2009 Game 3:Â Meridian 30, Orting 22
One of the most anticipated 1A non-league match-ups of 2009 featured the Orting Cardinals visiting Laurel in Week 3.Â The game was a rematch of the 2008 contest, when an experienced Cardinals team dissected the younger Trojans.Â The 2009 versions of each team were nearly identical in personnel, but the Trojans starting QB Zack Slesk in 2009 played only in the 2nd half of the 2008 game and rallied the Trojans back.Â The Cardinals were well aware of the talents of Slesk and had even developed the “Slesk Drill” in preparation for the game (their defensive backs covered receivers for 15 seconds while a scout team QB ran side to side before throwing).Â Stopping Slesk was another matter.
The Trojans first drive stalled inside the Orting 20 but a 3-and-out by the Trojans defense set the offense up for their first score, a 12-yard Slesk-to-Mitchell Tripp pass on a bubble-screen following play action.Â Lacking the regular placekicker, the Trojans went for two and Slesk connected with Kody Carlson for the 8-0 lead.Â Slesk’s interception and 56-yard return on the Cardinals next possession set up Zack’s 2nd TD pass of the first quarter to Bo Norris from 10 yards away with Norris adding two more points on the conversion for a 16-0 first quarter lead.Â The Cardinals came roaring back in the 2nd quarter on a Jansen Powers TD catch and a Braden Cordes run, with Cordes adding a PAT kick and a 2-pt. conversion to trail the Trojans 16-15 at the half.
After holding the Cardinals scoreless on their first 3rd quarter possession, the Trojans struck again with Slesk finding Travis Ableman deep in the end zone–a pass covering more than 40 yards in the air–for a 38-yard touchdown.Â Another Slesk to Carlson 2-pt. conversion put the Trojans up 24-15 before the Cardinals cut the lead to two on Cordes’s 2nd TD of the game.
Taking a 24-22 lead into the 4th quarter, the Trojan defense thwarted the Cardinal comeback, denying Orting a completion in the 4th quarter and holding them to just 5 yards of offense.Â The Trojan offense controlled the clock, running the ball on 15 of their 18 4th-quarter snaps and adding an insurance score on an 8-yard Slesk run.Â For the game the Trojan defense allowed just 6 completions in 16 attempts and held the Cards to fewer than 200 total yards, while the offense gained 371 yards and 16 first downs.Â Zack Slesk turned in a sterling performance, rushing for more than 100 yards and passing for more than 200:Â only the 2nd time in school history a QB hit both the 100-yard rushing mark and 200 yards passing in the same game.
Passing:Â 14-22, 218 yards, 3 tds, 0 ints
Rushing:Â 23-111, 1 td