2012-10-06 / Sports

Thornton runs through Windham

Staff Writer

Thornton's Nick Kenney (34) is upended by Windham's Liam Sullivan (32) during the Trojans' 35-14 victory at Windham High School on Friday. (WIL KRAMLICH/Journal Tribune)

WINDHAM — It took the Thornton Academy offense almost an entire half to get rolling, but once it did it didn't stop the Trojans blew past Windham 35-14 on Friday night.

After each team went three-and-out on their first offensive series, the Trojans moved the ball inside the red zone quickly. They got the ball down to the 3-yard line before Andrew Libby fumbled trying to gain extra yards.

“It hurt a lot, because I made a careless mistake,” said Libby, who said he didn't dwell on the turnover. “You use it as a motivation. You learn from it, and move on.”

The Eagles used the momentum from the turnover and ran with it. Three plays after the fumble, Windham quarterback Damien Shepard took a QB keeper and bounced out to the left sideline and ran for a 91-yard touchdown run.

That was about the only thing that went right for the Windham offense, however. The Thornton defense forced the Eagles into three straight three-and-outs after the touchdown.

The Trojans finally scored late in the first half, thanks in part to favorable field position gained by all the Windham punts. The Trojans started at the Windham 46 and slowly chipped away, with an 18-yard run by Nick Kenney helping the cause. On the ninth play of the drive, Libby ran the ball in for a touchdown from 3 yards out to tie the score at 7-7.

Despite scoring just one touchdown in the first half, the Trojans didn't push the panic button.

“We weren't worried,” said Dakota Tarbox. “We knew things were open, we just needed to execute and make the right plays.”

Thornton Academy owned the third quarter, holding the Eagles to one first down, and scoring on all three of its offensive drives. The first scoring drive took just three plays, after the Trojans started at the Windham 36. Kenney had a 29-yard run to set up a 5-yard touchdown run for Libby.

On the Trojans' next drive, Dylan Morton ran for 37 yards on the first play, and two plays later, Libby picked up his third touchdown of the day on a 3-yard run.

Libby said it was a good feeling to score those touchdowns after letting his team down in the first quarter.

“I felt like I came back and had some redemption plays,” he said.

The Trojans showed a little trickery on their next drive. On second and 14 from the Windham 21-yard line, Dylan Morton took a sweep to the left, stopped in the backfield, and fired a touchdown pass to Dakota Tarbox.

“We worked on (that play) a lot. Dylan threw a perfect ball right in the corner of the end zone where I could get it. Threw it right in the perfect spot, and I went up and got it,” Tarbox said of the play.

Tarbox caught another touchdown pass on the Trojans' next drive as the game moved into the fourth quarter. After back-to-back negative runs to start the drive, Eric Christensen found Tarbox alone on the sideline, and Tarbox ran through some tackles into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown catch.

The Eagles got a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, as backup quarterback Todd Allen ran for a 14-yard score.

Now that Windham is out of the way, the Trojans can put all their focus on playing two-time defending Class A State Champion Cheverus next week. Tarbox said that the looming showdown with the Stags couldn't escape the players' minds this week.

“This week, a big worry for us was worrying too much about Cheverus, and not worrying about this game. Maybe that was a little bit of us (being) slow in the beginning,” said Tarbox. “But we're ready for Cheverus now.”

— Contact Wil Kramlich at 282-1535. Ext. 323 or follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.

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