HUGOTON — The Hugoton High School Eagles put a huge dent in Larned’s playoff hopes with a 14-6 upset of the favored Indians Friday evening.
Larned’s recent offensive struggles continued in the first half as they struggled to consistently move the football.
Penalties and other miscues played into the hands of the fleet-footed Eagles, who were inspired by the running and passing of their two quarterbacks, Parker Titus and Valentino Degollado.
Early in the first quarter, Hugoton showed that they were going “all out” to win this game as during their first drive they went for, and converted, three fourth-down plays, two of them in their own territory.
This attitude of disdaining the punt seemed to inspire the Eagles and with 9:27 remaining in the first quarter Manuel Mendez gathered in a pass from Titus and rambled 24 yards for a touchdown.
The conversion kick by Colby Korf was good and Hugoton had a quick 7-0 lead.
The second quarter was scoreless as both teams battled drive-ending penalties. In the first half Hugoton was penalized 10 times for 97 yards and Larned totaled 6 penalties for 83 yards.
With 3:35 remaining before halftime, Hugoton’s Ulises Armendariz fumbled and Larned recovered on Hugoton’s 35-yard line for the best scoring opportunity of the first half for the Indians.
The two teams traded 15-yard penalties before two runs by Larned’s Landon Erway got the ball to the 10-yard line with just 1:00 showing on the clock.
Battling the clock with no timeouts, the Indians moved the ball to the 2-yard line but with only three ticks left on a fourth-down play, Larned’s quarterback Evan Skelton was stood up by the interior of the Hugoton defense at the 1-yard line and Larned’s frustration continued as they left for halftime trailing 7-0.
As they did to open the game, Hugoton quickly took their first second-half possession and drove down the field.
With 7:24 left in the third quarter Armendariz scored on a 14-yard run and following another successful conversion kick by Korf the Eagles had a 14-0 lead.
Suddenly the Indians offense came to life and they marched the ball, minus the nagging penalties, 82 yards.
Erway punched it in with a 2-yard run but the extra point kick by David Valadez was wide leaving the Indians trailing 14-6 as the third quarter drew to a close.
Both teams had trouble moving the ball in the fourth quarter and most of the action took place between the thirty-yard lines.
With only 1:22 remaining in the game the Larned defense forced a punt and took over with hopes of pulling out a victory.
It didn’t happen.
Hugoton rushed the ball 41 times for 183 yards behind their two quarterback system. Titus had 54 of those yards and Degollado 106. The Eagles had 8 completions out of 17 attempts for 103 yards.
Larned rushed the ball 42 times for 152 yards with Erway being the leading ball carrier with 61 of those yards.
The Indians were only 4 of 12 in passing for 37 yards.
Next Friday Hugoton travels to Holcomb and Larned hosts Pratt.
Larned, Pratt and Hugoton all still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs. Holcomb has assured themselves of a spot.