R-P football defeats Hayfield, 6-2 regular season

By: 
Chad Smith

The Rushford-Peterson football team wrapped up the regular season with its third-straight victory, a 38-29 road win at Hayfield on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The Trojans finished the regular season with a 6-2 record, 4-1 in the sub-district. R-P is the No. 2 seed in the upcoming playoffs and will host No. 7 seed Wabasha-Kellogg on Tuesday night, Oct. 22.

R-P vs. Hayfield

The Trojans ended the season with two straight road wins, including a tough game against the Vikings, who R-P coach Davin Thompson says are better than their record shows. The Trojans jumped out to a quick lead and had to hold off the resilient Vikings to get an important win.

“We scored on our first three possessions and jumped out to a 20-7 lead early on,” he recalled. “At that point, they gave up on the running game. Their quarterback (Brady Nelson) attempted 51 passes and completed 24. He can sling it and Hayfield did a nice job with the quick passing game, especially in the first half.

“That made it difficult for our pass rush to get to him and they had receivers running free in the secondary,” Thompson added. “We decided at halftime that we needed to disrupt their timing and play our man coverage a little tighter than we had been. The kids got up in their face in the second half and Hayfield didn’t score a touchdown after the break.”

Triton Meldahl was a workhorse out of the Trojan backfield again, carrying the ball 28 times for 289 yards (10.32 yards a carry) and five touchdowns. Quarterback Malachai Bunke completed 10 of 17 passes for 95 yards, including a TD and interception. Justin Ruberg was Bunke’s favorite target, catching four passes for 64 yards while Vinnie Mason caught the only TD pass from the sophomore thrower.

The Trojans ran 52 plays for a total of 402 yards of offense (7.7 yards with every snap). The Vikings ran more plays (65) than the Trojans and wound up with fewer yards. A combined 14 rushing attempts for a net 30 yards meant the Hayfield offense ran through the arm of Brady Nelson, who passed for 249 yards and two TDs. 29 yards in negative plays dragged the Vikings’ net total down to 250 yards in the game.

Peyton Morrison was the top tackler for the Trojan defense, finishing with seven solo tackles, two of which were solo tackles-for-loss. Ruberg and Alex Ronnenberg each added five tackles for the R-P defense. Rushford-Peterson also had three strip-sacks in the game, getting one each from Gunner Mierau, Sam Kingsley, and Mason (2 solo tackles-for-loss).

Playoffs

The Trojans faced a familiar opponent in the first round of the state football playoffs on Tuesday night. R-P had beaten W-K three weeks ago by a score of 46-14, in a game also played on the Trojans’ home field. A win means the Trojan football team will host a second-round game on Saturday, Oct. 26.