Archive for Saturday, October 2, 2004

Tonganoxie rolls over Santa Fe Trail, 42-8

Chieftains control offensive line, use big third quarter to discharge Chargers

October 2, 2004


— For the second straight weekend, a bigger and stronger football team visited Santa Fe Trail High and dominated the line of scrimmage offensively.

Last week, Perry-Lecompton was busting big plays down the center of the field. Friday night was Tonganoxie's turn, and the Chieftains cruised to a 42-8 victory.

On a night where the wind -- in the words of Tonganoxie coach Mark Elston, was "atrocious" -- the Chieftains ran a collection of running backs right up the middle of the Chargers' defense with rhythmic success.

Although Tongie's former signal-caller, Justin Walker, graduated, senior Ross Starcher showed why long quarterback runs won't be taken out of the school's playbook anytime soon.

Starcher racked up 118 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. But running backs Sam Mitchell (two touchdowns), Kaleb Lawrence and Zach Ditty helped carry the load.

"The offensive line made it happen," Starcher said. "They were blocking all night. The defense played good too ... eight points isn't bad."

Tonganoxie (3-1) turned the contest into a rout with three touchdowns in the third quarter alone. In a quarter that dragged on far too long for the liking of the Santa Fe Trail patrons, the Chieftains used a no-huddle offense and ideal field position to cause the Chargers (1-3) to back-pedal continually.

"It helped us out a lot," Elston said of his no-huddle attack. "It allowed our guys to play football and reduced their adjustments."

Alex Boss provided the lone score for the Chargers with a seven-yard run late in the fourth quarter, but for the most part the home team's offense didn't see enough time on the field to stage any notion of a rally.

Chargers coach Dave Watkins thought the no-huddle led to a greater amount of fatigue on his team, but he also said he was dealing with a larger concern that can't be addressed until the off-season.

"We just got physically beat up front, and that's our biggest problem," Watkins said. "It's not a lack of effort, but when you're matching 180 (pounds) to 220-230, it's not a good match up. We've got to get ourselves back to (Tonganoxie's) level. It starts in the weight room, and our kids know that."

Tonganoxie will play host Friday to Basehor-Linwood, while Santa Fe Trail will travel to Mill Valley.

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