Playing with the big boys for a full 60 minutes is a lesson SFU Clan head football coach Dave Johnson has to keep drilling into his young squad.
After handily beating Pacific University in Oregon last week, it was the opening game of the Clan's Great Northwest Athletic Conference schedule and after holding Central Washington to only a 21-14 halftime lead, the Clan fell apart in the second half en route to a 56-28 humbling at home Saturday afternoon.
"We got physically thumped today," said Johnson. "We played with them for a half, but that's not good enough. - It's a great lesson that we have to play the full 60 minutes, and we, as coaches, have to continue doing a better job preparing our players."
The Clan got their touchdowns on receptions by Lemar Durant and two from tight end Jamal Kett - all thrown by quarterback Trey Wheeler -and a garbage time rushing touchdown from Tarrance Crawford.
Durant finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards.
Defensively, the Clan were led by Adam Berger who recovered the fumble that
led to Durant's score and also picked off Wildcat quarterback Ryan Robertson in the Clan end zone just before halftime.
The unstoppable force for the Central Washington Wildcats was running back Johri Fogerson, a transfer from the University of Washington who had three second half touchdowns, and four in total, to put away the Clan.
Fogerson's scores came from 11, three, 22 and 10 yards out and he finished with 103 total yards on the ground.
"He was an absolute pain in the butt for us," said Johnson. "But as well as he played, it was their linemen who really opened up holes for him to get through."
Johnson was particularly impressed with a couple of the Wildcats Twin Towers, right tackle Mike Nelson, listed at 6-4 and 312 pounds and left tackle James Meeks, listed at 6-5 and 315 pounds.
Meeks and Nelson opened up holes for Fogerson and Demetrius Sumler, who transferred from the University of Colorado to Central Washington and was the first half star, rushing for a total of 154 yards and two touchdowns.
Johnson was disappointed his squad took stupid penalties and shot themselves in the foot by dropping passes.
"We're a really young team," he said. "We have 52 freshmen or redshirt freshmen on this team, and we got physically thumped today. I am not trying to dress up a pig, but I think this is good for us in our maturity. - Being so young and dumb, we tell them that we need to have short memories. A lot of our guys haven't played at this level, and we have to teach them how to play and compete at this level."
Johnson said his team competed in the first half.
"In the second half, it became apparent that it wasn't all about emotion, but technique and maturity."
The Clan go on the road next week to Arcata, California, where Humboldt State awaits them at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15.