Trojans Blow Out Tigers 54-0 in Super BowlBy JOSHUA SEABROOK,
From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, the stands on the Mendenhall side of the field were eerily quiet as the home standing Tigers were on the business end of a one-sided affair. The statement from the Magee Trojans rang loud and clear Friday night, "this is our county!" The focus and intensity of each player on the Magee sidelines, coupled with a strong swagger of a team with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove after last years lopsided loss to Mendenhall in Magee, fueled the Trojans to return the favor.
The Magee team arrived minutes before game time, only to be greeted near the gate by the Mendenhall team for a little pre-game chat. From that point forward, Magee was down to business and relished the throttling of their county rival from down the road. Magee won the opening toss and elected to receive and start on offense. Cayden Bridges fielded the kickoff near the Magee 30 took it all the way to the house to fire the opening salvo. Mendenhall took the ensuing kickoff to their own 38 to set up solid starting field position. After going nowhere on first and second, D.K. Jenkins found Ke'shun Collier for a big gain on a screen pass to get the Tigers onto the Magee side of the field. Another negative play set up second and long, Jenkins made something out of nothing after a bad snap nearly doomed the play from the start. Jenkins found Ken McGruder for a 15-yard gain to move the chains again. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the Trojan defense smothered the Mendenhall offense the next four plays to takeover on downs near midfield.
Jawon Shaw got the drive started with two short runs to set up 3rd and 5. Chandler Pittman hit Matthew Thurman on a slant across the middle and Thurman turned up field followed by a slew of Tiger defenders as he crossed the goal line for a 60-yard touchdown to give Magee a 14-0 lead with 7:05 left in the first. The pressure applied by the Trojans defense only intensified on the following drive, as they forced and recovered a fumble on the first play of Mendenhall's drive to take over just past the Tiger 30. CP2 (Chandler Pittman #2) sold the handoff on the read option and scurried for a 18-yard gain to put Magee inside the Mendenhall redzone. Pittman again pulled the ball out of Shaw's belly on the read option, this time to pass as he hit Thurman again on a short pass that Thurman turned into a 20-yard touchdown to swell the lead to 21-0 with over six minutes left in the first quarter. The Tigers' stands were deathly quiet as the home faithful watched their team be dismantled in rapid fashion.
The following kickoff was returned to the Mendenhall 30, where the Tigers looked to get back off the mat after taking several haymakers from the Trojans. Sometimes, bad luck is like a snowball and just builds as it goes down the hill towards you. This was the case for Mendenhall, after a long run that looked as if it would jumpstart a dormant offense, ended with yet another fumble forced by Daryious Collins and recovered by Thurman at the Magee 40. Pittman got the drive underway with an 11-yard strike to Xavier Franks. Shaw chugged ahead for nine, before carrying the ball to the Mendenhall 1 after putting the Tigers defense on spin cycle with a swift 360 that left a defender grasping at thin air. Franks finished off the drive by taking in a 1-yard screen pass to increase the deficit to 28-0 with 4:40 remaining in the first quarter. Magee came out like a ball of fire and Mendenhall was unable to find any method of dousing the flames. The ensuing Tigers possession began at their own 35. Jenkins got things started by rolling out, flanked by Jarvirous Walker who took the option pitch for six down to the 40. Walker followed up with another run for six and a fresh set of downs. The following play was a little confusing to those wearing red. Jenkins took the snap and was flushed from the pocket by the Magee defense. Jenkins was wrapped up and appeared to be sacked for roughly a 10-yard loss. On his way down, Jenkins got rid of the ball to apparently avoid the sack. The major issue was the ball made it nowhere near the line of scrimmage or an intended receiver to not receive an intentional grounding penalty. The Trojans were awarded neither the sack nor the penalty and the Tigers were given a big break by the referees as they set up 2nd and 10. After an incomplete pass, Mendenhall was forced to boot it away and downed the ball at the Magee 38.
After missing last week’s game recovering from an injury, Josh Sanders was ready to make his presence known in his final matchup with the Tigers. Pittman connected with Sanders for 15 to move into Mendenhall territory. After a short pass to Bridges, Pittman found Franks on an out route that was taken 28-yards to the house to give the Trojans a commanding 34-0 lead over the Tigers with 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The start of the second quarter saw Mendenhall turn the ball over on downs yet again in their own territory. Pittman took a quarterback draw up the middle for a big gain down inside the Tigers 10. Pittman then found Bridges for the team’s sixth touchdown of the first half to run the lead to 41-0 with 9:04 left until halftime. Sam Rials kickoff found its way through the back of the endzone for his third consecutive touchback to give Mendenhall the ball at their own 20. On the first play of the Tigers drive, heavy pressure applied by the Trojans defense forced an ill-advised throw to what appeared to be an open man, but was simply a very good job of baiting the quarterback by Bridges to pick off the ball in Mendenhall territory. Shaw steamrolled his way to a 28-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive to give Magee a 48-0 lead with 6:47 until the half. After a series of punts, Magee had one last chance to hang 50 on the Tigers before halftime, as Coach Teddy Dyess raced downfield to get a timeout with :02 on the clock to give Rials a chance at a 38-yard field goal before the half. Unfortunately, Rials kick came up just short and the score remained 48-0 at intermission.
Mendenhall started the second half with the ball and was force to punt yet again after a short drive failed to gain traction and gave Magee the ball at the Tiger 36 after a very short punt. Pittman started the drive with a keeper up the gut down to the Mendenhall 9. Jameyian Spencer did the rest as he punched the ball in for the score, giving Magee a 54-0 lead. From there, the Trojans put it in cruise control, soaking in the blowout victory over their county rival.
After the game, Coach Dyess made it clear that this game will not define the Trojans season and is just a stop on the road in route to the teams' end goal of raising the 3A State Championship trophy. Coach Dyess noted that his team had "bad practices" on Wednesday and Thursday, but was able to rebound for a resounding victory over Mendenhall. Moving forward, Coach Dyess preaches to his team to continue to get 1% better each day and take each game in stride.
Next week, Magee travels down the road to face the Collins Tigers who are starting the season 0-2 and looking to rebound after a rough start. Magee looks to ride the wave of back to back shutouts that saw them outscore their first two opponents by a combined score of 86-0. The Trojans suffered a tough loss at home last season to the Tigers and look to avenge the defeat to remain undefeated. Kickoff is at 7 pm in Collins.
Mendenhall will travel and play a fairly new opponent in Jim Hill High School. The Tigers will look to rebound from the loss as they continue to search for their first win.