LAKEVILLE — Triton looked a bit like a defensive unit conducting an experiment as to whether hitting football carriers high or low yields better results.
Not surprisingly to anyone who’s ever muddled through a physics course, low works best.
After hitting high and surrendering 147 total yards to LaVille in the first half, the Trojans regrouped and allowed just 35 yards and two first downs after the intermission en route to a 21-10 Northern State Conference win — Triton’s first of the season — at Lancer Field Friday.
“We played with a sense of urgency in the second half,” Triton head coach Rodney Younis said. “We really didn’t make any adjustments in the second half; we were in the right positions, we just needed to execute. In the second half we got back to fundamentals; we got low and had multiple guys pursuing the football.”
Senior quarterback Bryson Mosier guided the Trojans’ shotgun spread offense with 151 yards passing and 106 rushing yards in 13 carries, highlighted by a 44-yard touchdown run on the Trojans’ second play from scrimmage. He also engineered the drive that produced Tyler Milton’s 1-yard plunge off tackle to put Triton up 14-10 with 3:02 to go in the third frame.
“Bryson played a really good ballgame,” Younis said. “Overall he was a good leader for us tonight.”
Mosier sealed the Trojans’ win with a 28-yard touchdown pass to 5-foot-8 junior Cole Creighbaum on fourth and 11 with 2:26 left in the game. Creighbaum stayed just inside the right side of the end zone with his diving catch which, coupled with Sabastion Bautista’s third PAT, handed Triton a 21-10 lead.
“We originally had a call for trips, but then we had a one on one on the backside with Cole, and I’ll take that all day long,” Younis said. “Cole may not be very tall, but he’s a gamer, and he took advantage of a matchup we liked.”
LaVille sophomore Caleb Dudeck rushed for a game-high 141 yards on 25 carries — 128 of those in 18 first-half tries as the Lancers looked poised to take control.
Following Mosier’s touchdown run at the 8:53 mark of the first stanza, LaVille quickly responded with a long drive, capped off by junior kicker Jordan Smith’s 33-yard field goal with 3:06 left in the first frame.
After the Lancers forced a quick three and out, they marched 47 yards in eight plays, securing a 10-7 lead on Cameron Gurtner’s 7-yard run with 9:45 to go before halftime.
“Our offensive line was blocking well in the first half,” LaVille head coach Mark Reddy said. “Caleb Dudeck was running hard, and we had some nice carries from Cameron Gurtner again. The effort was there.”
LaVille gave itself a chance to expand its advantage right before halftime. Gurtner recovered a fumble on a botched Triton hook and ladder, and after three carries totaling 47 yards from Dudeck, a 30-yard field goal try from Smith smacked the right upright and caromed away as time expired.
“We would have liked to put more points on the board before halftime,” Reddy said. “Jordan Smith does a nice job; he kicked a big field goal earlier in the game. It was there, it just hit the upright and didn’t go our way.”
The Lancers never entered the red zone in the second half, although an interception and strip of Mosier, both by senior linebacker Chris Bailey, kept LaVille within striking distance.
“I think (Triton) made some adjustments and did some other things in the second half,” Reddy said. “We didn’t block the other things as well. We didn’t execute as well in the second half, and Triton was able to make some big plays; that was the difference in the game.”
Also for Triton, junior linebacker Cody Shively paced the defense with 12 tackles, and senior lineman Drew Fleagle’s leadership grabbed his coach’s attention.
“Drew Fleagle is a captain on the line, and he brings it every game,” Younis said. “When the chips were down he kept the troops together.”
Triton hosts Knox next Friday, while LaVille heads to New Prairie.
• TRITON 21,
Score by quarters
Triton: 7 0 7 7 — 21
LaVille: 3 7 0 0 — 10
T— Bryson Mosier 44 run (Sabastion Bautista kick), 8:53.
LV — Jordan Smith 33 FG, 3:06.
LV — Cameron Gurtner 7 run (Smith kick), 9:45.
T — Tyler Milton 1 run (Bautista kick), 3:02.
T — Cole Creighbaum 28 pass from Mosier (Bautista kick), 2:26.
Rushing: 32 carries for 164 yards (Mosier 13-106, Cody Shively 14-48, DJ Riffle 1-8, Creighbaum 2-4, Milton 1-1, Cordale Keyser 1-(minus)3).
Passing: Mosier 11-21-1, 151 yards
Receiving: Creighbaum 5-69, Riffle 3-44, Grant Stichter 3-38
Tackles: Shively 12
First downs: 11
Rushing: 40 carries for 175 yards (Caleb Dudeck 25-141, Gurtner 10-42, Ben Norton 1-2, Devin Johnson 1-0, Mitchell Henry 3-(minus) 10).
Passing: Henry 3-4, 7 yards
Receiving: Gurtner 1-5, Dudeck 1-1, Greg Peppers 1-1.
Tackles: Chris Bailey 7.
First downs: 9
Records: Triton 1-6 (1-4 NSC), LaVille 1-6 (0-5 NSC).