Cold, TMP no problem for Kingman in 2A quarters
HAYS, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - On the first real freezing night of the 2021 Kansas prep football season, Kingman was able to do just that: freeze TMP quarterback Kade Harris and the Monarchs out of the end zone. Throw in three passing touchdowns from Eagle junior Nolan Freund, and Kingman rolled to a 35-0 win. The Eagles travel north to Beloit in next Friday’s Class 2A state semifinal game.
“We were more worried about the wind,” Kingman coach Tanner Hageman said. “We weren’t worried about the cold, especially in western Kansas. Our pregame stuff was a little bit windy. I had no worries about (Nolan), he’s a gamer. We trust him with everything.”
Freund was able to take some pressure off his defense early in the game. Facing third-and-long, Freund just missed a big completion to junior Avrey Albright. On the very next play, facing fourth-and-12, Eagle sophomore Carter Helm was able to sneak in behind the TMP defense for a 37-yard touchdown completion from Freund.
The junior Harris rushed for 152 yards and returned a kick 80 yards in TMP’s second-round win at Hoisington. Kingman kept Harris in check all night with just 10 rushing yards on nine carries in the first half. Harris finished the night with 27 yards on 15 carries, and he completed just four passes for 28 yards with an interception.
“For several weeks in a row we didn’t think we were playing very good football,” Hageman said. “That was our game plan coming into this thing. To have a chance we had to stop Kade. I thought our kids did an excellent job of that tonight, just rallying to the football and making things really tough for him. To come in and pitch a shutout is impressive.”
Meanwhile the Eagle offense kept doing its thing. On the first play of the second quarter, Albright took a short Freund pass and ambled 23 yards to the house. Kingman took a 14-0 lead into the break.
Kingman won the toss but deferred to the second half. That meant an opening drive in the third quarter that went 78 yards, capped by Freund’s 19-yard strike to Helm in the end zone. After another TMP punt, the Eagles worked the ground with senior Geoff Holloway scoring from 12 yards out. The lead grew to 28-0 with 15 minutes to play.
Freund’s one mistake came late in the game when a tipped pass found its way to Monarch senior Mark Rack for an interception. The Eagles forced a turnover on downs on the next TMP drive, then senior Colby Schreiner capped a short drive with a 2-yard run for the final points of the night.
TMP senior Bryce Seib was also effective in the Hoisington game. Friday he rushed for just 29 yards on 10 carries. The Monarchs fell short of 100 ground yards as a team.
Freund completed his first seven passes of the second half, finishing with 209 yards, three touchdowns, and the late pick on 17-of-23 passing. Albright was a big target all night with 10 receptions for 80 yards, and sophomore Tristen Davidson had a big second half to finish with 59 yards on six catches. Holloway rushed for 77 of his 90 yards in the second half, and Helm finished with two scores in the win.
After a loss to Cheney to open the season, Kingman has rattled off 10-straight wins heading to Beloit. The Eagles had not played in a quarterfinal game in 22 years, and have not won state in nearly a century. Beloit sits at 8-3 with tough losses to Southeast of Saline and Concordia, two teams still playing in the quarterfinals. Southeast topped Cheney in a premiere 3A battle Friday night to advance.
“We haven’t seen a lot of film on Beloit,” said Hageman. “They had a really big season last year. I think they have a really big, physical front. Other than that I don’t know a ton about them because we’re not in the same leagues and we haven’t played a lot of the same people. At this point every team is good. They have some strengths and we have some strengths. May the best team win and we’re up for the challenge.”
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