Trojan football picks up fourth win


TCR/CRAIG JOHNSON Sophomore running back Alex Ronnenberg gains yardage during Rushford-Peterson’s 46-14 Homecoming victory last Friday over Wabasha-Kellogg.
By: 
Chad Smith

The Rushford-Peterson football team came out firing in a 46-14 win over Wabasha-Kellogg in Rushford on Friday night. The Trojans bounced back well after letting a fourth-quarter lead slip away last week against Lewiston-Altura. The Trojans are 4-2 overall (2-1 sub-district) with just two games left in the regular season.

Trojans’ coach Davin Thompson said the team came out ready to play from the opening kickoff. “We scored on our first three possessions of the game (20-0 lead after one quarter) with a nice mix of running and passing,” he said. “They had us on third down at our 38-yard line during the first possession. Triton (Meldahl) took the handoff, got the first down, made one guy miss, and then took it to the end zone (59-yard run).”

Thompson said quarterback Malachai Bunke hit Kobe Lind “in stride” for a 29-yard TD pass for their second score. Bunke hit Vinnie Mason on the third possession for a nine-yard TD pass.  The Trojans went on to add another 19 points in the second quarter and seven more in the third. W-K scored 14 points in the fourth quarter after the game had been decided.

“I thought the offensive line did a really good job,” Thompson said. “Not only did they protect Malachai, but they also handled the inside stunting by the Wabasha tackles and bringing their linebackers on a blitz. Those are things we don’t see a lot, so we had to adjust on the fly a bit.”

The Trojans piled up 436 yards of total offense on 38 plays (11.4 yards per play). The ground game accounted for 291 yards on 28 rushes (10.3 yards a carry). Meldahl continued to make big plays in the running game, getting 192 yards on just 11 carries (an amazing 17.4 yards a carry) and three touchdowns. His three TD’s came on runs of 59, 46, and 53 yards. Peyton Morrison added eight rushes and 57 yards, with his longest run covering 30 yards. Lind added three carries and another 34 yards.

Bunke was efficient under center, completing nine of 10 attempts for 146 yards and four touchdowns. Mason caught two of Bunke’s TD tosses (two catches, 28 yards). Meldahl added a fourth touchdown on a 46-yard reception and Lind had the other TD catch (two catches, 29 yards). Morrison caught four passes for a team-best 54 yards.

“Defensively, we limited them to two first downs in the first half,” Thompson said. “They also had a total of minus-35 yards after the first quarter, so we made things tough on them. The defense swarmed to the football really well.”

The Falcons (0-6) finished the game with 166 yards of total offense on 41 plays (4 yards per play). Most of the W-K yards came on the ground, with 32 carries for a net 138 yards. The ground game had a net 30 yards in losses against the Trojans’ defense.

Thompson felt the team bounced back well after the tough loss to L-A. “Our team took some big steps this week,” he said. “I thought our kids responded well after a tough loss. You never really know how a team will come back from that. Then, we had Homecoming Week and rain on top of that. We were proud of the kids’ resolve.”

Schedule

The Trojans play their final road game of the regular season at Fillmore Central this Friday, Oct. 11. Thompson stressed that it’s never easy to play the Falcons on their home field. “No, it’s not,” he laughed. “They just put in a brand-new stadium with a new field, new bleachers, new everything over there. That’ll be a fun place to play football.

“Fillmore seems to be playing some of their better football after a slow start (lost first four games). That was a convincing win last week over Hayfield (37-7). They’re a physical team that can throw the football a little bit too. They have a very good back in Carson Kiehne, who they like to run outside on things like jet sweeps. It’ll be a good battle on Friday night.”