Clutch comeback for Tonganoxie football
Chieftains score 22 unanswered points, hold off Atchison in OT
Senior running back Jordan Brown was bouncing up and down with joy as Tonganoxie head coach Al Troyer spoke to his team following a Senior Night victory.
Brown had just rushed the ball 35 times for 149 yards with two touchdowns, helping lift the Chieftains to a 22-16 overtime victory against Atchison.
It was a workload that would have physically drained most. At the very least, force one into a resting position as his coach spoke.
But Brown is not like most.
Especially, when he has the letters “IDGT” for “I don’t get tired” etched in marker on his wristband throughout the game. Just for nights such as Friday.
“That’s one for the memory books,” Brown said. “I’ll remember that one forever. That’s the best way anyone can go out.”
Throughout the night, Brown peeked to his wrist as he anchored a Chieftain comeback effort.
Atchison stormed out to a 16-0 lead at the intermission. Senior running back Dylan LeBlue broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.
However, the AHS offense would not find pay dirt again. Atchison’s lone points came from a first-quarter field goal and a fumble return in the second quarter.
“Our defense played tough all night,” Troyer said. “Hats off to our defense. Our kids played well. Atchison came in here 6-0. They were a good ball club. Our kids rose to the challenge. They did a great job.”
With the defense refusing to buckle, the offense churned 22 unanswered points to finish the season undefeated at home.
On the very first drive, Tonganoxie marched down the field and capped it with a six-yard touchdown plunge by Brown. Mac Thompson completed the two point conversion on a run, halving the deficit.
“That’s just the blue-collar way to play,” Brown said. “Stuff isn’t going to roll your way. Over the turns of the season, you got to roll with the punches. We went into halftime and made the adjustments that we needed to.”
Later in the third, senior linebacker Devan Graham came up with a huge block on an Atchison field-goal attempt that kept the deficit at one score.
THS then strung a lengthy drive together on the shoulders of Brown, who ran the ball eight times on that drive alone.
However, after his 25th carry of the game, Brown checked out to take a break and grab some water. In his absence, Connor Brown ran it in from five yards out and did the same on a two-point conversion to even the score.
“I kept asking Jordan if he was good,” Troyer said. “I asked him if he wanted out. Finally, I had to take him out on that second touchdown. He was great. Everybody stepped up where they had to.”
Both teams honed it in the fourth and kept each other out of the end zone. Atchison missed a pair of field-goal attempts, including a 33-yard attempt, that sent the game into overtime.
In the free period, Brown notched his second score of the day, giving the Chieftains their first lead of the night. The defense then stopped Atchison on four tries — including three from the two-yard line — to complete the comeback.
“I don’t care what the score was, they were going to fight ‘till the end,” Troyer said.
THS (5-2 overall, 2-2 KVL and 1-0 district play) will close out the regular season with consecutive conference, and, more importantly, district games.Tonganoxie will travel later this week to Kansas City, Kan., for a 7 p.m. game Friday against Piper (4-3, 3-2 and 0-1) and then is at undefeated rival Basehor-Linwood (7-0, 5-0 and 1-0) on Oct. 28. BLHS is ranked No. 2 in Class 4A Division I.
Score by quarters
Atchison 10 6 0 0 OT 0— 16
Tonganoxie 0 0 16 0 OT 6— 22
How they scored
A — Dylon Leblue 60 run. Austin Bonnel kick (AHS 7, THS 0)
A — Bonnel 24 kick. (AHS 10, THS 0)
A — Fred Simpson 45 fumble return. Bonnel kick no good. (AHS 16, THS 0)
T — Jordan Brown 6 run. Mac Thompson successful run. (AHS 16, THS 8)
T — Conner Brown 5 run. Conner Brown successful run. (AHS 16, THS 16)
T — Jordan Brown 2 run. Pass failed. (THS 22, AHS 16)