2017-08-31 / Sports

Trojans Varsity, JV Football Teams Sweep Rudyard in Season Openers

By Kevin R. Hess


At right: Cedarville senior quarterback Trey Norris (#3) gets off the pass before being hit by Rudyard’ s Jakob Steikar (#4) during the opening game of the season Thursday, August 24. The Trojans won the game 46-28. At right: Cedarville senior quarterback Trey Norris (#3) gets off the pass before being hit by Rudyard’ s Jakob Steikar (#4) during the opening game of the season Thursday, August 24. The Trojans won the game 46-28. “Let’s play two!” was a phrase made famous by Chicago Cubs Hallof Famer Ernie Banks in reference to his excitement in playing in a doubleheader. Cedarville and Rudyard fans were treated to a doubleheader of a different sort Thursday, August 24 as the Trojans and Bulldogs kicked off the 2017 eight-man football season with a junior varsity and varsity doubleheader at Cedarville.

The two varsity teams are conference rivals in the Bridge Alliance conference and their games often have playoff implications. They wasted no time renewing the rivalry with a hard-fought and high-scoring game that saw the Trojans come out on top 46-28.

Each team fumbled on its opening possession, with emotions still running high in the season opener, as the Bulldogs finally found some stability in the running game, led by junior running back Jakob Steikar and quarterback Dylan Mills. Steikar finished a scoring drive by punching it in from the four-yard line to give Rudyard an early 6-0 lead.


Cedarville’s junior varsity coach, Mark Storey (center), gathers the team after their 34-14 win over the Rudyard Bulldogs. Cedarville’s junior varsity coach, Mark Storey (center), gathers the team after their 34-14 win over the Rudyard Bulldogs. The Trojans responded using the arm of senior quarterback Trey Norris and legs of junior Gunnar Fountain. Norris connected on a backward pass to Fountain that went 48 yards and, two plays later, hit Dakota Fairchild on a back shoulder throw for a 13-yard touchdown, tying the game at 6-6 at the end of one quarter.

The Bulldogs regained the lead midway through the second quarter as sophomore running back Kenny Bowers followed some great blocking to score a 14-yard touchdown on fourth down. Steikar ran in for the two-point conversion to give Rudyard a 14-6 lead.


Rudyard’s Jakob Steikar (#4) tries to elude the tackle of Cedarville’s Trevor Kohlmann (#10) during the game Thursday, August 24, in Cedarville. Steikar rushed for over 100 yards and one touchdown, but the Bulldogs fell short, losing the game 46-28. Rudyard’s Jakob Steikar (#4) tries to elude the tackle of Cedarville’s Trevor Kohlmann (#10) during the game Thursday, August 24, in Cedarville. Steikar rushed for over 100 yards and one touchdown, but the Bulldogs fell short, losing the game 46-28. In the first game of a season, teams are knocking off rust, plugging in new players, building up their conditioning, and facing game speed for the first time. That often leads to fatigue and mistakes that typically won’t be made later in the season. For the Bulldogs, that was the case Thursday night as the Trojans ripped off 32 unanswered points, aided by fumbles on three of the next four Rudyard possessions.

The run started after Norris hit freshman Grant Fountain on a 44- yard pass play, and then ran it in from three yards out for the score. Fairchild caught a pass for the twopoint conversion, tying the game at 14-14 with three minutes left in the first half.

Rudyard fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting the Trojans up with great field position inside the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line. Norris connected with Gunnar Fountain again on a wheel route for a 14-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion gave the Trojans their first lead, 22-14, at halftime.

The Bulldogs fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, leading to a Gunnar Fountain touchdown run and two-point conversion for a 30-14 lead. On its next possession, Rudyard fumbled again, mishandling the snap and turning the ball over. The Trojans missed on two plays with open receivers and were unable to capitalize.

