Early in the second half of Dixon’s 47-0 win over Winnebago on Friday, back-to-back passes from Indians quarterback Zachary Johnson wound up in the hands of Dixon defensive back Jacob Gaither.
Gaither returned the first from the Dukes’ 35 to the Winnebago 20, setting up a touchdown on the next play. He returned the other to the Winnebago 10, putting the Dukes in another great position to score, which they did three plays later.
The second pick came with Gaither correctly guessing Winnebago would run a slant route, and jumping in. The first came after some quick thinking for Gaither reading the play.
“I saw my dude run on a slant and Jaylen [Carr]’s guy run on a wheel,” Gaither said. “So I told [Carr] to switch, and I just read it.”
Odd math: It does happen at times for an individual player to have more rushing yards than his team does. Moline’s Kaeden Driefurst did that in Week 7 against Sterling, rushing for 178 yards while all of his teammates combined to lose four yards.
It’s rarer that a player can have more rushing yardage than both teams combined. In Friday’s 47-0 win over Winnebago, Dixon’s Sebastian Quintana went into halftime with 118 rushing yards. Dixon went into halftime with 79 rushing yards as a team, so everyone who wasn’t Quintana totaled minus-39. Up to that point, the Indians had minus-11 rushing yards as a team, with Kade Frey’s sack of Johnson in the end zone making up the bulk of that. (In high school and college football, a sack counts as negative rushing yards for the quarterback, whereas in the NFL, a sack is negative team passing yards but does not alter the quarterback’s individual stats at all.)
So at halftime, Quintana had accounted for 173% of the total rushing yards in the game. That percentage went down considerably as Winnebago got into positive territory in the second half, and Zavion Johnson picked up some yardage for the Dukes off the bench.
Quintana ended the game accounting for a mere 72.5% of the rushing total.
Effective game plan: The Mendota Trojans found offensive success early in Friday’s 26-21 win over Rock Falls by having quarterback Ted Landgraf keep the ball while running the option offense. The highlight was a 53-yard run that set up Mendota’s first touchdown.
Late in the game, they switched it up by feeding Cody Jenner the ball 12 times during their 9-minute, 80-yard drive that led to the go-ahead touchdown.
The secret to this success was scouting. The Trojans wanted to stay away from linebacker Noah Schueler and defensive lineman Ben Blackburn.
“We haven’t shown that set before,” Mendota coach Keegan Hill said.“We were looking to attack different sides of the ball. No. 79 [Blackburn] is a really good player, as well as No. 44 [Schueler]. We wanted to stay away from them. Thankfully at the end of the game, we were able to take it at them.”