GRAHAM – Awtry Blagg, one of the premier pass receivers in Class 2A, Division 2, caught 1 pass last Friday night for 9 yards. A statistic like that would normally spell trouble for the Windthorst Trojans, but not if you just hand him the ball as a running back. Blagg delivered from the running back position with 156 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 carries. Whenever the Trojans needed a first down they called on Blagg who delivered with determined running. A lot of those yards came after first contact. The Albany Lion defense had a hard time getting him down. The Lions were considered the favorite in the Area round but rankings made no difference to the Trojans and Blagg.
Windthorst kicked off to the Lions to start the game. The Lions reeled off a couple of first downs before facing a 4th and 19 due to penalty. The Albany punt put the Trojans in business at their 34 yard line. Blagg carried the ball 6 times on a 9 play 66 yard drive. He tacked on a 2 point conversion to make it 8-0 with 4:36 left in the first period.
The Lions were on the move after the Trojan touchdown on the arm of Albany senior quarterback Ben West. Trojan senior defensive back Gavin Steinberger stopped them with an interception returning to the Windthorst 24 yard line. Unable to move after the turnover the Trojans punted as the first quarter ended.
In the second period the Lions capped a 10 play 64 yard drive on a 2 yard run by Jaheim Newton. The point after was no good so the Trojans kept the lead by 2 points. Windthorst threw an interception later in the second quarter to give the Lions a chance to take the lead before halftime. Albany drove to the Trojan 2 yard line where Bryson Jackson and Haven Vieth came up with a big defensive stop for loss back to the 6 yard line. A sack by Jackson and Tryston Harding moved the ball back to the 16 yard line. On third and goal from the 16 yard Albany’s West threw a pass to the left flat only to have Blagg pick it off returning it to the Albany 38 yard line. Cy Belcher, who was 5 for 9 for 41 yards, targeted Blagg on the goal line as the half ended, but it fell incomplete.
Blagg took over at tailback again in the third period as the Trojans drove for their second touchdown of the night. He capped the drive with a diving 2 yard touchdown run after keeping the drive alive with first down after first down. Another 2 point conversion made it 16-6 with 1:16 left in the third period.
Albany’s West completed a 35 yard touchdown pass to Blaine Kayga, then completed the conversion pass to Dillon Hindman. With 4:06 left in the contest the score was 16-14. The Trojans needed some first downs to run out the clock. They got more than a few first downs when junior running back Ethan Belcher scored on a 57 yard tackle breaking run. Cy Belcher completed the 2 point conversion pass to Kyle Wolf to put Windthorst up 24-14 with 2:25 left in the game. Wolf was the leading receiver with 27 yards on 3 receptions. The two point conversion made it a two score game at 24-14.
The Lions refused to go away. West completed a 6 yard touchdown pass to Cade Neve, but the 2 point conversion failed. With the score 24-20 and 1:24 left the Lions attempted an on-side kick. It was unsuccessful as Blagg sealed the deal with his recovery.
All season the Trojans have been a pass first team, but last Friday night they got the Area round victory with 300 yards rushing. Ethan Belcher had 78 yards on 9 carries and Cy Belcher had 63 yards on 13 carries. Windthorst finished the game with 18 first downs. Fifteen of them came due to the tough running by the Trojan backs. Albany was a formidable opponent with 335 yards of total offense, but the Trojan defense came up with 3 pass interceptions at critical times to help make the difference.
Windthorst now 10-2 for the season will take on the 11-1 Wellington Skyrockets the winner of District 5 in the Regional round of the UIL Class 2A, Division 2, Region 2, playoff bracket. The game will be played Friday night at Lion Stadium in Vernon. Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm.