‘Balanced’ Pembroke Hill team hands Tonganoxie first defeat
Tonganoxie, off to its best start since 1992, was 2-0 and playing host to Pembroke Hill on Friday.
The Raiders had an identical mark and a No. 5 ranking for Class 2A in Missouri. But the Kansas City team was without two skill players, including highly touted quarterback Joseph Ferguson. The players were serving a suspension.
The Chieftains seemed to have a big opportunity with the absence of key players, but Pembroke Hill ran to an 18-0 halftime lead on its way to a 25-6 win.
Tonganoxie coach Mark Elston said the lack of stars might have helped the Raiders.
"With the running back and quarterback not playing, it added fuel to the fire," Elston said. "It was a rally behind the troops. It made them a little bit better football team by spreading it out."
The Raiders won last year's meeting 18-13 as well, but Elston didn't recognize the opposing linemen this year.
"The guys up front must have lived in the weight room since our last game," Elston said. "They were so big and so strong compared to last year. They smashed us up front the first half."
Elston's comment was pretty accurate. The Chieftains had just 23 rushing yards in the first half, while Pembroke Hill had 156 yards on the ground. The Raiders finished with 281 rushing yards.
After falling behind 6-0 in the first quarter, Tonganoxie started to slow down its opponent on defense in the second quarter, but a reverse and a fake punt helped put the Chieftains in an 18-0 hole at the half. The reverse was for a touchdown and the fake punt set up the third score.
Elston knew state-ranked Pembroke would be tough, but didn't expect his team to be flat.
"They received a decent tongue-lashing at halftime," Elston said. "Not so much because of the score, but effort."
Tonganoxie came back in the second half, driving inside the Raider 30, but a fumble ended the drive. The defense held Pembroke to one score in the second half, along with a stop on the Chieftains' own 11 yard-line.
"They can play with anybody if they have the desire to do so," Elston said.
The offense also fared better in the second half, gaining 112 rushing yards. The Chieftains' touchdown, though, came on a 20-yard pass from quarterback Troy Morando to a diving Kyle Mayse.
Now at 2-1, the Chieftains take on De Soto for Homecoming on Friday at Tonganoxie. The Wildcats, who finished 0-9 last year, are 1-2 this year. De Soto features junior Michael Allen, who ran for more than 200 yards against Basehor-Linwood on Friday.
"They got away from the run-and-shoot stuff from last year," Elston said. "This is a big, big game for them as far as a measuring stick for where they've come from last year."
Pembroke Hill (3-0) 6 12 7 0 25
Tonganoxie (2-1) 0 0 6 0 6
PH Torey Logan 23 pass from David Smith (kick failed)
PH Logan 46 run (kick failed)
PH Will Beeson 14 run (pass failed)
PH Clancey Hilkene 6 pass from Smith (Skylar Lyon kick)
T Kyle Mayse 20 pass from Troy Morando