Trojan comeback bid falls short to Oregon

Mendota quarterback Ted Landgraf breaks over the goal line on a 5-yard touchdown run that tied the score against Oregon in the second quarter on April 2 at the MHS field.

MENDOTA – Mendota nearly erased a three-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter, but came up short to Oregon, 30-26, on April 2 at the MHS field.

When Oregon’s bruising fullback Wylee Rice rambled 31 yards to the end zone at the 9:46 mark of the fourth period, the Hawks went up 30-12 and looked to have a victory in the bag.

But the Trojans quickly responded, and a little less than two minutes later, quarterback Ted Landgraf connected with Andres Castaneda on a 21-yard touchdown strike, and after an unsuccessful two-point run, Mendota was down 30-18 with 7:50 left.

On Oregon’s ensuing possession, the Trojans got what they needed – a turnover – as Mendota’s Anthony Childs intercepted a Breccan Burns pass in the end zone with just over a minute left in the contest.

Another rapid drive by the Trojans culminated in a touchdown when Damien Magallanes tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Landgraf on a halfback option play, followed by a two-point conversion run by Uzi Angulo to make it 30-26.

Unfortunately, only seven seconds remained on the clock, and a Mendota onside kick attempt was recovered by Oregon to end the game.

The contest started out with the Hawks taking the opening kick and putting together an impressive 13-play, 76-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard TD plunge by Berns. The drive took seven and a half minutes off the clock. The two-point pass attempt was incomplete.

The Trojans countered with an even more remarkable drive that used up the remainder of the first quarter and over four minutes of the second. Mendota ran 18 plays to cover 80 yards, with Landgraf darting into the end zone from 5 yards out to tie the game at 6-6.

Each team’s defense came up big on the next two possessions as it stopped the opposition on fourth down. After Mendota’s stop at the 50, Landgraf hit Emilio Perez on a 38-yard pass play down to the Oregon 12. The Trojans were then on the verge of taking the lead on a Landgraf run when he fumbled at the 1-yard line, but teammate Sean Figueroa recovered just outside the goal line with 13 seconds left before halftime.

Mendota elected to try an 18-yard field goal, but Oregon defenders broke through the line and blocked the attempt. The ball was scooped up by the Hawks’ Isaac Reber, who raced 90 yards for a score with no time left on the clock. Rice ran for the two-pointer to give Oregon a 14-6 halftime lead.

A Trojan fumble on their first possession of the second half set up Oregon on a seven-play, 47-yard scoring drive that ended on a Berns 13-yard run. Andrew Herbst ran for the two-pointer.

On the ensuing kickoff, Magallanes returned the kick 42 yards to the Oregon 33. The Trojans picked up a big first down on a 4th-and-11 pass play to Magallanes to the Hawk 10. Moments later, Castaneda gathered in a Landgraf offering from 5 yards out to make it 22-12, setting the stage for the thrilling fourth quarter.

Mendota (0-2) finished with 270 total yards, 30 less than Oregon. Landgraf completed 13 of 23 passes for 167 yards. Perez caught six passes for 93 yards, Castaneda had four receptions for 40 yards and Magallanes had three catches for 34 yards.

Oregon had two 100-yard rushers – Rice (20 for 136) and Berns (17 for 103).

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