Thunder Fall to Elmhurst

A great start proved to be one of the few highlights for the Thunder (1-1) in a 31-13 loss, who struggled to contain the Elmhurst (2-0) running game led by Scottie Williams to the tune of 319 yards. The Trine offense was able to move the ball down the field, generating three drives over 70 yards but was unable to keep the ball out of the Blue Jays hands, losing the turnover battle three to zero and time of possession by nine minutes.

Trine used a nine minute drive to open the game that utilized the talents of running back Jared Barton early and the connection of Hargraves to Hence (4 catches for 16 yards on the drive) late before tight end Zachary Hess caught a 10 yard pass to give the Thunder a 7-0 lead.

Elmhurst responded with a heavy dose of Scottie Williams, who carried 13 times on their first drive of the game. The Thunder defense stopped the Elmhurst attack inside their own ten yard line after Williams’ eleventh carry of the drive went for only one yard on third and eight. Trine received an unsportsmanlike penalty after the play though that while only cost them five yards, gave the Blue Jays a crucial first down. With four tries to get in the end zone from inside the five yard line, Elmhurst only needed two to tie the score early in the second quarter at seven all.

In a quarter which the Thunder was outscored 17-0, things did not begin to get completely unravel until late in the first half. Back-to-back 60 yard drives by Elmhurst, the second which was fueled by a Ryan Hargraves interception, led to ten points in the last three minutes and a 17-7 halftime lead for the Bluejays.

The second half did not get any better for the Thunder, as Williams showed why he was the 11th in the nation in rushing yards last year. The pint size running back carried a full sized load, carrying seven times for 72 yards that extend the Blue Jay lead to 17, 24-7.

Down but not out, the Thunder caught a break with an Elmhurst personal foul at the beginning of their first drive of the third quarter, then converted on fourth and three and a long third down that ended with a Mike Inge touchdown from three yards out. A failed extra point attempt put a damper on a drive that for the time being kept Trine in the game at 24-13.

It was now the defense’s turn to rise to the challenge and get a much needed stop. However, it still was unable to figure out how to stop Scottie Williams and with Blue Jays quarterback Joe Furco getting in on the action as well, led to the same result: touchdown.

16 minutes were left in the game for Trine to make up 18 points. The dual threat capabilities of quarterback Ryan Hargraves (165 yards passing, 90 yards rushing for the game) were put on display, as he was responsible for all but three yards on a 92 yard drive that put the Thunder four yards away from the Elmhurst end zone. It was his actions on the next play that would short out the spark he provided though, as Hargraves was stuffed for a loss and fumbled, ceding control of both the ball and ultimately the game to Elmhurst, 31-13.

The Thunder get an opportunity to get back on their feet and regain their winning record when they hit the road to take on Concordia (WI) in the MIAA/NAC Challenge at 2 p.m. this Saturday.

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