As Trevor Fitzgerald goes, so goes the Yankton offense.
That’s tended to be the case this season as the senior standout moved to quarterback.
It allowed, as the Yankton coaches have said all season, one of the best athletes on the team to do his thing in multiple ways. And that was exactly the case Friday night.
Fitzgerald had a hand in all six touchdowns for the Bucks, who once again controlled the second half en route to a 42-14 thrashing of Douglas at Crane-Youngworth Field.
“What you saw tonight was what we see in practice every single day,” Yankton head coach Brady Muth said. “He can do so much for us.”
Which is exactly what happened for the Bucks (8-0).
Fitzgerald ran for 118 yards and four touchdowns, passed for 107 yards and one score, and even returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
“If he played QB his whole life, things might be different, because he would’ve grown up as a quarterback, but the most impressive thing to me is that he picked it up in the summer and is doing this,” Muth said.
In other words, Fitzgerald has picked up the offense quickly.
“And it’s not like our progressions are easy; it takes some serious intelligence to grasp what we’re doing as fast as Fitz has,” Muth added.
After the game was tied 7-7 at halftime, the Bucks out-scored the Patriots 21-0 in the third quarter and then didn’t allow the visitors to find the end zone until the final three minutes.
After a scoreless first quarter, Tyler Clark got Douglas on the scoreboard first, as he scored on a 5-yard run at the 11:02 mark.
On the Patriots’ next drive, a pass lofted to the right sideline was intercepted by Yankton senior Aidan Feser. The Bucks used the short field to find the end zone, on Trevor Fitzgerald’s 19-yard touchdown run at the 6:12 mark.
That’s where things stood at halftime, 7-7.
Fitzgerald then took the opening kickoff of the third quarter 80 yards for a touchdown. Yankton’s defense then stopped Douglas on a fourth down run, and the Bucks cruised into the end zone again — on a Fitzgerald 12-yard touchdown run at the 7:04 mark.
Fitzgerald then capped his monster third quarter with a 32-yard touchdown pass to junior Cameron Zahrbock on the final play, and the Bucks took a 28-7 lead.
A bad snap past the Douglas punter early in the fourth quarter set up Yankton at the 1-yard line, and Fitzgerald ran the ball in for another score.
Douglas then turned the ball over on downs on its next drive, and Fitzgerald later scored on a 17-yard run with 5:18 remaining. The Patriots capped the scoring with a 58-yard touchdown pass from David Severson to Payton Dewitt with 2:48 left.
Outside of Fitzgerald’s performance, the Bucks got 31 yards passing from sophomore Rugby Ryken, 20 rushing yards from senior Corbin Sohler, 89 receiving yards from Zahrbock and 31 receiving yards from sophomore Tyler Sohler.
The Bucks, according to their coach, showcased some resiliency to recover from a slow first half.
“I just wish we didn’t need that on display every game,” Muth added. “I wish we could just come out and play football and get things rolling right away.
“Our ability keeps bailing us out.”
The win sets Yankton up with a crucial game in next Thursday’s regular season finale at Brookings. Both teams will come in 8-0 and the No. 1 seed for the Class 11AA playoffs will be at stake.
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DOUGLAS (1-6) 0 7 0 7 — 14
YANKTON (8-0) 0 7 21 14 — 42
DHS — Tyler Clark, 5-yard run (David Severson kick); 11:02
YHS — Trevor Fitzgerald, 19-yard run (Gavin Fortner kick); 6:12
YHS — Fitzgerald, 80-yard kickoff return (Fortner kick); 11:49
YHS — Fitzgerald, 12-yard run (Fortner kick); 7:04
YHS — Cameron Zahrbock, 32-yard pass from Fitzgerald (Fortner kick); 0:00
YHS — Fitzgerald, 1-yard run (Fortner kick); 10:16
YHS — Fitzgerald, 17-yard run (Fortner kick); 5:18
DHS — Payton Dewitt, 58-yard pass from Severson (Severson kick); 2:48