Record high of 55 for Tonganoxie football
With Basehor-Linwood’s defense keyed in on the middle of the field, Dalton Bock knew he’d come close many times. The Tonganoxie running back had been one step from breaking through the Bobcat secondary on several carries, only to be tripped up from behind.
Finally, midway through the fourth quarter, the Chieftain senior saw an opening. He split the safeties and scampered 55 yards to the end zone, putting a 55-year-old drought to rest.
Bock’s touchdown run propelled Tonganoxie High to a 10-3 win Friday against rival Basehor-Linwood at Beatty Field. The win secured the Class 4A-1 district 1 title and Kaw Valley League title, and capped off the Chieftains’ first 9-0 regular season since 1962.
“A league title, district title, 9-0, they’ve earned it,” said THS coach Al Troyer, who led the Chieftains to their third district crown in six years and their first outright KVL title since 2006. “They never gave up and they never doubted that something was going to happen.”
Offense was hard to come by for most of the night, as the Chieftains and Bobcats found themselves in a 3-3 tie after three quarters. The THS defense forced a punt on the first BLHS drive of the fourth quarter — one of a combined 15 punts in the contest – and the offense took over at its own 32. A defensive pass interference call kept the drive alive after a third-down incompletion, setting THS up near midfield.
Bock took advantage with his touchdown run, giving the Chieftains a lead they wouldn’t relinquish with 7:05 remaining.
“When I finally saw (the end zone), all I could think was ‘I can’t let them catch me,’” said Bock, who finished the game with 118 yards on 24 carries – his seventh game with more than 100 yards this year. “I’ve just got to thank the line. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
BLHS got a chance to answer on its next drive after a 30-yard run by Nolan Ford gave the Bobcats the ball at the Chieftain 19. The THS defense, which has now held seven opponents to single-digit points in 2017, forced a turnover on towns at the 12, and the offense ran out the clock to preserve the victory.
The rivalry win comes with added bragging rights, as this is the final year of the KVL. THS will join the Frontier League next season, while BLHS will join the newly formed United Kansas Conference.
“We tried to downplay that a little bit,” Troyer said. “We wanted to come out and just do what we’ve done all year. Our goal was to not be so uptight and to just come out and play, and that’s what happened.”
The Chieftains won the inaugural league title in 1983, going 7-0 in league play under coach Marvin Moles. The 2006 team posted the same KVL record under Mark Elston, but both of those teams finished the regular season at 8-1 overall. The 2017 and 1962 Chieftains own the only 9-0 seasons in school history, but the 1951 squad also went undefeated with an 8-0 record.
After forcing a three-and-out on the game’s opening drive, THS got a golden opportunity to go in front when a snap went over Ford’s head on a punt attempt. However, the offense couldn’t take advantage of the short field and kicker Bowan Jones couldn’t connect on a 27-yard field goal attempt.
The next five drives resulted in punts before Jones got another chance midway through the second quarter. He came up short on a 35-yard attempt into the wind, but officials flagged the Bobcats for running into the kicker.
Jones, who won a regional title for the Chieftain soccer team with an overtime goal the night before, got a 30-yard attempt just over the crossbar after the penalty, giving THS its first lead with 7:25 left until halftime.
BLHS tried a trick play on the ensuing possession, but Zac Morgan thwarted the attempt with an interception at the THS 36. Both offenses continued to struggle to sustain drives, and the Chieftains forced yet another Bobcat punt in the final minute of the half. However, the ball took an errant hop and ricocheted off Morgan, and BLHS recovered it at the THS 9-yard line with 32 seconds remaining.
The defense minimized the damage, limiting the Bobcats to a 26-yard Parker Rusk field goal as time expired.
With the victory, THS guaranteed itself at least one more game at Beatty Field, where it now owns a nine-game win streak dating back to last year’s season opener. It will host District 2 runner-up De Soto (8-1) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Wildcats’ only loss of the season came Oct. 20 at three-time defending state champion Bishop Miege.
“We’ve got to watch some film and learn their defense,” Bock said of De Soto. “They’re going to be physical, so we’ve got to be just as physical in order to win.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS BLHS 0 3 0 0 – 3 THS 0 3 0 7 – 10
THS – Bowan Jones 30 field goal, 7:25
BLHS – Parker Rusk 26 field goal, 0:00
THS – Dalton Bock 55 run (Jones kick), 7:05
Mason Beach 10-18-0 86
Dalton Bock 24-118, Korbin Riedel 14-60, Elijah Tyner 2-37, Zac Morgan 2-6, Mason Beach 3-(-2)
Elijah Tyner 2-35, Zac Morgan 2-22, Korbin Riedel 1-12, LeeRoi Johnson 1-8, Dalton Bock 1-6, Caden Searcy 3-3