Trojans fall in nail-biter to Greenbacks

By: Aaron Pyle

            In the previous contest for Girard, Sept. 3, the Trojans defeated the St. Mary’s-Colgan Panthers 20-12 capturing the team’s first win of the regular season. In game two, the Trojans faced an unfamiliar opponent in the Pratt Greenbacks (0-1) Friday, Sept. 11. Girard was originally planned to play Baxter Springs (0-1) but due to a COVID-19 closure at Baxter, the two teams canceled the game. That’s when the administration of USD 248 worked behind the scenes to schedule the matchup against the Greenbacks.

            The two teams met in the middle in El Dorado where they played at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex which is the home of Butler County Community College.

            To begin the game, the Greenbacks came out firing going within multiple formations to confuse the Trojans’ defense. Pushing the ball up the field with the team’s passing game, the Greenbacks would score on the first drive of the contest on a 22-yard passing touchdown with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter.

            Throughout the first quarter, the Greenbacks were able to contain the Trojan’s offense holding Girard to a minimum. With both teams holding their own after the first score, the Greenbacks led the Trojans 7-0 at the end of the first.

            For the second quarter, the Trojans flipped the script much like last week’s contest against Colgan. Senior quarterback Caden Lallemand and the Trojans’ Run/Pass/Option attack pushed the ball upfield which then led to senior Conner Olivera running in the ball for a 30-yard touchdown to narrow the gap. Sophomore Garrett Humble nailed the field goal attempt to tie the game up, 7-7 with 9:51 remaining.

            The defensive front of the Trojans put heavy pressure on the Greenbacks throughout the second quarter holding Pratt offensively after a strong start. Getting the ball back and driving downfield, the game took a turn as the Greenbacks recovered a fumble off the Trojans returning it for a touchdown. The field goal attempt was no good as Pratt led 13-7 with 6:30 left in the second quarter.

            On the drive following the fumble recovery, the Trojans answered back off a 29-yard pass from Lallemand to senior Logan Thomas. The field goal attempt was missed as the score was tied at 13-13 heading into halftime.

            Both team’s offenses went cold throughout the third quarter as defense reigned supreme in the non-conference matchup. Neither team would put points up on the board until just under two minutes remaining when the Greenbacks broke loose for a 50-yard touchdown breaking the tie. Nailing the field goal attempt, Pratt went up 20-13.

            Unable to get anything going in the running game, the Trojans got the passing game going with the connection of Lallemand to Thomas. The pair provided energy to a Trojan offense in need of a spark.

            The two sides exchanged the ball back and forth through half of the final quarter until the Trojans marched down the field credited to the passing of Lallemand. Junior Ethan Merrell would get the Trojans into scoring position off a pass which brought the Trojans from the 23-yard-line to the six-yard-line. This then set up Lallemand to punch in a three-yard quarterback keeper to narrow the deficit. Failing to complete the two-point conversion attempt, the Trojans trailed 20-19 with four minutes remaining.

            From there, the Greenbacks ran seven straight quarterback keepers marching the ball downfield, moving the chains as well. Unable to stop the running game of Pratt, the Trojans fell 20-19 as the Greenbacks handed the Trojans their first loss of the season.

            Looking to bounce back from the loss, the Trojans travel to Columbus Friday, Sept. 18 where Girard squares off against the Titans (2-0). The Titans come off a 14-7 victory over Coffeyville-Field Kindley in their matchup Friday, Sept. 11.