The learning curve continues for Christian Liberty
In spite of a 34-0 loss to North Shore Country Day in a Northeastern Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday in Arlington Heights, Christian Liberty football coach Dave Daniels was buoyed by his team's performance.
"Our kids never quit," Daniels said. "I have had coaches in our league coming up to me and telling me that all year.
We are very young and still learning the game. And we need to learn to how to win."
Thanks to the play of Caleb Graham, Josiah Pittman, Jack McMahon, Jimmy Calkins, Jim Cunningham and Diego Cardenas Christian Liberty (0-4, 0-4) was able to stifle North Shore on the ground, limiting the Raiders to just 66 yards.
"I can't wait to play the next game," said Graham, who is just one of three seniors on the roster. "It was just little things. We just need to learn how to hold on better when we tackle and how to cover receivers."
The latter was an issue for CLA all afternoon. North Shore quarterback Jackson Grey was successful though the air, completing 12 of 18 passes for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns.
"We worked all week on their slanting routes," Daniels said. "But we just couldn't contain them. It is a learning process for us, and I know we will get better."
Things got off to a rocky start for Christian Liberty. The Chargers fumbled on their very first play from scrimmage and Grey recovered at the 1-yard line and took the ball into the end zone. Grey then threw a conversion pass to Ryan Corboy and it was quickly 8-0.
"It was not the way we planned things," Daniels said. "We are just working on how to overcome mistakes. When we do, we will be a much better team."
While CLA has been working each week to improve against a new opponent, North Shore (1-3, 1-3) had the luxury of having two weeks to prepare for the Chargers. That's because the Raiders forfeited last week because of a lack of players. It was their second forfeit of the season.
But North Shore dressed 23 players for Saturday and built a 20-0 lead.The Raiders had an 85-yard touchdown pass to Corboy on a slant route and a similar type pass of 38 yards to Bernie Sander.
Christian Liberty mounted its best scoring drive of the afternoon just before the end of the half.
With all running plays and the offensive line of Paul Wesner, Pittman, Brandon Beal, Graham, Nick Gonzalez and Cunningham moving the Raiders off the ball, the Chargers moved from their own 36 to the North Shore 22 on 11 consecutive running plays. But an injury to McMahon, who plays wing back, and a pair of incomplete passes ended their only scoring threat.
North Shore added a pair of second-half touchdowns, while Christian Liberty quarterback Tommy Froman was 9-of-24 for 98 yards in the second half with 4 of those receptions going to Konnor Kirkwood.
"We know we are going to get much better," Daniels said. "It is just going to take a little time to get there."