LACROSSE, Kan. The Ellis Railroaders rode a three-score second half to defeat the LaCrosse Leopards by a score of 30 to 14.
It was Senior Night at LaCrosse, with the game being the final regular-season game. Next year the Leopards will move to Eight-Man Division I, making the game the final regular-season Elven-Man game played at Bill Schoendaller Athletic Field.
LaCrosse won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Ellis chose to receive the ball.
After each team punted the ball away once, Ellis had the ball and were moving down the field.
The Railroaders had the ball on the LaCrosse 34-yard line when quarterback Zachary Eck put up a pass that Keldon Day of LaCrosse picked off.
Day took the ball 66-yards for a touchdown at the 3:34 mark in the first quarter. After adding the two-point conversion, LaCrosse led 8 to 0.
Ellis got on the board at 10:54 of the second quarter on running back Mason Gottschalk 30-yard rush to score a touchdown. Gottschalk tied the game up by catching a pass to score the two-point conversion.
Almost two minutes later, LaCrosse's Colby Stull took off on a 54-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Hunter Morgan tried to score a two-point conversion, but he was unsuccessful.
At halftime, LaCrosse led 14 to 8.
The second half belonged to the Railroaders.
Konnor Pfifer took off on a 50-yard run at 4:47 in the third quarter. Morgan Gottschalk again pulled in a pass reception to score the two-point conversion. Ellis now led the game 16 to 14.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Zachary Eck ran the ball in for a touchdown from eight yards out. Eck would pass the ball to Daniel Eck to add on the two-point conversion. The Railroaders now led 24 to 14.
LaCrosse tried to mount a comeback, but three dropped deep passes kept them from moving the ball down the field as they needed.
Ellis would add one more score with one minute left in the game. Zachary Eck scored his second touchdown of the night. He ran in from 18-yards out for six-points. Brian Carbajal pulled in a pass to score the two-point conversion. He was ruled to have been an ineligible receiver which wiped the two-points off the board.
Ellis would hold on to win 30 to 14.
LaCrosse's Colby Stull had the most yards of the night with 103 on 15 carries and one touchdown.
Ellis' Mason Gottschalk carried the ball 16 times for 88 yards and a touchdown. Konnor Pfeifer gained 82 yards on 14 carries and scored a touchdown. Zachary Eck took the ball 12 times for 55 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The win gave Ellis the number two seed in the district. LaCrosse finished in the fourth seed.
"We had some adversity, but we worked hard and finished the game," said Ellis Head Coach Ty Cass. "Our offense kicked into third gear in the second half."
"Ellis did a good job of running the ball," said LaCrosse Head Coach Jon Webster. "It was old fashioned football. Our kids played good I felt, but they (Ellis) made more plays."
LaCrosse will travel to play Smith Center next Friday.
Ellis will stay home and take on Republic County for their playoff first-round matchup.