Chieftains competitive in first half
LEAVENWORTH - The Tonganoxie football team played its best half of the young season Saturday at Immaculata.
Despite losing 35-10, the Chieftains showed sparks on offense and defense. Tonganoxie led briefly 7-6 in the first quarter, and trailed only 13-10 at halftime.
John Barnes, Tonganoxie quarterback, scored in the first quarter on a one-yard run after Kyle Wedel recovered a Raider fumble.
Ryan Lowe, kicker, added a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Chieftains.
Two possessions close to the goal line could have given the Chieftains the lead.
Neil Rieger caught a pass in the right flat on third and eight at the Tonganoxie 31 during the second quarter. It looked like Immaculata defenders were going to drag him down, but he broke free and ran down the sideline to the Immaculata 15.
Two plays later, a Tonganoxie back carried the ball to the goal line, but the referees ruled that he fumbled before he entered the end zone.
That and a goal line stand by the Chieftains at their end of the field stuck in the mind of Steve Hughes, Tonganoxie football coach, after the game.
"They get a questionable one (touchdown)," Hughes said. "Ours, we felt, he was in the end zone before he fumbled it."
The other Tonganoxie scoring chance came with about a minute left in the first half. Joseph Sledd caught a pass in the right flat on first and ten at the Tonganoxie 46. He ran, slashing past defenders to the Immaculata 23.
A Barnes pass to Rieger moved the ball to the one-yard line. But Tonganoxie didn't get into the end zone on two running plays, and the half ended.
Hughes said both Rieger and Sledd helped the team with their strong running on the pass plays.
On defense, the Chieftains slowed Raider backs Ahmad Ashkar and Justin McGlinn enough to stay in the game.
The team will build on small successes as it plays Lansing, 0-3, Friday at Beatty Field.