By BUDDY TABLER
Special to the Tribune
PHILLIPSBURG – Class 2A state-ranked Phillipsburg converted three first-quarter turnovers into touchdowns and ran away from the Larned Indians 50-0 Friday night.
Larned lost three fumbles and saw two passes interceptions as the Phillipsburg defense smothered an ineffective Indian offensive attack.
Larned coach A.B. Stokes was disappointed with the five Larned turnovers. The Indians also recovered two other fumbles.
“You just can’t turn the ball over against a good ball club and expect to win,” Stokes said. “In fact, you can’t turn it over five times and expect to beat anybody!”
It was a miserable night for the Larned offense with 77 yards rushing on 28 carries and 2-of-10 passes for 44 yards.
Most of the Indian yardage came in just two big plays as Kolby Keith broke loose for a 50-yard gain. Jonathan Herter gained 40 yards on a pass completion from quarterback Carson Smith.
Larned (0-6, 0-5 CKL) plays at Lyons (0-6, 0-5 CKL) in Class 3A, District 15 next week. Phillipsburg (6-0) plays at Hays-Thomas More Prep (1-5) in 3A, District 14.
Phillipsburg dominated the statistics with 370 yards rushing on 60 carries.
The Panthers wasted little time after the two teams traded first-quarter fumbles, resulting in a recovery by Phillipsburg on Larned’s 11-yard-line. Moments later Kirk Coomes rumbled in at the 5:10 mark from the 2-yard-line for a 7-0 lead after a kick by Jon Hunnacutt.
Sparked by the running of the Coomes brothers, Mark and Kirk, and the effective scrambling and passing of sophomore quarterback Trey Sides, the Panthers stunned Larned with additional touchdowns at the 3:48 and 1:53 marks of the first quarter.
Sides hit Trey Thompson with a 30-yard touchdown pass with 11:36 left in the second period. Only four minutes later, sides danced his way into the end zone and following the conversion kick by Hunnacutt, Phillipsburg held an insurmountable 34-0 lead.
Larned recovered a Kirk Coomes fumble at 5:22 of the second quarter on the Panther 32-yard line but turned the ball over on downs. It was one of the few first-half Indian possessions in Phillipsburg territory.
With two seconds on the clock before halftime, Hunnacutt nailed a 26-yard field goal for a 37-0 halftime lead. Hunnacutt converted two more field goals in the second half, the longest a 38-yarder.
Tailback Mark Coomes closed out the scoring with 10:22 remaining in the fourth quarter as he rambled 74 yards for a touchdown. Hunnacutt nailed the extra point kick and the Panthers had their final margin of 50-0 as reserves for both ball clubs finished out the game.
Tailback Mark Coomes led the way with 17 carries totaling 136 yards . Elusive quarterback Trey Sides totaled 89 yards on 8 carries and Kirk Coomes and John Gower contributed 55 and 51 yares. Sides completed 6-10 passes for 144 yards.