Tonganoxie football bid to knock off undefeated Atchison falls short
With junior Jordan Brown’s rushing touchdown as time expired in the first half, the Tonganoxie High football team had finally snatched some momentum heading into the half trailing Atchison, 24-14.
“We were feeling pretty good because we knew they scored on mistakes on our part,” said THS coach Al Troyer.
But after a fumbled kickoff to begin the second half, the Chieftains were never able to build on that momentum in a 30-14 loss. The loss dropped the Chieftains to 3-4, and improved AHS to 7-0 on the season.
“We made a lot of mistakes in the first half,” Troyer said. “It’s just the little things that hurt us.”
Sophomore running back Zac Morgan led the way for the Chieftains with 142 yards, and Brown added 81 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“Zac was huge on both sides of the ball,” Troyer sad. “As a sophomore, he’s going to be a great asset for us going forward.”
Senior quarterback Wykeem Gill led the way for the AHS with 238 yards passing, 129 yards rushing and five total touchdowns.
“We knew Gill is a great athlete,” Troyer said. “We knew we would struggle keeping him in contain, but we tried to contain him as much as possible.”
After a scoreless first quarter, AHS began to flex its muscle in the second quarter. But the Chieftains didn’t back down.
On the first play of the second quarter, Gill hooked up with junior wide receiver Adam Smith for a 28-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead after a missed extra point.
After the Chieftains drive stalled, Gill rushed for a 64-yard touchdown that put Atchison up 12-0 after a blocked extra point by senior Dalton Trimble.
With two big plays, one rushing by Morgan, and one passing by Brown to senior wide receiver Ryan Musick, Tonganoxie had marched inside the 10-yard line.
Brown finished off the drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown. After a two-point conversion by Brown, the Chieftains pulled to within 12-8.
But after two consecutive touchdown passes from Gill to junior wide receiver Bryce Enzbrenner, one of 62 yards and one of 28 yards, Atchison quickly took a 24-8 lead.
“We gave up big plays and that was the difference in the ballgame.”
On Tonganoxie’s last drive of the half, Morgan busted a huge run into opposing territory to put Tonganoxie in scoring position.
On fourth and 10, Brown turned a sure sack into a 15-yard gain, and on the last play of the half, he scored on a two-yard rush to make it 24-14.
But the Chieftains quickly lost the momentum gained at the end of the first half with a fumble on the kickoff to begin the third quarter.
Gill turned that fumble into a 20-yard touchdown and a 30-14 lead for Atchison.
“It was huge,” Troyer said. “They went right down and scored, and it was the only score of the half. If we come down and score on our first drive, it’s a totally different game.”
The Chieftains were finally able to stop Atchison’s big plays in the second half, and they even had chances to score. But a touchdown negated on a holding call and an interception in the end zone ended the Chieftains’ chances.
Tonganoxie will look to bounce back this Friday at home against Piper in the Chieftains’ final home game of the regular season and the second game of districts.