Tonganoxie football motors past Mill Valley, now 4-0
Tonganoxie turned what was billed as a Kaw Valley League showdown into a convincing win for the hometown Chieftains.
Playing at Beatty Field, the Chieftains led the visiting Jaguars just 14-7 at halftime, but THS scored two more times in the second half, while limiting Mill Valley standout and Kansas State recruit Justin Woods to just 20 yards on, surprisingly, just eight carries.
THS coach Mark Elston thought Mill Valley would come out after halftime and give the ball to him more often in the second half, but it wasn't to be.
"I was a little surprised," Elston said.
But, Elston also said his team's preparation on defense had the Chieftains in great shape, even if Woods wasn't a factor.
"The guys really stepped up," Elston said.
Quarterback Jeff Hughes also was surprised by Woods' limited carries.
"I was surprised," Hughes said. "If I had a guy who was headed to K-State and ran a four-two forty, I'd give him the ball every other play."
Overall, Mill Valley had 184 total yards of offense, including 66 rushing yards.
Tonganoxie, meanwhile, had 303 rushing yards and 30 passing yards.
Hughes was Tonganoxie's top rusher with 134 yards on 24 carries. Daniel Volk had 107 yards on 20 carries, three of which were for touchdowns. Todd Brown rushed the ball six times for 26 yards and a touchdown, while Zach Robinson ran six times for 22 yards. Beau Bissett finished off the rushing yardage with four carries for 14 yards.
Elston said players such as Brown, Robinson and Bissett "really stepped up" Friday to play.
Defensively, Derek Parrett and Zeb Kissinger led the team in tackles with eight each, as two of Parrett's tackles were for loses. Bryan Morris and Wes Armstrong each had seven each, while Justin McDaniel registered six tackles.
One of those tackles came after he tipped a pass thrown by Mill Valley quarterback Miles Malec that Malec caught after the tip. McDaniel quickly tackled the Mill Valley quarterback for a huge loss.
The senior also blocked a Mill Valley 33-yard field goal that would have cut into an early Tonganoxie 7-0 lead.
McDaniel was uncertain whether the play could be considered a turning point.
"It might have been," McDaniel said. "It was a big play."
The Chieftains actually made several big plays in a game that puts Tonganoxie one game closer to a Kaw Valley League title.
"We just came to play," McDaniel explained. "We worked hard in practice. It shows in the games."
Hughes, who credited the offensive and defensive lines for helping the team to victory, said the Chieftains secured a quality victory.
"It's just a pretty exciting win," Hughes said.
Now 4-0 overall and 4-0 in the KVL, Tonganoxie will face Santa Fe Trail on Friday near Carbondale. The Chargers are 3-1 after losing their first game of the season to Perry-Lecompton -- now the only other unbeaten team in the league besides Tonganoxie.