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Morning Sun
  • Trojans ride defense, RBs to 34-7 win

  • The Girard Trojans got three big-play touchdowns, and rode a stellar defensive effort to win their first playoff game in six years Tuesday night. They claimed the bi-district championship in impressive fashion, logging a 34-7 win over Columbus.

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  • The Girard Trojans got three big-play touchdowns, and rode a stellar defensive effort to win their first playoff game in six years Tuesday night. They claimed the bi-district championship in impressive fashion, logging a 34-7 win over Columbus.
    Quarterback Brayden Johnson completed three of four passes, but two of them were for touchdowns, and added a 77-yard touchdown run to key a balanced Trojan offensive attack. Anthony Scholes racked up 70 yards on 19 carries and Caleb Egbert logged 50 yards and a touchdown for the Trojans, who take a 9-1 record into this weekend’s second round of the 4A playoffs.
    “It was hit and miss there early on,” said Girard coach Leon Miller. “I think in the second half we wore them out a little bit.”
    Girard scored first after Jalen Merrell recovered a Columbus fumble on its opening drive at the Titan 20. Tyler Lewis ran it in from the 20 and Juan Ortiz’s extra point spotted the Trojans to a 7-0 lead at the 9:58 mark of the first quarter.
    The Titans forged a 7-7 tie when running back Taylor Watkins broke free on a misdirection play and scampered 60 yards for a touchdown. It was the biggest play of the night for the Titans, and things went downhill from there.
    “I thought our defense played stellar again tonight,” Miller said. “We came up with some big stops early, and other than that one big play, they did an outstanding job.”
    The Trojans recovered two fumbles and intercepted Columbus quarterback Nate Bole once in the first half. They stopped Columbus at the 5-yard line by way of turnover, and at the 1-yard line when the first-half clock ran out.
    Johnson didn’t throw a lot for the Trojans, but he made them count. His favorite – and only – target was tight end Trenton Stolte, who caught three passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. His first came on a 24-yard catch and run at the 5:42 mark of the first quarter that put Girard up 14-7.
    “They packed the line of scrimmage on us and played some games out there,” Miller said. “It allowed us to hit some big plays.”
    On the ensuing possession, Columbus drove to the Girard 5 before fumbling. Nathan George’s recovery for the Trojans ended the threat, and turned the game for Girard.
    The Trojans took over at their own 5 and drove to the 23 before Johnson, using some misdirection of his own, scored from 77 yards out to put Girard up 20-7 by halftime.
    Johnson and Stolte hooked up on a 60-yard scoring strike with 31 seconds left in the third-quarter to give Girard a 28-7 lead and effectively ice the game.
    Girard’s reserves played much of the fourth quarter. The Trojans piled up 372 yards of offense, including 270 on the ground on 55 running plays. Girard did lose running back Lewis, who reportedly suffered a broken collarbone in the game.
    Page 2 of 2 - Scholes showed no ill effects from a knee injury suffered last week against Frontenac. The senior running back did not start, entering the game on the Trojans’ third possession. He returned punts, but did not play on defense, sitting out most of the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.
    Columbus ended the season at 4-6.
    Girard (9-1) plays Chanute (6-4) in the next round Saturday, a road game for the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League champions. Chanute defeated Paola 13-7 on Tuesday night.

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