It was a banner night for Doniphan-Trumbull Friday at Duncan Field in Hastings. Led by the magnificent running of junior Jordan Slough, the Cardinals accomplished something very few football teams have been able to do the past 8 seasons......beat Hastings St. Cecilia at Duncan Field.
The Cardinals turned Slough loose for 268 yards on 35 carries and proceeded to run over, around, and through the Bluehawks for a 38-21 victory. Before this season, the last time the mighty St. Cecilia lost a home contest was on October 15, 2004 when Adams Central delivered a 33-0 loss. Sweeter yet was the fact the Cards had not beaten St. C's since Doniphan and Trumbull joined forces. It must have been a sign of the times on the Doniphan-Trumbull sidelines 5 minutes before kick-off because you couldn't have squeezed a 90 pound stick man in between anybody it was so jam packed. Meanwhile, a sparse gathering by the home town "faithful" on the opposite side may have reflected the unprecedented 3 home field losses suffered by the Bluehawks thus far in 2012. Any way you measure it, it was a magical night to remember for the football team located smack dab between Grand Island and Hastings and often times buried between the headlines of 6 "big city" gridiron schools.
There will be no more doubts about this group of Cardinals, who have improved each and every game this season. And then there is one Jordan Slough, who has waited an entire year to unleash his fury on the football field. You could almost hear the refrains of the Baha Men chanting "Who let the Dogs Out" as Jordan Slough, Doniphan-Trumbull's top Football Dog, continued to assault the Cardinals rushing record books. The fleet junior has now rushed for 1,345 yards, eclipsing the Doniphan-Trumbull record of 1,118 set by Clayton Spiehs in 2000. In fact, Slough may even be the most prolific rushing in Doniphan football history, period. In my 39 years of record keeping, the Doniphan High rushing record had been held by Mike Hastings, who rushed for 1,266 in 1981. And Slough "ain't" done yet, folks.
It didn't take long for Doniphan-Trumbull to get started on the crisp, wind swept night at Duncan. After slippery Kenny Pfeiffer retuned the opening kick-off from the D-T to the Bluehawk 43, it took only 7 plays and 2:36 seconds for QB Riley Wiltfong to find glue-handed SE Ian Askey for a 7 yard TD strike. Jordan Slough ripped off a 26 yard run on the first play of the game to highlight the drive. The D-T defense forced St. Cecilia punts on both of their 1st quarter possessions and the Cardinals led 6-0 after the first. The Bluehawks grabbed their only lead of the game when Joel Grafel blasted in for a score from the one yard line two plays into the 2nd quarter to give the 'Hawks a 7-6 advantage. Things really got cranked up in a strange second quarter that was interrupted by an apparent serious injury to St. Cecilia lineman, Lance Schmidt....more on that.
Donphan-Trumbull again turned Slough loose on the ensuing drive. The flashy, quick darting junior carried 7 of the 12 plays on the 62 yard drive that culminated a Riley Wiltfong 3 yard TD run.
After forcing St. Cecilia to a 3 and out, the Cardinals Slough ran twice to the Bluehawk 49 when Lance Schmidt suffered the injury. Schmidt was carried off the field on a stretcher at the 4:15 mark of the 2nd quarter after a lengthy delay. Head official Tim Higgens and both head coaches decided it was not safe to play without an ambulance on the site, so it was decided to take the halftime break at that point and resume play when the next ambulance arrived.
When play resumed, Slough immediately scampered 20 yards to the 29 then another 14 yards to the 'Hawks 14. But St. C's defense stiffened, and the Cardinals facing a 3rd and 12 at the 16 yard line, sent Ian Askey on a crossing pattern and Wiltfong nailed the split end in stride for the score sending the Cards to a 20-7 lead. Things were just getting started though. Speedy Nick Brouilette returned the following kick-off all the way from his own 13 to the D-T 42. 5 plays later Zander Schmidt hit Ceasar Teano on a flare pass left for an 18 yard scoring strike. Score now D-T 20-13 with :51 ticks left in the "half".
