MENDOTA — On a cold and blustery evening in Mendota, a sparse but spirited crowd welcomed in state-ranked and undefeated Stillman Valley, and the visiting Cardinals showed why they are so highly regarded as the rolled to a 44-6 victory over Mendota in a Big Northern Conference game.
Though it was 44-0 at halftime and a running clock in the second half, MHS coach was able to take some positives from the evening.
“We played them hard the first couple drives and made them earn it, then we made a couple mistakes and they took advantage as good teams like they are do,” Hill said. “In the second half we had a couple of good drives to build on for our game in Rock Falls next week.”
The game began with the Trojans kicking off to the Cardinals.
Stillman Valley took possession at its own 34 and used its pounding running game to hammer the ball down the field until fullback Logan Lagerhausen plunged in from a yard away to start the scoring.
Following an Omar Gallardo extra point, SV grabbed a 7-0 lead with only three minutes expired in the contest.
Mendota’s first possession resulted in a three-and-out and Stillman Valley use a good return to setup on the Trojan 22-yard line.
Four plays later, Lagerhausen hit pay dirt again, this time from 3 yards out, and after a successful PAT, the score was 14-0 Cardinals.
Mendota started its next drive on its own 13, but a bad snap pinned the Trojans back on the 2, and they took an intentional safety to make it 16-0 with 2:56 left in the first.
Stillman Valley began it’s third drive on the Mendota 49 and drove to the Trojan 30 before Mendota tackle Mauricio Escatel made a big stop and force SV into a fourth-and-7.
But quarterback Chad Gerig found Lagerhausen out of the backfield for a first down.
The second quarter started with Stillman Valley on the Mendota 9, and on the second play of the quarter, Lagerhausen ran it in from 4 yards out to increase the advantage to 23-0 with 11:28 until the half.
Stillman Valley’s defense held strong and forced the Trojans to a quick three-and-out, but a nice punt from Damien Magallanes pushed SV back to its own 43.
The Mendota defense — led by Chris Sandoval and Jae’Shaun Hughes — did its best to dig in and forced a fourth-and-long before Gerig found Joe Kuthe for 16 yards and a first down.
The drive continued down to the 6, and Lagerhausen scored his fourth touchdown of the half, giving the Cardinals a 30-0 advantage.
Following a Trojan punt, the Cardinals began their next possession at their own 47-yard line and drove to the Trojan 30 before Gerig kept the ball off the left side and scampered the distance to put SV up 37-0 with 4:51 left until intermission.
The Trojans then turned the ball over on downs at their own 35, giving the Cardinals a short field and the high-octane uptempo offense knew what to do with it.
The Cardinals marched down the field with Logan Jennings topping off the drive by bulling his way in from a yard out to put Stillman Valley up 44-0 heading to the break.
The second half began with a running clock, but the Trojans continued to fight and saw their offense come to life on the opening drive as they marched 70 yards to the end zone to cut the score to 44-5.
Along the journey, MHS got four carries for 30 yards and the touchdown from Cody Jenner, two runs for 25 from Uzi Angulo and a big first down run from quarterback Ted Landgraf.
The drive used up all but 23 seconds of the third quarter and sent the game to the final period 44-6.
Stillman Valley started the final quarter with the ball on its own 38 and drove down to the Trojan 13 where Magallanes picked off a Justin Fisher pass to give the home team one more shot at some points.
The Trojans drove to the Cardinal 20, but time expired and the Cardinals left with a 44-6 victory.
“I have a good group of kids,” Hill said. “They played hard to the end and never quit. They take pride in what they do. For the third week in a row, they are all academically eligible and that says a lot.”