Turnover bug plagues Trojans in 56-8 loss to Orion
MENDOTA - Good ball security was a positive takeaway for Mendota in its season-opening football game against Morrison. The same can’t be said about its week two matchup with Orion.
The turnover bug hit the Trojans in a big way as they gave it up to Orion five times and the Chargers took full advantage on their way to a 56-8 win in a Three Rivers Conference crossover game on Sept. 1 at the MHS field.
Mendota quarterback Justin Randolph was intercepted three times, the Trojans lost two fumbles and they had a punt blocked. One of the picks and one of the fumbles was returned for a touchdown by Orion, and the blocked punt led to another Charger score.
Meanwhile, the Chargers played near error-free football, throwing one inconsequential interception and possessing a stout defense that held the Trojans to under 100 yards until the fourth quarter when Mendota put together its only scoring drive.
In a similarity to the first game of the season, like Morrison, the Chargers were able to eclipse the 40-point mark in the first half, resulting in a running clock for the second half.
After each team exchanged punts on their first offensive possessions of the night, Orion got the scoring started when Kaden Edmunds capped off a four-play, 54-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run at the 8:21 mark of the first quarter. The extra-point kick was blocked.
Mendota’s offense stalled on its ensuing possession and was set to punt the ball back to the Chargers when Gabriel Vallejo took a direct snap from center and bulled his way up the middle for what seemed like a first down, but Vallejo fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Orion at its own 42.
The Trojans quickly got the ball back when a tipped pass attempt by Orion was snatched out of the air by Rhett Watson at the Mendota 37-yard line, but the Trojans couldn’t take advantage of the turnover and dropped into punt formation on fourth down. On this punt attempt, a Charger was able to break through the line and get a hand on Braiden Freeman’s boot, and Orion’s Duncan Adamson pounced on the ball at the Mendota 23-yard line.
The Trojan defense held Orion to no gain on its first three plays, but on fourth-and-10, quarterback Kale Filler dropped a perfect pass into the arms of Owen Voorhees, who just squeezed in over the goal line before going out of bounds for a 23-yard TD with 2:22 left in the first. Filler connected with Aiden Fisher on the two-point conversion pass.
The Chargers managed to tack on one more score before the conclusion of the opening stanza when Maddux Anderson swiped a Randolph pass and returned it 29 yards for a score. Anderson added the two-point run for a 22-0 Orion lead.
The Chargers intercepted two more passes in the second quarter, converting the second one into a touchdown. A Nolan Buchen pick-off gave Orion the ball at the Trojans’ 45-yard line, and moments later, Filler hooked up with Caiden Mielke on a 16-yard touchdown strike with 6:39 left before half. Orion’s two-point pass attempt was incomplete.
On Mendota’s ensuing possession, it attempted to convert a fourth-and-two play from inside its own territory, but Randolph was sacked for a 16-yard loss back to the 25-yard line.
When the Chargers took over, they also went for it on fourth down and were successful, turning a fourth-and-five from the 20 into a touchdown pass from Filler to Maddux Arnold to build Orion’s lead to 34-0.
The Chargers reached the 40-point mark before the conclusion of the half on a Filler-to-Jake Bainbridge 7-yard touchdown strike with 19 seconds left. Buchen gathered in a two-point aerial from Filler to make it 42-0. The big play during the 66-yard drive was a 36-yard pass completion from Filler to Mielke on a fourth-and-10 play that gave Orion the ball at the Mendota 7.
The Chargers added two more scores in the third quarter. Fisher ran for a 30-yard touchdown followed by an Anderson kick, and then Anderson scooped up a Mendota fumble and returned it 34 yards to the end zone with 3:29 left in the period. Anderson kicked the extra point.
The Trojans got their first touchdown of the season with 8:23 to go in the fourth when Wyatt Ossman ran in from 5 yards out to complete a 58-yard drive. Randolph connected with Ossman for the two-point conversion.
Mendota (0-2) finished the contest with 150 yards as Ossman rushed for 48 and Randolph threw for 82. Keegan Beetz hauled in three passes for 44 yards. Orion (2-0) had 294 total yards - 160 on the ground and 134 in the air.