STEGER | The numbers tell the story.
Four Bloom Township turnovers led to two of Lincoln-Way West's three touchdowns in the Warriors' 21-0 victory over the Blazing Trojans on Saturday at Bloom Trail.
Another set of numbers tell a different story.
Despite the turnovers – including two fumbles and an interception by quarterback Kendall McGinnis – Bloom (1-1) outgained West 241-220, the difference in the ground game.
What Bloom couldn't do is finish.
"We put up a fight," said Bloom receiver Zerell Jackson, whose five receptions and 48 yards provided a great deal of it. "That's all that matters. We didn't fold."
There was ample opportunity for them to do so. It was 14-0 after West's first two possessions, the second scoring drive set up by Justus Brantley's fumble just inside Warriors territory. Bloom's next three drives ended on fourth down via two runs that came up short and a bad snap on a punt, those three also in Warriors territory.
The Trojans were able to do everything but score, and while Bloom coach Tony Palombi didn't have the final figures, he's been around long enough to know the difference between a loss and a thumping. This was the former.
"What we can't ever do against anybody is have nice drives like we did, and have a penalty or a turnover kill it for us," Palombi said. "It's a different game if we drive down and score a touchdown. They have to change their tactics, maybe. Who knows what can happen.
"We've got to clean that up. We pride ourselves on no turnovers and we just got killed by that and penalties today."
Bloom was penalized seven times, with one penalty aiding West at a critical point on its first scoring drive, and another helping stop a Bloom march in the second quarter.
Lincoln-Way West (1-1) scored on Justin Keuch's 15-yard pass to Joe Shirley and touchdown runs by Kurtis Flonder and Sean McDonald.
Palombi says his players won't lose confidence, and his players have his back on that.
"We're going back to the playoffs," lineman Alexander Clark said.
The first big step comes next week, when Bloom opens Southland Athletic Conference play at Kankakee.