BY BUDDY TABLER
Special to the Tribune
LARNED – Hugoton scored 20 second half points to rally past Larned 20-14.
Larned (3-4. 1-3) drops Larned out of 3A playoff contention. The Indians play Cheney (7-0) at home Friday. The Indians will play the Halstead/Wichita Trinity winner in week 9.
Larned controlled the first half and led 14-0 at halftime.
Hugoton turned the tables in the second-half as they changed to a running game to gain advantage.That, and big pass plays keyed the Eagles’ win.
Larned put together a drive behind the running of quarterback Creighton Haney and running back Logan Erway. The drive was aided by several pass completions from Riley Pontius. Erway rambled 4 yards for a touchdown at the 11:25 mark and, following a Fernando Herrera kick, the Indians led 7-0.
Larned’s defense harassed Hugoton quarterback Gavin Williams and stunted the offensive production. Larned mounted another drive behind the passing of Pontius and the runs of Erway. Haney dove into the end zone from 2 yards at the 2:39 mark for a 14-0 lead.
Things changed at halftime.
Hugoton made defensive adjustments to shut down the Larned running game.
The key turning point occurred when Hugoton fumbled the second half kickoff. Laned recovered at the Eagles’ 27 yard line, but didn’t produce any points.
Sensing a change of momentum, Hugoton moved downfield. Gavin Williams found Santiago Macias for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Hugoton trailed 14-6.
Williams connected on a 30-yard touchdown to Adam Mendoza with seven seconds left in the third period. A 2-point conversion pass to Mendoza tied the score 14-14.
Larned moved downfield to the Hugoton 12-yard line, but lost a fumble and a chance to regain the lead midway through the fourth quarter. Mendoza caught a 52-yard pass that improved field position for Hugoton. Following an exchange of punts, Williams connected with Mendoza for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 2:13 remaining in the game.
Larned moved to midfield on the ground, but a tipped pass was intercepted by Hugoton. Larned’s hopes for a playoff spot vanished as the Eagles ran out the clock.
“We dominated that first half and, then, things changed,” said Larned coach Tad Remy. “We didn’t execute in the second half. Turnovers took us out of our rhythm and let Hugoton get back in the game. Our fumble on their 12-yard line when we were about to retake the lead was huge.”
Larned was 18 of 37 passing for 170 yards with Luke Wilson having five catches for 86 yards. Larned gained 92 yards rushing, with Erway posting 59 yards. Hugoton was 11 of 24 passing and gained 40 yards rushing.
Hugoton 0 0 14 6 – 20
Larned 0 14 0 0 – 14
L—Logan Erway 4 run (Fernando Herrera kick); L—Creighton Haney 2 run (Herrera kick); H—Santiago Macias 31 pass from Williams; H—Adam Mendoza 30 pass from Williams (Mendoza pass from Williams); H—Mendoza 40 pass from Williams
RUSHING—L—34-92; Erway 18-59, Haney 13-25, Fernando Herrera 2-17, Pontius 1-(-9).
PASSING—L—Pontius 18-36-1, 170.
RECEIVCING—L—Luke Wilson 5-86, Jayden Smith 3-50, Erway 5-30, Auble 1-10, J Ortivez 2-(-2).