Trojan Football Statement Game At Declo
October 7, 2021
This is a statement game for the Trojans. Declo is a perennial state champion pick. Last season they handed the then 3 and 3 Trojans a 29-60 loss at Campbell field, proving to Trojan fans why the Hornets are always in the state title run. But this is a Trojan team coming at Declo on the heels of a massive win against New Plymouth last week..a team the Trojans had not best since the 2015 season. This Friday, it’s game seven on the season with Nampa Christian coming to Declo 5-1 with five blow out wins against 2A Wendell, 3A Parma, 2A Valley and conference rivals Marsing and New Plymouth. The Trojan’s only loss is to 3A powerhouse, Fruitland. Declo enters the game also 5-1 and got tight games in three of those wins from 2A Aberdeen, 3A Kimberly and 3A Buhl, losing to 3A powerhouse Gooding, 6-36 and getting a forfeit from Valley HS last Friday.
Idahosports.com coaches poll shows Declo tied for 3rd in Idaho 2A Football and Nampa Christian as “receiving votes”. The Media Poll shows Declo in 4th and Nampa Christian in 5th. MaxPreps shows Nampa Christian 3rd in the state and Declo 4th. Power Rankings have Declo 2nd and Nampa Christian 3rd. Blah, blah, blah.
More telling than polls and rankings, through six games, Nampa Christian has scored 261 points while giving up 86 points. Declo has scored 152 points, giving up 108. The scoring differences (and the film) suggest that our Trojans bring a more dynamic offense to the field and that both teams can struggle at times against strong run offenses.
Offensively, the Hornets rely on their 5’1″180 lbs Senior QB Keegan Ramsey to manage the running game. In fact, Declo is so run heavy, that they have just 247 total passing yards on the season. That’s close to a typical single game passing total for the Trojans. On the ground, the Hornets have 1431 yards on the season. Those rushing yards are split between the QB Ramsey with 646 yards and #3 6’0″ 1800 lbs Senior running back Derek Mathews. Look for the Hornets to use lots of off-tackle and counter plays…mixing in runs and quick passes to the edge at times. When Ramsey does throw, his favorite target is his twin brother #4 6’1″175 lbs Senior Kaden Ramsey who has 171 of Declo’s 247 passing yards on the season. Think inside run heavy and watch for surprise plays to the edge and sucker passes down the middle when you think Declo offense.
For the Trojans, Senior #5 Landon Cheney will be at the helm, using his legs and arm to propel the Trojan offense. Landon has averaged 165+ yards passing per game with 16 TD tosses so far in the 2021 campaign. He’s added 159 yards on the ground. Landon spreads the ball around very well, as witnessed by 4 Trojan receivers having TD catches. The receiver corp is led by Senior #2 Josh Tiersma with 387 receiving yards (most of those yards after catch) resulting in 6 TDs, Senior #9 Simon De jong with 367 yards and 4 TDs and Junior #3 Muluken Knudson with 131 receiving yards and a 50 yard TD from Cheney. The running game will highlight Seniors #1 Dane Bradshaw and #4 Caleb Johnson. Bradshaw is just lights out, again, this season. Dane has 831 rushing and 125 receiving yards bringing in 14 total offensive TDs for the Trojan O. Johnson has 248 tough inside rushing yards and 4 well timed TDs for the maroon and gold.
Defensively, the Hornets, historically a bigger than average O and D line team, are a quick and small on the line, this season. Most of the tackles for the Hornets happen at the second level, with #2 middle linebacker Derek Mathews leading all Declo defenders with 90 tackles on the season including 57 solo and 9 for a loss. He gets support from multiple outside linebackers including the Ramsey Brothers, 5’9″153 lbs Senior #55 Tragan Zollinger who has 70 total tackles, and Senior corner back #34 5’8″140 lbs Jordon Gailey. Declo has just seven sacks and three picks on the season. It’s about hard hitting in the secondary for the Hornets.
The Trojans, defensively, played well against a much improved Wendell team, struggled with the wing option offense at Fruitland which is similar to what Declo runs, held the Parma offense to a shut out until the last play of the game, shut out conference rival Marsing and held New Plymouth to 14 a week ago. The Trojans were very consistent last week against New Plymouth. Consistent hitting and gang tackling out of their 3-3-5 stack helped stifle New Plymouth throughout the game with “best of the season” play from Senior D-linemen #79 Gabe Bowlin and #68 Cody Greentree. #4 Johnson leads the Trojan defense with 71 total tackles from his middle linebacker spot. Safety #2 Josh Tiersma has 40 total tackles and 3 picks going into the game with Declo. Last week, though, Senior #63 Geoffrey Williams ignited the defense with a massive hit to thwart the Pilgrims’ third drive of the second half. That hit shut down the Pilgrim offense and they did not recover.
This is a statement game for the team and for the Trojan nation. After this one, the Trojans have two big conference games remaining: Melba at NCHS for senior night and the battle for 1st place in the conference followed by the regular season finale against Cole Valley Christian away at Columbia HS in Nampa. No doubt coach Jenkins and his staff will have the Trojans ready to play with hopes to use this game to make the statement they know they are ready to make as they look to the heart of the in-conference season.