Shively directs Trojans to 1st win
BOURBON — Triton football head coach Rodney Younis described quarterback Zak Shively as a general.
The senior signal caller certainly turned in a four-star performance at homecoming Friday.
Shively hit 18-of-25 passing attempts for 261 yards and a trio of touchdown passes, rushed for another, and scored on a two-point conversion run to lead the Trojans to their first win of the campaign by a convincing 41-0 count over winless LaVille in Northern State Conference action.
“Zak played really smart,” Younis said. “He made the right reads; he didn’t force anything. He was a great general for us tonight.
“These kids have worked really hard this year,” he said. “They’ve never given up. They keep coming back to work every week. My heart bleeds for them when you see how hard they work and know how much they want to succeed. It’s nice to see that hard work pay off.”
Shively, in his second game back from a foot injury, and the Trojans seized command from the game’s first possession — a 14-play, 80-yarder.
Facing a fourth-and-14 situation from the LaVille 24, Shively somehow eluded heavy LaVille pressure, threw what looked almost like a desperation flip to sophomore Tanner Shepherd who made the grab, slipped a pair of would-be tacklers of his own and crossed the goal line to give the Trojans a 6-0 lead at the 5:50 mark.
“The last three games we’ve scored in our first possession,” Younis said. “Tonight, it was a 14-play drive, going against the wind, mixing it up. That is exactly what we needed. It really set the tone for the rest of the night.”
LaVille head coach Mark Reddy also pointed to that touchdown as a key play.
“It was fourth and 14; it was exactly the kind of drive we expected,” Reddy said. “We wanted to keep everything in front of us, and we were doing a pretty good job. We thought we had the quarterback sacked, then he threw it to a receiver. We had a kid there, but he didn’t make the play. They went on to score, got the momentum, and kept it the rest of the game.”
Shively added 11-yard and 16-yard touchdown strikes to Bryson Mosier and Marc Lindsey, respectively — Lindsey’s set up by a Ben Perkins fumble recovery at the LaVille 36 — to give the Trojans a 21-0 halftime advantage. Lindsey finished with eight catches for 117 yards.
Sophomore fullback Cody Shively, Zak’s younger brother, carried the pigskin in from 7 yards to put Triton up 28-0 with 5:07 left in the third frame.
Zak Shively tacked on a 1-yard keeper with 7:04 to go in the game, and freshman Kevin Heckaman made himself the sixth — and final — Triton player to reach the end zone with an 8-yard scamper to finish off the scoring at 41-0 with 5:40 to play.
“That’s nice to see,” Younis said of his team’s balance. “We have a number of kids who can do some stuff, especially against a team that’s at our talent level. It’s harder when you’re playing 4A and 3A schools.”
Defensively, the Trojans allowed just 128 yards of total offense, recovered four fumbles — two on short kickoffs — and kept the Lancers outside of the red zone the entire game.
With the Lancers mounting their most productive drive of the night late in the fourth quarter, defensive lineman Shelby Wright made three powerful stops to preserve the shutout.
“Shelby Wright made some big plays defensively,” Younis said. “Marc Lindsey’s our anchor in the secondary. He did a good job shutting down their receiver.”
Meanwhile, the Lancers struggled to slow down Triton’s shotgun spread offense, surrendering 423 total yards. In addition, the Lancers committed a number of sloppy penalties.
“We can’t seem to not make mistakes,” Reddy said. “From the beginning of the game to the end we shot ourselves in the foot.
“(Triton) took advantage of our mistakes,” he said. “They made mistakes too, but we didn’t capitalize on any of them. You cannot turn the ball over and not capitalize on the other team’s mistakes and expect to win, as we’ve shown all year.”
For the Lancers, freshman Mitchel Henry picked off a deflected Triton pass, and Levi Lucas secured a team-high 65 rushing yards.
LaVille returns home next week against New Prairie, while the Trojans head off to Knox.
• TRITON 41,
Score by quarters
LaVille: 0 0 0 0 — 0
Triton: 6 15 7 7 — 41
T — Tanner Shepherd 24 pass from Zak Shively (pass failed), 5:50.
T — Bryson Mosier 11 pass from Shively (Shively run), 7:37.
T — Marc Lindsey 16 pass from Shively (Shepherd kick), 33.2
T — Cody Shively 7 run (Shepherd kick), 5:07.
T — Z. Shively 1 run (Shepherd kick), 7:04.
T — Kevin Heckaman 8 run (kick failed), 5:40.
Rushing: 34 carries for 99 yards (Levi Lucas 11-65, Tim Wicks 7-26, Cody Timm 3-19, Josh Dudeck 1-3, Tyler Thompson 3-(minus)1, Andrew Hostetler 9-(minus)13.)
Passing: Hostetler 2-6, 29 yards
Receiving: Wicks 1-18, Tyler Chamberlain 1-11
First downs: 7
Rushing: 37 carries for 162 yards (C. Shively 8-45, Z. Shively 17-43, Heckaman 3-36, Cole Creighbaum 5-28, DJ Riffle 2-10, Grant Stichter 2-0.)
Passing: Z. Shively 18-25-1, 261 yards
Receiving: Lindsey 8-117, Shepherd 4-51, Creighbaum 3-65, Mosier 1-11, Riffle 1-9, Drew Mosson 1-8.
First downs: 19
Records: LaVille 0-7 (0-5 NSC), Triton (1-6, 1-4 NSC).