For a second straight year, the Sooners have started out the campaign with three straight losses. The question now is, can they catch fire as they did last season en route to the playoffs?
The Sooners lost 30-27 in London Saturday night, the third straight game in which they've squandered a fourth quarter lead. Ottawa, along with the GTA Bears, are the only winless teams in the eight-week Ontario Football Conference (OFC) season. The Sooners special teams struggled in the first 2 games but starred Saturday night with a 92 yard punt return touchdown and a blocked field goal run back for six points.
“Another 0-3 start is definitely not what we wanted, said coach Matt Murfitt. “But it is what we have. 70 per cent of our guys are first year players and we're making the mistakes that young teams make. However, we've now proven to ourselves through these first three games that we can play with any team in this league. Our last two games came down to the last minute. Now we just need to be better at finishing our opponents when given the opportunity.”
Coach Murfitt issued a challenge to the team on the long bus ride home after Saturday's loss. “I challenged the team to really let that loss sink in and let that feeling be their fuel for rest of the season,” Murfitt said. “No more excuses for youth or mental mistakes. We want every single one of our opponents to give us their best. That is what will make us get better in the long run.”
“I am hoping we can now respond the way we did last year (5 straight wins after an 0 and 3 start). I want us to come together as a group - players, coaches and support staff - to put in the work required to get ourselves in a position to make game #8 meaningful with playoff implications. This is a good team. Don't count us out just yet.”
The Sooners next game is Saturday night in Burlington. Their next home game is September 14th vs Hamilton.