De Soto Tonganoxie made mistakes early, then made amends, but the Chieftains couldn't quite catch up, and DeSoto came away with a 30-14 win.
After opening the scoring with a field goal, DeSoto converted two first-quarter fumbles by the Chieftains into touchdowns to jump to an early lead.
Quick penetration by DeSoto's defensive front forced the fumbles as Tonganoxie quarterback Mike Gilner couldn't even get a play off. DeSoto head coach Doug Catloth said a recent adjustment keyed the defensive surge.
"We've been going with a six-man front the last few weeks," Catloth said. "If you get one guy in each gap, you can double team one but not both of them."
The turnovers gave the Wildcats a short field to work with, and each drive ended with a three-yard touchdown run by fullback Jason Renfrow to put DeSoto up 17-0 in the first quarter.
"Our goal was to get the fullbacks more carries tonight," Catloth said. "They got down to the goal line, got scores and got excited."
Some of the Chieftains' regular starters, including quarterback Josh Grant, did not play in the first quarter for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. Tonganoxie head coach Steve Hughes said that was a big part of the Chieftains' slow start.
"We didn't have all our starting personnel in there at the start of the game, but got them in there later," Hughes said.
It was then that Tonganoxie showed signs of life. Running back Jason Smith, who did start, burned DeSoto for 131 yards, and his seven-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter pulled the Chieftains within three, 17-14.
"Jason's a very good athlete," Hughes said. "He's done a good job for us all year long."
Meanwhile, DeSoto's offense was stalling. The Wildcats only reached Tonganoxie's side of the field twice in the second and third quarters, and advanced no farther than the Chieftains' 37.
"They made some adjustments defensively and shut us down," Catloth said.
But DeSoto's defense came through again in the fourth quarter. Tonganoxie had the ball on fourth down on DeSoto's 19-yard line. Wildcats' nose guard Brandon Johnson sacked Grant, ending the threat.
DeSoto put the game out of reach three plays later. On the DeSoto 10-yard line, quarterback David English scrambled out of the pocket and found Jon Adams. Adams grabbed the ball at midfield, and was on his way to the end zone with a 90-yard touchdown reception.
"I saw the quarterback getting rushed pretty hard," Adams said. "I came back to help out. I jumped up and got it. I don't remember much after that, I was just trying to get to the end zone."
DeSoto 30, Tonganoxie 14
Tonganoxie 0 0 14 0 -- 14
DeSoto 17 0 0 13 -- 30
D -- Craig Dickerson 35 FG
D -- Jason Renfrow 3 run (Dickerson kick)
D -- Renfrow 3 run (Dickerson kick)
T -- Kyle Lux 38 run (Lux kick)
T -- Jason Smith 7 run (Lux kick)
D -- Jon Adams 90 pass from David English (run failed)
D -- Jason Riggs 2 run (Dickerson kick)