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 A host of Royal Oak Shrine tacklers attempt to bring down Fowler High's Kyle Snyder. The Knights fell to the Eagles 33-0 to end their season at 9-3 overall.

A host of Royal Oak Shrine tacklers attempt to bring down Fowler High's Kyle Snyder. The Knights fell to the Eagles 33-0 to end their season at 9-3 overall.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

Shrine plagued by turnovers in regional final loss

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published November 16, 2019


ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak Shrine’s season came to an end in a regional final loss to Fowler High. The Eagles beat the Knights 33-0 Nov. 15 on the road.

Turnovers were the story of the game for the Knights, who coughed up the ball seven times, two of which were recovered by the Eagles.

On its first play from scrimmage, Shrine fumbled the ball on a bad snap and it was recovered by Fowler’s Cody Johnson. Five plays later, Fowler found the end zone on an 8-yard run by quarterback Caiden Pung.

The second turnover came late in the first half with Shrine driving. Quarterback Conor Benson was taken down by Johnson, who again recovered the fumble.

“When you have a younger team and some of those miscues happen, sometimes they start to snow ball,” Olejniczak said. “At the end of the day, they never quit and continued with great effort. We have to learn from this and know that we have to make plays in order to perform at this level.”

The third and final turnover came by way of an interception that gave Fowler possession at the Shrine 41-yard line. The Eagles cashed in quickly with a 36-yard run by running back Kyle Snyder. 

Snyder had two other touchdowns in the game on runs of 7 and 8 yards. Just as he opened the scoring, Pung closed with an 8-yard touchdown run with 3:15 to play in the game.

“Fowler is an outstanding team and my hat goes off to them. They played great and we didn’t play our best game,” Olejniczak said. “We had some young guys in some positions where the stage was pretty big. I don’t want to say they weren’t ready, but we came out here and we weren’t on top of our game.”

The Knights end the season 9-3 overall and 3-1 in the Catholic High School League Intersectional No. 2. This is Shrine’s best season record-wise in three years.

The growth of the Shrine football program under Olejniczak has been well documented. The coach reached the playoffs in his first year at the helm of the Knights, who were eliminated in the first round. The team again made the playoffs this season and picked up two wins before the season came to a close. 

After the game, the coached thanked his seniors for bringing the program to where it is. He also challenged his returning players to take yet another step forward.

“I told them when you lose and it feels like this, that means your program is heading in the right direction,” Olejniczak said. “If you lose and it doesn’t hurt, then that means we’re not doing the right thing. This hurt them so I know we’re heading in the right direction.”