Tricky Thorndale fails to fool Rogers in loss
Pulling out all the stops, Thorndale’s wacky strategy worked early, but the Bulldogs finally succumbed to the Rogers’ steamrolling running attack in a 56-36 loss Friday night in front of an overf low crowd.
Despite it being extremely early in the district schedule, the battle of unbeatens had a playoff atmosphere.
It was Thorndale’s (5-1) first loss of the season and it drops them to 1-1 in District 12-2A II.
Celebrating homecoming festivities, No. 12 Rogers improved to 6-0 and 2-0 and the Eagles appear to be setting themselves up for a distrct smackdown with the No. 6 Lexington Eagles, who ravaged Rosebud-Lott 41-14.
Thorndale hosts 2-4 and 0-2 Jarrell Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
“We knew we had to take some chances to give ourselves a chance to win,” said Thorndale Coach Kade Burns. “We were successful in some of the things we wanted to do, but we knew it was going to be hard to stop them.”
Rogers came in averaging 415 yards per outing on the ground and featured four players with over 400 yards rushing on the season.
The Bulldogs held them under their average (395), but it was to no avail.
Rogers’ Slot-T offense produced four rushers with at least 50 yards, led by Ryan Pierce’s 150 with three touchdowns tacked on.
“It’s all we know,” said Eagles’ coach Jeff Walker, a former Liberty Hill assistant, who is 24-5 at Rogers. “I knew we weren’t going to quit. We don’t have any quitters on this team.”
The Bulldogs runs a similar offense to Rogers and had 204 yards and averaged over five yards a carry, but couldn’t make a dent in the Eagles’ defense.
Senior quarterback Paxton Jordan ground out 68 yards on nine carries to lead the Bulldogs usually potent attack. Their leading rusher on the season Seth Rutter was bottled up for 50 and Steven McKendrick scratched out 38 yards on 12 totes.
Thorndale shocked everyone by going to the air 26 times, with 14 completions and four touchdowns—all career highs for Jordan.
As proof of Thorndale’s taking to the airwaves, coming into the game, Bulldog deep threat Josh Ware had caught just eight passes for 193 yards and a pair of scores.
Friday night, the A ll-State receiver nearly equalled his season output and grabbed up seven passes for 92 yards and three touchdowns.
Rogers’ Fares attempted just four passes, completing one— good for a 46-yard touchdown to J.C. Garcia to end the first half and produce a 22-15 lead for the Eagles.
Thorndale’s slight-of-hand began on their very first play from scrimmage. After taking the opening kickoff at the 19-yard line, the versatile Ware pulled up on an end around and found McKendrick heading straight down the field for a 47-yard completion.
Three plays later, McKendrick sprinted into the open for a 15- yard score and a 7-0 lead with just 1 minute, 15 seconds expired off the clock.
The Bulldogs kept up the slightof hand with a successful onside kick at midfield.
Seven plays later, Jordan hooked up with Ware for the first time from 11 yards out and after Jordan connected with Dustin Schneider on the extra point, Thorndale stunned the crowd with a 15-0 lead with 7:20 left in the first quarter.
“I thought we would come out strong,” Walker said. “But they jumped on us w ith some big plays. The kids just kept fighting like we always do.”
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs would not cross the goal line again until the middle of the third quarter, while Rogers rolled up 29 unanswered points and scored on all five of their possessions in the second half.
Jordan’s 42-yard pass to Kasey Corcoron closed the gap to 29- 22, but Ryan Pierce broke free for two short scoring runs in the third and fourth quarters to provide some separation, 42-22 with 10:38 remaining to be played.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the final eight minutes as Paxton and Ware combined for two scores and Fares and Pierce found the end zone from 25 and 47 yards out.
The 56 points allowed by Thorndale almost equalled what they had surrendered all season (68).
“We did some things that we felt like we needed to do to win,” Burns said. “We did just that, but they made a couple of long runs on us in the second half and converted a punt fake that hurt us pretty bad.”
Jarrell is coming off a loss to Franklin and is struggling mightily on offense, having scored just seven points in the past two weeks. The Cougars managed just four first downs against Franklin.
|ngton i s i dle; R ogers a||t B||ruceville-Eddy;|
|Last week—Rogers||56,||Thorndale 36;|
|Lexington||41, Rosebud-Lott||14; Franklin|
|41, Jarrell||7; Bruceville-Eddy||was idle.|