Turnover sparks winning drive for Wright City

Posted 11/7/19

By Patrick MacCoonRecord Sports EditorFor a moment it appeared as if Wright City would lose to Trinity for the fourth straight season.The Titans had the ball inside the Wildcats’ 30-yard line up …

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Turnover sparks winning drive for Wright City

By Patrick MacCoonRecord Sports EditorFor a moment it appeared as if Wright City would lose to Trinity for the fourth straight season.The Titans had the ball inside the Wildcats’ 30-yard line up 18-14 with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter looking to extend the streak.However, David Ortega had other plans.The Wildcats’ starting defensive end used his sheer strength to force the football away from the ball carrier and recovered the fumble.“That play I was going 100 mph,” Ortega said. “I didn’t really try to tackle him, I just tried to go for the ball and I poked it out. No one else was going for it, so I hurried up and crawled and jumped on top of it.”With the heads-up play on the defensive front, Ortega set up a game-winning drive.Already with a strong performance, senior wide receiver Troy Muse came up big yet again for Wright City when facing a make-or-break moment.While plenty of time remained, with 4:37 left in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats faced a third-and-15 from their own 21-yard line. Having unsuccessfully answered Trinity’s past two scores, a big play had to be made.Senior quarterback Andrew Pfuhl took the snap in the shotgun and rolled out to his right before stepping into his longest heave of the night with pressure coming at him. Muse leapt into the air to snag the deep ball over the airborne defensive back.“Troy is so explosive off the ball, he can basically burn anybody with his speed,” Pfuhl said. “He had a really big height advantage all night, so it was easy to find him. I just chucked it up and trusted he would be down there to make the grab.”The 42-yard reception, which took the ball down to the Trinity 37, gave Wright City life and provided belief as well.“As soon as I caught that pass I had the feeling that we were going to win,” Muse said. “I wasn’t positive, but I was pretty sure that it had set us up for the win. That was one of the best feelings to catch that pass.”Behind the offensive play calling from first-year Head Coach Jeff Sargent, the Wildcats worked the ball down near the end zone with under two minutes remaining.With a bruiser at running back, senior DeRenzo Blanks ran in a 3-yard touchdown on third-and-goal. A two-point conversion failed, but Wright City led 20-18 with 1:30 remaining.The Titans (0-1) couldn’t muster an answer on their final drive and fell to the Wildcats (1-0) for the first time.Blanks carried the ball 21 times for 132 yards and two scores. His counterpart, senior Kyle Tuepker, also broke the century mark with 10 rushes for 120 yards.“They couldn’t stop our run,” Sargent said. “We were able to really take time off the clock that last drive. DeRenzo is capable of 100-yard games every time he’s out there. Tuepker is another crucial playmaker for us and spelled DeRenzo at times when he needed it.”Muse and the rest of his teammates enjoyed the victory. For the senior class, it marked the first time they opened the season with a win.“The atmosphere is different around this program,” Ortega said. “We are all excited now and ready to win a lot more games.”Pfuhl threw for 223 yards and one score while in control of an offense that didn’t turn the ball over once.Senior receiver Tyler Brittain finished with three catches for 70 yards. He had a touchdown negated by a block in the back penalty. He and Muse combined for 206 receiving yards.“I have a lot of trust in Tyler and Troy and this offense in general,” Pfuhl said. “We are kind of coming out of the woodworks with a chip on our shoulder this year. We are going to be a contender in our district and conference this year.”Muse finished with six catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown reception came on a stop-and-go route, which worked perfectly as he outran the defender to the ball by several yards for a 40-yard touchdown in the second quarter. His presence was felt on defense as he came away with his first career interception.“To be able to contribute the way I did in this game was awesome,” Muse said. “It felt great to get the catch that set us up for the win. The emotions we all felt were just crazy and we are ready to win a lot more this season.”With a crucial turnover and a 79-yard final scoring drive, Wright City starts the year on a winning note.One they will look to continue Friday at home against Orchard Farm.“A lot of times people think we are just Wright City and we are going to get rolled over,” Ortega said. “This year I think we are going to shock a lot of people. People don’t know what we’ve got, but we are going to show them this year.”

Troy Muse finished with six catches and a career-high 136 receiving yards to go with a touchdown in Wright City's 20-18 win in Week 1. Muse also had a crucial late catch and also intercepted a pass.

Don Adams Jr. photo.