Chieftains advance to regionals
On arguably the biggest election night in years, the Tonganoxie football team's playoff game looked in the first half to be a down-to-the-wire race.
Early in the second half, though, the hometown Chieftains quickly became the clear favorite against Basehor-Linwood.
Leading just 21-10 at the half, Tonganoxie scored on its first possession of the second half. It was a seven-play, 65-yard drive that put THS up, 28-10.
After forcing BLHS to a three-an-out situation, the Chieftains got the ball back. This time, Tonganoxie (9-1) scored in three plays capped by a Kaleb Lawrence 21-yard run.
Tonganoxie eventually was up, 34-10 and held that lead.
The win gave Tonganoxie its first playoff win in nine years and moved the Chieftains into Saturday's regionals against Hayden in Topeka. The top-ranked Wildcats (10-0) defeated Marysville, 29-0, Tuesday.
"They were ready to play Sunday night," THS coach Mark Elston said about his team after Tuesday's win.
Elston, who received a congratulatory Gatorade shower after the game, watched his team wear down the pesky Bobcats in the bi-district showdown.
For Tonganoxie lineman Andy Eisman, the win served as proof that this year's team couldn't be counted out despite losing so many seniors last season.
"I think everybody's in shock and ready for Hayden," Eisman said.
The Tonganoxie-Hayden game will be played Saturday in Topeka.
Look at The Mirror's online edition, www.tonganoxiemirror.com, today for kickoff time and directions to Hayden High.