Series Of Mistakes Cost THS Bulldogs Potential Upset Of Pembroke Hill
The Trenton Bulldogs scored first and last on Friday night against Pembroke Hill on the road in Kansas City. The problem was Pembroke Hill scored a lot in between Trenton’s only two touchdowns. The Raiders scored 33 points in the time between Trenton’s touchdowns, giving the Raiders a 33-13 homecoming victory over the Bulldogs.
Making the loss a maddening one for Trenton was the fact that early on, the Bulldogs appeared to be the better team on the field. Trenton held Pembroke to a field goal attempt, one the Raiders missed, on their first possession of the game and the Bulldogs would march down the field afterward on a drive that chewed up the remaining clock in the first quarter. The drive lasted into the second quarter and was capped off by a Travis Leeper touchdown run of two yards. Trenton would miss the point-after kick, but still held a 6-0 lead. That’s when the mistakes began to happen left and right.
Trenton yielded a huge return on the ensuing kickoff and followed that up with a pass interference penalty that gave Pembroke a new set of downs. The Raiders made the most of Trenton’s miscues, scoring on a one-yard run and booting a successful point-after kick to take a 7-6 lead.
“It was really disappointing the way the game turned out because for the first quarter and a half we really felt like we controlled the football game,” Trenton Head Coach Wes Croy said. “Even after they scored their first touchdown, we felt like we helped them out with that, with the breakdown on special teams and then the penalty that gave them a new set of downs. So it’s frustrating because, for that first quarter and a half, we felt like we competed well and probably was the better football team on the field.”
Trenton was marching on both of its next two drives, but fumbled the ball away to kill both drives. Sophomore Colton Neff and fellow running back Leeper were responsible for the two turnovers.
“We work on ball security all the time,” Croy said. “A lot of times a young kid is trying to make a play and struggling for yards, but the main thing is to secure the football. It doesn’t matter how far you run or how fast you run if you don’t take the football with you. They are sophomores and we are playing a lot of underclassmen this year, but it’s week five now, so that’s no longer an issue. I’m sure that we will mention again at some point that we are young and we are inexperienced, but the experience is there at this point. We have played five varsity games now and most of these guys have been starting since week one. Youth is no longer a reason for us to not play well in big games.”
Pembroke turned the ball right back over to the Bulldogs following the first fumble, when Charlie Hoffman intercepted a pass, but the Raiders cashed in following the second fumble, scoring again to take a 13-6 lead that would hold through the completion of the first half.
The second half was a disaster. Trenton’s offense hardly saw the field as Pembroke did an excellent job controlling the football. When Trenton’s offense was on the field, they were forced to pass and playing from behind. Trenton netted just two rushing plays in the third quarter and did not have a chance to run the ball a single time in the fourth period.
Pembroke scored on its first possession of the second half, putting the Bulldogs down two scores, and racked up another touchdown late in the quarter. Pembroke would score yet again in the fourth, putting Trenton down 33-6.
“Because of misfortune, we got our heads down,” Croy said. “We were still in good shape at halftime, but we came out in the second half and let them control the football game in every aspect. That is what’s most frustrating to us right now – we had an opportunity to beat a good football team at their place and we didn’t take advantage of it. At some point we have to do that. It’s one thing to beat teams that are average or below average and it’s another thing to beat teams that are traditionally good football teams. We had that opportunity in front of us and we didn’t take it.”
The Bulldogs did find the end zone late in the game as Dalton Ellis hit Chris Kurtz, who got behind the Pembroke defense, for a 58-yard touchdown completion. A Jonathan Lamp point-after kick gave the game its final score of 33-13.
Trenton, which opened the season on a three-game winning streak, now finds itself in a two-game slide. The Bulldogs will look to avoid a third-straight loss this Saturday as they travel back to Kansas City to face a much-improved Lincoln Prep team that sits at 4-1 on the season.
“It’s not going to be easy because Lincoln Prep is a much-improved football team,” Croy said. “They are 4-1 and they have a sound system. They are running ‘Wing T’ on offense and that gives them an identity. They run a lot of misdirection, so they have finally found a way to take advantage of their speed and their physical strengths. They are playing really well and they are not the team that we saw a year ago. If we think that we can walk through practice this week and walk on the field this Saturday and just get off the bus and get a win, we are sadly mistaken at this point. This is a good football team that we have to prepare hard for and we have to play well against. I would consider them the favorite in the game at this point and we are going to have to go down there and upset a team with a better record than us.”
The Bulldogs and Blue Tigers will kick off from Southwest Stadium at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Kansas City.
T – Travis Leeper 2-yard run (Jonathan Lamp kick failed).
PH – Sean Reardon 1-yard run (Alec Hursch kick).
PH – Charlie Mueller 23-yard run (kick failed).
PH – Reardon 2-yard run (run failed).
PH – Mueller 30-yard run (Reardon run).
PH – Max Montague 2-yard run (kick blocked).
T – Chris Kurtz 58-yard pass from Dalton Ellis (Lamp kick).
THS PHHS First Downs 8 16
Rushes-Yards 24-124 51-313
Passing Yards 78 6
Comp.-Att.-Int. 6-13-0 1-3-1
Total Yards 202 319
Penalties-Yards 4-40 2-15
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Punts-Avg. 3-30.33 0-0
RUSHING – Trenton, Colton Neff, 14-54; Travis Leeper, 5-20; Bailey Owen, 2-32; Dalton Ellis, 3-15. Pembroke Hill, Charlie Mueller, 20-169; Max Montague, 16-79; Sean Reardon, 9-44; Alec Hursch, 1-13; team, 6-21.
PASSING – Trenton, Ellis, 6-13-0, 78 yards, 1 TD. Pembroke Hill, Dylan Peters, 1-3-1, 6 yards.
RECEIVING – Trenton, Chris Kurtz, 2-64; Owen, 3-14; Neff, 1-0. Pembroke Hill, Reardon, 1-6.
INTERCEPTIONS – Trenton, Charlie Hoffman, 1-5. Pembroke Hill, none.
PUNTING – Trenton, Ellis, 3-91, 30.33 avg. Pembroke Hill, None.
KICKOFF RETURNS – Trenton, Leeper, 4-104; Hoffman, 1-10.
DEFENSE – Trenton, Garrett Runnels, 11 tackles, 1 TFL; Troy Hanes, 9 tackles, 1 TFL; Trey Shields, 9 tackles; Kurtz, 8 tackles; Hoffman, 6 tackles, 1 int.; Travis Gilbertson, 5 tackles; Josh Davis, 4 tackles; Owen, 3 tackles; Novie Rorebeck, 3 tackles; Cree Mullenix, 3 tackles; Gavin Griffin, 2 tackles; Aaron Anderson, 2 tackles; Dakota Schultz, 1 tackle; Neff, 1 tackle.