Midway through the final quarter of Anderson’s District 25-6A matchup with Akins, the Trojans knew they had forced a punt and hoped to give themselves a short field to work with. It turns out that the end zone was closer than even they anticipated.
Senior quarterback Carsten Groos’ five-yard rushing score pushed the Trojans to a 26-21 win over the Eagles on Thursday at House Park.
A botched punt snap and fumble recovery at the Akins nine-yard line led to the score two plays later and Anderson’s defense would force a turnover on downs to help preserve the victory.
Groos led Anderson’s offense completing 16 of 21 passes for 222 yards and rushing 14 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore Colin Page had 12 carries for 84 yards and two scores and junior wide receiver Grose Kiel had seven catches for 131 yards.
Sophomore Nathan Davis led the Eagles with 92 yards rushing and a 37-yard touchdown reception while junior quarterback Quincy Welch completed 15 of 23 passes for 137 trade and two touchdowns.
While Anderson had the statistical advantage, touchdown-nullifying penalties and turnovers kept Akins (1-6, 0-5) in the game. The Eagles scored a defensive touchdown in the first quarter and Anderson was whistled 11 times for 105 yards in penalties.
Akins looked poised to end a five-game losing streak late in the third when Welch scooped up a premature snap and connect with Antonio Lopez on a 14-yard touchdown connection where Lopez broke a tackle en route to the end zone before Anderson came back.
Akins’ defense came up with the first score of the night as junior linebacker Gabe Nino picked up a Trojan fumble and took it 80 yards to the end zone. The score came after a drive in which the Trojans marched 40 yards into the red zone and had a 13-yard touchdown by junior running back Joey Baran nullified because of a chop block.
The Eagles took a 14-7 lead on the Trojans after Welch found Davis for a 37-yard touchdown strike and Davis converted on a two-point conversion run with 3:14 remaining in the half.
Anderson (4-2, 2-2 District 25-6A) trailed at halftime despite holding an 11-6 edge on first downs an outgaining the Eagles 180 yards to 119.
Quick responses were a staple for Anderson’s offense as Page tied the game a 7-7 with a 36-yard rushing touchdown that capped a rapid three-play, 56-yard scoring drive.
Anderson cut the Akins lead to 14-13 less than two minutes after Welch’s passing touchdown as Groos capped a 65-yard scoring drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Groos connected with Kiel from a key 26-yard pass that set Anderson up at the Akins 15.
After the break, the Trojans took back the lead by opening up the second half on a six-play, 68-yard scoring drive that took 3:10 off the clock. Page ran in for a four-yard scoring run that made it 20-14 Anderson on a play that was set up by big-chunk Groos completions to Kiel for 21 and 27 yards.