LARNED — A 39-yard field goal by Kingman High School’s Caden Knoblauch with 1:46 left on the clock silenced a noisy Larned crowd and propelled the Eagles to a 3-0 victory over the Larned Indians on Friday evening at Earl Roberts Stadium.
Kingman and Larned were locked in a fierce defensive struggle, battling to a 0-0 halftime score that stayed deadlocked until Knoblauch’s line-drive kick barely got over the cross bar.
Kingman improves to 3-0 on the season, all Central Kansas League victories, as it continues to be unscored on in this young season.
Larned, following another heartbreaking, fourth-period loss, falls to 1-2.
Next Friday both teams continue Central Kansas League play as Kingman travels to Pratt and Larned hosts Nickerson.
It will be Homecoming for the Larned Indians.
The heroes in this game, other than the kicker, were the defensive lines for both ball clubs as they continually frustrated the offenses and prevented any scoring.
Scoring opportunities were few and far between for both ball clubs.
In the first quarter Larned moved the ball deep into Kingman territory, but with 6:08 left in the first quarter, Landon Erway was stopped at the 2-yard line on a fourth down and one, ending the Indians threat.
Kingman’s only deep penetration of the first half followed a short drive that ended on a fourth-down play from the 18-yard line as a pass fell short from quarterback Parker Maloney, leaving the two defensive-minded ball clubs tied 0-0 at halftime.
The second half was more of the same as both ball clubs could move the ball in between the 30-yard lines, but due to penalties and miscues could not complete drives for scores.
Kingman was penalized five times for 38 yards and Larned racked up 40 yards on six penalties.
The game seemed to turn for Kingman when, with 9:50 left in the final stanza, Larned had a short punt that ended up on its own 49-yard line as it hit one of the Larned tacklers as it rolled along the ground.
Setting up at midfield, Kingman methodically ground out yardage and ground time off of the clock as they worked the ball down to the 15-yard line on short runs by quarterback Parker Maloney and running back Cody New.
However with under three minutes left, the Indian defense stiffened.
The Indians tossed New for a loss and a jarring tackle by defensive back Evan Skelton knocked a sure completion out of the hands of receiver Wyatt Beat on a key third-down play, setting up the field goal attempt by Knoblauch that won the game.
Offensive statistics were meager for both ball clubs as Kingman rushed the ball 37 times for 123 yards and completed four of 10 passes for 17 yards.
Meanwhile Larned rushed the ball 22 times for 94 yards, but completed 13 of 23 passes for 158 yards.