Led by Graham, Trojans move closer to playoff bid
Logan Graham surpassed the 1,000-yard mark and Dwight put itself in playoff position with a 51-0 victory over Hoopeston (Area) at Oughton Field Friday night.
Rain and temperatures in the upper 30s on Senior Night did not cool off the surging Trojans. Their fourth consecutive win moved first-year head coach Luke Standiford’s team to 5-3 on the season and keeps playoff hopes alive.
As for Graham, he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on a 51-yard touchdown run. He finished the night with 206 yards and has 1,106 for the season.
Dwight’s key focus was to win this game, which would mean a guarantee winning regular season, as well qualification for playoff consideration with five wins. A sixth win next week would put DTHS into the postseason.
The Trojans were able to get things rolling right away as sophomore Carson Crouch started the game with a 53-yard kickoff return deep into enemy territory to set up the first of three touchdowns by Graham.
The first TD was a 32-yard run up the middle 90 seconds into the game and was set up by superlative work from the Trojans’ line.
“If you can run up the middle and not get touched, that’s just outstanding blocking by your offensive linemen,” Standiford said following the game. “They were overloading to our tight end side, making it hard for us to stay on our blocks to that side. We were able to run back side and it was open.”
In the sloppy conditions, JC Santos was unable to convert the PAT kick, leaving the score 6-0.
After forcing a turnover on downs, Dwight marched 55 yards in four minutes to score again. This time, it was quarterback Colton Holm finding a wide-open Dakota Wahl for a 16-yard pass with 1:20 left in the first period. Crouch converted the two-point conversion run around the right end to move the score to 14-0.
Wahl intercepted Hoopeston quarterback Marcus Blurton at midfield to snuff out the Cornjerkers’ second drive. Graham took the first play of the drive 51 yards for his second score of the night and into the DTHS record books as another 1,000-yard rusher.
After forcing a three-and-out punt, Dwight engineered another quick scoring drive. This one was highlighted by a 22-yard twisting cutback run by Cal Schultz, who found himself in the end zone for the third week in a row. Santos converted his second PAT.
“He’s come a long way,” Standiford said of Schultz. “He has realized that he is more of a running back in this offense rather than just a wing that creates deception through his motions. He can carry the ball for us.”
Wahl picked up his second touchdown of the night late in the half on a 48-yard interception return. A low snap on the PAT try left a scrambling Schultz to find Wahl in the end zone for the two-point conversion to put the Trojans up 36-0 at half.
“We knew who his favorite target was and we shifted our free safety over to that side, so he was right there waiting for that ball,” Standiford explained of the pick-6.
Graham’s final score came at 9:31 in the third quarter. Taking the handoff, he waited for his blocking to develop and blew through the defense on a 72-yard run with Santos tacking on the PAT. That score would run the clock for the remaining 21:18 of the game.
Randall Phillips added a 10-yard score in the fourth quarter. The Trojans had another bobbled snap, but Schultz recovered and found Graham for the two-point conversion to end the scoring.
Dwight faces its most important test of the season next week, traveling to Paxton to take on the 6-2 Panthers.
“That one is for all the marbles. We don’t want to have to try to get into the playoffs on points,” Standiford said. “We need to win out and get number six to punch our ticket.”