Bulldogs Have Plenty To Smile About After Jamboree
It’s hard to find a time when Chris Kurtz isn’t smiling. After he had an impressive touchdown catch on a fade route in the second session of Friday night’s jamboree in Bethany, everyone in Black and Gold was smiling along with him.
Trenton and its fans had plenty to smile about Friday night as the Bulldogs generally pushed around South Harrison, Christ Prep of Olathe, KS and Maysville – especially on defense.
Trenton was scored on just once on the night, coming on a broken play against Christ Prep. Other than that one play, the out-of-staters didn’t even record a first down. South Harrison’s highly-touted quarterback Dylan Heitz didn’t crack the goal line against Trenton. Nor did Maysville.
“I thought overall we held up pretty well against some pretty good competition as far as personnel was concerned,” Trenton Head Coach Wes Croy said. “Those teams had some very gifted skill players. Dylan Heitz and the quarterback from Christ Prep were both very quick, athletic kids.”
Trenton’s defensive line gave the Bulldogs a good push up front and kept any of the opponents from really marching down the field.
“We did a good job, especially up front,” Croy said. “We need to get better at open-field tackling, but I thought we ran to the ball really well, we rallied to the ball really well and we were pretty sound tacklers when we had the opportunity.
“At the actual jamboree we felt like we didn’t quite execute how we wanted to,” Croy continued. “Then when we watched the film, though, we were extremely pleased with the way we played up front. We got a pretty good push all night and were able to move the ball, when we chose to run the ball, pretty effectively. We were getting three or four yards here and there and that’s what we like to do. Then, over the course of the game, you kind of wear people down. So, after watching film we were really pleased with the way we played up front for the most part.”
Trenton scored twice on the night. After a scoreless tie with South Harrison, Trenton got in the end zone once against Christ Prep on Kurtz’s touchdown grab, drawing a tie with the Patriots at one score each. Trenton scored once against Maysville as well, coming on a 15-plus yard run by Chanse Houghton that gave Trenton a win over the Wolverines in the final session, one score to none.
Kurtz’s catch, probably the highlight of the night at the jamboree, came on the heels of a touchdown screen pass from quarterback Dalton Ellis to Bailey Owen. That score, however, was negated by a penalty, but Ellis connected with Kurtz on the very next play, a touchdown that would stand. Ellis took a short drop and delivered a fade to Kurtz, who ran the ball down and made the catch as he was crossing the goal line.
“Chris is a big kid and he has great hands,” Croy said. “We have had some really gifted receivers come through here and we don’t throw a lot, but we have had guys like Logan Epperson, Colby Larson and Evan Fries at tight end. We have had some kids that could really catch the ball well, but Chris probably has the best pure hands of anybody that we have ever had come through here. We feel like, with his size and his skill set, if we can get him in a one-on-one situation we have a chance to come down with the football and that is something we realize we need to take advantage of this year because you don’t always have that. We have the luxury of having a 6-3 wideout with that kind of skill set and we need to get the ball to him. He did a great job of going and getting the pass. That’s what he does.”
One big question entering the jamboree for Trenton was finding depth beyond the starers. Trenton, especially against Maysville in the final session, was able to get a look at a lot of different kids. Against Maysville Kurtz saw some time at quarterback as well as third-string signal caller Kail McCarter. Trenton circulated several other positions, searching for depth.
“We played a lot of kids,” Croy said. “We played as many kids as we have ever played in a jamboree. We wanted to look at some different athletes at different spots and we felt like we had some kids step up and play well and kind of prove to us that they are capable of playing at a high level on Friday night. We had some other kids that might not be Friday-night frontliners quite yet, but they showed that they have the ability to become one in the very near future. I thought everybody that got in played well. We weren’t perfect by any means, but I thought we were better when we left Bethany than we were when we got there.”
Trenton will look to carry over the positives from the jamboree into the season opener Friday night as they play host to annual rival Carrollton at C.F. Russell Stadium.
Kickoff between the Bulldogs and Trojans is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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