Turnovers doom Tonganoxie football in district loss

Chieftains eliminated from postseason

October 27, 2015

For the second week in a row, Tonganoxie High put itself in position to score multiple times against a district opponent. But, just like in their district opener, the Chieftains couldn’t overcome a multitude of untimely errors.

The Chieftains couldn’t capitalize on several trips into Piper territory in a 33-6 loss to the Pirates on Friday at Beatty Field.

After a three-and-out by THS (3-5, 0-2 district), Piper grabbed an early lead on a 39-yard run by Sterling Owens. The Chieftains then reached the red zone on the legs of running back Zac Morgan, but lost a chance to tie the game when PHS (3-5, 1-1) recovered a fumble by Ryan Musick.

“We got down there inside the 20 and fumbled, so that hurt,” said THS coach Al Troyer, whose team was also marred by turnovers in a loss to Atchison on Oct. 16. “Two weeks in a row, we’ve had big fumbles after driving the ball down. We moved the ball at times, but we had mishaps and penalties that set us back.”

Piper later turned the fumble into a two-possession swing, driving 73 yards and scoring on a 4-yard run by JJ Letcher midway through the second quarter. THS prevented any further damage before halftime, but wasn’t able to cut into the 13-0 deficit before the break.

The Chieftain defense, which lost starting linebacker Devan Graham to an injury in the first half, forced a Piper three-and-out to open the second half, but a 54-yard punt by Alex Bach pinned THS at its own 6-yard line.

Troyer’s squad wasn’t able to reach midfield, and Letcher gave Piper a three-score lead with a 47-yard touchdown run with 7:08 left in the third.

Letcher and Owens combined for 285 rushing yards, including four scoring bursts of longer than 30 yards.

“Just big plays,” Troyer said. “We had to put a sub in there (for Graham) and we stepped up, but they’ve got some speed.”

Letcher scored his third and final touchdown from 33 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter, making it 27-0 Pirates. THS got into Piper

territory on its next drive, but the drive stalled on fourth down at the 43.

The Chieftains got on the scoreboard midway through the period when quarterback Jordan Brown found Dalton Trimble in the corner of the end zone from 21 yards away. Trimble battled a defender for the ball all the way to the ground, but came up with it to end the shutout attempt 6:19 left.

Piper ended any thoughts of a THS rally when Owens ripped off a 52-yard touchdown run on the first play of the next possession. Once again, the Chieftains got past the 50 on their next drive, but failed to convert on fourth down. Morgan paced the Chieftain ground game with 70 yards on 19 carries, while Brown was 12-of-17 passing for 79 yards. Trimble was Brown’s favorite target, catching three passes for 46 yards.

The Piper loss eliminated Tonganoxie from playoff contention. The team, however, will try to end the season on a winning note against rival

Basehor-Linwood on Friday for Senior Night at Beatty Field. The Bobcats dropped a 25-20 decision to Atchison in last week’s other district game.

“No matter what the record is, it’s Basehor,” Troyer said. “It’s going to be rivalry week, so it’ll be a good one.”

Score by quarters

PHS 7 6 6 14 – 33

THS 0 0 0 6 – 6

First quarter

PHS – Sterling Owens 39 run (Alex Bach kick), 7:57

Second quarter

PHS – JJ Letcher 4 run (kick failed), 6:33

Third quarter

PHS – Letcher 47 run (kick failed), 7:08

Fourth quarter

PHS – Letcher 33 run (Letcher run), 11:52

THS – Dalton Trimble 21 pass from Jordan Brown (pass failed), 6:19

PHS – Owens 52 run (pass failed), 6:05


PHS: Sterling Owens 31-189, JJ Letcher 4-96, Alex Bach 5-17, Jordan Goodpastor 3-16, Keelon Vann 4-(-1); THS: Zac Morgan 19-70, Kyle Fain 4-16, Jordan Brown 8-(-5).


PHS: Vann 6-9-0 50; THS: Brown 12-17-0 79.


PHS: Letcher 3-32, Collin Beebe 2-21, Owens 1-(-3); THS: Dalton Trimble 3-46, Ryan Musick 2-15, Lane Hecht 1-11, Fain 1-7, Morgan 3-2, Caden Searcy 2-(-2).

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