Trojans retain axe for another year over rival
Trojans score early, often in rout of Honkers
ORLAND » Fans of Orland and Willows High School packed the opposing sidelines of Roosevelt Field in Orland on Friday as the two teams competed in the Battle of the Axe game for the first time since 2019.
Drummers of the schools took to the field marching toward each other, before the cheer squads and other band members came together at halftime as part of the Battle of the Mace.
Orland (3-1) has not lost the matchup since 2008, retaining the axe once again with a 55-0 win over the Honkers (0-3).
It was the second straight Battle of the Axe the Orland defense has not allowed a point to the Honkers, who did not play in 2020.
Orland coach Nick Velazquez
acknowledged his defense, specifically the play of Brayden Schumann and his tackling at the line of scrimmage from the safety position.
“It’s awesome because we probably led our whole section in rushing yards allowed in three weeks,” Velazquez said. “All week in practice this week our emphasis was trying to get this team to understand this defense and how you have to attack instead of react and tonight we were finally attacking.”
The first half was all Orland, as the Trojans scored five times,
with three coming in the first quarter. Orland scored eight touchdowns in total.
Halfway through the first quarter a 58-yard rush by Orland quarterback Grant Foster set up a 13-yard touchdown pass
from Foster to Walker Burks to give Orland a 7-0 lead.
Willows fumbled on the kick return, and 1 minute 13 seconds later the Trojans scored once more on a 23-yard run from
sophomore running back Jaime Albarran.
With 4:30 left in the first quarter Orland senior Brice Bowman was ejected from the game after a scrum following a play. Bowman said the referee told him he was ejected for kicking one of the referees, however at halftime the officials said he had kicked a Willows player.
Velazquez told Bowman that he can’t be the second man in as the second man always gets caught and that it was just a “stupid play.”
“I was happy nothing too crazy happened because you get a lopsided score in a game like this that’s when it can really go bad,” Velazquez said.
On the next possession Willows got a pair of first downs before fumbling once more. The fumble led to a 69-yard touchdown run by Foster, the first of three on the ground for the junior.
In quarter two Brayden Schumann and Foster each scored rushing touchdowns. Schumann’s came from 43 yards away, as Orland took a 35-0 lead into halftime.
In the second half the
Orland rushing attack continued, as with 6:52 left in the third quarter Foster scored from 60 yards away and Andrew Rubio ran it into the end zone three minutes later from 37 yards out to up the Trojan lead to 49-0. Schumann added a second rushing touchdown halfway through the
fourth quarter, upping Orland’s lead to 55-0.
Orland tackle Danny Fonseca as well as Velazquez were very pleased with the Trojans’ run game Friday. Velazquez said the play calling was power rush most of the game as Willows often lined up on the outside.
“Everything was in the A and B gaps, outside runs really weren’t our thing,” Fonseca said. “They had everything stacked on the outside. Once we started pounding the inside they couldn’t stop us. There were holes everywhere and they couldn’t stop us anywhere.”