Bittersweet victory for Tonganoxie High football
Chieftains defeat Lansing Lions, but lose QB Beach for rest of season
Tonganoxie’s drive that lasted for a majority of the second quarter felt bigger with each passing minute. It should have ended on fourth and long with junior quarterback Mason Beach running out of bounds short of the first down.
Only it didn’t, because a Lansing defender was called for a late hit on Beach after he was already out of bounds. A few plays later, junior running back Dalton Bock converted a fourth and one on the two yard line, and punched it in for a rushing touchdown on the next play to take a 14-7 lead.
The Chieftains went on to win the game 28-21, and Troyer cites that sequence as a huge reason why.
“The fourth and one was big,” head coach Al Troyer said. “We made it fourth and one and we didn’t last week. That was the difference in the ballgame. We talked about that all week, we gave away opportunities last week but this week we capitalized on them.”
Tonganoxie (4-1 overall and 2-1 in Kaw Valley League) was effective on the ground, rushing 49 times for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Jordan Brown was the Chieftains workhorse with 30 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Beach also added 77 rushing yards, 93 passing yards and a touchdown in addition to two huge third down plays. He broke free for 45-yard rush in the first quarter on a touchdown drive and also hit junior wide receiver Mac Thompson for 19 yards during the key second quarter touchdown drive.
In the third quarter, Lansing junior linebacker Joe Dill intercepted Beach and returned it for a touchdown to tie the game at 14. But Troyer couldn’t have asked for a better response from his team.
The Chieftains responded with two touchdowns and took a 28-14 lead, which the Lions were never able to overcome.
“They countered and we came right back at them,” Troyer said. “You can’t say enough about it. We were hitting, we were stuffing them up front and making plays on the perimeter.”
The Tonganoxie defense had one of its most impressive performances of the season, allowing just 99 rushing yards on 33 carries from Lansing. As a result, the Lions were forced to pass and only managed 89 yards through the air.
“Coach (Matt) Bond does a great job of getting our kids ready,” Troyer said. “They were pulling their guards but our linebackers and defensive ends did a great job, and our secondary had good coverage.”
However, the win didn’t come without a setback.
Beach left the game on the Chieftains last drive and went to the locker room with his arm wrapped. Beach missed a lot of last season with a broken collarbone, and will miss the rest of this season after suffering another broken collarbone Friday night.
THS will be back in action with a Thursday night game in Kansas City, Kan. THS takes on Turner (2-3 and 1-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Turner lost, 55-27 last week against Piper. The Bears will be the Chieftains’ final tuneup before district play starts.
Tonganoxie plays Oct. 14 against Atchison (5-0 overall and 4-0 Kansas City-Atchison League), Oct. 21 at Piper (3-2 overall and 2-1 KVL) and Oct. 28 at Basehor-Linwood (5-0 overall and 3-0 KVL).
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