The last three weeks have been frustrating for Thornton football as they dropped from 2-2 to 2-5. Oct. 25 on the road at conference opponent, Centaurus, the Trojans snapped their 3-game slide, …
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The last three weeks have been frustrating for Thornton football as they dropped from 2-2 to 2-5. Oct. 25 on the road at conference opponent, Centaurus, the Trojans snapped their 3-game slide, earning their first conference win of the season, 28-19.
Rushing for 156 yards in the opening half, the offensive line for the Trojans had their way against the Centaurus front. Capitalizing on the push up front, the road team took a 7-0 lead on the 35-yard sprint by senior Robert Banks on a beautifully designed toss-sweep play with 1:37 left in the first quarter.
“Our o-line has really played well for the better part of the last month,” Thornton coach Nick Trombetta said after the game. “We are just trying to find ways to get our playmakers touches. We have struggled to do that in the passing game over the past month. We’ve got some good football players on this team, so being able to get them easy touches was kind of the goal, and the offensive line showed out tonight for sure.”
Credit is also due on the other side of the ball, as the Trojans’ defense dominated for 44 of the 48 minutes played. Allowing just seven points in that time frame, the Warriors scored on a 29-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Nathen Rodriguez to senior Kevin Varela - that’s it. Roaming the field sideline-to-sideline, senior linebackers Dalton Heller and Fernando Paredes Rodgriguez made their presence felt throughout the evening with their play and leadership.
After the Centaurus score, Thornton responded on the following possession with a 9-play, 59-yard drive capped by the 3-yard touchdown run from senior JR William - something they have struggled with the last few ballgames.
“We’ve had a rough patch with the last couple of games, so it was gut-check time for us,” Trombetta said. “We haven’t responded well over the past few weeks in situations like that, so it was good to see the boys come out and execute and not hang their heads.”
Finding the endzone the following Trojans drive, Banks recorded his second score, this one from eight yards out with 45 seconds left before halftime. Mr. do-it-all in Banks tallied for 110 total yards offensively with four tackles at safety on defense.
“Robert is a huge gamer for us. I’ve known Robert and his family since he was probably nine, and to watch him grow into the player he has been and the leader he is has been fantastic. He is a game-breaker for us, he’s somebody who can play all over, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s really kind of been our MVP this season. Even though the stats don’t always bear that out, he does the little things really well,” Trombetta said.
However, despite Thornton having their way the majority of the night, Centaurus came alive the final four minutes and nine seconds behind a 69-yard touchdown catch-and-throw followed by an onside-kick recovery and another score, this time from 12 yards out with 1:38 left. Taking the starters out for rest and giving his young players a chance to contribute at the 4:09 mark may have cost the Trojans and Trombetta some points allowed on the stat sheet, but the late scare didn’t change the outcome of a team that played their heart out all night.
“I think a lot of that last half quarter, to be honest with you; we probably tried to get some of the young guys in a little early. I feel like if we would have stayed with what we were doing (the first three and a half quarters), we would have had better results there. I think the effort level with our kids was really high, so I’m not too concerned about the second half.”
The Trojans look to keep the momentum going at Vista Peak (8-0, 3-0 in conference) Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
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