By Jack H. Smith
Whitehall Ledger 

Trojans pickup first victory of season


September 12, 2018

Joy Smith

Tucker Miller leads the way for Whitehall quarterback Connor Johnson. The Trojans play in Big Timber Friday.

After a difficult start to the 2018 season, the Whitehall/Harrison High School team rebounded in impressive fashion last Friday night in Shepherd with an emphatic 27-13 win over the host Mustangs.

The Trojans (1-2) will open conference play Friday when they travel to Big Timber to take on the 3-0 Herders.

Senior Connor Johnson stressed the importance of the first victory of the season.

"It was very important for our team to get the win against Shepherd because it showed our younger kids the we can still have a good team and can come out and compete against anyone. Also the win was huge because it gets us rolling right into conference play, where the games truly matter," he said.

Whitehall scored the only points in the first quarter on a one-yard run from senior Sawyer Keener. Johnson would score the second touchdown on a 23-yard-run. He also ran in the two-point conversion to give the Trojans a 14-0 lead. Johnson connected with senior Cade Briggs for the third Whitehall score of the half, and the score pushed the lead to 21-0 going into halftime.

Head Coach Dan Lacey said he thought early on the team really dictated the tempo of the game and they were able to play their style of football.

"The effort was awesome from our team and we executed in all three phases of the game," he said. "I think the reason we were able to get out to a comfortable lead is because the team played together as a unit. We really emphasized this week the importance of playing whistle to whistle. I thought we did a pretty good job of that. We also demanded much more out of them this week at practice and transitioning into conference play."

The Mustangs fought back hard in the third quarter, scoring twice, the first on a 34-yard Jayden Johnson touchdown. They would cut the lead to 21-13 on a five-yard Braden Fulton touchdown.

Whitehall would answer back in the fourth and seal the game with another Johnson to Briggs touchdown.

Johnson said stepping in at quarterback has been a grind, especially trying to fill the shoes of all-state senior Max Feight who was injured in week one.

"I'm just trying to do my best for the team," he said. "Having Sawyer Keener in the backfield is a huge advantage because of the football IQ he has," Johnson said.

Lacey was proud of the defensive effort against Shepherd.

"For the majority of the game we kept their running game in check. It's hard to keep teams out of the end zone when the field position battle changes in their favor and we had that happen on both their scoring drives," he said.

He was also pleased with the play of Johnson, Keener, Briggs and Colby Smith.

"We ask a lot out of these four and they didn't disappoint. All of them made big plays for us and we will need more of that effort and energy moving into conference play," he said.

Johnson said there was a lot of doubt about the team especially with Feight going down, but the win shows the Trojans are just as ready as ever to go out and compete.

"And we are capable of just as much as long as our team comes together as a family," he said.


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