Early scores hurt Tonganoxie High football in season finale
THS finishes season with winning record
Basehor — The Tonganoxie High football players gathered near the goalpost and shed tears as they watched Basehor-Linwood hoist a district championship plaque Friday in Basehor. The Chieftains put up a valiant effort, but ultimately fell short to the undefeated Bobcats, 27-12. The loss dropped THS to 5-4 for its final record of the year and postponed any postseason dreams for another season.
“You can’t ask anything better for our kids, especially the seniors that are going out,” coach Al Troyer said.
Keeping the score close with Basehor is no easy task. Especially for a team like THS, which has been undermanned of late with key injuries to starting quarterback Mason Beach and starting running back Zac Morgan.
And still, the Chieftains stayed within striking distance throughout the night. The 15-point margin was the second-closest for BLHS all year. BLHS defeated Piper, 48-34, on Oct. 14.
“We were always next-man-up attitude,” Troyer said. “That definitely was a struggle without Zac (Morgan) and Mason Beach.”
Senior running back Jordan Brown once again stepped up in their absence with a strong showing. Brown toted the ball 35 times for 239 yards and two scores.
Senior running back Conner Brown, junior Dalton Bock and junior quarterback Mac Thompson also contributed to the team’s 259 yards on the ground. All three players carried the ball four times each.
It was a much better all-around offensive performance for a team that accumulated just 89 total yards and produced zero trips to the redzone in last week’s 28-0 loss to Piper.
“We did a great job,” Troyer said. “We didn’t come out strong early but later in the first half we had two drives in the redzone. I thought they did a lot better this week.”
However, at first, it appeared the Bobcats might turn the game into a lopsided affair.
Basehor-Linwood marched down the field and scored on each of its first three possessions. Junior receiver J.C. Watson received a handoff and punched it in from three yards out on the opening drive.
On the second drive, senior quarterback Justin Phillips connected with senior receiver Eric Scott on a 35-yard seam route. Scott — who received an offer from North Dakota State earlier this month — hauled in the pass with one hand.
Scott later ran it in from one yard out on the first place in the second quarter to take a 20-0 lead.
“He’s a great athlete,” Troyer said. “You got a 6-8 high jumper and he’s just a phenomenal athlete. They had other kids, who stepped up and made plays as well.”
And then a flip was switched.
THS surrendered just one score the rest of the game, including a shutout effort in the second half. Even when Basehor got in the redzone, Tonganoxie stiffened on the defensive end. Junior linebacker Caden Searcy logged a block on a 35-yard field goal attempt.
But it wouldn’t be enough, as Brown’s six-yard topdown run in the second quarter and eight-yard rush in the fourth quarter, proved to be the only points on the night for the road team.
“They kind of punched us in the mouth early,” Troyer said. “For our kids to respond was great. They did a great job.”
Basehor-Linwood takes on De Soto (7-2) in the first round of the playoffs Friday in Basehor. Piper (7-2) travels Friday to Roeland Park to take on Bishop Miege (8-1).
Other Class 4A Division I first-round playoff games are Louisburg (7-2) at Independence (8-1), Augusta (6-3) at Buhler (8-1), Ulysses (4-5) at Maize South (8-1) and Andale (8-1) at McPherson (7-2).
Most playoff games will be played the next three Fridays, with the championship Thanksgiving weekend on Nov. 26.
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