Trojans score early, often in Bureau Valley rout

Mendota blockers give Isaac Smith plenty of room to run during the Trojans’ convincing 49-23 win over Bureau Valley on Sept. 9 at Manlius. (Reporter photo)

MANLIUS – Three Bureau Valley turnovers. Three Mendota touchdowns. And the rout was on.

All of that occurred with a little over half of the first quarter gone, as the Trojans took advantage of Storm miscues to roll up a 49-23 win in the Three Rivers Conference East Division opener on Sept. 9 at Manlius.

Mendota upped its overall record to 2-1, while Bureau Valley dropped to 1-2.

It all started unraveling for Bureau Valley with less than two minutes elapsed off the clock. The Storm received the opening kickoff and just one minute, 22 seconds later, Mendota’s Isaac Smith swiped a Bryce Helms pass and the Trojans were in business at the Bureau Valley 43-yard line.

Seven plays later, JP Belmonte barreled into the end zone and Angil Serrano drilled the extra-point kick for a 7-0 Mendota lead with 8:18 left in the opening stanza.

On its ensuing possession, the Storm held the ball for less than a minute when a fumble was pounced on by Mendota’s Garret Zinke at the Bureau Valley 36. Mendota needed just two plays to get back in the end zone, the second one being a 34-yard dart to paydirt by Anthony Childs. Serrano added the PAT kick.

The third Bureau Valley turnover came on its next series when the Trojan defense literally took the ball away from Storm running back Mason Goossens and Smith grabbed it in mid-air. He was off to the races for a 56-yard fumble return, followed by a Serrano extra-point kick, and Mendota led 21-0 at the 5:23 mark of the first period.

The Trojans weren’t through with their first-quarter point barrage. Mendota got the ball back, not off of a Bureau Valley turnover, but after the Trojan defense stood firm on a fourth-and-one from the Storm 37-yard line that was held to no gain.

Mendota made it 28-0 when quarterback Justin Randolph connected with Braiden Freeman on a 23-yard touchdown strike with 2:38 left in the period. Serrano’s extra-point kick split the uprights.

Bureau Valley tallied the next eight points, getting on the board when Randolph was tackled in the end zone for a safety four seconds into the second quarter.

Then after the Trojans kicked off to Bureau Valley, the Storm went 36 yards in 10 plays, scoring its first TD of the night on a 9-yard run by Helms. The two-point pass attempt was incomplete.

The Trojans wrapped up the first-half scoring when they embarked on a six-play, 61-yard drive, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Smith. Serrano’s PAT kick made it 35-8 at the break. A 37-yard pass completion from Randolph to Freeman highlighted the scoring drive.

The second half started with the Trojans set to attempt their first punt of the game, however, the snap from center sailed over the head of Freeman and he was tackled at the Mendota 4-yard line. But Bureau Valley could not prosper from its excellent field position, when on the second play from scrimmage, Mendota’s Ryne Strouss picked off a Helms pass in the end zone and returned it to the 11-yard line.

From there, the Trojans marched 89 yards in nine plays, the last 44 yards covered by Smith on a bolt to the end zone with 4:51 left in the quarter. Serrano tacked on the extra-point kick for a 42-8 Mendota lead.

The Trojans scored their final touchdown 45 seconds into the fourth frame when Childs powered into the end zone from 5 yards out, followed by a Serrano PAT kick. The Randolph-to-Freeman connection struck again during the drive, this time for 52 yards to get Mendota in the red zone. With the 41-point spread, the remainder of the game was played with a running clock.

Bureau Valley scored the final 15 points of the contest. Another safety when Randolph was tackled in the end zone was sandwiched between touchdown runs of 3 yards by Goossens and 2 yards by Beau Spencer.

The Trojans concluded the night with 352 yards on offense, featuring a balanced attack of 148 yards rushing and 204 passing. Childs churned out 106 yards on 17 totes, while Randolph completed 13 of 20 passes and no interceptions. Freeman hauled in seven aerials for 158 yards.

Mendota’s defense limited Bureau Valley to 211 yards, with 193 of those coming on the ground.

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