With 70 yards and 44 seconds left in the "half", quarterback Riley Wiltfong went to work. 6-4 basketball standout Creighton Buhr caught a 27 yard pass on the 1st play that was a piece of art. After Buhr made the apparant catch, a Bluehawk defender popped the ball out of Buhr's hands. But on the way down the defender coughed it up and Buhr regained possession a split second before hitting the shining Duncan Field grass. On a 4th and 10 from the St. C 43, Wiltfong spotted 155 pound Nathaniel Armon and put if right in Armon's bread basket for a 32 yard gain to the 15 yard line. 9 seconds remaining. Once again, Wiltfong sent Ian Askey on a right-to-left crossing pattern. Running out of real estate, Wiltfong rocketed the ball to Askey, who did a tightrope dance then caught the ball for an 11 yard score.
Having already taken a halftime break, the teams warmed up for 3 minutes, then began the 3rd quarter with Doniphan-Trumbull owning a 26-13 lead. After the Bluehawks 3 and out to start the 2nd half, the Cardinals essentially put the game away with a drive that pounded home the fact that Jordan Slough is a special football player.
Starting on their own 17, Slough carried the ball Eleven of the 13 plays, gaining 65 of the 83 yards that comsumed the drive. The magical runner twisted and slipped out of tackles for the final 5 yards and the TD. That was the only score of the 3rd quarter and Doniphan-Trumbull had a 32-13 lead going into the final stanza.
St. Cecilia mounted a drive that carried into the 4th quarter, but the Cardinal defense came up big and stuffed that movement at their 7 yard line. The tireless Jordan Slough, playing with a seperated shoulder, held in with special shoulder pads, took the handoff seven straight times, advancing it from the Cardinal 30 to the Bluehawk 40. Two plays later Wiltfong connected with Kenny Pfeiffer for a 19 yard TD and the lead swelled to 38-13.
The Bluehawks added a touchdown with 56 seconds left to set the final score at 38-21.
It was a dominating performance for Doniphan-Trumbull, who improved to 5-2 with the win and completes C-2 District 7 play at 3-1. Sutton, who is 3-0 with only winless Superior remaining, appears to have the District title wrapped up. 4 of the 5 teams in C-2, District 7 appear to be in terrific shape entering the final week of the regular season. Sutton is 1st in the wild card ratings, 5-2 Thayer Central is 9th, Doniphan-Trumbull 10th and 4-3 St. Cecilia is 14th. In Class C-2 the 10 district champions, then the remaining 22 teams qualify for the playoffs which are divided into East/West brackets.
Doniphan-Trumbull ended the night with 418 total yards. Ryan Wiltfong was 12 of 17 passing for 125 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Jordan Slough finished with 268-35 carries and a score. The Cardinal defense held St. Cecilia to 218 total yards (177 rushing and 41 passing). Hard running Nick Brouillette ran for 109-27 touches for the 'Hawks. All-state linebacker Joel Grafel added 54-12 touches. Brouillette now has 728 rushing yards for the season.
As for the 5-10, 180 Jordan Slough, this junior dynamo may be the best runner I have this season. Remember, Slough sat out last season due to some transfer complications and had 750 yards rushing as a freshman for the Cardinals 2 years ago.. Slough benefits from an outstanding offensive line, but his ability to hit the line with first step driving force sets him apart from most backs. This young man has acute vision, slashing and cutting ability superior to most others in his class and is a solid threat to flirt with the 1,800+ yard rushing mark if the Cardinals can advance deep into the playoffs.
Doniphan-Trumbull finishes the regular season at home Thursday with 4-3 Ravenna. Carl Tesmer's forces will travel to Hebron to face a tough 5-2 Thayer Central team on Thursday. As of this writing I had no information on the condition of St. Cecilia's injured Lance Schmidt. We wish him well.