Different problem, same result for Culver football team
Culver football cleaned up one defensive miscue only to watch another plague the Bulldogs in their second game.
The Bulldogs fell to 0-2 following a 43-20 loss to La Pine, a week after they had a similar score, a 40-20 defeat to Illinois Valley. While blown assignments were the culprit in week one, Culver cleaned those up against La Pine, but were unable to wrap up ball carriers when it counted.
"Defensively, we just missed tackles," Culver head coach Jesus Retano said. "We were a few tackles away from a different ballgame. That's on me; as a coach, I need to prepare them more this upcoming week. It doesn't help with the smoke and all that, but I got to figure out a way to get these guys in a better position to win."
Making matters worse, Culver spent the majority of the week leading up to the game practicing indoors, as a result of surrounding wildfires creating poor air quality throughout Central Oregon. The change kept the Bulldogs from practicing with full contact, on things such as tackling, and also moved the game from Culver to Lakeview High School, nearly four hours away.
The Bulldogs' tackling woes were obvious to coaches, but a couple individuals didn't let it affect their own games.
Sophomore Zach Wiseman, who spent time at all three levels of the defense — safety, linebacker and defensive line, led Culver with 10 tackles, six assists, two tackles for loss and a sack, earning him lots of praise from Retano. Victor Torres added nine solo tackles, while Jerron Rhen had six tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack.
Offensively, Culver scored three touchdowns against La Pine, just as it did the week prior. This time, however, the Bulldogs' passing game was in sync.
Quarterback Jorge Olivera completed eight of 18 passes for 205 and three touchdowns, with a different receiver hauling in each score.
Joe Russo led the Bulldogs in receiving with four catches for 104 yards and a touchdown; Jordan VanAlstyne, playing only his second game as a receiver, caught one pass and scored from 47 yards out; and, likely the catch of the night, Weston Basl caught a 30-yard pass with a defender draped all over him. He finished with 56 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Culver expects to return to practicing outdoors this week, ahead of its home opener against Santiam on Friday at 7 p.m.
Retano sees lots of room for improvement, but is also optimistic that many of the team's mistakes are correctable.
"I think we've gotten better as a team," he said. "I think we realize we're slowly getting better. The film will show what we need to work on. We have a lot of things that we can fix, and that's the good part."