Chieftains stumble against Atchison
Tonganoxie fans huddled in bunches at aging Amelia Earhart Field, bracing themselves as the sharp air numbed their toes, fingers and noses Tuesday night in Atchison.
Chieftain football players had the same numb feeling, but Mother Nature didn't play a hand in their pain.
Playing against Atchison in a Class 4A bi-district playoff game, a Chieftain team that endured defeat just once in the regular season was dealt another in the first round of the playoffs.
Atchison built a 14-0 lead going into the half, and then scored on four consecutive offensive plays in the third quarter in route to a 39-0 victory.
The Redmen registered runs of 73, 5, 77 and 56 in the third quarter, smothering any hopes Tongaonxie had for its first playoff win since 1995.
The second touchdown was set up after a 50-yard interception by junior defensive back Anthony Barnhart, who had another pick earlier in the game.
Atchison's plays weren't flashy. In fact, Tonganoxie defenders appeaered to have Atchison backs stopped on the three long plays.
But Tongaoxie's tackling wasn't at its best.
"Our tackling was pathetic," THS coach Mark Elston said.
The Chieftains did have a chance late in the first half for a score after forcing an Atchison fumble near the 30, but Tonganoxie turned the ball over on downs.
"We just got physcially manhandled," Elston siad. "I think on the exterior they were ready. I don't know about on the intereior."
Tonganoxie had 166 yards of total offense compared to Atchison's 459 -- 441 of which was on the ground.
The Chieftains ended their season at 8-2. Atchison improved to 8-2 and will play against Topeka-Hayden (9-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday.