Tonganoxie’s monumental milestone
The Tonganoxie-Spring Hill game had the makings of a wild night in the first quarter Friday in a Class 4A regional game.
The teams combined for 35 points, with THS holding a 21-14 lead heading into the second quarter.
Defenses settled in during the second quarter and THS had a 24-14 lead heading into the half.
THS took advantage of some opportunities in the second half and eventually secured a 45-24 victory.
The Chieftains also made history in the process.
THS improved to 10-0 on the season, marking the first time the Chieftains registered double-digit victories in a fall.
The victory against Spring Hill (5-5) also gave Tonganoxie a second playoff victory in one season for the first time ever.
THS principal Mark Farrar presented the team with a regional championship plaque after the game.
Friday’s game definitely started with some fireworks.
THS senior Cooper Cunningham scored his first touchdown on a play that started with a high snap to junior quarterback Blake Poje who seemingly tipped it to Cunningham in behind him.
The rushing machine then darted left and went some 55 yards for the touchdown.
The Broncos made it a dog fight, as sophomore Zach Knowlton hauled in a touchdown pass for SHHS.
Spring Hill later provided a highlight-reel worthy play when Bronco senior wide receiver Gage Klutts reached back over THS sophomore defender Sam Kleidosty for the ball and then seemed to lose the handle, only to tip it to himself and run it into the end zone.
Kleidosty defended Klutts well on the play, but the Bronco was able to make the masterful catch.
THS, though, would eventually get the momentum and widen the lead.
Poje found junior receiver Tucker Isaacs for a 11-yard touchdown pass and then later in the quarter, after THS senior linebacker Dustin Rhoads picked off a Spring Hill pass, Cunningham scored on a 15-yard run.
Cunningham, who had 100 yards in the first quarter, finished the game with three touchdowns with 261 yards on 35 carries.
Kleidosty had 94 yards on four carries and senior Elijah Tyner 30 yards on six carries. Kleidosty ended the night with two touchdowns.
Poje connected with four different receivers on the night, as Kleidosty had three receptions for 50 yards, Isaacs the one catch for the touchdown, senior Connor Searcy another catch for 12 yards and junior Dallas Bond four receptions for 45 yards.
Junior Hesston Robbins and senior Cole Sample each had a fumble recovery.
Robbins got his after senior Javier Trujillo’s long kickoff landed near the Bronco sideline. The SHHS kick returner, unsure whether to let the ball go out of bounds for the penalty or pick up the ball, didn’t get the bounce to go his way and Robbins got the turnover. That set up a short field for Tonganoxie.
The teams also traded field goals, with Trujillo connecting on his first of the season, a 35-yard make. He also was 6-for-6 on point-after-touchdown tries.
Poje went 8-for-22 in the air for 118 yards and one score.
Searcy and Bond each registered a sack, while Searcy also led a defense that had 14 different players get tackles with 11 (nine solo). Junior Jacob Maxwell had five (four solo) and Sample five (four solo).
Cunningham also appears to have the single-season school rushing record. He now has 2,006 yards on the season.
Tonganoxie (10-0) now faces its biggest challenge in this monumental season. Bishop Miege (8-2) comes to town after dropping Bonner Springs, 57-16, this past week.
The Stags have won five straight state championships in 4A.