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Larned clinches home playoff home
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Larned High Schools Wes Davis grinds out a first down up the middle during the Indians matchup against Ellsworth Thursday night in Larned. The Indians won their first district championship since 1985. - photo by Janet Fleske Courtesy Photo

LARNED — The Ellsworth Bearcats had no answer for the surging Larned Indians Thursday as Larned claimed its first football District championship since 1985, by blasting the Bearcats 50-0.
Larned (5-4, 3-0) clinched a home 3A playoff game against Lakin Tuesday.
Larned coach A.B. Stokes was grinning and happy following the game, netting his first district championship.
“I am so proud of these guys, especially the 16 seniors,” Stokes said. “They’ve gotten better and better. This is their team, their championship. They’ve bought into everything we’ve preached. I couldn’t be happier. Bring on the playoffs.”
The Indians had 374 yards rushing on 41 carries. Anthony McConnell led all ball carriers with 16 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Wes Davis added 76 yards on just 10 carries and scored four touchdowns. He added an unusual 17-yard dash for a two-point conversion after a couple of penalties. Shevan Martin contributed 58 yards and DaMontay Phillips had 42 yards.
The stiff Larned defense held Ellsworth to 88 yards rushing and 60 yards passing. Zach Schneider completed 11 passes for 60 yards with one interception. Morgan Kelley had 21 carries for 48 yards. Ellsworth (6-3, 1-2) won the NCAA title.
The game was played with a running clock in much of the second half. The game was played in strong northerly winds, gusting up to 35-40 mph and falling temperatures.
Larned’s running game moved into high gear as they dominated the time of possession, statistics and the scoreboard.
With 3:13 remaining in the first quarter, Larned’s McConnell bulled his way 22 yards for a touchdown and Phillips added a run for the conversion and the Indians had an 8-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
Ellsworth failed to convert a fourth down at the Larned 27 and would never threaten again.
Behind the power running of McConnell and Davis, Larned would pile up the yards and the points in the second quarter, scoring four times to take a commanding 36-0 halftime lead.
Davis scored on a 5 yard run, a 16 yard run and a 17 yard run for a two-point conversion. With 1:27 remaining before halftime McConnell dashed 31 yards for a touchdown and then added a 2 point conversion run.
Things did not improve in the second half for the Bearcats as Larned mounted one of their strongest defensive showings of the season in shutting out Ellsworth who came into the game featuring a 6-2 record and a league championship but it was all Larned on this night.
With 4:42 remaining in the third quarter Larned’s Davis drove right up the middle for six yards and a touchdown and following a Phillips 2-point run the Indians had moved their advantage to 44-0. Early in the fourth quarter Larned’s McConnell again rumbled 14 yards for a touchdown and following a failed 2-point conversion, the Indians had their final score of 50-0.
At 2:28 of the fourth quarter, Larned’s Brock Skelton intercepted a Schneider pass and returned it to the Ellsworth 36 but Larned elected not to push their agenda and a running clock allowed the Indians to run out the clock and the game.