On top of the team’s fumbling issues, Rudyard’s Bowers was injured on the ensuing possession, seeming to take the wind and energy out of the Bulldogs momentarily. Bowers strained his groin and hamstring after falling in an awkward position while being tackled. His speed was missed. The third quarter ended with the Trojans on top 30-14, but it could have been by more, as Norris fumbled just yards away from another Cedarville touchdown.

The Trojans capped off their 32 unanswered points on a 31-yard touchdown pass to Gunner Fountain and a successful two-point conversion to take a 38-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Rudyard finally ended the run late in the game as Matt Warner got free for a touchdown pass from Mills to cut the lead to 38-22.

Cedarville didn’t need long to respond, as Fairchild sprinted 40 yards down the sideline to give the Trojans a 46-22 lead. Rudyard’s James Fox rumbled 58-yards late in the game to finish the scoring. Cedarville took home the win 46-28.

Norris finished the game 12-23 passing for 236 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 60 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown. Gunnar Fountain finished with 128 yards rushing, 45 yards receiving and three total touchdowns. Fairchild had two carries for 47 yards, three catches for 56 yards, and two touchdowns. Senior Trevor Kohlmann had 14 yards rushing and 65 yards receiving. Grant Fountain had two catches for 50 yards.

Cedarville head coach Scott Barr knows he has a young team and said he was “very impressed” with the way players in new positions were learning and growing throughout the game. One player coach Barr singled out was senior Trevor Kohlmann, saying he was impressed by Kohlmann’s play on both sides of the ball. Overall, he thought every member of the team stepped up.

“Our entire team played exceptionally well,” he said. “Rudyard is a great team and they might be the fastest team we see this season.”

Coach Barr thought the team was aggressive on defense but made too many mistakes on offense in the red zone.

“We left some points on the field,” he said. “But we’re a young team and we’re happy to get the win.”

Turnovers were the difference in this game.

“We were rolling early, but we started turning the ball over and they turned those into touchdowns,” said Rudyard head coach Steve Sawyer. “Our defense did a tremendous job but if you keep giving a team like that extra possessions, you will lose.”

The Trojans (1-0, 1-0 BAC) travel below the Mackinac Bridge to play Posen Thursday, August 31, and the Bulldogs (0-1, 0-1 BAC) will travel to Bellaire, Friday, September 1. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.

Cedarville Statistics – Passing: Trey Norris 12-23 236 yards, 3 TD; Rushing: Gunnar Fountain 18 carries, 128 yards, 1 TD; Norris 16 carries, 60 yards, 1 TD; Dakota Fairchild 2 carries, 47 yards, 1 TD; Trevor Kohlmann, 2 carries, 14 yards. Team: 38 carries, 249 yards, 3 TD; Receiving: Kohlmann 4 catches, 65 yards; Fairchild 3 catches, 56 yards, 1 TD; Grant Fountain 2 catches, 50 yards; Gunnar Fountain 2 catches, 45 yards, 2 TD; Defense: Chase Fisher 15 tackles; Kohlmann 10 tackles; Gunnar Fountain 10 tackles; Jarron Masuga 8 tackles, one forced fumble; Grant Fountain 7 tackles; Fairchild 6 tackles; Sean Bale 5 tackles

Rudyard Statistics – Passing: Dylan Mills 7-9 47 yards, 1 TD; Rushing: Jake Steikar 19 carries, 109 yards, 1 TD; James Fox 1 carry, 60 yards, 1 TD; Damarius Rundell- Johnson 12 carries, 62 yards; Kenny Bowers 9 carries, 59 yards, 1 TD

Trojans JV Defeats Rudyard 34-14

The Trojans junior varsity squad came out strong, defeating Rudyard for its first victory of the season, 34- 14. The Trojans field 12 players.

“Our first half execution was good,” said head coach Mark Storey. “We were sloppy in the second half but that’s because we’re not yet in football shape. Overall, I’m happy with the effort and execution we showed. At the end of the day, we’re 1-0.”

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