Tonganoxie smothers Bonner team with defense
The Tonganoxie High offense once again was on top of its game and the THS defense wasn't far behind.
Behind four first-half touchdowns and a defense that kept the Bonner Springs offense out of the end zone all night, the Chieftains rolled to their third win in as many weeks, this time blasting the Braves, 42-7, in their first road game of the season at Bonner Springs.
Tonganoxie took control early in this one. Daniel Volk's return of the opening kickoff set the table for the Chieftains' first score. After bobbling the kick inside his own 10-yard line, the senior calmly retrieved the football and rumbled 66 yards to the Bonner Springs 30.
He followed that with a 24-yard run on the first play from scrimmage.
Senior quarterback Jeff Hughes took over from there, running twice for gains of four yards and one yard to give the Chieftains an early 7-0 lead.
After falling behind quickly, Bonner Springs got a nice kickoff return from senior Anthony Brown and that gave the Braves' potent offense good field position with a first-and-10 from their own 43-yard line.
At that point, however, the Tonganoxie defense made a statement. The Braves handed to junior LT Lee out of the wishbone on the first play, but he was stuffed for a one-yard loss. Lee got the call on the next play, as well, but his sweep to the left side went nowhere.
On third-and-11 from the 42, BSHS quarterback Willie Wilson rolled right and missed Brown near the Braves' sideline. The first series was a quick three-and-out for the Braves, with no touches for all-league tailback Tyler Jock.
Tonganoxie followed with a three-and-out of its own and the Braves regained possession at their own 44. BSHS coach Lew Kassselman again pounded away with Lee, but the Tonganoxie defense continued to turn him back. With 5:45 remaining in the first quarter, Jock received his first carry. However, he gained just one yard on a fourth-and-two situation and Bonner Springs turned the ball back over to the Chieftains.
Tonganoxie began its next possession at its own 47, but again the Chieftains failed to punch the ball into the end zone. Kevin Gill raced 28 yards on the first play of the series and ran for nine more on the drive. However, on a fourth-and-12 play from the 19-yard line Tonganoxie coach Mark Elston elected to go for it and Hughes was sacked by Bonner Springs' Chris Caudill. The sack gave possession back to Bonner Springs, but on the ensuing drive, the Braves delivered their third straight three-and-out of the first half.
Jock had one carry during the series and recorded just three yards.
Overall, the THS defense held Bonner Springs to just 52 yards of offense, and only nine were rushing yards.
"We were pretty confident going in," THS coach Mark Elston said. "Our guys were fired up.
"They were interested in stopping their rushing attack and not giving them any running plays and we did that, other than the kickoff return we need to get solved."
On the second play of the second quarter, Tonganoxie scored again, this time on a 37-yard play-action pass from Hughes to Zeb Kissinger, who had slipped 10 yards behind the BSHS defense.
The extra point was blocked and Tonganoxie's lead grew to 13-0.
Two drives later, Tonganoxie's aerial attack struck again. After pounding away with Gill for three straight running plays, Hughes dropped back and found Gill alone in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown. Gill added the finishing touches to the drive with a two-point conversion run and Tonganoxie led 21-0.
The Braves' only highlight of the night came on the ensuing kickoff when Brown out-ran everyone to the end zone for an 84-yard kickoff return that momentarily breathed life into the Bonner Springs sideline.
However, the Chieftains answered with an 11-play, 5-minute drive capped by a one-yard plunge from Gill, and took a 28-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Chieftains opened the second half the way they ended the first, with a long scoring drive that turned the game into a laugher.
This time it was Volk scoring from 10 yards out that gave the Chieftains a 35-7 lead.
Three possessions later, after the defense forced and recovered a BSHS fumble inside the five-yard line, Gill bullied his way into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown to put the finishing touches on the blowout.
Tonganoxie finished the game with 360 total yards of offense, 252 of which were on the ground. Gill led the Chieftains in rushing with 98 on 16 carries, including two touchdowns, while Volk racked up a total of 87 yards on 13 carries, one of which went for a touchdown. Hughes, meanwhile, had nine carries for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Hughes also completed five of eight passes for 108 yards. Zeb Kissinger caught two of those passes for 60 yards and a touchdown, Kevin Gill had one catch -- the 32-yard touchdown reception -- and Jordan Herron had two receptions for 16 yards.
Defensively, Derek Parrett and Wes Armstrong led the team in tackles with eight each. For Parrett, two of those were for losses. Justin McDaniel and Bryan Morris had seven tackles each. Both also had two of those tackles for losses.
Elston credited Tonganoxie's scout team with helping prepare the varsity defense for the Bonner Springs offense.
"Our scout team just really stepped up in practice and just gave us fits," Elston said. "They made us work really hard on defense.
"And our first unit, they took a lot of pride in not letting any big plays happen."
The victory improved Tonganoxie's record to 3-0 on the season, while the loss dropped the Braves to 1-2.
Next up for the Chieftains is a Kaw Valley League showdown Friday against undefeated Mill Valley at home. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m