CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hopefully there's a lot of blame to go around for Capital's second-half collapse in a 20-17 loss to South Charleston in 2012.
No one, it seems, in the Capital locker room wants someone else to claim it as his own.
"You coach to win those games. You don't coach not to lose, and I think I did that," Cougars Coach Jon Carpenter said Wednesday of how his team gave up a 17-0 halftime lead at Laidley Field and failed to score after halftime.
"We quit throwing it. I got conservative, we dropped the ball down there (in the red zone) and after that I kind of babied our quarterback. At the time you think you're protecting him but you're really handcuffing him.
"I vote conservative but I shouldn't coach football that way. There was too much George Bush and not enough Barack Obama that night."
Capital quarterback Tyrhee Pratt entered the game as the state's freshman phenom. By the final gun that title was up in the air, as SC replaced junior starter Jon Alexander with freshman Kentre Grier to start the third quarter, and Grier led the comeback without the aid of running back A.D. Cunningham, who had injured his shoulder in the first half and was lost for the season.
If Capital senior defensive end James Walton tells the story about the loss, it sounds a little differently from Carpenter's version.
"We came out and thought the game was over. (We had) bad leadership last year. This year our whole thing is finishing in the second half and don't come out lackadaisical in the second half.
"It wasn't Carp's fault. It was our fault for letting off on the playing field."
Walton (6-foot-1, 245 pounds) was quick to clarify that he was not insulting the Capital seniors of 2012. There just weren't many of them.
"We only had four on the whole team, and only one was a leader," Walton said. "This year we've got about 12 and eight of them are leaders on the field. So, it's good to have older guys - juniors and seniors - on the field this year."