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Mohrmann's four first-half TDs lead Francis Howell to rout of Troy

Mohrmann's four first-half TDs lead Francis Howell to rout of Troy

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WELDON SPRING — The Dane Train rolled right along Friday night.

Francis Howell senior running back Dane Mohrmann — affectionately called “The Dane Train” by his teammates — chugged out 154 yards and four touchdowns on just 13 carries — all in the first half — to lead the big-play Vikings to a 57-28 win over Troy in a GAC South football contest Friday night at Howell.

“I have to thank my O-line because they really showed up all game,” said Mohrmann, who had 295 yards rushing and five TDs over the season’s first three games. “We have a whole bunch of offensive weapons. I think this whole offense just knows what they’re doing out there and you can trust every one of them.”

Box: Francis Howell 57, Troy Buchanan 28

Howell (3-1 overall, 2-0 GAC South) won its second straight game after a Week 2 loss at Fort Zumwalt North and has scored 99 points in the last two weeks.

“If these kids can continue to focus on practice before the games and take it one day at a time, we’ll continue to make huge strides,” Vikings coach Brent Chojnacki said.

Before the game was barely eight minutes old, the Vikings had already racked up 182 yards on just 12 plays to take a quick 21-0 lead.

The big plays came right from the opening snap. Senior quarterback Alex Pipes hit Gavin Smith for a 36-yard reception on the Vikings’ first offensive play, and two plays later, Pipes hooked up with Quincy Morris for a 35-yard TD pass just 34 seconds into the game.

“We have a lot of weapons,” Pipes said. “This year, we have a lot of new players and they’re fast and good.”

An interception by Gus Hetzel on Troy’s second offensive play preceded Mohrmann’s first TD run of the game - a 39-yarder, - exactly one minute after the first TD.

The Trojans (3-2, 1-1) put together an impressive drive on the following series, but the march stalled on downs at the Howell 20-yard-line.

Eight plays later, Pipes hit Jackson Hetzel for an 11-yard TD and Howell enjoyed a three-score lead after one quarter.

“We’ve got some weapons out there and some of those guys are not even necessarily starters for us, but we rolled them out there tonight and they made things happen,” Chojnacki said. “It’s pretty impressive what those guys with limited practice reps were able to do.”

After a Jack Meyer fumble recovery, the Vikings drove 75 yards in 12 plays and Mohrmann scored again on a 5-yard run. The PAT snap was errant, but holder Gus Hetzel scooped it up, ran right and tossed it toward the end zone, where the ball was tipped into the hands of Meyer for a 29-0 lead.

“It was really amazing seeing my brothers come together and having trust,” said Meyer, a senior linebacker who had two fumble recoveries. “That’s really the best way to shut down that triple option and we came out there strong on both sides of the ball. That was our game plan.”

Howell was finally forced to punt on its fifth possession and the Trojans broke through to block Pipes’ punt with Bryan Kasten recovering it at the Vikings 5. Troy quarterback Kayden Uhlmeyer scored on a keeper on the very next play to cut the deficit to 29-7.

But, Mohrmann would score two more TDs before the intermission.

A 51-yard Damon Williams kickoff return set Howell up just on the Troy side of midfield and Mohrmann did the rest with a 47-yard run to the end zone.

Hetzel then snared his second pick of the game and Mohrmann punched it in from the 1 inside the final minute of the first half to give the Vikings a commanding 43-7 lead at the break.

“He’s just a downhill running back, and him one-on-one with safeties, he’s always going for that collision,” Chojnacki said. “He’s not going to run around you. What he does is just impressive for us.”

In addition to Mohrmann’s big first half, Pipes totaled 189 yards in the first 24 minutes, including 151 through the air.

The Howell defense also had a big first half with three turnovers, all of which led to touchdowns at the other end.

“Defensively, we preach getting the ball back,” Chojnacki said. “One of our areas of success is winning that turnover margin and our defense did a great job winning that turnover margin for us tonight.”

A running clock greeted both teams to start the second half, but Troy’s Austin Wenzel briefly put a halt to it with a 60-yard TD run before Morris got it started right back up with a 95-yard kickoff return to make it 50-14.

Nick Bova’s 73-yard run down the Troy sideline trimmed the deficit to 50-21 after three quarters before Jesse Versheldon hauled in a 35-yard pass from backup quarterback Booker Simmons IV to put Howell back up five scores early in the fourth quarter.

Wenzel’s second TD of the game, a 59-yard run with 1:13 left, closed out the scoring.

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