By Jeff Odom
Turnovers cost the Steinbrenner football team a chance at a home victory, falling 21-14 to Strawberry Crest Sept. 14.
The Warriors (1-2) committed four turnovers in the contest, two of which gave the Chargers (2-1) momentum to score touchdowns on their ensuing drives.
“It was just a sloppy game from the get-go,” said first-year coach Andres Perez. “I look back and out of our five drives in the first half, three of them were stopped and we just started going backwards and backwards.”
Steinbrenner got on the board first, scoring midway through the second quarter.
Strawberry Crest punter Noah Schaffer kicked the ball off the side of his foot, giving Warriors the ball on the Chargers’ 34-yard line. On the first play, halfback Kendall Pearcey busted outside and took it into the end zone.
Steinbrenner appeared poised to start another scoring drive at midfield after the Chargers’ fake punt on fourth-and-inches failed, but Pearcey fumbled to flip the momentum. Strawberry Crest scored on an 18-yard pass from Tristan Hyde to Austin Carswell going into halftime.
The Warriors came out of the locker room strong, with defensive back Tyler McClain picking off Tristan to set up halfback Jake Carroll’s 38-yard touchdown catch from Curtis Fitch, giving his team a 14-7 lead.
Another Steinbrenner fumble, this time from Fitch, set up the game-tying touchdown catch by Josh Hyde, Tristan’s brother, with 9:23 left in the third quarter. The Chargers scored again in the fourth.
The Warriors had another chance to score, but Fitch was unable to complete a pass on fourth-and-inches on Strawberry Crest’s 16-yard line.
Fitch finished 9-of-15 for 120 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Pearcey had 90 yards on 16 carries.
Steinbrenner lost one of its biggest receiving threats in Jon Marc Carrier, who left the game in the fourth quarter after landing awkwardly on his knee on a running play.
The Warriors travel to Freedom Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. to open their Class 7A-District 7 schedule.