EPG football against Dee-Mack

A season ago, El Paso-Gridley had to ride a five-game winning streak to sneak into the playoffs after a rough start to the season. This year head coach Stephen Rigsby and company had other plans.
    “We knew we had to start fast this year,” Rigsby said. “Our schedule at the end of the year is going to get a lot rockier as we move on. We actually circled this one on the schedule before the season and said this is going to be a large game for us.”
    This one was Dee-Mack and the Titans were up to the challenge, as they exacted revenge for a tough loss to the Chiefs last season in a 42-22 romp at home Friday night.
    EPG got on the scoreboard first and never looked back from there. After Dee- Mack quarterback Zach Horve was picked off by Logan Smith, the Titans marched down the field a scored on a 33-yard quarterback keeper by Zach Herr, giving them a 6-0 lead with 8:32 left in the first quarter.
    After each team exchanged a couple turnovers apiece, the Chiefs were able to tie the game on a 14-yard pass from Horve to 6-foot-4 wideout Levi Scheuermann to make it 6-6 with 58.2 seconds left in the opening quarter.
    The Titans would respond. They were able to get the run game going a little more as they used a 10-play, 80-yard drive lasting just over five minutes to extend their lead to 14-6 with 8:11 left in the second quarter. Senior running back Ryne Faulk found the end zone this time on a 4-yard run up the middle and the two-conversion was good.
    On the ensuing possession, the Chiefs put together a nice drive of their own. They found the end zone after an 11-play, 63-yard drive capped off by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Horve to Caden Slack. Horve’s pass to Scheuermann in the corner of the end zone was good for the two-point conversion, tying the game at 14-14 with 4:19 remaining in the half.
    An El Paso-Gridley punt followed by another Horve interception set up EPG inside Dee-Mack territory at the 24 yard line. Faulk scored his second touchdown of the evening, this from  one yard out, giving the Titans a 21-14 advantage heading into the break.
    The Titans used this momentum heading into the second half as they went on a 62-yard drive that capped off by another Faulk score, this time from 23 yards out around the left side. EPG held a 27-14 lead with 7:21 left in the third quarter.
    Faulk led the Titans with 271 yards on the ground on 28 rushes. He finished with four touchdowns on the evening, as well.
    “We have a brand new quarterback, so we knew it (offense) would be a little bit of a process,” Rigsby said. “But we knew we also have a really good running back (Faulk), so that makes everything a little bit easier for everyone else.”
    Despite the early score by the Titans, the Chiefs still seemed to have a little bit of fight left in them. They were able to find the end zone on a 2-yard run up the middle by Dakota Brush. Horve again connected with Scheuermann for the two-point conversion, as the Chiefs found themselves back in the ballgame at 27-22 with 2:11 remaining in the third quarter.
    But that was it. EPG responded with a scoring drive of its own and was able to take a good chunk off of the clock as they used a 9-play, 65-yard drive lasting nearly five minutes for a 35-22 lead with 9:30 remaining. Herr kept it up the middle for a 2-yard score this time.
    The Chiefs seemed to still be on the attack on their ensuing possession but ultimately fell short of the end zone after back-to-back Horve passes fell incomplete, essentially sealing the deal for the Titans.
    Their last score came on a 30-yard scamper by Faulk down the right sideline with 1:43 remaining in the game.
    Given the strong rushing attack put out by the Titans, Rigsby had a lot of praise for his guys up front in the big win.
    “Give credit to our offensive line,” Rigsby said. “We were down two offensive lineman heading into the week. We played some young kids and some kids off of the bench that just stepped up and played a great game tonight.”
    Outside of Faulk, the Titans (2-0) were led by Herr’s 124 yards rushing on 20 carries and two touchdowns. EPG had 399 yards, all on the ground.
    The Chiefs (1-1) received 173 yards through the air from Horve. The Chiefs had 298 yards of offense.