HAVEN — In a game as strange as the weather the Larned High School Indians defeated the Wildcats of Haven.
Larned 18 ... Jacob Newcomer 13.
Newcomer isn’t the whole story, but it is a lot of it as Haven’s senior running back returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and with only 13 ticks off of the clock the Wildcats led a stunned Larned 7-0.
Larned then took the kickoff and methodically drove down the field behind a bruising running game that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Evan Skelton.
The conversion kick failed leaving the Indians trailing 7-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Newcomer again stunned the Larned fans, players and coaches with a 74-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Following the missed conversion, Haven had a 13-6 lead and their offense had yet to run a single play.
As the Larned defense continued to dominate, that was the last time Haven would see the end zone.
The rest of the game was dominated by the offensive and defensive line play of the Larned Indians as time after time they shut down the Wildcat offense and continued their own assault on the Haven defense with a ball control offense that mostly was content to run up the middle.
Three times the Larned offense drove the ball inside the Haven 10-yard line without cashing in for any points.
With 10:21 remaining in the third quarter, junior running back Landon Erway scampered 19 yards to paydirt.
Haven blocked the extra-point kick, leaving the Indians still trailing by a point, 13-12.
In the fourth quarter, following a short punt by Haven, the Indians began another of their patented drives into Wildcat territory that was keyed by a 15-yard pass completion from Skelton to Erway on a fourth-and-11.
Following a couple of runs by senior running back Jeromy Bartz to pound the ball to the 1-yard line, Skelton dove into the end zone with 8:06 remaining in the game and the Indians had finally overcome the two kickoff returns for touchdowns.
After holding the Haven offense once again, Larned went on another drive to eat up the clock and finish the game, but that stalled on a fourth-and-five to go at the Haven 18-yard line with 1:47 left in the game.
Haven then began their one and only drive of the game behind the running and passing of quarterback Tim Hendrixson. He moved the Wildcats to the Indians’ 20-yard line, but with 10 seconds remaining, he heaved a desperation pass into the end zone that was picked off by Larned’s Tanner Galliart to finally let the Larned faithful celebrate.
Larned dominated the statistics with 299 yards rushing and 52 yards passing against Haven’s 83 yards rushing and 96 yards passing. Larned was once again led by Erway with 26 carries totaling 132 yards.
Haven drops to 2-4 on the season and will begin district play next week with a home game against Clearwater.
Larned improves to 4-2, maintaining a piece of first place in the Central Kansas League West Division. They host the Holcomb Longhorns next week in a key district game.