Bulldogs Blasted On The Road, Lose Four Fumbles In 48-14 Loss To Kirksville
The Trenton Bulldogs and Kirksville Tigers are two teams heading in opposite directions. Friday night’s 48-14 win Kirksville took over Trenton at Spainhower Field in Kirksville re-affirmed that.
The Tigers came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and having won three of their past four. Trenton meanwhile entered on a one-game losing streak and the Bulldogs had lost three of their previous four. Not much changed when the teams stepped on the field across from one another as Kirksville had its way with the Bulldogs.
“We definitely didn’t give the type of effort that you need to give to be successful against a team that is playing pretty well,” Trenton Head Coach Wes Croy said. “They had been scoring points and we knew that from watching film. We knew they had the opportunity to be explosive offensively and we knew we were going to have to play really well in space. We were concerned about the match-up going in because that is not something we have done extremely well this year, but we were hoping that we had made enough strides over the past couple of weeks with the win against Lincoln Prep and the good effort against Illini West that we would be able to go in and play well enough to be able to get the win.
“We were overwhelmed early for whatever reason, though, and didn’t give the type of effort needed to win games late in October.”
Kirksville got on the board early and often on the legs of Blake Riley. The Tigers’ back ran for two first quarter touchdowns and would finish the game with 243 yards and five touchdowns on 16 carries. Riley scored his third touchdown in the second quarter and Nathan Farnsworth hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Makenna Cook to push the Tigers’ lead to 28-0.
Trenton was threatening at the end of the half, but fumbled the ball at the one-yard line as time ran off the clock. Farnsworth scooped up the ball and returned it 99 yards for Kirksville’s fifth and final touchdown of the first half. After a failed two-point try, Kirksville led the Bulldogs 34-0 at halftime.
Trenton’s fumble at the one-yard line was their second lost fumble of the game, but not their last. The Bulldogs coughed it up three more times in the second half, losing two of them for a total of four lost fumbles in the game.
“That is something that shouldn’t be affecting us,” Croy said of the Bulldogs fumbles. “It’s something that we work on on a consistent basis – holding onto the football. At some point you have to put what you work on in practice into play in games. We haven’t carried that over very well at this point and a lot of them are just silly mistakes where we are holding the ball loose or not protecting it and allowing the other team to strip it. On the other hand, when we do cause fumbles on the other side of the ball we haven’t been very opportunistic about getting on them. There have been a lot of times where we have had opportunities to get on fumbles ourselves and not done it. So, the give-away, take-away in our losses this year have definitely affected the outcome. The team that wins the turnover battle usually wins the football game and that has definitely been the case for us this year.”
Trenton was able to crack the end zone twice in the second half, matching Kirksville score-for-score after the break. Colton Neff ran for a 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter and Dalton Ellis ran for a 23-yard touchdown in the fourth. Neff finished with 120 yards and the score on 29 carries and Ellis had 83 yards and his score on 11 carries.
Neff’s 120 yards puts him at 979 on the season, the 10th highest single-season rushing total in school history. Neff displaced Mike Prindle in the top 10, who rushed for 954 yards in 1984, Coach Croy’s senior season as a player.
Trenton will look to get back on track Friday night as they return home to C.F. Russell Stadium for a collision with the Concordia Fighting Orioles. Trenton received 20 bonus points in the district standings for moving up two class sizes to take on Kirksville and those points, combined with a Brookfield loss to Macon kept the Bulldogs in fourth place. A win over Concordia would seal a home game to open the district tournament, while a loss could send Trenton on the road to Brookfield in the first round.
“We will see how we bounce back,” Croy said. “It would be nice to host week 10, but we have to come into practice this week determined to give a better effort on the practice field and the game field Friday night. It will be senior night and I’m sure our kids will want to go out as seniors and play at a high level and go out as underclassmen and support that senior class that is playing their last regular season home game here at C.F. Russell. If we do that, then it won’t be their last game ever at C.F. Russell because we will get to host the next week.
“We will need the effort that we gave in weeks six and seven, though, and not the effort that we gave in weeks five and eight. They were in direct contrast to each other and our effort and ability to make plays in those in-between weeks allowed us to get a win and have a chance to get another. Our effort against Pembroke Hill and Kirksville got us in trouble early and we couldn’t stop the snowball from going down the hill. So, we are going to have to kind of rejuvenate ourselves and play up to our potential, which I’m not sure that we did against Kirksville.”
The Bulldogs and Fighting Orioles will kick off from C.F. Russell Stadium Friday night at 7 p.m. Seniors will be honored prior to the game at 6:25.
K – Blake Riley 15-yard run (Makenna Cook run).
K – Riley 19-yard run (Matt Kelly pass from Cook).
K – Riley 60-yard run (run failed).
K – Nathan Farnsworth 24-yard pass from Cook (run failed).
K – Farnsworth 99-yard fumble return (pass failed).
K – Riley 32-yard run (run failed).
T – Colton Neff 34-yard run (run failed).
K – Riley 68-yard run (Kelly pass from Cook).
T – Dalton Ellis 23-yard run (Neff run).
THS KHS First Downs 14 11
Rushes-Yards 49-216 29-273
Passing Yards 64 89
Comp.-Att.-Int. 8-12-0 8-13-2
Total Yards 280 362
Fumbles-Lost 5-4 1-0
Punts-Avg. 4-27.75 0-0
RUSHING – Trenton, Colton Neff, 29-120; Dalton Ellis, 11-83; Travis Leeper, 8-12; Chris Kurtz, 1-4. Kirksville, Blake Riley, 16-243; Makenna Cook, 10-18; Tyler Osborn, 3-12.
PASSING – Trenton, Dalton Ellis, 8-12-0, 64 yards. Kirksville, Cook, 8-13-2, 89 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING – Trenton, Kurtz, 5-33; Cree Mullenix, 1-24; Aaron Anderson, 2-7. Kirksville, Nathan Farnsworth, 4-54; Riley, 1-17; Osborn, 2-16; Kyle Gross, 1-2.
INTERCEPTIONS – Trenton, Kurtz, 1-10; Anderson, 1-9. Kirksville, none.
PUNTING – Trenton, Ellis, 4-111, 27.75 avg. Kirksville, none.
KICK RETURNS – Trenton, Leeper, 3-35; Garrett Runnels, 3-17.
DEFENSE – Trenton, Trey Shields, 10 tackles, 1 sack; Garrett Runnels, 6 tackles; Chanse Houghton, 5 tackles; Charlie Hoffman, 5 tackles; Kurtz, 5 tackles, 1 int.; Anderson, 4 tackles, 1 int.; Travis Gilbertson, 3 tackles; Terrin Ellis, 3 tackles; Mullenix, 2 tackles; Josh Davis, 2 tackles; Wilson Utley, 1 tackle; Gavin Griffin, 1 tackle.