AXTELL — Pleasanton’s offense was hindered by penalties in the first quarter against Axtell on Friday night.
The mistakes ruined offensive drives and kept the Bulldogs from scoring in the opening quarter. They avoided costly mistakes and scored 19 straight points in the second quarter, though, to seize a sizable advantage in their 33-8 victory over the Wildcats in an eight-man game at Axtell High School.
"It was kind of a slow start, as we shot ourselves in the foot with a few holding calls," Pleasanton coach Ricci Westland said. "It was a slow start offensively, but I will tell you what, the defense was there tonight. They were all over the place."
The Bulldogs (2-0) have won their first two games of the season to tie last year’s win total. They posted a disappointing 2-6 record last season, but with seven starters on offense and six on defense back this season, the Bulldogs hoped this season would be different.
They have looked like a complete team this season, averaging 39 points per game on offense while allowing opponents to score 18 points per contest.
"The kids just got tired of it last year," Westland said. "They knew how to be a 2-6 team, and they knew what it takes to be an 8-0 team. I’m not saying that’s what we’re going to get, but they wanted to change some things.
"The work ethic was paramount with this team moving forward. When the football season was over, they lifted year-round. We’ve never had a team this strong from top to bottom, and that’s just a testament to the work they put in in the weight room."
The Bulldogs opened the scoring midway through the second quarter. Senior quarterback Jakson Keaschall found Brady Klein open in the flat, and Klein cut up field and fought his way into the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown.
On the Bulldogs’ next offensive series, they started with outstanding field position after Treven Wendt returned the Wildcats’ punt 40 yards to the Axtell 5-yard line.
Two plays later, Kessler Dixon plunged across the goal line for a 2-yard score.
After a second consecutive three-and-out by Axtell, the Bulldogs added to their lead. Keaschall connected with Tyce Westland for a 10-yard touchdown with 1 minute, 7 seconds left in the first half to put Pleasanton ahead 19-0.
The Wildcats (1-1) scored their lone touchdown on a 3-yard QB sneak by Tyler Danburg with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs scored two more touchdowns during the remainder of the game and finished with 331 yards of offense.
Keaschall picked apart the Wildcats’ defense through the air. He finished the game with 312 yards and three touchdowns on 29 of 37 passing.
"We have some talented receivers and they have some great DBs over there," Westland said. "Once we found some holes or some schemes with combination routes, we got those going and that started working."
Up next, the Bulldogs have their first home game of the season when they face Kenesaw, while the Wildcats will travel to Elwood on Friday.
Pleasanton 33, Axtell 8
Scores by Quarter
Pleasanton (2-0) 0 19 7 7 — 33
Axtell (1-1) 0 0 8 0 — 8
PHS — Brady Klein 9 pass from Jakson Keaschall (Keaschall run failed)
PHS — Kessler Dixon 2 run (Grady Chandler kick good)
PHS — Tyce Westland 10 pass from Keaschall (Keaschall pass failed)
AHS — Tyler Danburg 3 run (Danburg run good)
PHS — Treven Wendt 39 pass from Keaschall (Chandler kick good)
PHS — Dixon 1 run (Chandler kick good)
PHS — Kessler Dixon 7-16-2, Jakson Keaschall 9-24-0, Brodrick Paitz 1-1-0, Team 2-(-22)-0. AHS — Dustin Klingsporn 15-36-0, Tyler Danburg 13-(-7)-1, Aaron Skaggs 3-6-0, Quinn Bertrand 3-19-0, Joe French 1-4-0, Brennan Runge 1-10-0, Team 1-(-1)-0.
PHS — Jakson Keaschall 29-37-1 312 yards, Kray Kingston 0-2-0. AHS — Tyler Danburg 3-8-2 51 yards, Aaron Skaggs 0-1-0, Brennan Runge 0-4-0.
PHS — Treven Wendt 7-86-1, Tyce Westland 7-65-1, Brady Klein 2-23-1, Seth Eckel 5-46-0, TJ Baillie 2-12-0, Kessler Dixon 6-80-0. AHS — Calvin Johnson 1-7-0, Dustin Klingsporn 1-15-0, Joe French 1-29-0.