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Horsemen thrash Troy for first win in 2 seasons

Valley Press | September 20, 2023 12:00 AM

It was coming and anyone who is a football fan knew it would.

Throw all the superlatives at it you want: can’t keep a good man down; nothing lasts forever, etc.

But on this day, the final score in Plains 68-6 thrashing of hapless Troy was not the real story.

The real story may well be what lies ahead. Sure, it’s just one win. But it’s a long-overdue win for a team starving for the taste of victory.

The streak of losses is over.

And while it was a complete team effort, hats must be doffed to Plains junior quarterback/defensive back Darren Standeford.

All he did was have a hand in four first quarter touchdowns, and a total five in the first half. And along the way he had an astonishing three “pick-six” interception returns for touchdowns.

That more than most of the human beings playing defensive back on this planet get in a season, NFL included.

Now picking off passes from a high school quarterback is not the same as trying to pick one off, say, Patrick Mahomes, QB for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, but it is right there in the “awesome” category.

And before the first half was over, Standeford had run for one touchdown and passed for another as the Horsemen ended a more than two year victory drought Friday night in front of the hometown fans in Plains.

Plains struck first in the opening quarter when Standeford tossed a short touchdown pass to senior fullback Will Tatum. An unsuccessful point after touchdown (PAT) try put the score at 6-0, with the Horsemen in front for a change.

Later in the first quarter, Standeford picked off a Troy pass and returned it 35 yards for six points. The PAT pass was good for two points, and the Horsemen moved to a 14-0 lead.

A short time later, Standeford was at it again, this time intercepting a Trojan pass and returning it 40 yards for a score. No conversion and the score stood at 20-0, Plains.

Before the first quarter came to an end, Standeford capped a Horsemen drive with a five yard TD run, putting the Horsemen ahead 26-0 when the PAT try failed.

When the first quarter came to an end, Plains was in rarefied air with a 26-0 lead.

The carnage continued in quarter number two.

Anaya Loberg, a 6-2 165 pound senior defensive end/wide receiver, scooped up a Troy fumble and sprinted 27 yards for the fourth Horseman defensive score of the contest. A fake PAT kick resulted in a two-point PAT conversion, boosting the Horsemen to a 34-0 lead and setting the Mercy rule (continuously running clock except for time outs) in action.

Later in the second quarter, Standeford did it again when he picked off his third Troy pass and scampered into the end zone, this time from 45 yards out. Your score, ladies and gentlemen: Plains 40, Troy 0.

With the clock ticking away, Troy got on the scoreboard when Trojan QB Nolan Morris tossed a 45-yard scoring strike to Carson Orr. The PAT was no good and the score was 40-6.

Before the first half came to a merciful end, Standeford found Zeph Dines on an 18-yard passing touchdown, boosting the Horsemen lead to 46-0. A two-point PAT run by Pepper Lulack, a 6-5, 330-pound junior two-way lineman moved the lead to 48-6.

Dines added a six yard TD run in the third quarter to push the Horsemen lead to 54-6.

A pair of Zayden Allen touchdowns, one of the ground and one on a pass he threw to Nick Hill, closed out the Plains scoring assault, giving the Horsemen win number one on the year, the first under the return tutelage of head coach Mike Tatum, who has been coaching in the Plains system for several years.

Troy fell to 0-4 on the year and 0-4 in the Western 7B conference, while Plains rose to 1-2 in the conference and 1-3 on the season.

The Horsemen return to action this Friday (Sept 22) when they journey to Missoula to take on Valley Christian. They return home the following week for a homecoming encounter with Arlee, Friday, Sept. 29.


Plains senior fullback Will Tatum steps into the end zone on a touchdown run during the Horsemen's 68-6 win over Troy Friday night in Plains. (Tracy Scott/Valley Press)