Chanute High School football has been riding the hot arm of Ty Bowman and its athletic skill players all year. Friday night was no different in the second round of the Class 4A State playoffs at the Chanute Community Sports Complex.
On a fourth-and-11 play — on a night that started frigid but ended with the warm hugs of Chanute faithful as confetti breezed by while Chanute coaches and players raised the regional championship plaque — Chanute’s starting quarterback rolled out of the pocket and hurtled a 29-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Almond in the back of the end zone. That gave the Blue Comets their first lead of the ballgame near the end of the first half, and two quarters later, CHS was able to stave off a comeback from the Louisburg Wildcats to win a regional championship for the first time since 2012 by a score of 30-21.
Bowman threw the ball 6 for 12 for 86 yards and three total touchdowns; he also ran the ball 20 times for 112 yards. Tyler Davis rushed the ball eight times for 58 yards, and Briley Peavy caught the pigskin three times for 52 yards and scored a touchdown. Kicker Jacob Adams booted a 31-yard field goal in the contest, too.
Head coach Clete Frazell said there was a reason he called the rollout for Bowman to find Almond in the end zone to put his team up 14-8, which turned out to be the momentum shift his squad needed.
“They were playing up tight — press man — and we knew Garrett is a good athlete and we wanted to give him a chance to go one-on-one to make a play and he did it. That’s what we were seeing,” Frazell said. “They had one-on-one coverage on that side and their defensive backs were away. So we just took a shot and Garrett made the play.”
Offensive lineman Jacob McDonald said the message was pretty clear for his unit ahead of the eventual touchdown pass from Bowman.
“It starts and begins with us, like not many people see it that way, but coaches and players know if we don’t do our job, it doesn’t get done,” McDonald said.
For that to happen, Chanute needed to line up in double tights. In a game in which the Wildcats switched up between four defensive linemen and three defensive linemen, Frazell was able to call just the right formation to combat the interchanging defensive coverage, allowing Bowman to divvy up a dime of a pass to Almond out of the shotgun formation north of 20 seconds left in the first half.
Bowman said he has tunnel vision when he knows he needs to make a throw.
“At that point, my receivers are just trying to get open, so I’m just trying to find a gap that I can fit in, or if nothing else, just tuck it in and run,” Bowman said. “That’s just what I do if I have to get out in the pocket.”
With the Wildcats receiving the ball first in the game, the Blue Comets got the ball in the second half, and they capitalized right off the bat. A 10-play, 55-yard drive that resulted in a 1-yard keeper by Bowman put the Blue Comets up 20-8.
With many variables as to how Chanute was able to advance in the playoffs, one was defensive back Curtis Harris smashing Wildcats’ Brandon Doles for a loss of 4 yards on the ensuing drive. But the run game by the Wildcats behind burly offensive lineman Brayden White allowed Louisburg to overcome CHS’ defensive stand. A late hit by Chanute put the Wildcats on the 1, and Benjamin Wiedenmann ran in a 3-yard touchdown on a drive that lasted 18 plays.
On the very next drive, Chanute was able to put together a 10-play, 44-yard drive that lasted 4:35 and culminated with an Adams 31-yard field goal. This put Chanute up 23-14.
Final scores of the game included a 46-yard touchdown by Weidenmann in the fourth and a 1-yard TD by Peavy after a five-play 48-yard drive that lasted 3:27.
Wiedenmann rushed the ball 20 times for 169 yards and two scores.
Chanute will now take on Paola High School (10-0) in Paola next Friday.
“It feels amazing, I’m not going to lie,” McDonald commented. “I’ve been waiting on a plaque for countless weeks now. It’s just knowing we have a family environment and we can get things done.”
Wildcats’ quarterback Madden Rutherford injured his right arm before the Chanute game. A bevvy of backup quarterbacks didn’t attempt a pass versus Chanute.
CHS’ Nolan Werner tweaked his ankle during the playoff game.
Louisburg 8 0 6 7 — 21
Chanute 0 14 9 7 — 30