Bonner Springs spoils THS’ undefeated mark
Tonganoxie head coach Al Troyer paused for a moment and took a look around at his team. The players knelt before him, their faces evident with frustration following the team’s 21-12 loss at Bonner Springs.
“One game does not define a season,” Troyer told his team minutes after the Chieftains suffered their first loss of the season.
But though Friday’s loss does not define the whole season, it does show how much this team has improved since last fall. Last year’s 3-6 squad was throttled by Bonner Springs at home by a score of 55-6.
This time around, Tonganoxie not only hung around but had a chance to win late. Following a late fumble recovery, the Chieftains began a drive on their own 31, trailing 14-12 with 2:37 left to play.
Tonganoxie marched down the field over the next minute and a half.
The Chieftains were ultimately stuffed on a 4th and 1 on the Braves’ 17-yard line, turning the ball over on downs with less than a minute to go. Two plays later, Bonner Springs’ senior running back Charlie Gray broke free for an 82-yard score, sealing the nine-point victory.
“It was a fight,” Troyer said. “We played with them real well, it was 5A against 4A. And Bonner’s got some really good athletes.”
It was not the first time Tonganoxie’s offense faltered in the redzone on Friday. Just before the half, the Chieftains drove down the field in the final two minutes and ended up on the Braves’ eight-yard line.
It was there, junior quarterback Mason Beach was hit hard in the pocket by a defender and ended up coughing up the football in the waning seconds of the first half.
“We had two opportunities in the redzone, that we didn’t take care of,” Troyer said. “We had two opportunities, one at the end and one at the end of the first half. We have to take advantage of those opportunities.”
And yet, the redzone miscues only loomed large because of the lack of success on two-point conversions. With 5:03 to go in the second quarter, senior running back Jordan Brown scored from six yards outs, cutting the deficit to one. But Brown was stopped on the two-point try.
In the third quarter, Beach dashed his way in from the seven-yard line. His two-point conversion failed, keeping the deficit at two with 1:26 left to play in the third quarter.
“That makes it a 14-14 ballgame,” Troyer said. “Those are the things that happen. Our kids tried hard. They came back in the end. The second half was a good half.”
In the second half, the Chieftains accumulated 106 yards on the ground and ended up with 191 total. Brown paved the offensive attack with 91 yards on 23 carries while Beach racked up 60 yards on 11 attempts. Beach was also 10-for-24 through the air with 209 yards and an interception.
Tonganoxie (3-1 overall and 1-1 in Kaw Valley League play) will play host to Lansing (3-1 and 2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Beatty Field.
Score by quarters
Tonganoxie 0 6 6 0 — 12
Bonner Springs 7 7 0 7 — 21
How they scored
BS — Tobias Womack 34 run (Kaleb Hightower kick good)
T — Jordan Brown 6 run (Brown run failed)
BS — Tanner Hitchcock 20 pass from Coleton Oakes (Hightower kick good)
T — Mason Beach 7 run (Beach run failed)
BS — Charlie Gray 82 run (Hightower kick good.