HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL — It wasn’t a simple game for the Slaughter. Losses rarely are. This time, a combination of both forced and unforced errors on both sides of the ball combined with numerous penalties on crucial plays during the game resulted in a 30-28 win for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks.
The frustration on the faces of Chicago’s players after the game was clear. But when players spoke, it was with a sense of resolve going forward. After all, most of them said, its early in the season. Continuing the positive momentum generated last week would have been ideal, but the situation as it stands now has to be dealt with in as positive a fashion as possible.
Anthony Bullock, the 6’7 offensive lineman from Indiana State University, offered his views:
“We’ll see them again this season and it will be a different Slaughter team that the Steelhawks will be facing compared to what they went up against tonight. We’ll be more organized. We’ll know our roles better. We’ll have gone back to the basics and reworked things until they are right.”
In Bullock’s mind, mental mistakes were the key.
“We beat ourselves. You never ever want that to happen. Now, its a matter of going home and looking in the mirror. You want to be asking yourself what I could have done to turn this thing around? Did I contribute in some way to the errors that were made? We knew going in that the Steelhawks would be tough. They are big, smart, fast guys. Their game plans are solid. But that is no excuse. We are a good team and we should have come out on top Next time, we will.”
Losing in the final minute by only 2 points after a Patterson to Ernest Jackson pass for a touchdown might well have been the most painful aspect of the evening for Chicago’s players. It’s always difficult to come within striking distance, even with only seconds left on the clock, and fall short at the end.
“We hoped to come back with an onside kick” quarterback Perry Patterson said. “That was the intention once we scored. Unfortunately the ball got away from us with around 30 seconds to go. That sealed the deal, I’m sorry to say.”
Patterson, who alternated behind center with Juice Williams against Bloomington last Sunday, started tonight and played almost the entire game. He passed 35 times for 205 yards during a total time of possession for total the Slaughter of 28:14 compared to the Steelhawks 31:46. The Slaughter had 14 first downs while the Steelhawks had 13.
Looking back after the game, Patterson wondered if a different approach might have been more effective.
“I think maybe we should have run the ball more against this team” Patterson said. “Maybe get Dufrene more involved. We seemed to be inches away from a lot of the deep balls but we couldn’t convert. That hurt us tremendously. Maybe the ground game would have been better.”
Patterson sees the solution by going back to basics during practice next week.
“We have to regroup,build form the ground up, give guys some chances that they didn’t get tonight. We can fix this in practice. Our communication is good, the talent is there, and we’re definitely on the same page in terms of an approach. That’s an important starting point, from what I observed tonight.”
And while the setback might be frustrating short term, for the long run, Patterson sees only positive things ahead for the Slaughter.“
There definitely were some good things going on tonight. This is an unusual team in the fact that everybody looks out for each other.You go out there knowing your teammates will have your back. We have great potential to come together and make this season into something special. I’m optimistic that we can turn this around and get back on track starting next week.”
The Slaughter plays the Bloomington Edge in an away game March 3. The team’s next home game will be at Sears Centre on March 31. For tickets, contact the Slaughter Sales Team at 847-310-3190