DONIPHAN — Doniphan-Trumbull can play defense too.
While the Cardinals’ potent offense usually gets most of the attention, it was the other side of the ball that keyed Friday’s 34-12 victory over Blue Hill.
Class C-2 No. 2-rated Doniphan-Trumbull got a fourth-down stop on the Bobcats’ first possession, then forced four straight turnovers which led to three touchdowns in a span of 4:06.
“Our guys played really well,” Cardinals coach Brent Breckner said. “I thought they really worked well studying what (Blue Hill) did. We tried to take away some things they were doing, especially in the passing game.
“Our kids played pretty well. I think we’re kind of tired of hearing about how bad we are on defense and how well we do on offense. We’ve been working hard at it. We still have a long ways to go. They hit a big play and hit some things here and there, but our kids came out ready to play defense for sure.”
The first big play from the Doniphan-Trumbull defense came when Blue Hill (1-1) went for it on fourth-and-1 at the D-T 32-yard line. Quarterback Jason Poe was sunk by a trio of Cardinal defenders for a 2-yard loss.
After Doniphan-Trumbull (2-0) went three-and-out on its opening possession, the turnover feast began.
Jordan Slough picked off a Poe pass near midfield and took it back to the Blue Hill 13-yard line.
After a holding penalty, Riley Wiltfong hooked up with Johnny Gomez for a 21-yard touchdown to make it 6-0 with 3:55 left in the first quarter.
Jake Critel recovered a Blue Hill fumble to give the Cardinal offense another short field at the Bobcats’ 32-yard line. Wiltfong kept it for a 17-yard score that pushed the lead to 14-0 after the two-point conversion with 16 seconds left in the first quarter.
Breckner loved getting the short fields early in a big game.
“It makes the offense go a lot easier. That helps,” he said. “Anything we can do to help those guys out, that’s just gravy.”
And it kept Blue Hill from sustaining drives, something it did in a 28-18 win over the Cardinals last year.
“(Getting turnovers) is big, especially with them being able to pound the football,” Wiltfong said. “It was an emphasis to get off the field defensively. Getting a couple of scores got the jitters out.”
Last year’s setback to the Bobcats helped fire up the Cardinals for the rematch.
“There was extra motivation there,” Safety Lorenzo Williams said. “They’re a good team, and he had to come out and execute.”
The most impressive turnover came on the first play of the second quarter. Williams picked off a Poe option pitch in full stride and took it 39 yards the other way to extend the lead to 22-0.
“He’s one of those (players) who is banged up,” Breckner said. “He saw it and he read it right. It was a huge, huge, huge play. He does that.
“We need him on defense to make big plays and get after it. He’s a guy that he gets fired up and gets it going, and we get going pretty well. He’s a huge part of that defense.”
Both Wilfong and Williams credited the coaching staff for the turnovers.
“I think our coaches put us in good positions,” Wiltfong said. “They coached us up well and some guys made some plays.”
Williams said the defense wanted to make a statement.
“We’ve still got a lot of things to work on, but that’s an improvement from last week,” he said. “That’s all that matters.”
Blue Hill got on the scoreboard on Keithen Drury’s 52-yard run with 5:29 left in the first half. Drury finished with 110 yards on 11 carries but sat out the second half.
Doniphan-Trumbull’s offense showed off its quick-strike capabilities to close out the first half and open the second. Wiltfong found Slough streaking down the right sideline for a 53-yard TD pass with 1:09 to go before halftime.
Then Slough, who was bottled up for 50 yards on 10 carries in the first half, broke loose for a 58-yard score just 1:26 into the second half.
Slough finished with 172 yards on 26 carries.
“It seems like if we can get that first first down, our offense really starts to roll,” Breckner said. “They got us stuffed up a little bit. They did a good job. They were going to take (Slough) away and some of the things he does running the ball inside.
“Our other backs weren’t running as well or at full strength, so that was rough on us.”
Wiltfong finished 4-for-7 for 115 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 50 yards on eight carries with one score, plus two other would-be TDs were called back on holding penalties.
“I thought our offensive line did a heck of a job up front,” Wiltfong said. “We were able to pound it. We were able to do whatever we wanted really.”
Blue Hill (1-1) ....................... 0 6 0 6—12
Doniphan-Trumbull (2-0) ..... 14 14 6 0—34
DT—Gomez 21 pass from Wiltfong (run failed), 3:55.
DT—Wiltfong 14 run (Slough run), 0:16.
DT—Williams 39 fumble return (Slough run), 11:49.
BH—Drury 52 run (run failed), 5:18.
DT—Slough 53 pass from Wiltfong (pass failed), 1:09.
DT—Slough 58 run (pass failed), 10:34.
BH—Meyer 13 pass from Van Boening (pass failed), 1:29.
First downs 15 13
Rushes-yards 53-233 41-258
Passing yards 44 115
Comp-Att-Int 3-7-2 4-8-0
Punts-avg. 2-29.0 4-31.5
Punt returns 2-12 1-(-1)
Fumbles-lost 3-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 1-5 9-72
RUSHING—BH, Drury 11-110, Poe 22-66, Fuller 11-47, Smith 6-24, Ruybalid 1-6, TEAM 2-(minus 20). DT, Slough 26-172, Wiltfong 8-50, Schuppan 2-24, Pfeiffer 4-10, Quist 1-2.
PASSING—BH, Poe 2-6-2 31, Van Boening 1-1-0 13. DT, Wiltfong 4-7-0 115, Mazour 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING—BH, Ruybalid 2-31, Meyer 1-13. DT, Buhr 2-41, Slough 1-53, Gomez 1-21.
DONIPHAN — Doniphan-Trumbull can play defense too.