Sterling Newman races past Trojans, 24-7

Posted 10/20/21

MENDOTA – Perennial football power Sterling Newman struggled through the first six games of the season, posting an un-Cometlike 3-3 record.

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Sterling Newman races past Trojans, 24-7


MENDOTA – Perennial football power Sterling Newman struggled through the first six games of the season, posting an un-Cometlike 3-3 record. But week seven against Hall saw the return of all-purpose running back Marcus Williams and the Comets took off to their most dominant win of the year.

So, it was no coincidence that Williams was smack dab in the middle of two of Newman’s biggest plays of the game when the Comets came calling on Mendota for a Three Rivers Conference East Division tilt. The bulky back ran for one touchdown and caught a pass for another in leading Newman to a 24-7 triumph over the Trojans on Oct. 16 at the MHS field.

Mendota’s records stand at 5-3 overall and 2-3 in conference play, while Newman is 5-3 and 3-2. The Trojans can assure themselves a spot in the post-season playoffs with a victory at St. Bede on Thursday night.

While Williams was a thorn in the side of the Trojans, ironically, it was the 6-0, 205-pound senior whose fumble on the very first play of the game led to what turned out to be Mendota’s lone score of the night. Starting on its own 33-yard line, Williams got the hand-off on Newman’s initial play and he fumbled it away to Mendota’s John Gonzalez at the 32 with just 12 seconds elapsed in the game.

It took the Trojans four minutes to cover those 32 yards, but they did, with Anthony Childs sprinting into the end zone from 13 yards out on the eighth play of the drive, and after Emilio Perez’s extra-point kick, Mendota was in front 7-0.

Each team exchanged punts on their next possessions, with Mendota’s traveling 55 yards all the way to the Newman 4-yard line off the foot of Ted Landgraf. When Newman took over on offense, Williams atoned for his fumble in a big way. After Newman dodged a bullet by recovering its own fumble on the first play of the series, Williams grabbed a hand-off from quarterback Cody Donna and busted through the Trojan line and into the clear, outsprinting Mendota defenders 96 yards for a touchdown to get the Comets on the board. Jacob Donald drilled the PAT kick to tie the score at the 2:56 mark of the first period.

Neither team could generate any offense in the second quarter and the team’s headed to halftime in a 7-7 deadlock.

Each team’s punter saw plenty of action over the first six minutes of the third quarter as neither team threatened to score. On one of Mendota’s possessions, Trojan quarterback Landgraf injured an ankle, which sent him to the sideline at the 5:59 mark. When Mendota’s defense forced the Comets into their second punt in as many possessions, the Trojans began that drive at their own 8-yard line and Mendota back-up quarterback Justin Randolph taking over for Landgraf.

Unfortunately for the sophomore signal-caller, on the first play of the drive, Randolph had trouble with the exchange from center and the ball fell on the turf to be recovered by Newman’s Drew Scott at the 7-yard line. On the Comets’ first play, Hunter Luyando scampered into the end zone, and following Donald’s kick, Newman led 14-7 with 4:13 left in the third frame.

Mendota sent the ball back to the Comets with one more punt before the conclusion of the third quarter, and as the fourth period began, Newman struck again. During a drive that began at the Newman 48, Donna floated a wobbly pass up for grabs over the middle of the field, and Williams was the one that snatched it out of the air and raced 38 yards for a touchdown with 11:51 left in the contest. Donald’s successful kick made it 21-7.

Landgraf returned to the field for Mendota’s next offensive series, which began at its own 18. The southpaw slinger connected on a 35-yard pass to Childs to the Newman 47. Then on a fourth-and-7 from the 44, Childs ran for exactly 7 yards for a Trojan first down. Mendota’s next play went for 3 yards to the Comet 34, but the Trojans were whistled for a 15-yard personal foul penalty. Mendota eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Newman 48 with 7:29 to play. As it turned out, Mendota’s penetration to the Comet 34 was the closest it got to the end zone after its lone scoring drive back in the first quarter.

The Comets managed to move the ball down to Mendota’s 10, where it eventually settled for a 27-yard field goal by Donald to provide the final margin.

Mendota finished with 152 total yards compared to 283 for Newman. Landgraf ran 20 times for 56 yards, while he completed two passes for 39 yards. Williams had eight carries for 121 yards and had the Comets’ only two pass receptions for 63.