Created: Tuesday, 14 September 2021 05:45
By ISAAC DEER
In the previous nine head-to-head football meetings between Emporia and Topeka High, the Trojans have emerged victorious in every single meeting against the Spartans.
In Emporia’s prolonged drought, the Spartans haven’t been able to find a way to edge the Trojans, with Thursday night a carbon copy of the past decade as Topeka High came out on top, 28-20, as senior Tylan Alejos turned in a monster night.
Topeka High senior Tylan Alejos scores one of his four touchdowns on the night in High's 28-20 win over Emporia Thursday night. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]
After two winless weeks, Topeka High was finally able to taste the sweet nectar of victory in front of the home Hummer Sports Park crowd for the first time in 2021.
Self-inflicted mistakes have haunted the Trojans the first two weeks, but Thursday the offense was able to overcome the mistakes.
“I feel like we are getting closer to where want to be as a team,'' Topeka High coach Carlos Kelly said. "We have a new coaching staff, along with a new nucleus of guys. It’s going to take time, but I am proud of the guys.
"Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we are clicking and we have better chemistry together.”
Alejos, one of the most dynamic players in the city, had himself a career night, rushing for 223 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries and catching two passes for 19 yards and a TD.
“It was a good team performance,'' Alejos said. "We came out a little sloppy in the beginning but we came out and executed in the second half. Our offensive line was way more aggressive tonight and it opened me up to have a good game.”
“We thought we could take advantage of Emporia by getting Tylan out in open space. He works so hard and tries so hard, which means a lot to the guys. Tylan needs to be Tylan Alejos and not anybody else. Tylan is a special player.”
Topeka High lineman Danny Saili (77) comes up with a defensive stop for the Trojans in Thursday's 28-20 win over Emporia. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]
Topeka High’s defense forced a three and out on Emporia's game-opening drive, forcing the Spartans to punt the ball away.
Topeka High then marched right down the field, only to throw an interception to linebacker Bobby Trujillo in the end zone.
At 1:30 in the first, Emporia’s Cam Geitz eluded High's pass rush and found Kaden Woydziak for an 89-yard touchdown to put the Spartans up, 7-0.
Following that Emporia touchdown, Topeka quarterback Peyton Wheat threw his second interception of the night to Trujillo, leading to a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Derrick Keys.
Topeka High would fight back with a long drive, getting on the scoreboard with a 4-yard Alejos touchdown to decrease the deficit to 13-7.
After the Alejos touchdown at the 6:23 mark, the defenses were hitting back and forth.
After blocking an Emporia punt, the Trojans started at the Emporia 15-yard line. Wheat rolled out to the right out of the pocket and threw a 15-yard TD to Alejos with 0:08 to go in the half, putting High in front, 14-13.
Emporia’s Jaxson Dial opened up the second half with a pick six for a touchdown as the Spartans went back in front, 20-14, but Topeka High bounced back with a strong 14-play drive, taking 6:30 off the clock and finishing it off by Alejos punching it in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown.
Topeka High ended Emporia's ensuing possession with a blocked punt that gave the Trojans the ball deep in Spartan territory.
Alejos would then run it up the gut for his fourth touchdown of the night, giving the Trojans their final 28-20 margin.
Emporia had an opportunity at the Topeka High 9-yard line with 1:32 to go but High forced an incompletion and held on for the win.
Emporia (0-3, 0-3) will host the Highland Park Scots next Friday, while Topeka High (1-2,1-2) will host Manhattan.
TOPEKA HIGH 28, EMPORIA 20
Emporia (0-3, 0-3) 7 6 7 0 -- 20
Topeka High (1-2, 1-2) 0 14 14 0 -- 28
Emporia -- Woydziak 89 pass from Geitz (Obermeyer kick)
Emporia -- Keys 4 run (kick failed)
Topeka High -- Alejos 4 run (Thomas kick)
Topeka High -- Alejos 15 pass (Thomas kick)
Emporia -- Dial 38 interception return (Obermeyer kick)
Topeka High -- Alejos 7 run (Thomas kick)
Topeka High -- Alejos 2 run (Thomas kick)
Rushing -- Emporia: Keys 13-6, Geitz 12-(minus)-9, Trujillo 1-3. Topeka High: Alejos 32-223, Wheat 4-5, Ross 2-10, Brown 1-5.
Passing -- Emporia: Geitz 11-22-0, 230 yards. Topeka High: Wheat 7-19-3, 106.
Receiving -- Emporia: Leeds 4-34, Woydziak 2-132, Trujillo 2-34, Obermeyer 2-22, Jackson, 1-8. Topeka High: Williams 3-28, Brown 2-59, Alejos, 2-19.
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