Chieftains jolt Chargers for fourth win
Tonganoxie wouldn't be denied on homecoming night.
Similar to its previous home game against Piper, THS was in a close game at halftime with Santa Fe Trail. Tonganoxie led, 13-7, at intermission, but gained momentum in the second half.
THS scored twice in the third quarter and once again in the fourth for a 32-7 victory -- the same score of Tonganoxie's game against Piper.
"It's all right," Elston said of the duplicate score. "I'll take it every time. It's all right by me."
Tonganoxie scored first, with 4:26 left in the first quarter. On fourth-and-four from the Trail 14, Jeff Hughes found Tyler Miles over the middle for a touchdown and the Chieftains had an early 6-0 lead.
As they've done throughout much of the season, the run-oriented Chieftains connected on a key passing play.
"We've got that play-action going," Miles said.
THS senior fullback B.T. Fleming set the tone for the Chieftain running game during that first drive. Fleming ran over defenders to the tune of 36 yards during the first drive, which went 70 yards in 14 plays.
"We don't have a tremendous amount of speed," Elston said, referring to his backfield. "We can't outrun people, but we can out-hammer them."
In the second quarter, however, the homecoming atmosphere suddenly changed.
After punting during their first two possessions, the Chargers assembled a 10-play, 85-yard drive that included a 57-yard pass play. On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard-line, Santa Fe Trail's Aaron Beatty scored on a sweep play to the right with just 1:13 left in the half. Santa Fe Trail's extra point put SFT up, 7-6, and turned the boisterous Chieftain crowd silent.
That quickly changed.
Brandon Willis took the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to the Charger 37. Six plays later, on third-and-one, Hughes again found Tyler Miles in the end zone, this time for an 11-yard touchdown reception. With 30.2 seconds left in the half, THS went back on top, 12-7. The quick score deflated the tough-luck Chargers right before the half. Santa Fe Trail has led in each of its five games, but has won only one of those games.
"Brandon Willis' long return really ignited us," Elston said.
In the second half, Tonganoxie's defense gave the Santa Fe Trail offense fits.
The Chieftain offense, meanwhile, was in high gear. Daniel Volk pushed the lead to 11 with a 9-yard run in the third quarter. Jeff Hughes then scored on an option keeper to the right, also in the third. He scampered 41 yards for the touchdown, and THS made the score 24-7.
Hughes credited his linemen with making his long touchdown run a reality.
"Great blocking from the line," Hughes said. "They were blowing them off the ball all night."
Hughes scored one more time in the fourth quarter on a 9-yard run.
Defensively, the Chieftains had three interceptions and a slew of sacks. THS limited SFT to 22 rushing yards and 165 passing yards.
Elston was pleased with his defensive effort and the play of one senior in particular.
"Seth Lloyd played extremely well," Elston said.
In the second half, Santa Fe Trail ran a screen play, but Lloyd wasn't fooled. He waited patiently and then pounced on the Charger running back.
"I was just ready to play with homecoming and everything," Lloyd said.
Lloyd, who solely plays defense, puts a lot of pride into his role.
He also was quick to tout the play of his teammates on the defensive side of the ball.
"Our defense rocks," Lloyd said.
The offense wasn't too shabby, either.
The Chieftains had 235 rushing yards and 41 passing yards. Hughes led the rushing attack with 90 yards, while Willis had 65.
Now 4-1 overall and 4-1 in the Kaw Valley League, THS will play Basehor-Linwood on Friday at Basehor before starting district play Oct. 14 against Bonner Springs at Beatty Field.
Kickoff for the Tonganoxie-Basehor game will be 7 p.m.
Tonganoxie 32, Trail 7
Score by quarters
Santa Fe Trail 0 7 0 0 -- 7
Tonganoxie 6 6 12 8 -- 32
How they scored
T -- Tyler Miles 14 pass from Jeff Hughes (Hughes kick failed)
SFT -- Beatty 1 run (Ryan Fike kick good)
T --iles 11 pass from Hughes (conversion failed)
T -- Daniel Volk 9 run (kick failed)
T --ughes 40 run (conversion failed)
T -- Hughes 9 run (Volk conversion pass from Zeb Kissinger)