KHS levels Lafayette in two day showdown


Katie Seifert

Sam Balmer, web sports editor

Mother nature stole the show on the night of the inaugural game in the new and improved Lyons Memorial Field. The grand reopening became even grander with almost 15 hours separating the start and finish of KHS’s 48-21 victory over the Lafayette Lancers.

As ominous storm clouds draped the night sky, the Pioneers kicked off at 7:08 p.m. Fueled by a Robert Columbus sack on third down, the Lancers quickly went three and out. After a punt, KHS took over at their own 36 yard line. A few plays later, Wil Hadler navigated through the defense for a 33 yard gain, setting up a 27 yard rushing touchdown, courtesy of Columbus, the only time “Varsity Valor” was played the entire game. Once more Lafayette could not muster a first down, giving the Pioneers the ball back with half of the first quarter remaining. However, with 4:08 left in the initial frame, lightning struck, sending the game into a required 30 minute delay. Spectators from Lafayette filed into the Denver Miller Gym, while those from KHS made their way into the David Holley Assembly Hall. By MSHAA rules, half an hour must pass free of lightning before play can resume. The night sky continued to illuminate, prompting the game to be rescheduled, from 9:30 p.m., to 9 a.m. the next morning.

Saturday morning the game picked up where it left off, save the band, cheerleaders and pommies. A slight drizzle and a temperature of 64 degrees were a stark contrast from the previous night’s conditions. Jahmal Scott, junior, rushed his way into a Pioneer first down, followed quickly by another from Alex Geary, senior. With 3:56 to go in the quarter, JC Chery,junior, found the endzone from three yards out; an extra point made it 14-0.

Lafayette, once more forced to punt, stunned the KHS special teams unit with a fake punt pass for a 59 yard score; the extra point was no good. In their proceeding drive the Pioneers scored in a minute and a half, via first down runs from Chery (16 yards) and Scott (13 yards) and a Hadler to Geary connection for six. The Lancers continued their trend of trickery after KHS stopped them on third and four inside their 30 yard line. Lining up for a 42 yard field goal, Lafayette faked out of it, only for an incomplete pass to follow.

A turnover on downs gave the Lancers the ball back with 2:03 to go in the first half. Lafayette launched the ball down field, only for it to be tipped into the hands of a Lancer receiver waiting in the endzone. The two point conversion was unsuccessful. KHS went three and out on their next possession, handing the ball back with less than a minute remaining. Another huge gain through the air put Lafayette at the 11 yard line. Scott was injured on the play; he returned for one play, yet never returned in the second half. The Lancers, much to the dismay of the KHS faithful who were calling for offensive pass interference, lofted the ball into the endzone for a touchdown. Going into halftime, the score was 21-18 in favor of the Pioneers.

Fifteen minutes later, KHS received the ball to commence the second half. Two empty possessions for the Pioneers and one for the Lancers followed soon after in a sloppy third quarter plagued by penalties on both sides. Lafayette, with 40 seconds remaining, finally put the first points of the second half on the board, with a 35 yard field goal, tying the game at 21 a piece. Hadler and David Haring, senior, connected for the first time on the last play of the third, by means of a 31 strike.

Carrying the momentum over into the fourth quarter, the Hadler to Geary combination secured their second touchdown of the game, this one from 30 yards out. The Pioneers forced another three and out in their next defensive sequence, taking over at the 45 yard line. Jerod Alton, junior, covered a large portion of real estate, moving KHS into Lancer territory. Columbus then plowed his way into a 16 yard gain, with the finishing touch on the drive coming from the third Hadler to Geary touchdown from 12 yards out. On fourth and 12, Lafayette turned the ball over on downs, eventually leading to a 15 yard Chery score, and just like that, the Pioneers doubled up on the Lancers. Columbus continued his stellar game with a sack, one of his three and KHS’ eight, that pushed Lafayette back to their three yard line on their next possession. Two plays later he blocked a punt, which Frank Ginder scooped up for the icing on the cake, the PAT was no good, securing a 48-21 KHS victory.

The 3-0 Pioneers’ next game is Saturday Sept. 20 at Parkway North (1-2).

Top Performers:

Robert Columbus: 11 rushes for 107 yards, 1 TD, 3 sacks, blocked punt

Alex Geary: 6 catches for 131 yards, 3 TDs

JC Chery: 5 rushes for 37 yards, 2 TDs, 5 tackles