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Airedales looking for strong finish 11/3/22

Airedales looking for strong finish 

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 

 

The Airedales wrap up the regular season on Friday in Springdale against the Shiloh Christian Saints. 

 

Having already clinched a winning record for the first time since 2017, coach Rusty Bush and the Airedales are eager to add to some other numbers. 

 

Defensively, the Airedales have forced 18 turnovers, chased down 22 quarterbacks (sacks), and have 62 tackles for loss plays. The team had but seven sacks in 2021. 

 

Senior defensive end Dillon Flanagan leads the team with 10 quarterback sacks and has 14 TFLs. He played in only seven games and finished with no sacks and two TFLs as a junior. 

 

Offensively, quarterback Joe Trusty will end his career amid some impressive statistics. The Airedales’ quarterback already set the single-game record for yards passing (347 last season against Farmington) and needs just 114 yards passing to pass Evan Burris for second all-time in career yards passing. 

 

Trusty will do so without a post-season game, whereas the others ahead of him, including the team’s all-time passing yards leader, Noah Dotson, started 34 games compared with Trusty’s 20. 

 

The Airedales (6-3, 3-3) conclude the regular season Friday against 8-1, 6-0 Shiloh Christian Saints. The teams haven’t met since 2013. 

 

“I’m very thankful for these seniors who have helped us (win); I thank them every day,” Bush said. “I think it’s a thankless deal where they stuck with us since January and just said, ‘Hey, you know what, the past isn’t going to affect our season this year - we’re going to do whatever we can to help make this program successful.

 

“We’re excited for another opportunity against an excellent Shiloh Christian team to go chase No. 7.”

 

Quarterback Eli Wisdom has passed for 24 touchdowns, with 14 of those going to standout receiver Bodie Neal. The Saints’ Bo Williams leads the team with 20 touchdowns. 

 

Trusty has passed for 16 touchdowns and ran for 10 others to give him a combined two-year total of 51 touchdowns. He threw for 19 TDs and ran for six touchdowns in 2021. 

 

The bigger number for Alma is the victory totals. The team hadn’t had an overall winning record since going 7-5 in 2017. 

 

“We’ve had an excellent year up to this point,” Bush said. “Since I’ve been here; two wins the first year, three wins (last season), and to be able to go to six and double it up, post COVID, and trying to get this thing headed in the right direction. We’re super excited.”

 

Alma junior running backs Carlos Gonzalez and Isreal Towns-Robinson have combined for 1,126 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. 

 

Both are weapons in the air, too. 

 

Towns-Robinson has seven receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns; Gonzalez has seven for 107 yards and three touchdowns. 

 

Drake Stogsdill broke his collarbone last week and will finish the season with 34 receptions for 450 yards and three touchdowns. Matthew Schlegel had 20 receptions for 284 yards and four touchdowns.