By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
With a 48-5 win over Morrill Friday, the Chase County Longhorns picked up their third win in four starts Friday night.
While the Longhorns dominated the ball game for their first district win, Coach Dan Lenners didn’t see the type of consistency and execution he was looking for.
That will have to change when the Longhorns travel to Sutherland this Friday. He said the Sailors’ 2-2 record is deceiving.
Their losses have come to two tough teams who are both 3-1—North Platte St. Pat’s and Elm Creek.
Lenners said Sutherland has lots of speed and will run a variety of sets and motion to try to confuse their opponent’s defense.
Their quarterback is a three-year starter and they have a tough halfback.
Plus, this game is another district game, making a win even more key.
Against Morrill, Lenners said the Longhorns hurt themselves with penalties and lack of execution.
This resulted in halting a number of drives where the Longhorns should have scored, he said.
Lenners said they wanted to work on the passing game last Friday. Quarterback Alex Strand completed six of 18 but Lenners said receivers dropped five to six passes that should have been caught.
Defensively, the Longhorns dominated the game, allowing Morrill just 30 yards of total offense.
Linebacker Tanner Stromberger led the defense with 10 solos and four assists.
Daniel Regier finished with six solos and four assists, with Strand adding five solos and two assists.
Offensively, the Longhorns ran for 168 yards and passed for another 68.
Misael Garcia led the rushing attack with 77 yards followed by Jeremiah Lueth with 56 yards.
Freshman Michael May pulled down three passes for 40 yards and added another 31 yards on the ground.
Longhorns score 13 in first frame
The Longhorns went three-and-out on the opening possession of the game but got the ball right back at Morrill’s 25 following a Morrill fumble on the punt.
The Longhorns turned it over seven plays later on an interception but Morrill fumbled it away on the next play. On the night, the Longhorns would recover a total of five Morrill fumbles.
Three plays later, Garcia went in from 19 yards out. He added the kick for a 7-0 lead with 6:06 left in the first quarter.
The Longhorns pinned Morrill deep in their own territory and forced a three-and-out. A punt from their own six gave the Longhorns great field position at the Morrill 37.
Strand hit two consecutive passes, one to Lueth for 22 yards and one to May for 15 for the score. Garcia’s kick was wide, leaving the score at 13-0 to end the first quarter.
In the second, the two teams traded possession three times.
With Morrill backed up inside their own 10, a fumble proved costly when Lueth recovered the ball in the end zone for a score.
A successful two-point conversion from Strand to Regier put Imperial up 21-0.
Less than two minutes later, the Longhorns recovered another Morrill fumble and tacked on another score before half.
That came with 21 seconds left with Paul Gaschler going over from two yards out. Garcia added the kick to make the halftime score 28-0.
After forcing a Morrill punt on the opening possession of the second half, the Longhorns got on the board with a 45-yard punt return by Garcia. The kick by Grant Lenners failed, making the score 34-0.
Morrill’s first points came on a safety midway in the third when the punt snap sailed over Regier’s head. Regier picked the ball up but was tackled by Morrill in the end zone for a safety.
After recovering another Morrill fumble at their 26, the Longhorns needed just three plays to get on the board.
May got the touchdown from five yards out and Lenners added the kick for a 41-2 lead. With a 39-point margin, the clock began to run.
With eight minutes left in the game, Leuth broke loose for a 35-yard touchdown run. Garcia added the kick for a 48-2 margin.
Morrill’s only other score came on a 29-yard field goal set up by an 80-yard kickoff return to the Longhorn 5.
The Longhorns will travel again Friday, heading to Sutherland for a district contest. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. MT.
Stats at a glance
Tackles (solos-assists)—Tanner Stromberger 10-4, Daniel Regier 6-4, Alex Strand 5-2, Tyler Roenfeldt 4-2, Lucas Bauerle 3-2, Charlie Haarberg 3-1, Nathan Hinojosa 2-1, Jeremiah Lueth 2-1, Jakob Burke 2-1, Keithan Cochran 2-1, Misael Garcia 2-1, Michael May 2-0, Paul Gaschler 2-0, Daniel Hogsett 1-1, Jeff Banks 1-1, Hunter Spady 1-0, Brian Bell 1-0.
Rushing (attempts-yards)—Misael Garcia 9-77, Jeremiah Lueth 5-56, Michael May 8-31, Paul Gaschler 3-16, Alex Strand 3-6, Taylor Gellerman 2-6, Ethan Haarberg 1- -2.
Receiving (completions-yards-TD-2 pt. conv.)—Michael May 3-40-1-0, Jeremith Lueth 1-25-0-0, Daniel Regier 1-3-0-1, Misael Garcia 1- -3-0-0.
Passing (attempts-completions-yards-interceptions-TD-2 pt. conv.)—Alex Strand 18-6-68-1-1-1.
CCS: Misael Garcia 19 yd. run, kick by Garcia good.
CCS: 15 yd. pass from Alex Strand to Michael May, kick Garcia failed.
CCS: Fumble recovered in endzone by Jeremiah Lueth, 2-pt. conversion from Strand to Daniel Regier good.
CCS: Paul Gaschler 2 yd. TD run, kick by Garcia good.
CCS: 45 yd. punt return by Garcia, kick by Grant Lenners failed.
Morrill: Regier tackled in endzone for safety.
CCS: May 5 yd. TD run, kick by Lenners good.
CCS: Lueth 35 yd. TD run, kick by Garcia good.
Morrill: 29 yd. FG by Taylor Lackey good.
CCS 13 15 13 7—48
Morrill 0 0 2 3— 5