Tonganoxie blanks Ward, 7-0
Tonganoxie opened Friday's game against Ward with a commanding drive. The Chieftains, staying with their ground game, drove 75 yards and used more than eight minutes for their first touchdown.
It turned out the early touchdown was all the Chieftains would need for their first victory of the season as they won, 7-0.
A win is a win, but THS coach Mark Elston would have been happier to see a few more points on the board -- rather than a nail-biter on Ward's home field in Kansas City, Kan.
"Not taking anything away from Ward, but we should have won that game 40-0," Elston said. "We'll be running when we get home."
Tonganoxie scored with 3:54 remaining in the first quarter when Daniel Volk scored on a 1-yard run. Jeff Hughes then knocked in the extra point.
On Ward's first possession, Tonganoxie forced the Cyclones to punt.
The Chieftains fumbled the ball on their next possession, but the Tonganoxie defense again forced a punt.
"Defensively, we played very well," Elston said.
Although the defense was stellar, the offense sputtered after that first drive.
On Tonganoxie's next drive, the Chieftains were forced to punt. Back on offense, Ward moved into Tonganoxie territory at the 43-yard-line, but THS lineman Kent Fleming intercepted a Ward pass on a screen play.
Tonganoxie used the turnover to its favor, driving deep into Cyclone territory, thanks in large part to two Tyler Miles' receptions. Facing second down and 16 yards to go, Hughes threw to Miles on the sideline for a 14-yard gain. Later in the drive, Hughes again found Miles near the sideline on fourth and three.
"Tyler made some great catches on the sideline," Elston said. "Jeff put it right where it needed to be."
The last catch put Tonganoxie in the red zone. But on first and 10 from the 16, the Chieftains turned the ball over trying to run the option.
Although Tonganoxie squandered a scoring opportunity, the Chieftain defense pushed Ward back inside its own 5 in the final minutes of the first half. The Cyclones, on fourth and long, set up for a punt. A Tonganoxie rush blocked the Ward punt as the ball danced around inside the 10.
A Tonganoxie player picked the ball up and tried to run toward the end zone, but fumbled the ball. Officials ruled that Tonganoxie lost possession back to Ward because of the fumble.
Ward then ran the clock out and Tonganoxie headed to the locker room with a 7-0 lead.
Although the first half moved at a steady pace, the second half didn't move as swiftly. Play stopped several times because of penalties. In the fourth quarter, Ward was flagged for three consecutive penalties.
During that series, Ward had its best chance at a score. The Cyclones drove to the Tonganoxie 33, but an illegal use of the hands pushed Ward back. The Cyclones eventually had to punt from the 50, but Tonganoxie then was whistled for a roughing the kicker personal foul, and Ward had a new set of downs. That however, was the series in which the Cyclones were whistled for three consecutive penalties.
With the win, Tonganoxie improved to 1-1 overall and 1-1 in the Kaw Valley League. Ward dropped to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the KVL.
After two road games, the Chieftains will have their home opener Friday against Piper. During three of the last five years, the final score has been 17-14 -- with THS winning two of those games.
After last Friday's game, Elston said his team would need to improve as it prepares for Piper.
"We'll be searching for 11 players who are going to play the way we want them to play," Elston said.
Kickoff for the KVL game will be 7 p.m. at Beatty Field. Sunflower Broadband Channel 6 will televise the game on a tape-delay basis. The game will be aired at 10:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday.
Tonganoxie 7, Ward 0
Tonganoxie 7 0 0 0 --7
Bishop Ward 0 0 0 0 -- 0
THS -- Daniel Volk 1 run (Jeff Hughes kick)