It was set up to be an emotionally-charged game anyway. The excitement of being on television earlier in the day. Everyone was wearing their pink in support of the fight against cancer. Jasmine Fowler and her grandfather, adopted Trojan Perry Bell, were introduced on the field before the game. Jasmine, a freshman in high school, is in the middle of her own fight against the disease.
When you look down the Trojan sideline, one could see many young men who would have preferred to be in pad and on the field with their teammates, instead of just watching due to injury. As for those who were able to play, they gave all they had but could not overcome the explosive offense and strong running of the Interstate 35 Roadrunners.
The Trojans were forced to punt on the opening possession, which allowed the Roadrunners to take an early 6-0 lead on the legs of Logan Cassidy. Cassidy ran for 154 yards and two touchdowns on the night against the Trojans.
Things were chippy on the field, as I-35’s secondary was often engaged in hand-to-hand defense against Trojan receivers. Pleasantville players could be seen getting frustrated early on.
To open the second quarter, Kolbe Jarvis had one of his strongest returns on the night, setting the Trojans up on their own 45. Jarvis had 91 return yards in total.
Pleasantville struggled to get things going and went for it on fourth down, only to have the pass blocked. On the ensuing first down, Caylor Clark picked off the Roadrunner quarterback and returned it seven yards. A few plays later, Clark would convert the turnover into a touchdown with a one-yard run. The point after attempt by Colby Sandholdt was good, which gave the Trojans a 7-6 lead.
The Roadrunners were able to block a second punt attempt and collect the football at the Trojan five-yard line. It did not take long for Cassidy to convert. The two-point conversion failed, but I-35 was able to get back on top, 12-7.
Pleasantville was given plenty of opportunities to make something happen offensively as the second quarter continued, but the defense was too tough. I-35 even muffed a punt reception, which was recovered by Kitt Lundy to give the Trojans good field position. However, Clark was met with a sack on the first play of the ensuing drive before being intercepted on second down.
The Roadrunners were fine with going into the half with the five-point lead. On the second play of the third quarter, I-35 was able to get a 66-yard touchdown. Once again, the two-point conversion failed, leaving us with an 18-7 score.
After trying to bulldoze his way through the middle of the I-35 defense on every offensive series, Cale Anthony was finally able to break through for a 59-yard touchdown run. Another Sandholdt PAT put the Trojans within four, 18-14.
The Trojans were assisted by some bad decision making by the Roadrunners, who racked up several penalties in the game. Pleasantville was able to get down to the nine-yard-line to allow Anthony to rush in for another touchdown to regain the lead, 21-18.
The team was fired up from being in the lead already, but when Lundy put a big hit on the I-35 returner on the ensuing kickoff, the mood in the stadium was lifted. However, the I-35 rushers were able to push through to set up a passing touchdown shortly before the end of the third to give I-35 a 24-21 lead.
Pleasantville was forced to punt again, and the relentless Roadrunners stuck to the air to get a huge gain to the Trojan 17. A pass interference call on the Trojans put the ball on the six which set up another easy rushing touchdown for I-35. The point after was successful and the lead was now 31-21.
The Trojan offense continued to fight hard, and went for another fourth down game but came up short. Frustration from the Trojans again reared its ugly head as an unsportsmanlike conduct call helped I-35 get another short touchdown to go up 38-21.
With 3:21 left in the game, it looked as though there was not enough time left for the Trojans to make a comeback. But nobody told the Pleasantville offense, as they marched downfield to set up a third Anthony touchdown with 1:13 left to make the score 38-27.
Pleasantville Head Coach Mack Jorth and his staff told the sullen squad how proud they were of the team for “battling their tails off”.
“You did an excellent job staying together,” Coach Jason Anthony told the team. They were all about heart and effort.
Jorth told the Tribune that the blocked punts were costly, as were other mistakes in the game.
“You don’t blame the kids,” Jorth said. “Mistakes happen.” He expressed his pride in his team for continuing to battle and putting drives together after tough hits.
“There was no quit, no selfishness in this team,” Jorth added.
Anthony finished with 180 yards rushing, and Clark 56. Isaac Mann ran for 14.
Mann led the defense with 5.5 tackles, followed by Anthony with five and Hunter Oliva with four. Tagen Douma had 22 return yards.
The Trojans wrap the regular season Friday night, Oct. 25, at home against Woodward Academy.