R-P football makes it two straight with FC win

TCR/CRAIG JOHNSON Trojan Triton Meldahl carried the ball 36 times for 239 yards and two touchdowns versus Fillmore Central last Friday.
Chad Smith

The Rushford-Peterson football team won the first of its two-straight road games to end the season, beating Fillmore Central 32-14 on Friday night. The Trojans broke open a first-quarter 6-0 lead by outscoring the Falcons 26-14 over the final three quarters. R-P’s record is 5-2 overall (3-1 sub-district, 2nd place).

“The offense did a good job of moving the ball because it was a terrible night,” said Trojans’ coach Davin Thompson. “We had a little snow and a little rain, and the wind had to be blowing 25 miles an hour.”

On nights like that, football teams rely a little more on the running game, which turned out to be a winning strategy for the Trojans. R-P running back Triton Meldahl was a true workhorse back, carrying the ball 36 times for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Meldahl’s longest carry was a 52-yard gallop, and he wound up averaging a healthy 6.64 yards per carry.

“My brother does our stats and told me that Triton had 36 carries,” Thompson recalled. “I said ‘really?’ I suppose it made sense because we didn’t throw the ball much due to the weather conditions. Triton sees the field so well. Between him and (quarterback Malachai) Bunke, they got the option going pretty well. Once Triton gets through the line and into the open field, he’s tough to bring down.

“Our offensive line was working against their big defensive line. Their linebackers are good players, especially Hadrian Williams, who’s their middle linebacker. He’s a 240-pound kid that can run. One thing we’d talked about with our linemen was staying on their blocks, which they did a good job of.”

The Trojan offense ran a total of 55 plays for 335 yards of offense (6.1 yards per play). Bunke attempted just nine passes in the game, completing six for 87 yards, including a ten-yard TD toss to tight end Vinnie Mason. Peyton Morrison caught four passes for 63 yards.

The Trojans were also stout defensively. While the Falcons did move the ball at times, R-P made things difficult inside the red zone. “We were able to stop them three times inside the 10 yard line and hold them to no points,” Thompson said.

The Falcons finished the game with 42 plays of offense for 313 yards (7.4 yards per play). The bulk of Fillmore Central’s gains came through the air as Zach Haugerud completed seven of 17 passes for 236 yards and two TDs. Falcon’s tailback Carson Kiehne only ran the ball three times for 52 yards, 49 of which came on one play. However, he was Haugerud’s favorite target, catching four passes for 168 yards (87 on one play) and the only two Falcon touchdowns of the night.

Halen Schwendinger led the Trojans’ defense with seven solo tackles, including one solo tackle-for-loss. Sam Kingsley (3 solo tackles-for-loss) and Thomas Ekern each added five stops.

Road finale

The Trojans finished the regular season on the road on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Hayfield (3-4 overall, 2-2 sub-district). In spite of their sub-.500 record, Thompson says they’re a much-improved ball club.

With the playoffs looming, Thompson said his football team had a lot to play for on Wednesday night. “With Goodhue’s win over Randolph and with us beating Goodhue, if we can handle our business on Wednesday night, we’ll have a shot at the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, so we’d have two games at home for sure.”

See coverage of Wednesday night’s game versus Hayfield in next week’s Tri-County Record