Chieftains shut out by Jeff West in final game
The Tonganoxie and Jeff West High School football teams both entered the final game of the regular season looking to snap losing streaks and end the season on a positive note.
Tonganoxie was searching for its first victory since the opening game of the season, and Jeff West was trying to rebound after five straight losses, as well as hoping to send its seniors off with a victory in its final home game of the season.
Turnovers punished the Chieftains starting on the opening possession and continued to hurt Tonganoxie throughout the 46-0 defeat to Jeff West Thursday in Meriden. The Chieftains fumbled the ball at the Jeff West 33-yard line on the opening drive, which was the first of three fumbles in the first half.
This was the final game in a Tonganoxie uniform for seven seniors, who coach Matt Bond addressed in the locker room after the game. Bond said the seniors, who had just finished their high school football careers at Tonganoxie, were the most important people to talk to after the loss.
“I’m proud of the seniors,” Bond said. “They played extremely hard and they represented us well.”
The Tigers struck first with more than a minute remaining in the first quarter on an 85-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ian Mullins to receiver Mik Barancik. The Tigers increased the lead with a 26-point second quarter, which included two touchdown passes by Mullins, of 62 and 21 yards respectively, and two rushing touchdowns.
Mullins threw two more touchdown passes in the second half, one for 58 yards and the other for 57 yards.
THS quarterback Tyler Ford, who rotated at the position with junior Garrett Elston throughout the game, threw for 77 yards and an interception, with 45 of those yards coming in the first quarter. Ford also carried the ball six times and accounted for 21 of the team’s 93 rushing yards. Elston kept the Chieftains driving in the third quarter by converting on two fourth-and-one plays before having a pass intercepted by the Tigers defense in Jeff West territory.
Sophomore Shane Levy led the team in rushing with eight carries for 28 yards and was one of eight ball carriers for the Chieftains.
Bond said he was extremely proud of his team, which finished the season 1-8 after defeating Bishop Ward, 34-6, in the season opener.
The Chieftains will return a core group of players next season, and Bond said he likes what he sees for the future of the program.
“We’ve got some young guys that, you know, if they continue to work hard and do the things we ask them to do, they can absolutely help us bounce around a little bit next year,” Bond said.