WHS FOOTBALL: Huskies maul Trojans 48-0
JACKSON -- Darnell Taylor-Breck returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for an electrifying touchdown Friday night, setting the tone for the Jackson County Central Huskies in an impressive 48-0 victory over the Worthington Trojans in a Southwest Co...
JACKSON -- Darnell Taylor-Breck returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for an electrifying touchdown Friday night, setting the tone for the Jackson County Central Huskies in an impressive 48-0 victory over the Worthington Trojans in a Southwest Conference high school football game at Swearingen Field.
Senior quarterback Tanner Menke (6-for-11, 149 yards through the air) and senior running back Darick Vancura (14 carries, 114 yards on the ground) each accounted for a trio of touchdowns to spark JCC's multi-faceted offensive attack, as the balanced Huskies efficiently racked up 328 total yards (179 rushing, 149 passing).
Menke fired touchdown strikes to senior wide receiver Kyle Luhmann (42 yards), junior wide receiver Shadrach Wacker (10 yards) and senior tight end Zach Copley (49 yards), while Vancura bulldozed his way into the end zone from 10, 46 and two yards out for three scores.
Meanwhile, JCC's defense was equally as dominant in limiting Worthington to just 103 total yards of offense -- all on the ground, as the Trojans did not complete a pass for the second straight week.
"I'm really happy with our performance in all three phases of the game," summed up JCC head coach Tom Schuller. "We got off to a fast start with the opening kick return, and it's a lot easier to play with the lead. This was a very physical ballgame, and we were able to get a lot of kids into the action -- improving our experience and depth situations."
Things were just about the opposite as far as the Trojans are concerned, with very few bright spots taking place throughout the night.
"JCC is certainly a very solid team, but we made too many mistakes and helped them out way too much," Worthington head coach Brad Grimmius said. "There were a lot of little things that we didn't do offensively, defensively or on special teams that hurt us. We fell behind early and never really got anything going to gain some positive momentum."
Taylor-Breck's opening return sparks JCC
As fans were just settling into their seats or finding an open spot along the sidelines, the Huskies were lighting up the scoreboard for the first of seven times in the conference opener between the traditional Interstate-90 rivals.
Taylor-Breck, a junior wide receiver, hauled in the game's opening kickoff at his own nine-yard line and raced 91 yards the other way -- cutting along the left sideline near midfield and running nearly untouched to the end zone for an exciting touchdown with just 17 seconds off the clock.
Senior kicker Taylor Christopher then booted the first of his five PATs through the uprights, lifting JCC (2-0, 1-0) to a very quick 7-0 lead at the 11:43 mark of the first quarter.
Worthington (0-2, 0-1) gained only four yards on three plays on its first possession of the game, punting the ball away just shy of midfield.
JCC took over at its own 25-yard line and immediately began moving the ball -- starting with a six-yard run by Vancura (plus a 15-yard face-mask penalty) and a five-yard surge by senior running back Travis Beeck.
A seven-yard dash by Vancura gave the Huskies their second first down of their initial offensive series, setting up a 42-yard touchdown pass from Menke to Luhmann down the right sideline on the next play.
Christopher tacked on the extra point to increase JCC's lead to 14-0 with 8:50 on the clock.
"We have a quarterback who can throw the ball a long way and multiple receivers who can do a variety of different things," Schuller said. "We connected on some big plays through the air, as it is nice to go up over the top of defenses when they start crowding the box to stop the run."
Worthington failed to pick up a first down on its second drive, but the Trojans did get their first defensive stop of the night on the ensuing JCC series. Senior Morgan Traylor and sophomore Trevor Wietzema teamed up for a tackle in the backfield to spearhead Worthington's defense that time.
The Trojans then started to move the ball some, picking up a pair of first downs. Junior running backs Jessie Guerra and Marcus Potter, along with junior quarterback Will Dudley, took turns running the ball for Worthington.
Guerra started the drive with a seven-yard run, while Dudley kept the ball twice for six-yard rushes. The Trojans crossed the 50-yard stripe for the first time, but penalties and negative-yardage plays soon followed to force another punt.
However, the snap for the punt was not on target, and the ball sailed deep into the backfield -- giving the Huskies possession at the Trojans' 20-yard line.
A pair of 10-yard scampers ensued -- the first by Luhmann on an option pitch to the left and the second by Vancura straight up the middle, knocking defenders over on his way to the end zone for a touchdown -- to extend the margin to 21-0 (Christopher PAT good) with 11:00 remaining in the second quarter.
After another three-and-out by the Trojans, JCC assembled an 11-play, 61-yard drive to go up by four scores. Among the key plays were a 13-yard run by Taylor-Breck, a 10-yard rumble by Vancura, a 14-yard reception by Wacker and a 17-yard catch by Copley.
Menke capped the march with a quick slant pass to Wacker on the left side, with Wacker making a tough catch and falling into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. Christopher's PAT kick made it 28-0 with 3:38 left in the first half.
A bit later, after the Huskies stopped the Trojans on a fourth-and-one situation from midfield, Menke went back to the airwaves on the first play of JCC's follow-up series.
Menke tossed a perfect pass down the middle of the field, and Copley reeled it in without missing a stride -- outrunning the defense for a 49-yard touchdown. Christopher went back to work with another PAT, giving JCC a commanding 35-0 advantage with 1:19 to go.
"I enjoyed watching this game, as lots of good things happened for our football team," Schuller said. "We executed and made big plays offensively, plus we carried out our assignments pretty well and got stops defensively."
The second half started out the same way the first half ended, as the Huskies were in the end zone just three minutes into the third quarter.
Menke completed a 19-yard pass to Luhmann before Vancura followed a lead block from senior lineman Avery Miller through a hole and got loose for a 46-yard touchdown jaunt along the left sideline to widen the gap to 41-0 (PAT no good) at the 9:00 mark.
Vancura scored the game's last touchdown with a two-yard plunge with 2:46 to go in the third quarter. This time, it was senior kicker Dennis Eltlein splitting the uprights with the extra point to make the final margin 48-0.
"We knew JCC was going to run the ball behind their big offensive line -- including Nos. 34 (Copley) and 56 (junior Nolan Hohenstein)," Grimmius said. "They ran the ball well, and they also completed some big plays in the passing game. Give them a lot of credit, as they played very well.
"We're in the same situation we were in last year when we were 0-2 after the first two games," Grimmius continued. "We then won three straight games and are capable of doing the same thing this year. We're going to rally the troops and get back to work."
Worthington hosts Pipestone Area in its Homecoming game next Friday night, while JCC travels to Luverne for a key league game.
Worthington 0 0 0 0 -- 0
JCC 14 21 13 0 -- 48