Trojans fall to Comets in SVC football

Dwight was unable to overcome three turnovers against Clifton Central in a 46-23 Sangamon Valley Conference loss Friday night at Oughton Field.
    For the first time this season, the weather was ideal and things started well enough for the Dwight squad. Carson Crouch opened the first drive with a 28-yard sweep. Fellow sophomore Will Bergstrom added a pair of eight-yard gains on the drive. Quarterback Colton Holm also found Chris Bement for a 16-yard completion.
    Logan Graham capped the drive at 7:53 in the first with a 1-yard plunge and JC Santos booted through the point after.
    Starting on their own 31 two possessions later, the Comets put together a 69-yard drive powered by their bruising fullback Garrett Graham and the accurate passing of quarterback Jay Lemenager. Graham bulled in a 1-yard score at 11:57 in the second quarter and Lemenager scrambled through the Trojans for the two-point conversion.
    Holm engineered an answering drive, moving 65 yards in five minutes. The big play was a 25-yard catch-and-run by Bement.
    Logan Graham took four carries for the last 20 yards, scoring on a 7-yard run and then punching in the two-point conversion to give the lead back to the Trojans, at 15-8.
    “We worked on passing all week,” Trojan head coach Luke Standiford said after the game. “We had to improve our passing game to get guys out of the box and not let them key on our run so much. We had a lot of success throwing the ball because we had good play-action fakes and receivers were open.”
    It took exactly three minutes for Central to answer. Garrett Graham caught a middle screen and rumbled nine yards for his second score of the night. The two-point conversion was good and Clifton led 16-15 with 3:47 left in the half.
    Then, disaster struck Standiford’s team. The first snap of the series went over Holm’s head, pinning the Trojans at their own 11. Logan Graham fumbled the ball away on the next play and Clifton was in prime scoring position.
    Lemenager a 12-yard pass led to Garrett Graham punching in his third score of the night. With the conversion, the Comets led 24-15, where it stayed at the end of the half.
    “We knew it was going to be a possession battle,” Standiford explained. “The team that had the ball the most and the longest was going to win, and that wasn’t us tonight. We didn’t take care of the football and it ended up biting us.”
    Looking for a spark, the Trojans attempted an onside kick to start the second half. Central covered the kick and Lemenager took over. The QB was strung together a 17-yard scramble, an 18-yard completion, a 12-yard completion before a 12-yard TD run to push the lead to 32-15.
    Dakota Wahl picked up three of his four catches on Dwight’s first possession of the second half. The longest was 37 yards from Holm and the last was a 13-yard TD from Graham at 7:04 in the third. Crouch converted the two-point run to pull the Trojan closer at 32-23.
    Lemenager added a 32-yard TD pass and, after a Dwight turnover, Dan Thorne capped a 27-yard drive to end the scoring.
    “I thought we ran the ball well and played well in the first half but we ended up giving away the ball too many times,” said Standiford.
    Logan Graham led Dwight (1-3) with 48 yards and two TDs. He completed a pass for a 13-yard touchdown. Crouch led the ground-gainers with 61 yards. Holm threw for 101 yards. Wahl had 58 yards and a touchdown on four catches, and Bement had 43 receiving yards.