Injuries plague Tolton football in latest loss

4 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 11:48:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
By: Emma Moloney, Columbia Missourian

WARSAW - The final score of Friday’s Tolton football matchup — 44-20, in favor of the other team — looked just like any other game this season.

But as various Trailblazers left Warsaw High School on crutches, holding ice packs to their limbs and covered with medical tape, one thing was clear: This battered and bruised team had put up a fight.

“I think it’s important for them to know what the feeling of a game like this feels like,” Egnew said. “This is one of the only games we were competitively in it for a long time … this is one that they understood that they lost, but that they could have won.”

Tolton came out strong in the first quarter with a touchdown by senior running back Connor Fogue on the Trailblazer’s first drive.

When the Wildcats answered on the next drive with a touchdown of their own, the Trailblazers appeared unphased. The team worked its way back downfield with ease, and junior quarterback Gabe Pfenenger reached the end zone to put Tolton ahead 13-6.

“We did some really good things in the first half,” Egnew said. “The guys that really love football came out and played, and I think they did really well.”

The Trailblazer offense refused to let up, as junior wide receiver Dylan Block evaded defenders left and right to score the team’s third touchdown. Though Warsaw responded with one touchdown of its own, Tolton managed to hold off the Wildcat offense and maintain its lead heading into the half.

With the Trailblazers leading 20-14, Egnew took his players into the locker room after the back-and-forth half for an intense halftime conversation.

“We really called on the guys to come out and continue to fight a little harder,” Egnew said.

Confident, the Trailblazers jogged back to the sideline prepared for and expecting an equally competitive second half. 

But that wouldn't be the case.

In a complete reversal from the first half, the Wildcats came onto the field with a vengeance and tied the Trailblazers almost immediately.

Throughout the third and fourth quarters, the Trailblazers were plagued with injuries and struggled to contain an unrelenting Warsaw offense. Wildcat runners slipped through Tolton’s defensive gaps, and a series of interceptions and fumbles kept the ball out of the Trailblazer’s hands for most of the second half.

“Sometimes you have these unfortunate games where you just have too many injuries from your seniors and upperclassmen and you just can’t hang on,” Egnew said. “By the third quarter we were playing guys in places they had never played before.”

Three unanswered Warsaw touchdowns and a safety later, Tolton was down 44-20 and wouldn't score from there. 

Despite yet another loss, Egnew doesn’t believe his players have anything to hang their heads about on the bus ride home.

“This was one of those games where you start off well, and we just weren’t able to last,” Egnew said. “But what we’re doing is we’re trying to build and learn how to fight. Right now, we’re young … this is one of those years we’re going to have to build and continue on. That’s just how it has to go.”

Tolton will celebrate senior night and its final regular season home game at 7 p.m. Friday against Christian High School.

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