. Jasper would then use their punishing rushing game to take a lot of time off the clock and sophomore RB Caden Erny would finish off the drive with a beautiful TD from 10 yards out. Memorial would then concede the game and just let the clock run out giving the Jasper Wildcats their first win of the season and sending Evansville Memorial back home with a crushing loss. Final score 34-10.
Position Grades and Analysis
Offense – D
Memorial could not get anything going on offense except for a couple big pass plays. The running game was pretty much non-existent and the O-Line could not open any holes or protect their qb. QB Ellspermann was constantly being forced out of the pocket which forced him to try and make some very difficult throws.
Defense – D
The Tigers could not figure out Jasper’s triple option offense and allowed the Wildcats to run all over them. This would force them to focus mostly on stopping the run and leave them very vulnerable to the passing game. Memorial seemed to be overpowered by the Wildcats and their offense didn’t really give them any help as they were on the field for way too long.
Special Teams – A
The lone bright spot for the Tigers was their special teams game. Memorial was able to cover the return game from the Wildcats never allowing them to get great field position. Kicker Pate Barret knocked in a pretty 20 yard field goal and the Tigers would add an amazing 85 yard kick return for a TD.
Offense – A
Jasper would utilize their punishing running game to go on long time consuming drives and force the Tigers defense to be on the field for long amounts of time. The Wildcats triple option continuously confused Memorial and when they were not running the ball down their throats they were able to sneak in some pretty pass plays. This is going to be a fun unit to watch as they look like, at least in week 1, to be in mid season shape.
Defense – A
The Wildcats were able to continuously stop the Tigers’ running game. When they forced Memorial into long passing downs they were able to force the Tigers’ QB out of the pocket and into some errant throws. Jasper would turnover Memorial twice, both on interceptions and generally seemed to be the better prepared unit.
Special Teams – F
The lone dark spot for Jasper was their special teams play. They missed their only field goal attempt on an extra point and numerous times they would kick the ball off out of bounds giving Memorial great field position. They would also break down on kickoff return coverage as they allowed Memorial to get their only touchdown of the night on an 85 yd kickoff return for a TD. Jasper will need to shore up this part of their game if they look to continue their success.
Thanks so much for reading! For more of our favorite pictures and video highlights please click here, “Jasper vs. Evansville Memorial: Our Favorite Moments” We will be back next week for our second “Game Of The Week” as North Central (Farmersburg) takes on North Daviess! Please like, comment, and share this story and follow us on all our social media!