Big bounce-back: Kickoff return before half sparks Tonganoxie in victory against Paola
The Tonganoxie-Paola football game Friday had both fireworks and plenty of stalemate defensively.
For the fireworks, Paola built a 13-3 lead with a 31-yard field goal with just 21.7 seconds left before halftime.
But then came a very quick answer from Tonganoxie.
Wyatt Harris returned the ensuing kickoff about 80 yards for a touchdown with 9.9 seconds left before half and the score was 13-10 heading into the half.
Tonganoxie had a couple field goal opportunities in the second half, but couldn’t convert.
In the fourth quarter, though, THS was able to get a drive together accentuated by the Wildcat package offensively. Sam Kleidosty was able to pick up some crucial yards when THS moved into the formation and eventually got a short score. Jackson McWilliams connected on the extra point and Tonganoxie was able to hold on for the 17-13 victory.
After letting a victory slip away last week in Louisburg, Tonganoxie was able to respond with Friday’s victory against Paola.
“The spark for us started with the offensive and defensive line,” THS coach Al Troyer said after the game.
It’s just what the Chieftains needed against the Panthers, a perennial power in the Frontier League that Tonganoxie hadn’t defeated in just a handful of meetings the last few seasons — three to be exact. The last time the teams had played before then was 1982, which also marked the last time THS defeated the Panthers.
THS now directs its attention to Eudora. The Chieftains will head south to take on the Cardinals, who are 2-1 overall and 2-1 in Frontier League play so far on the season. Eudora beat Baldwin, 53-0, in Week 1 before losing to Piper, 26-23, in Week 2 on the road. EHS then defeated Bonner Springs, 48-28, this past Friday on the road.
The game will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday at the Eudora stadium.