Chieftains fall short in opener
The Tonganoxie football team played on the wrong end of the field for most of the game Friday night at Beatty Field.
The Piper Pirates spoiled the home opener, beating the Chieftains, 34-0.
Piper started drives inside the Tonganoxie 50-yard line seven times and scored on five of those opportunities. The Chieftains, on the other hand, began most of their drives deep in their own territory and crossed the 50-yard line only three times.
Steve Hughes, Tonganoxie football coach, was disappointed by the loss.
"They were playing on the short end of the field," Hughes said.
It was a hole the Chieftains never could crawl out of.
Piper pinned Tonganoxie with kickoffs near or past the goal line after touchdowns and to begin the second half.
Fumbles on the first two possessions of the second half gave the Pirates the ball on the Chieftains' five- and 21-yard lines. Piper converted both opportunities into touchdowns, turning a 20-0 halftime gap into an insurmountable lead.
The fumbles were only a few of the many early-season mistakes committed by both teams.
Tonganoxie turned the ball over four times, including an interception.
Piper fumbled three times, and Tony Miller, Tonganoxie lineman, recovered two of those fumbles.
Tonganoxie's second possession of the game was one of its best scoring opportunities. The Chieftains took the ball from their own 41 and drove to the Pirates' 24 before a holding penalty negated a scramble to the 18 by John Barnes Jr., Tonganoxie quarterback.
After the penalty, Tonganoxie ran the ball twice before turning it over to Piper on downs.
Tonganoxie didn't quit in the second half, even after Piper scored the early touchdowns. The Chieftains took the third possession of the half at their 20 and ran nine penalty-free, mistake-free plays to their 48 before having to punt again.
The Chieftains were hurt by their inability to get a passing game started.
Barnes didn't complete a pass until late in the third quarter. He finished 2-12 for 16 yards, and he threw one interception.
The Piper defense applied a lot of pressure, sacking Barnes for a nine-yard loss on the first drive of the game.
Tonganoxie's freshmen suited up and cheered the varsity from the sideline, but the team's lack of depth showed, especially on the line.
Piper won the battle of the lines, rushing Barnes when he dropped back to throw, stopping Tonganoxie backs and opening big holes for its own runners.
Piper outrushed Tonganoxie 303 yards to 115 yards.
Piper also completed 5-13 passes for 43 yards including a six-yard touchdown pass.
Santa Fe Trail visits Beatty Field Friday night.
The league game will be another challenge for Chieftains.
"Our schedule is pretty tough the first half," Hughes said.
He said Santa Fe Trail will run the wing T on offense. Hughes said he expects to see inside traps and misdirection plays from the Chargers.
Varsity football 7 p.m. against Santa Fe Trail Friday at Beatty Field.
This will be Parents Night for the Chieftains.
Ninth-grade football 4:30 p.m. Monday at Santa Fe Trail.
The junior varsity football game at Santa Fe Trail has been canceled.