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Fresh start leads to victory Photo Credit: Sean Kosednar/PrepsKC

So much happened in the game between Tonganoxie and Turner, that it needed two days to be completed. The Chieftains and Golden Bears kicked off Thursday night, but a weather delay forced the game to be resumed late in the first quarter on Friday October 8. Turner erased a 24 point deficit to win 28-24.

“They surprised me today,” Turner head coach Jeremy Milne said, “they really did.”

Special teams proved pivotal. Tonganoxie returned the opening kickoff to Turner’s 35. They then scored 3 minutes later, but failed on the two point attempt.

The Chieftains then recovered an onside kick, and they marched straight down the field again. This time senior Jordan Martin picked off a pass at the goal-line returning the ball out to the 34.

The excitement was short lived as Tonganoxie forced a fumbled and recovered just a few plays later. The Bears were powerless to stop junior Zac Morgan running the ball up the middle. The Chieftain running back would only gain a few yards per play, but methodically they paved their way toward a second touchdown. Again a failed two point conversion made the score 12-0. The game was soon postponed.

“Coming back after postponing a game is always hard on the kids,” Milne said. “The locker room was different today. There was something different in their preparation.”

It looked to be more of the same after the game resumed, as Tonganoxie stripped the ball on the first play and scoring two minutes later. This time a missed extra point made the score 18-0.

On the next Chieftain possession Mac Thompson ran the play action pass to perfections finding Brett George streaking down the left seam for a 40 yard touchdown. Yet another missed extra point made the score 24-0 with 6:16 left in the half.

Late in the first half linebacker Robert Magill made an interception at midfield. The Bears would cooly move down the field. As the clock ran down, junior quarterback Jaelon Harley punched in a one yard QB sneak. Turner was successful on their two point try and cut the lead to 24-8.

“We stopped them on everything but the deep ball,” Tonganoxie head coach Al Troyer said. “We didn’t get enough cushion and let them get over the top.”

Turner received the ball to start the second half, and it didn’t take them long to cut the lead even more. On the second play from scrimmage Harley found Martin on a 77 yard catch run. Another two point conversion moved the Bears within a score.

The rest of the game belonged to Turner’s defense. The Golden Bear’s employed a bend but don’t break defense to perfection. They stopped Tonganoxie on fourth down six times including twice inside the 10.

“We finally started to tackle,” Milne said. “Finally our two middle linebackers started to tackle, and they game is really that simple. It’s not rocket science. Tackle, run it, take care of it and you can win.”

With just under eight minutes remaining Turner took over on their nine yard line. On the first play  Harley found Martin wide open again 30 yards down field. Martin used his speed to go the other 60 yards and put the Bear within two points This time the Turner was stopped on their two point attempt and the score was 24-22.

Martin continued to be all over the field as he hauled in his second interception on the Bear 22 with 4:52 remaining. Two plays later Harley and Martin connected for a third time. This time on a 57 yard pass that would prove to be the game winner with 3:48 left in the ball game.

“Jordan Martin is a special player,” Milne said. “Not many people know this, but during ballgames he can’t hear. He wears a cochlear implant and when it gets wet it turns off. So he is already behind, but he never uses it as a crutch. He is just a great player.”

Turner would get a sack on 4th and 10 on their 19 to end Tonganoxie’s hopes of a comeback.

“These kids are resilient,” Troyer said. “They will come back. Maybe this was good for us, and they will come back angry next week.

Next week Tonganoxie takes on undefeated Aitchison and Turner plays Lansing.