Penney dominates East Buchanan for KCI title

Kaleb Huffman/PrepsKC

By Kaleb Huffman PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: October 14, 2017 - 1:05 AM

East Buchanan and Hamilton battled for supremacy in the KCI on the final-night of the regular-season and only one-team could emerge as league champions after the dust settled, unless Hamilton won forcing a tie for the crown.

The Hamilton Hornets defeated the East Buchanan Bulldogs 56-16 on Friday night at Penney High School to tie the Bulldogs' for the KCI title.

The Hornets' (8-1, 6-1 KCI) started out fast behind do-everything senior LaTroy Harper. He made his mark early-and-often in this one. Harper capped off the Hornets' first-drive with a 31-yard scamper to pay dirt, giving the Hornets a 6-0 lead in the first-quarter after failing to convert the two-point try.

On the Bulldogs' initial offensive possession Harper scooped up a Bulldogs fumble as they were driving deep into Hornets' territory.

Then, Harper led the Hornets' down the field on an 11-play 75-yard drive which he capped off with a 10-yard score. This time the Hornets converted the two-point try and held a 14-0 lead as the first-quarter closed.

"It was huge getting the victory and playing like this," Hornets' coach Caleb Obert said. "We moved the ball well and when we had opportunities to make plays against a good-team, we did. We are going to use this for momentum in the playoffs."

Harper continued to create havoc on both sides of the ball, only slipping up once when he threw an interception to Bulldogs' sophomore Owen Forney in the second-quarter. Harper finished 4-5 through the air with 37 yards and one interception.

However, he made amends for his mistake by toting the ball for two scores (8 and 70 yards) while also adding an interception of his own from Bulldogs' quarterback junior Tyler Schottel. The Hornets' capped off the half when Ryan Cook plunged in from a yard-out in relief of Harper under-center for a 44-0 Hornets lead at half, after he also converted the two-point try.

"It was a really good game. East Buchanan came out and played really well," Harper said. "There is always room for improvement and for me to play better.

The Bulldogs kept fighting in the second-half and put up their first-score in the third-quarter, when Schottel found the end zone from two yards out. He then hooked up with senior receiver Carter Cornelius for the two-point conversion trimming the Hornets' lead to 44-8.

However, they couldn't keep Harper down. He rushed for a 69-yard score on the Hornets' first-play of the second half stretching the Hornets lead to 50-8. Harper finished the night with 20 carries for 273 yards and 5 TD's.

The Bulldogs' and Hornets both added fourth quarter scores in the Hornets 56-16 victory, claiming themselves a share of the KCI championship.

"It was nice to share the KCI title. We would have liked to win it by ourselves, but it was nice for the seniors to earn a share," Bulldogs' coach Kevin Bryan said. "We've got to get this one out of our mouth and do what we did before. They are a good team and when you've got a kid like (Harper) who runs the ball like that, and makes people miss it's too much of him. We just have to get our confidence back."