R-P football wins second straight

TCR/DAWN HAUGE Trojan senior Triton Meldahl carried the ball 20 times for 107 yards versus Goodhue last Friday.
Chad Smith

The Rushford-Peterson football team made it two wins in a row on Friday night, Sept. 13. The Trojans used good old-fashioned defense to grab an 8-7 home game victory over the Goodhue Wildcats.

The win lifts the Trojans to a   2-1 record on the season (0-0 in sub-district standings) and R-P head coach Davin Thompson said the Trojans’ defense played very well.

“We really liked the way we matched up with Goodhue on the line of scrimmage,” he said. “Coach (Chris) Drinkall had the defense flying around the field all game long. Goodhue was able to move the ball a little bit on a couple of drives but other than that, we were able to get them off the field on third downs, for the most part.”

Thompson said the big key to the defensive improvement came from being more aggressive along the line of scrimmage. “We’ve been a read-and-react team along the line of scrimmage for awhile now,” he said. “We’d get our hands on the offensive linemen and react to what they were doing. We’ve got some big, strong kids up front and we’re telling them to shed blockers and go make plays.

“Another big difference was moving Peyton Morrison back to the safety spot on defense,” Thompson added. “He was playing outside linebacker, but we’ve moved him about seven-or-eight yards off the line of scrimmage. He looks like a middle linebacker behind another linebacker. Peyton had a whale of a game and came up to make a lot of plays for us.”

Morrison was second on the defense with five tackles (4 solo). However, he also had a solid game offensively, rushing the ball 11 times for 31 yards and scored the Trojans’ only touchdown on a one-yard, fourth-quarter plunge.

Sophomore lineman Carson Thompson was the top tackler on the R-P defense with six stops. The Trojans defense was stout as a unit, giving up a total of only 173 total yards to the Goodhue offense. Wildcat QB Sam Opsahl passed for 90 yards and a TD, while the running game mustered 83 yards on 31 attempts (2.6 yards per carry).

On the offensive side, the biggest challenge for the Trojans in the first half was getting their hands on the ball. Thompson said the Wildcats did a very good job of controlling the clock and keeping the Trojans off the field. R-P only had 18 offensive plays in the first half.

“I told the kids at halftime we were playing nine-or-ten against their 11 players,” he recalled. “We had one or two players that weren’t doing what they were supposed to do. In the third quarter, we came out and moved the ball well. We actually scored a TD but lost it on a holding penalty.

“They also stopped us on a fourth-and-goal in the second half, but we turned around and held them to a three-and-out. We took over at their 34 and ran off ten plays. Morrison had to go to tailback as Triton Meldahl battled leg cramps. Morrison followed Thomas Ekern, who’d moved over to fullback, and the offensive line into the end zone.”

Thompson said there was no doubt if R-P scored, they were going for the win based on how well they moved the ball in that fourth quarter. “When we got the ball inside the 20, I told my assistant coaches to think about what they wanted for a two-point conversion play because we had momentum and were going for the win,” he said.

Quarterback Malachai Bunke hit Ekern on a successful two-point conversion pass for the go-ahead points and eventual win.

The running game was the difference for the Trojan offense, which rushed it 39 times for 160 yards (4.1 yards per carry). Before Meldahl left the game with leg cramps, he carried the ball 20 times for 107 yards (5.3 yards per carry). Bunke completed seven of 18 passes for 77 yards and one huge two-point conversion pass.


The Trojans play their first sub-district game this Friday, Sept. 20, when Winona Cotter comes into Rushford. The Ramblers are 0-3 on the season, having given up 45, 53, and 69 points respectively in the first three weeks of the season. However, Thompson said the Trojans aren’t taking anyone lightly.

“They’re a Class 2A school with a lot of nice athletes on their roster,” he said. “I have no doubt they’re working on figuring out stuff just like we are. We’re going to work on the things we need to work on this week and take care of ourselves. We’ll be ready to go on Friday night.”