Host of Trojans contribute in win
Throughout the 2013 season, Chase has been led by a few familiar names. Senior fullback Josh Wright has carried the load for well over 100 yards and a couple touchdowns on a weekly basis. Play-maker Jordan O’Rourke has made big plays on punt returns, long passes and pitch plays. But in a 27-8 win over East Burke Friday night, a handful of less common names made the difference for the Trojans.
Dace Rollins, who isn’t a stranger to the end zone, scored first for the Trojans on a 53-yard pass play late in the first half, but the second half was highlighted by a group of defenders that made their way to the offensive side of the ball after O’Rourke went down with an injury in the first half.
Stephan Phillips, Tylin Littlejohn and Mailk Young each scored a rushing touchdown in the first half to account for absence of O’Rourke.
“The majority of the offense really fell on the some other guys so we challenged them at halftime to step up and fill the shoes,” Chase head coach Daniel Bailey said. “It really helps as a coach to know that when you have someone important go down that you still have offensive weapons that you can utilize.”
Phillips, Littlejohn and Young are mainly featured on the defensive side of the ball for Chase, but there’s no question they took advantage of their opportunities.
“A lot of times those guys don’t get a chance because the main guys are playing well and they’re healthy. Those guys got their chance Friday night and showed us that they could do it,” Bailey said. “They’ve played well all year on defense and we didn’t need them that much on offense, but now we know we can put them in to get some other guys some rest for the main guys here and there.”
So as the Trojans close the season and head into the state playoffs, don’t be surprised to see these guys step into more important roles.
“Maybe they can come in for a series here and there to help other guys stay fresh,” Bailey said. “This time of the year most of your games come down to the fourth quarter and they’re decided by who has their legs under them. Now we have the assurance that we can be a little fresher going into the fourth quarter than we have been the past few weeks.”
And for those of you that aren’t Chase football historians, last Friday’s win clinched a just the second winning season in the past 10 years for the Trojans.
“Any time you go out as a staff and a team you want to establish a winning season. That just means your program is going in the right direction,” Bailey said. “The offseason is a lot easier because it gives the plays the belief that what we’re doing is working.”
Maybe the secret for this group is its ability to make in-game adjustments considering the 2013 Trojans are becoming notorious for slow starts and strong finishes.
Our kids are doing a good job of making adjustments. I told them it can bite them, but I’ve had teams that played great first halves and poor second ones. If I had to choose which team to have, I’d choose one that can make adjustments and finish strong,” Bailey said. “Even when a team jumps up on us we don’t panic. With that said, in the playoffs you can’t fall behind to a good team.”
Chase travels to East Rutherford this Friday in hopes of claiming one more win before the playoffs.