Those who appreciate a full football game will never say that a contest came down to one play. In a Class 4A Kansas game last week versus Fort Scott at the Chanute Community Sport Complex, a last drive turnover in the fourth quarter seemingly ended the game for the Chanute Blue Comets.
But so much went into the game well before that in the last offensive possession of the game. And heading into this week versus Coffeyville, the final drive can be used as motivation to turn the page.
“It definitely motivates them,” CHS head coach Clete Frazell said. “And more than anything, that play call was on me, but once you get later on in a game, you’re going to lose your opportunity to take a shot in the end zone, and Rawley Chard is fast enough to outrun anyone in our league, so you know we wanted to take a shot with him when there was still plenty enough time on the clock because as the half gets deeper, (there is) less time left in the game they get into a prevent defense and have everyone backed up deep, and they have five d-backs deep, so we decided to take a shot.
“You’re always going to have hindsight and I wish we could have done this. Looking back on it, I wish we would have tried to run the ball and pound it down the field and score and win the game. But you got to live with the decision, and it just is what it is.”
Unfortunately, there was another injury for the Chanute Blue Comets. In the second quarter in the Fort Scott game, freshman quarterback Kaiden Seamster took a ferocious shot to the head, and he didn’t play the remainder of the game. Senior Garrett Almond, who normally plays receiver and wildcat quarterback, replaced Seamster for the remainder of the game.
Seamster’s injury, however, wasn’t as bad as it could have been, as immediately after, he began showing signs of normalcy, and throughout the week, he has been going through the concussion protocol with his doctor. Throughout most of the week, Seamster was on track to play today, though Frazell isn’t sure if he will take all the reps at quarterback or also play some wide receiver – a role he was accustomed to playing before quarterbacks Kam Koester and Eric Erbe sustained their season-ending injuries.
Another injury occurred Wednesday in practice to another critical Blue Comets player, Almond. The scout team rushed Almond, veered too close, and split a finger on his throwing arm as the senior quarterback was trying to heave a pass. Almond, however, will be playing in today’s game, Frazell said.
Before his injury, Almond took all the reps on Tuesday in preparation to be the quarterback today. Seamster came back Wednesday, which led to both quarterbacks taking reps. Almond then was injured, and Seamster took the remainder of the reps.
Adjusting a game plan to the available players is paramount moving forward, Frazell said.
“We’ve got to establish a run game, and be able to run the ball,” he said. “But both Garrett and Kaiden are capable of throwing the ball as well. We got to throw a little bit because we don’t want people just stacking the box and not respecting the passing game, and they’re both good enough to do that.”
Stacking the box can lead to injuries. Piling on to the injuries – Erbe, Koester, safety Curtis Harris and running back Jackson Coombs are still out – as well as stud linemen junior Kolten Lacrone and sophomore Dylan Treloggen. Lacrone has a sprained ankle and there is no timetable for his return.
Coffeyville, a team that hasn’t beat Chanute in two years and has just one 2020 win versus Augusta in the first week, doesn’t have the injuries like Chanute has, but they skipped a game against Valley Center in September because of COVID-19 – much like the two canceled games for Chanute.
Coffeyville has some notable players heading into this game. Senior quarterback Aaron Rutherford can change direction and make people miss, and he can throw the ball pretty well; Rutherford has passed for seven TDs and three interceptions. Senior wide receiver Darell Jonesis a Kansas State scholarship commit, can run and catch, and is one of the better athletes on the Golden Tornado.
Senior Tariq Logan, who didn’t play as a junior, is at wide receiver and defensive back. Logan has offers from JuCo schools to play football.
The defensive and offensive line is quick, and consists of big and physical wrestlers.
Talent aside, the main factor in stopping Coffeyville from success is the fact that they are a young team, which has led to some unforced errors, penalties. Turnovers have also been an issue.
“(We tell them) keep going and fight through adversity,” first-year Coffeyville/Field Kindley head coach Deonta Wade said. “The ball can bounce any way (in football). Like I tell my guys, yes we are 1-4, we get a bounce or two our way, we are easily 4-1 on the season.”
Chanute will try to reach the perch of another historical year. But first they need to make amends in Coffeyville today for last week’s loss at home.
“I think they know the situation that we are in with lost guys to injury, and they know we’re going to have to scrap in order to pull out games to win,” Frazell said. “We talked about being a disciplined team, being a hard-nose team this week and winning the game on mental toughness. Our kids know how big of a game this is. We lost a couple starters every week. We’re just getting a little bit depleted as far as upperclassmen. The young guys have to step up. And they know the situation we’re in.”
Kickoff is set for 7 pm tonight in Coffeyville.