Trojans get in the win column

Mendota’s Damien Magallanes churns his way toward the goal line as Rock Falls’ Baraka Boards tries to prevent him from reaching the end zone on April 9 at the MHS field. Magallanes scored on the play and added three more rushing touchdowns in Mendota’s win. (Reporter photo)

MENDOTA – Rock Falls and Mendota scored a combined 35 points through three quarters. Then came the fourth quarter when they put another 35 on the board.

Fortunately for the Trojans during that wild flurry, they scored more as they notched their first win of the season, 42-28, over the Rockets, on April 9 at the MHS field.

Mendota (1-2) got the scoring started early in the first quarter as it took advantage of a Rock Falls miscue when the Rocket center snapped the ball over punter Max Parker’s head and he was downed at the Rock Falls 11-yard line. Moments later, Damien Magallanes scooted into the end zone from 3 yards out and Emilio Perez kicked the extra point for a 7-0 Mendota lead.

Each team punted twice to close out the period, with Mendota’s second offering giving Rock Falls good field position at the Trojan 44. The Rockets used seven plays to traverse that ground, the final one being an 8-yard TD run by Ryan McCord just over a minute into the second quarter. Parker added the PAT kick.

The Trojans broke the tie at the 6:56 mark of the second period and they did it in a big way. Quarterback Ted Landgraf lofted a pass to Perez, who gathered it in and outraced Rock Falls defenders 73 yards to the end zone. Perez booted the extra-point kick.

During the extra point, Rock Falls was flagged for roughing the kicker, so the Trojans kicked off from the Rocket 45. Perez executed a perfect onside kick that he recovered himself at the 34. Mendota marched to the Rock Falls 11-yard line, but came up just inches short on a fourth-down run and the Rockets took over.

On the first play of the possession, Dillon Schueler sprinted 89 yards for a touchdown, followed by a Parker kick to make it 14-all with 5:48 left before halftime.

After Mendota’s ensuing possession came to a halt on downs at the Rocket 19, the Trojan defense returned the favor when Uzi Angulo came up with a big stick on Rock Falls’ Booker Cross on fourth-and-one from the Rocket 28, driving him six yards back and giving the Trojans excellent field position at the 22.

Six plays later, Magallanes was in the end zone from the 2-yard line and Perez added the PAT kick for a 21-14 halftime lead.

Neither team was able to dent the scoreboard in the third quarter, but there were plenty of fireworks in the fourth.

Mendota doubled up the score on the Rockets with 9:26 left in the game when Magallanes tallied his third touchdown of the game, this time on a 1-yard run. Perez was perfect on the extra-point kick.

The two-touchdown lead didn’t last long, however, as Cross took the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to the end zone and Parker added the kick to make it 28-21.

Mendota used some trickery on its next drive when it appeared to be punting the ball back to Rock Falls with just under seven minutes left. But the Trojans tried a fake punt and it worked to perfection, with Magallanes sprinting 31 yards to the Rock Falls 30. Mendota was facing another fourth down during the series, but Landgraf ran 17 yards to the Rocket 10 on a fourth-and-seven play. Seconds later, Landgraf ran in from the 8-yard line, and after Perez’s kick, the Trojans held another two-touchdown lead.

But that quickly went by the wayside again, as on the ensuing kickoff, Rock Falls ran it back for another touchdown, this time a 54-yarder by Schueler. Parker’s kick made it 35-28 with 3:55 to go.

Mendota answered, however, and put the game away when Magallanes raced 51 yards to paydirt with just 1:29 showing on the clock. Perez capped off a perfect night of kicking with the extra point.

The Trojans piled up 426 yards on offense and held Rock Falls to 190. Mendota had 276 yards on the ground, led by Landgraf with 134 and Magallanes with 121. Landgraf completed eight passes for 150 yards, with Perez catching a pair for 87 yards and Magallanes gathering in four for 42.

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