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Hoisington moves into win column against Larned

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 11:17 PM CDT
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HOISINGTON, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Entering the 2021 season, Hoisington had not lost a regular-season game since a 51-21 contest to eventual Class 3A state champion Phillipsburg on Oct. 12, 2018. A Zach Baird-coached team had not given up more than those 51 points in seven seasons prior to last week’s 68-18 week-one loss to Pratt.

Friday night the Cardinals had an opportunity to get back on track. Hoisington used a few big plays and halted Larned’s offense en route to a 27-14 win over the Indians.

“They battled all week to get better,” Baird said. “It’s just trying to put good days on good days. We have young kids who are learning, and I thought our seniors did a good job. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination – we made way too many mistakes – but our guys hung in there and fought.”

Hoisington took a chance on its first drive and turned the ball over on downs after just four plays. On a short field, Larned followed suit just four plays later.

Then the points began to come. The Cardinals needed just six plays to march 61 yards on the next drive, capped by an 8-yard touchdown run from junior Chase Steinert.

Larned punted the ball away on its next drive but junior Brady Hope continued an impressive streak by returning a fumble 66 yards to level the score at seven with 34 seconds to play in the opening quarter. With another tackle and fumble recovery later in the game, Hope now has three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in his first two games of the season.

The Indians recovered one onside kick and nearly another later, but failed to convert on the first recovery. Instead, Hoisington took advantage of a missed fumble call, scoring a few plays later on a 6-yard run from senior Legend Robinson. Robinson tacked on a 24-yard run in the final minute of the half to put the Cards ahead 21-7.

Given running backs like the Hanzlick brothers and Wyatt Pedigo in recent seasons, Baird has not always had to lean on a back for long possessions. Robinson carried the ball 31 times for 215 yards Friday night.

“He’s a really good player and he’s conditioned his body,” Baird said. “I probably wouldn’t want to give it to him 31 times but he’s in great shape. We were not as good as we can be but we were better. I thought Legend was really good.”

After a scoreless third quarter, both teams scored in short succession early in the fourth. On the first play of the final frame, Cardinal sophomore Tony Moore went up to grab a pass from senior Wyatt Wikum, taking it 53 yards to the house.

Larned senior Logan Erway rushed for 177 yards in the week-one win against Lyons. Friday he netted minus one yard in the first half but answered the Moore touchdown with a 64-yard run on the next play. He finished with 68 yards on nine attempts against Hoisington.

“I thought our defensive line was better,” said Baird. “They had a tough time running the ball between the tackles. We just blew a couple of tackles on (Erway’s) long run, which is disheartening. But he’s a good player so you know he’s going to make plays. I’d like to have that one back.”

Following Hope’s second fumble recovery of the night, Larned had an opportunity for one-possession game. Instead, the Indians failed to convert on fourth down inside the Cardinal 10-yard-line, all but deciding the outcome of the game.

In lieu of a big ground attack, Larned junior Riley Pontius threw for 124 yards with an interception on 13-of-25 passing. Senior Creighton Haney had a big 44-yard reception late in the game, and Hope caught five passes for 36 yards.

Robinson rushed for 112 yards in the first half and 103 yards in the second half. Moore added 36 yards on 10 carries and added the big 53-yard touchdown catch. Wikum finished with 88 yards and a touchdown on 2-of-5 passing. Steinert rushed for 24 yards and a score on three carries and also had a big interception to halt Larned’s final drive of the night.

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