Not Pretty, But Trenton Shuts Out Putnam County In Unionville 19-0
It wasn’t the most beautiful win ever for the Trenton Bulldogs on Friday night in Unionville. In fact, at times, it was down right ugly. But, a win is a win and the Trenton Bulldogs are 3-0.
Trenton overcame a multitude of penalties on Friday night en route to a 19-0 shutout of the Putnam County Midgets on the road.
The Bulldogs were penalized seven times for 75 yards and turned the ball over once, but the average offensive showing was more than enough as the Bulldogs stepped up defensively. Putnam County found its way inside the 10-yard line just once and never scored against a Bulldog unit that has been pretty solid so far this season.
“That’s a positive that comes out on a night when we didn’t really play as sharp as we would like to have offensively,” Trenton Head Coach Wes Croy said of the defense. “When our defense can step up and play as well as it did, it really makes you feel better about the game and the effort that we gave.”
Trenton’s defense limited Putnam County to just 144 total yards on the night, forcing four Midget punts and two turnovers. Charlie Hoffman and Dakota Schultz both grabbed interceptions for the Bulldogs and Trenton allowed Putnam just 39 yards in the second half.
“I thought other than letting their quarterback get away from us a couple of times early on, we played really well defensively,” Croy said. “We weren’t really threatened that much and that allowed us to stay comfortable in the game. We got two early touchdowns and they never got within a score, so that allowed us to overcome some deficiencies offensively and still win a football game and still feel good about winning a football game. As long as your defense is solid, you have a chance to win the game and I thought our defense did really well.”
Trenton was able to get into the end zone twice early, grabbing complete control of the contest in the first quarter. Colton Neff broke loose for a 63-yard touchdown run on Trenton’s second play from scrimmage and a 43-yard screen pass from quarterback Dalton Ellis to Chris Kurtz set up an eight-yard touchdown run by Chanse Houghton on the Bulldogs’ second possession. The point-after kick failed following the first score and Trenton tried for two, coming up short after the second score. That left the Bulldogs with a 12-0 lead that would hold through a scoreless second quarter into halftime.
Trenton scored once in the second half as penalties choked down Trenton’s offense. Travis Leeper scored on a four-yard run in the third quarter and Jonathan Lamp’s point-after kick gave Trenton a 19-0 lead which would be the game’s final score.
“We started fine,” Croy said. “We scored on the second play from scrimmage on a big run from Colton Neff and we came back the next series and hit Kurtz on a screen pass that got us down to the 10 and Chanse was able to get it in. So we did what we hadn’t done in the first two games, which was start well. We just kind of got bogged down. (Putnam County) did a great job of playing defense against us and we just struggled to put drives together. We tried to throw the ball a little more than usual early in possessions and because we didn’t complete those we got behind the chains and put ourselves in tough situations. But, it was good to work on that stuff and we realize that we are going to have to throw the ball effectively as the season goes on. Hopefully, we can learn from this and become more consistent in that phase of our offense and get to the point where we can complete those short passes on first and second downs to help us move the chains and keep us from becoming as one dimensional as we have been.”
A bright spot for the offense was the running of the sophomore backs Neff and Leeper. The duo continued to get more seasoned as Neff hit the 100-yard mark for a third-straight game and Leeper broke the century mark for the second time in as many weeks. Neff had 117 yards on the ground to lead Trenton and Leeper added 104.
“They are talented kids and they are learning,” Croy said. “I think both of them have gotten better over the course of the first three games. They still have a long way to go and they still have things they can get better at, but they have received good blocking up front. The offensive line has done a good job creating running lanes for them, but they have also made some quality runs, kept their pad level down and done a good job of falling forward. We would like to see them secure the ball a little bit better and be a little more physical at times, but I’m really proud of their progress so far and they both have really bright futures for us.”
With the win the Bulldogs improved to 3-0 on the season. It’s the team’s first 3-0 start since 2007.
“It’s a big deal to start out like this and it puts you in a good position to have a successful season,” Croy said. “The way it lines up now, you have a nine-game regular season, so we kind of break it into thirds and we finished the first third at 3-0. Now we need to go out and do well in the middle third of the season. If you are successful in all three segments of the season, you are going to have an awful good season. Now we need to start over and go into this game totally focused.”
Trenton plays Higginsville this Friday at home at C.F. Russell Stadium. It is homecoming for the Bulldogs and kick off is set for 7 p.m.
“Hopefully, we play well enough to have a chance to be in the game late,” Croy said. “(Higginsville) has really caused us some difficulties over the past six or seven years and we really need to go into the game with a mindset that we can compete with them. Playing well early will help us continue to play well as the game goes on and, hopefully, we can get a win at the end of it.”
T – Colton Neff 63-yard run (kick failed).
T – Chanse Houghton 8-yard run (pass failed).
T – Travis Leeper 4-yard run (Lamp kick)
THS PCHS First Downs 12 7
Rushes-Yards 41-240 36-123
Passing Yards 54 21
Comp.-Att.-Int. 2-8-0 1-4-2
Total Yards 294 144
Penalties-Yards 7-75 5-55
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Punts-Avg. 2-27 4-34.25
RUSHING – Trenton, Colton Neff, 14-117; Travis Leeper, 17-104; Chanse Houghton, 3-21; Chris Kurtz, 1-6; Dalton Ellis, 6-(-8). Putnam County, Jacob Parker, 25-96; Chance Hendee, 3-18; Cody Quint, 4-8; Drake Minear, 1-1; Montana Schoonover, 3-0.
PASSING – Trenton, Ellis, 2-8-0, 54 yards. Putnam County, Parker, 1-4-2, 21 yards.
RECEIVING – Trenton, Kurtz, 2-54. Putnam County, Quint, 1-8.
INTERCEPTIONS – Trenton, Charlie Hoffman, 1-0; Dakota Schultz, 1-0. Putnam County, none.
PUNTING – Trenton, Ellis, 2-54, 27 avg. Putnam County, Quint, 4-137, 34.25 avg.
PUNT RETURNS – Trenton, Leeper, 2-25.
KICKOFF RETURNS – Trenton, Novie Rorebeck, 1-13.
DEFENSE – Trenton, Garrett Runnels, 12 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack; Josh Davis, 10 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 sack; Trey Shields, 9 tackles, 2 TFL; Troy Hanes, 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack; Hoffman, 6 tackles, 1 int.; Bailey Owen, 5 tackles; Travis Gilbertson, 5 tackles, 1 TFL; Gavin Griffin, 4 tackles; Kurtz, 3 tackles; Rorebeck, 2 tackles; Houghton, 2 tackles; Cree Mullenix, 2 tackles; Schultz, 1 tackle, 1 int.; Kail McCarter, 1 tackle; Nick Gass, 1 tackle.