Bulldogs end 20-game skid with victory
On Saturday morning, M came before H in Kansas newspapers.
That's right: McLouth 20, Horton 8.
The score probably didn't mean much to many score searchers across the state, but in the Delaware Valley League, the score caught some attentive eyes.
Having McLouth listed first hasn't happened in about three years, but Friday that all changed.
About 40 players, four coaches and their fans watched the final seconds tick off the Horton High scoreboard. Scoreboards have been far from eye candy for the Bulldogs in recent seasons, but the Horton scoreboard was a Russell Stover's warehouse Friday evening.
MHS snapped a 20-game losing streak with the victory. Sure, the Bulldogs were eating up the outcome, but MHS coach Harry Hester said his team kept everything in perspective.
"They handled it well," Hester said. "They handled it like they knew it was going to happen.
"There was celebration like you would have after a win and they handled it well."
Last year, the Bulldogs hoped to defeat the Chargers in their meeting in McLouth, but several MHS turnovers helped Horton sprint to a 44-0 win.
Early in Friday's game, it appeared the Bulldogs might be in for more of the same.
After an early penalty, McLouth was forced to punt, and the kick went about five yards. Horton took over on the McLouth 30, but the Bulldogs stopped HHS. McLouth then drove to the Horton 2, but quarterback Jimmy Steffey threw an interception.
"We talked to the kids about handling adversity and how it was going to come," Hester said. "Nobody pointed fingers, nobody hung their heads."
The Bulldogs would be rolling soon enough.
McLouth scored a touchdown in the first, second and third quarters and had a 20-0 lead going into the final stanza.
The Bulldogs would have had the shutout, but the Chargers scored with 1:55 left in the game on a 25-yard David Paden pass from Nick Peterson.
As for the total yardage for the Bulldogs, McLouth allowed Horton to 66 rushing yards, part of 139 total yards.
MHS, meanwhile, rushed 38 times for 336 yards. Kevin Stewart, who quarterbacked for the Bulldogs last season, rushed for 268 of those yards as a running back. On defense, Andrew Booth was credited with two interceptions.
"It's pretty easy calling plays when everything you call works," Hester said. "They did a tremendous job on both sides of the ball. We owned the line and if you can do that, you're going to win a lot of football games."
After the first possession, the Bulldogs did not punt again until late in the game.
Hester said his team played pretty well in its first game. The team had some holding penalties and "first-game things" that Hester said need correcting, but added that the team is ready to fine-tune and look to end another statistic -- its home losing streak. MHS hasn't won at the Bulldog Sports Complex in about five years.
McLouth will face Wathena at 7 p.m. Friday in its home opener. MHS fell to Wathena last year in a 21-20 heartbreaker.
Wathena is 0-1 on the season after losing to Jackson Heights, 39-14, last week.
"Wathena's got a new coach," Hester said. "They're doing things differently and they've got kids exited. "We got rid of one monkey. We're looking to get rid of another monkey this week."
If that's the case, the Bulldogs would have two wins in two weeks. That's the number of victories the program had in the previous four years.
If they do win again, the scene could become what Hester expected against Horton.
"I thought it would be pandemonium," Hester said.
McLouth 20, Horton 8
MHS (1-0, 1-0) 7 7 6 0 -- 20
HHS (1-0, 1-0) 0 0 0 8 -- 8
How they scored
M -- Kevin Stewart 23 run (Ripp Harrison kick)
M -- Jimmy Steffey 4 run (Harrison kick)
M -- Stewart 2 run (kick failed)
H -- David Paden 25 pass from Nick Peterson (conversion good)