Football team overcomes fumbles, flags
Yellow hankies weren't tucked in referees' pockets much during Friday's Tonganoxie-Bishop Ward football game.
Officials called 23 penalties Friday -- 13 on Tonganoxie and 10 on Ward -- for a whopping 181 yards in total penalty yardage. But the Chieftains overcame 95 yards in penalties on their way to a 34-17 victory against the visiting Cyclones.
"The game lasted forever," Elston said of the contest that took about three hours to complete. "There wasn't any fast to it."
But each team had scoring spurts.
Tonganoxie scored first on quarterback Jeff Hughes' 38-yard run. A Daniel Volk 4-yard run with 5:37 left in the first quarter put Tonganoxie up, 13-0.
Then came the Cyclones, who scored 17 unanswered points. Ward scored first on a 25-yard pass reception from quarterback Steven Maurin to Jaime Garcia. Ward scored again in the second quarter, thanks to a 74-yard halfback toss pass play from Michael Delich to Chris Wing. And then Ward kicked a 37-yard field goal after Tonganoxie fumbled the football, expanding the Cyclones' lead to four.
The fumble was one of four for Tonganoxie. That compared to one Ward miscue, which was an interception by Hughes.
"Ward seems to bring out the worst in us," THS coach Mark Elston said. "I don't know why.
"As I said last week, they never give up and don't think they're out of it."
Neither did Tonganoxie, with about 1:35 left before halftime and Bishop Ward riding a sizable wave of momentum.
Starting on the Tonganoxie 5-yard line, Hughes orchestrated an 11-play, 95-yard drive that included a 17-yard reception by senior Zeb Kissinger that proved vital for the Chieftains.
"Talk about a momentum swing," Elston said about Kissigner's catch, which occurred near the Tonganoxie sideline.
The drive finished with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Volk with 7.8 seconds left before halftime.
Kissinger and Volk's receptions revived the Tonganoxie crowd just before halftime.
In the second half, THS junior Kevin Gill, on third and five, bounced through the Cyclone defense for a 63-yard touchdown run.
"We really needed that to get us hyped up," Gill said. "I owe it to the O-line."
Gill said he wasn't overly excited about the long touchdown run, adding he was worried he would get tackled before he reached the goal line.
Tonganoxie completed a 21-0 scoring run with Volk's third touchdown of the night, a 9-yard run late in the third quarter. Neither team scored in the fourth.
During the game, particularly in the second half, Bishop Ward players, at the end of plays, went to the ground often with leg cramps.
The Chieftains didn't suffer any leg cramps, something Volk attributed to substantial conditioning in the summer and preseason.
As for Tonganoxie's ability to score in the second half and hold off Bishop Ward, Volk said the team's halftime discussion refocused the squad in that second half.
"It was pretty calm," Volk said about the locker room at halftime. "We were just told to keep our composure."
Tonganoxie compiled an amazing 578 yards of offense -- 457 of those on the ground.
Bishop Ward, meanwhile, had 229 total yards, 184 of those through the air.
Hughes led the team in rushing with 148, while Gill amassed 145. Each had a touchdown, while Volk scored two and rushed for 103 yards.
Defensively, Kissinger led the team in tackles with 12, while Bryan Morris and Justin McDaniel each had nine. Morris and McDaniel had two tackles each for losses, while Derek Parrett had eight tackles -- three of those for losses.
Undefeated Tonganoxie (2-0 overall and 2-0 in the Kaw Valley League) on Friday will travel to Bonner Springs (1-1 and 1-1) . It will be Tonganoxie's first game on artificial turf, which the Bonner Springs school district installed during the off-season.
Elston said THS players must adjust to not playing on grass.
"We've only got 45 minutes to get used to it and they have all the time," Elston said.
THS will play on artificial turf again in October when the Chieftains travel to Atchison for a district game.
D.J. Gray, who led the Chieftains in rushing in the season opener against Lansing, did not play Friday because of a bruised thigh. Elston said Gray is questionable for Friday's game against BSHS.
Tonganoxie 34, Bishop Ward 17
Score by quarters
Bishop Ward 7 10 0 0 -- 17
Tonganoxie 13 6 15 0 -- 34
How they scored
T -- Hughes 38 run (Hughes kick)
T -- Volk 4 run (pass failed)
BW -- Garcia 25 pass from Maurin (Stoker kick)
BW -- Wing 74 pass from Delich (Stoker kick)
T -- Volk 24 pass from Hughes (run failed)
T -- Gill 63 run (Volk pass from Hughes)
T -- Volk 9 run (Hughes kick)