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West Marshall wallops Bulldogs on Homecoming

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - West Marshall junior running back Preston Pope (6) emerges from the pile at the line and breaks free during the Trojans’ 48-12 victory over Hampton-Dumont-CAL on Friday night in State Center.

STATE CENTER — The weather outside was frightful — but what the Hampton-Dumont-CAL Bulldogs (1-2) really feared Friday night was the West Marshall (2-1) rushing attack.

The Trojans ran for 419 yards on 40 carries, controlling the flow of the game from start to finish and taking a 48-12 win on Homecoming weekend.

West Marshall got the game off to a perfect start by blocking the Bulldogs’ first punt of the night and recovering it inside the H-D 30. Kaden Davis got the all-important touch. A few plays later, junior running back Preston Pope ran the ball in from 20 yards out, and the Trojans were out to a 7-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later it was 14-0 — this touchdown coming from quarterback Peyton Hart on a 55-yard scamper to the left and past the Bulldogs’ defense.

The running game was consistent, which is always the plan for the Trojans and head coach Cody Hackett.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

“We’re one of those teams that we’re gonna continue to line up and do what we do,” Hackett said. “We might be outnumbered but all the back’s gotta do is make one guy miss and there might be some holes.”

The Bulldogs held tight in the first quarter, scoring two touchdowns but missing on both extra point opportunities. Another Trojans touchdown, this one a 39-yard pass from Hart to Brayden Evertsen gave West Marshall a 21-12 lead after the first 12 minutes.

Two key drives gave the Trojans breathing room in the second quarter, led by a 42-yard touchdown run from Evertsen and a long drive that culminated in a 5-yard score by Hart. West Marshall was in cruise control offensively and took a 35-12 lead into the halftime break. The lead could have been more, but Hart threw an interception deep in Bulldog territory late in the half. It was West Marshall’s only turnover.

After the first quarter, Hackett said the Trojans fixed their defense.

“First quarter was a little shaky for us,” Hackett said. “They found a weak spot in our defense and went after it. Finally we adjusted, and it kind of changed things after that.”

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

The third quarter began much like the first quarter, with a quick Trojans touchdown setting the tone. Pope scored his second touchdown of the game from 21 yards out and the score was 42-12. Pope led the Trojans with 210 yards on the ground on 23 carries.

West Marshall’s defense made life hard for the Bulldogs difficult in the bad weather conditions, and Evertsen sacked Hampton-Dumont-CAL quarterback lldogs, with Evertsen piling up four sacks and the weather making passing difficult.

Hart scored the final touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter on a nine-yard dash. The sophomore tallied 224 yards of offense — 115 through the air and 109 on the ground — and put the Trojans into running-clock mode. Backups came in on offense and the game ended as rain continued to fall.

Other notable stats for West Marshall included senior Jarrin Goecke running for 63 yards on eight carries, Grahm Nason catching one pass for 36 yards and Parker Reese catching a 20-yard pass.

Hackett said he was pleased with the win — but stressed that the Trojans can still improve.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

“We’ve still got things to correct, things to get better at to continue playing as well as we should be,” Hackett said.

The Trojans go on the road to face Roland-Story next week at 7:30 p.m.

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