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Larneds big plays beat Cardinals
spt jf LHS Carson Smith
Larned High Schools Carson Smith throws a pass as Hoisington High Schools Sean Urban defends on Friday night in Hoisington. The Indians upset the Cardinals 29-22. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO Janet Fleske

HOISINGTON — It was Big Plays versus Grind It Out here Friday evening and the big plays of Larned bested the grind it out offense of Hoisington as the Indians upset the Cardinals 29-22 in a key district game. The Indians trailed 22-10 before scoring 19 consecutive points.
Larned had big scoring plays of 73 yards, 33 yards to set up a field goal, 66-yard touchdown run, a 53-yard touchdown pass and a 68-yard touchdown pass. The Indians needed every bit of it to hold off the relentless rushing game out of the flexbone offense of the Cardinals.
The Cardinals reeled off 21 consecutive home wins since a loss to Larned and the Indians turned the trick again. Larned (4-4, 2-0 District) plays Ellsworth (6-2, 1-1). Hoisington (5-3, 1-1 District) plays Lyons (0-7, 0-2). Hoisington is virtually assured of a playoff berth against Lyons while Larned will likely have to win to secure a playoff spot.
Larned coach A.B. Stokes was a happy and proud man.
“I am so proud of this team,” Stokes said. “We didn’t give up when we got down. We came back. Hoisington is a tough team. They are hard to play and very well coached but we hung in there and got the job done. Thank goodness for those big plays.”
Hoisington would collect 18 first downs and rush the ball 53 times for 349 yards, keyed by Urban’s 189 yards. Quarterback Mason Haxton threw for 35 yards.
Larned’s big play offense only had 11 first downs but amassed 257 yards rushing and 180 yards passing. All of the passing yards came in the second half of the game. Anthony McConnell had 19 carries for 179 yards. Quarterback Carson Smith completed three passes for 112 yards.
After forcing Hoisington to punt, McConnell raced 73 yards for a touchdown. The conversion kick was good by Logan DeMond and the Indians had a 7-0 lead.
Hoisington answered with a 13 yard touchdown run by Sean Urban with 3:34 on the clock. Larned was sparked by a 33-yard end-around run by Mason Perez but the drive fizzled at the 5-yard line and DeMond toed in a 22 yard field goal and a 10-6 lead.
Hoisington went on two long drives sandwiched around a failed drive by Larned. Urban ran 20 yards for a touchdown and added a 2-point conversion for a 14-10 lead. Cardinal Rudy Gearhart broke loose for a 54-yard touchdown with 1:54 remaining in the third stanza and a 2-point conversion run by Urban gave the Cardinals a 22-10 lead.
Larned wasn’t finished with their big plays however. McConnell again broke loose and scampered 66 yards for a touchdown with 54 seconds left in the third period. The kick by DeMond was good and the Indians had narrowed the gap to 22-17.
The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by Hoisington and Larned recovered on the Hoisington 44. A penalty pushed Larned back into their own territory but with 11:07 left in the fourth quarter a Carson Smith pass to DaMontay Phillips was good for 54 yards and a touchdown. The extra point kick was blocked but Larned seized the lead at 23-22.
With 9:03 on the clock Larned’s Mason Perez intercepted a pass thrown by the Cardinals’ Mason Haxton and returned it to the Larned 36 yard line and one minute later the Indians ran a reverse. DaMontay Phillips could have run for a first down but converted a perfect long pass that was caught by Brock Skelton who eluded the Hoisington defensive back and finished with a 68 yard touchdown. There was a bad snap on the ensuing extra point try but Larned had a 29-22 lead.
On Hoisington’s next possession, following a couple of first downs, Wyatt Pedigo would fumble and Larned recovered with 6:25 remaining in the game.
The Indians would go on a methodical drive that would eat a lot of the clock but with 1:27, McConnell fumbled at the Cardinals’ 11 yard line giving Hoisington a glimmer of hope but following a couple of first downs quarterback Mason Saxton was run out of bounds on a 4th and 14 that was short of the first down and Larned took over and ran out the rest of the clock in this close, hard-fought football game between two long-time rivals.