Kewanee first-quarter explosion sends Trojans to 56-7 setback

Mendota’s Anthony Childs takes a handoff from Ted Landgraf and looks for running room while Trojan lineman Jordan Coney, left, supplies a block on Oct. 8 at Kewanee. (Reporter photo)

KEWANEE – Another meeting this season between Mendota and an old former NCIC rival didn’t go so well for the Trojans. Playing for the first time since 2009 when they were members of the NCIC Southwest, Kewanee made it a renewal that Mendota would rather forget.

Kewanee took full advantage of Mendota mistakes to zoom out to a huge first-quarter lead and then coasted to a 56-7 victory over the Trojans in Three Rivers Conference action on Oct. 8 at Kewanee.

The loss dropped Mendota to 5-2 overall and evened up its league mark at 2-2, while Kewanee remained undefeated at 7-0, 4-0.

Three interceptions and a fake punt gone awry by the Trojans led to a 28-point first-quarter onslaught by the Boilers. Then in the second period, a lost fumble by Mendota started a string of three consecutive touchdowns for Kewanee as it had enough points in the first half (49) to begin the second half with a running clock.

After Mendota’s defense forced a Kewanee punt to start the game, the Trojans began their first offensive series of the night deep in their own territory at the 5-yard line. The drive abruptly ended when Kewanee defensive back Jordan Johnson swiped a Ted Landgraf offering at the Trojan 40-yard line. Seconds later, Kewanee was the first on the board when quarterback Will Bruno raced 36 yards to the end zone for a 6-0 Boiler lead. The PAT kick was no good.

It was déjà vu all over again on Mendota’s ensuing possession when Niko Powe picked off a Landgraf pass giving Kewanee the ball at the Trojan 33-yard line. From there, elusive Boiler back Keyontiss Patterson sprinted 33 yards to paydirt, and after a successful extra-point kick by Brady Clark, Kewanee was on top 13-0.

Mendota’s next series stalled out and Omar Gonzalez dropped back to punt for the Trojans, but he elected to take off with the ball instead of punting, and the fourth-and-three play came up short, giving Kewanee the ball back at the Trojan 31-yard line. The Boilers quickly turned that into another TD when Bruno connected with Johnson on an 11-yard touchdown strike at the 1:42 mark of the first frame. Clark’s kick was good.

Kewanee’s third interception of a Landgraf pass came on Mendota’s next possession as Powe picked off his second pass of the quarter, and this time he returned it 44 yards for a touchdown. After Patterson ran in the two-point conversion, the Boilers owned a 28-0 advantage with 29 seconds left in the opening stanza.

Mendota’s troubles taking care of the ball continued in the second quarter and so did Kewanee’s scoring ambush. A Landgraf fumble was recovered by Kewanee’s Conner Hood at the Trojan 23-yard line, and soon after, Nate Lockett gathered in a Bruno 6-yard touchdown pass. Clark connected on the extra-point kick to make it 35-0.

The Trojans got the ball back, but quickly punted it away to Kewanee, which added to its already huge lead. Bruno hit Powe with a short pass that turned out to be a long 78-yard TD as the Trojans were unable to corral Powe as he rumbled down the field. Clark added the PAT Kick.

Kewanee completed its first-half assault when James Conner ran in from 6 yards out, followed by a Brady extra-point kick, with 2:07 left in the second.

Mendota avoided the shutout when it scored its lone touchdown of the game on a J.P. Belmonte 7-yard run at the 5:24 mark of the third quarter. Emilio Perez booted the extra-point kick.

Kewanee quickly answered that Trojan TD when Marquez Logan took the ensuing kickoff back 72 yards for a touchdown. Clark completed the night’s scoring with the extra-point boot.

Mendota finished with 210 total yards compared to 324 for Kewanee. Anthony Childs paced the Trojan rushing attack with 47 yards on eight carries, while Belmonte added 40 yards on eight totes. Patterson picked up 147 yards on the ground for Kewanee at Bruno threw for 108 the three touchdowns.

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