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The Trenton, Missouri Bulldogs traveled over three hours to play the host Illini West Chargers last Friday night and the Chargers made sure it was an even longer trip home as they battered the Bulldogs 48-0.
The Chargers got off to a fast start and never let Trenton in the game as they improved their season record to 6-1 with their 5th straight win.
After pinning Trenton deep with a good opening kick-off and coverage, Charger senior defensive back Alex Ourth stepped in front of a Bulldog receiver to intercept a pass on the game's 3rd play from scrimmage. A short return set IW in great field position at the Trenton 35-yard line.
Charger sophomore running back Bryton Smith then made short work of the remaining distance to the end zone as he raced the final 35-yards on Illini West's first play from scrimmage. Good blocks from left end Ethan Neally, left tackle Andrew Brackenbury, and left guard Braxton Squier forged a nice running lane for the young Charger speedster.
A conversion pass from senior quarterback Brody Gronewold to Smith in the right corner of the south end zone tacked on 2 more points and gave Illini West an 8-0 advantage less than a minute into the game.
The Chargers would add to their lead later in the first quarter as the Illini West defense forced Trenton to punt after another unsuccessful offensive possession. This time it would be senior halfback Alex Appel who would put the final touch on a short scoring drive with a 17-yard run over the Charger right side.
Paving the way for Appel's run were right end Sam Stone, right tackle Andrew McGughy, and right guard Kale Carlisle. Quarterback Brody Gronewold added the conversion successfully on a run over the left side up the IW advantage to 16-0.
The Chargers would score twice more in the game's second quarter.
The first TD came on a run of 5-yards by Smith, while the second TD was a 1-yard plunge by Charger senior fullback Ben Gittings.
Smith added successful conversion runs following each TD for a 32-0 IW lead at the half.
Things pretty much continued to fall the Charger's way in the 2nd half as they would add a score in both the 3rd and 4th quarters, while the Bulldogs never really threatened. Appel's second touchdown run, this time from only 2-yards, was the 3rd quarter tally, while junior halfback Bryor Grotts added the 4th quarter score, also from 2-yards away.
Smith added a conversion run following the Appel TD, while Brayden Carroll tossed a pass to Leighton Johnson for the conversion after the Grott's score. That set the games final score at 48-0 in favor of the Chargers.
The Illini West offense ground out 349 yards rushing on 47 attempts, while missing the mark on their only pass attempt. They also only had 3 penalties and did not turn the ball over for a pretty efficient and effective offensive outing.
Appel was the leading rusher with 115 yards on 11 carries. Smith added 83 yards on 8 attempts, while Gittings netted 56 on 11 rushes. Backup fullback Dayton Huss came on to pick up 42 yards. Gronewold added 23, and sophomore Jacob Sholl picked up 14 yards. Also carrying the ball for IW were Gabe Thompson, Brayden Carroll, Dakota Huss, Bryor Grotts, and Leighton Johnson.
Defensively the Chargers held Trenton to 133 total yards, including only 48 on the ground (on 26 rush attempts). The Bulldogs did complete 9 of 16 passes for 85 yards, but much of that came in underneath stuff that the Charger secondary was giving the Bulldogs after they built a good lead.
Ourth and Smith had interceptions to help the Charger defensive effort, while sophomore Blaze Murfin recovered a Trenton fumble late in the game for a trio of Charger defensive take always.
Linebackers Kale Carlisle and Ben Gittings topped the Charger tackle chart with 7 total tackles each. Senior defensive tackle Alex McCarty had 6 total stops, while junior noseguard Braxton Squier finished with 5 tackles.
Also on the tackle chart with 3 stops each were Bryton Smith, Kaleb Spiekermeier, Leighton Johnson, Jacob Gittings, and Alex Ourth. Others on the chart included Nolan Ard, Ethan Neally, Bryor Grotts, Payton Ryner, Alex Appel, Dylan Chandler, Dakota Miller, Gabe Thompson, and Devon Lionberger.
The Chargers return to West Central Conference action this week when they travel to Sherrard for a Friday night clash. Kick-off is slated for 7:30 following a 5:30 fresh-soph preliminary game.