West Central’s Jonah Rechtenbaugh had one of those nights. The senior running back scored three times and rushed for 206 yards on 24 carries as the Trojans dominated a Tea Area team that had won four straight.
Rechtenbaugh had some monster holes to target all night, and West Central has clearly gotten better and are hitting their stride at the right time with a 40-10 win over the Titans.
The win is West Central’s fourth straight, and it has outscored its opponents 133-42 over that span to improve to 6-1.
“Oh, there’s no question,” West Central coach Kent Mueller said when asked if his team has gotten better over the course of the season. “There are just some things we can do better. We talk to the kids about being perfect, and I know that’s unattainable. But we’re trying to be.”
Rechtenbaugh scored twice in the first half, but it was his 85-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half that seemed to end it. Rechtenbaugh took the opening hand-off straight up the middle, and was seemingly untouched as he scampered straight down the middle of the field to give the Trojans a 27-3 lead.
“It was just wide open,” he said of the 85-yard scamper. “Our line was driving people off the ball all night. They did a great job. It’s the best our line has blocked all year.”
West Central’s opening drive of the second half took all of 15 seconds, leaving time for Tea Area to respond. The Titans did with an eight-play, 59-yard drive on their first possession of the second half, capped by a Payton Conrad to Adam Heien 3-yard touchdown pass to make it 27-10.
The Titans looked to threaten again and cut it to ten as Conrad marched Tea Area down the field on their next possession. Conrad finished the night 11-for-21 for 134 yards. However, with just over two minutes remaining in the third period, he was intercepted by Kobe Moldrem at the West Central 10 yard line, ending another Tea Area threat. Conrad had one touchdown pass, but was picked off twice.
“That Conrad kid is special,” Mueller said of the Tea Area quarterback. “Getting two picks against him made me feel really, really good. And holding them to 10 – I mean, I’m not happy about giving up 10 – but that’s a good football team.”
West Central led 13-0 after Rechtenbaugh scored early in the second quarter. Tea Area looked to respond and converted on a 4th-and-long on its next possession when Conrad hit Heien for nine yards. The Titans’ Kade Stearns nailed a 36-yard field goal to get Tea Area on the board.
Other than that drive and field goal, Tea Area couldn’t get much going in the first half, and an interception with 1:49 to play in the second quarter was too much to overcome. On third and long inside their own five-yard line, Noah Vettrus picked off Conrad and West Central was in great shape late in the half.
But it took the Trojans four tries inside the ten-yard line before they finally scored as Tea Area tried to keep it close. Skinner finally scored on a bootleg run on 4th-and-1 from the 1-yard line with 15 seconds remaining in the half.