DIXON – For the second straight week, hope to start the game soon turned to despair for the Mendota Trojans. Two weeks in a row, a perfectly executed onside kick fooled the opposition and was recovered by Mendota in excellent field position. But the Trojans couldn’t capitalize either time, and things went downhill from there.
The latest occurred against Dixon, when the Trojans went from looking good to start the game to staring up at a 51-0 loss at game’s end in a Big Northern Conference contest on Sept. 27 at Dixon. Mendota dropped to 0-5 overall and in league action, while the Dukes improved to 3-2 overall and in the BNC.
Last week at Genoa-Kingston, the Trojans pulled a surprise party to begin the game when Emilio Perez bounded a short onside kick to start the contest and it was recovered by teammate Cody Jenner. It was a repeat performance against Dixon when Jenner again pounced on Perez’s onside kick and the Trojans began the game inside Duke territory at the 46-yard line. But the Mendota couldn’t take advantage of its fortune either time, and both games spiraled out of control.
The Trojans went three-and-out on their opening possession and punted the ball away to Dixon, which began its first series at its own 32-yard line. Five plays later, the Dukes were on the scoreboard when quarterback Jacob Shafer connected with Nathan Long on a 41-yard touchdown strike at the 7:27 mark of the opening stanza. The Dukes’ two-point conversion run was no good.
The wet playing conditions made it more difficult to control the football and both teams fumbled the ball away twice over the remainder of the first quarter and into the second. Mendota’s second fumble came on the first place of the second stanza and gave Dixon the ball at the Trojan 20-yard line. The Dukes needed just two plays to cover the short space, the second play a 19-yard run to the end zone by Long 59 seconds into the second period. Long also gathered in the two-point conversion pass from Shafer to make it 14-0.
The Trojans’ next two possessions ended in punts for Mendota and in touchdowns for Dixon. The Dukes took over at their own 13-yard line on the first series and used the bull rushing of Sebastian Quintana and the arm of Shafer to get into the end zone. Quintana ripped off two nice runs totaling 19 yards, and then the Shafer-to-Long show picked up 59 yards to the Mendota 5-yard. From there, Quintana powered into the end zone, followed by a two-point conversion pass from Shafer to Jacob Gaither to make it 22-0.
Mendota’s next punt gave Dixon the ball at its own 48-yard line, and it needed just two plays to go 52 yards. The capper was a 41-yard TD pass from Shafer to Gaither with 3:51 left in the half. Quintana ran in the two-pointer.
On the Trojans’ ensuing possession, it looked as though they were going to be able to run out the clock and head to halftime, but they turned the ball over on downs at Dixon’s 47-yard line with 7.5 seconds left. That was enough time for Dixon to tack on yet another touchdown when Shafer scrambled around in the backfield and found Gaither down the left sideline. He tight-roped the out-of-bounds line long enough to find the end zone with no time left on the clock. The two-point pass attempt was incomplete and the two teams headed to halftime with the Dukes on top, 36-0.
Mendota’s first series of the second half resulted in a punt, which was blocked by Dixon and recovered by the Dukes at the Trojan 15-yard line. Soon after, Long leaped for a high throw in the corner of the end zone and gathered in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Shafer, then Long ran in the two-pointer to make it 44-0. The score came at the 9:24 mark and started the running clock for the remainder of the game.
The Dukes added one more score – a 15-yard touchdown pass from Gaither to Gusse with 6:50 left in the contest. Hunter Pate kicked the extra point.
The Trojans ran 48 plays from scrimmage and managed just 56 yards. Dixon gained 406 yards in 35 plays.
Ted Landgraf had 31 yards rushing and 14 yards passing for Mendota. Shafer completed all but one of his 10 passes for 213 yards.