Five turnovers too much to overcome
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
The Longhorns’ football playoffs run proved to be short lived for another year. The Ravenna Blue Jays ousted the ’Horns there in the opening round last Thursday, 40-20.
Turnovers plagued the Longhorns, giving up five interceptions in the contest. Of those, two resulted in Ravenna touchdowns.
Coach Dan Lenners said it’s tough to win a game with five turnovers.
Despite that, he praised his team for their efforts, noting they never gave up.
The Longhorns got down early 13-0 but came back in the final two minutes of the half to tie the game at halftime.
Lenners said they felt really good about the game at halftime. They had brought themselves right back in it and grabbed the momentum before the break.
However, Ravenna’s offense continued to churn out big plays in the second half and the Longhorns couldn’t get a stop.
Ravenna’s only punt of the second half came after going up 40-20.
Lenners said Ravenna faced a number of long third downs but always managed to convert.
Ravenna opened the second half with two quick touchdowns to go up 27-13. However, the Longhorns answered to close the gap, 27-20.
From there, Ravenna’s offense owned the day.
Power game taken away
The Longhorns came out early and established their power running game, driving half the field before being forced to punt.
Ravenna answered that by stacking 10 defenders in the box. When the Longhorns tried to open that up with a pass, Ravenna intercepted, setting up their first score.
Lenners said his team didn’t block as well as needed, which allowed Ravenna to shut down the Longhorns’ inside running game.
They had enough speed to spread the Longhorns out on the outside, as well.
That forced Lenners to go to his two-minute offense, spreading out the field.
It opened up the running game but four interceptions out of the formation took its toll, along with a number of dropped or overthrown passes.
The Longhorns also had trouble stopping Ravenna’s quarterback, Trevor Cyboron.
He passed for their first score on a 3rd-and-goal from the 13.
Two possessions later, he turned the corner and went untouched for a 79-yard score.
Both times it appeared Ravenna had motion penalties but the plays stood.
After Ravenna’s second score, the Longhorns got the ball back with 5:56 left in the half.
Lenners switched quarterbacks, putting in Alex Strand for Kale Gockley in an attempt to give the Longhorns a different look.
With 1:54 left, Daniel Regier took a Strand aerial over-the-shoulder in stride and scored from 40 yards out.
Ravenna tried to get another before half but it backfired when Misael Garcia intercepted a pass, giving the Longhorns the ball on the Ravenna 40.
Running out of the two-minute offense, the Longhorns moved to the 17 and had to convert a 4th-and-5 on a direct snap to Michael May in the backfield.
On the next play, Strand found May in the end zone for the score. A kick by David Almanza tied the game 13-13 with 50 seconds left in the half.
Longhorns answer two TDs
Ravenna struck on the opening possession of the second half, scoring on a 10-play 65-yard drive. The score was set up by a 42-yard reverse.
Three plays later, Ravenna snagged a tipped pass, returning it to the Longhorns 6. They scored two plays later on a keeper by Cyboron.
Starting at their own 20, the Longhorns answered with a 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive of their own. Strand capped the drive on a halfback pass to Regier for the 20-yard score to narrow the margin to 27-20.
Two plays later, Ravenna answered with the same reverse play, good for a 51-yard touchdown.
Unable to move the ball, the Longhorns tried a fake punt to keep the drive alive but the pass fell incomplete.
The two teams traded interceptions, giving Ravenna the ball on the Longhorn 20. Three plays later, Cyboron ran another keeper to sew up the game, 40-20.
Final record 4-5
The loss left the Longhorns with a 4-5 season mark.
By earning a playoff berth, the Longhorns extended a 17-year streak of postseason play dating back to 1994.
Since 1984, the Longhorns have qualified for the playoffs 23 times.
Stats at a glance
Tackles (solos-assists)—Tanner Stromberger 12-9, Alex Strand 7-4, Daniel Regier 7-3, Lucas Bauerle 1-5, Daniel Hogsett 3-2, Jeremiah Lueth 3-2, Brian Bell 3-1 Kale Gockley 1-2, Nathan Hinojosa 1-2, Misael Garcia 0-2, Grant Lenners 1-0, Trevor Fuehrer 1-0, Keithan Cochran 1-0, Jakob Burke 0-1.
Rushing (attempts-yards)—Michael May 7-29, Jeremiah Lueth 12-29, Misael Garcia 10-27, Alex Strand 6-23, Kale Gockley 6-17, Tanner Stromberger 3-6.
Receiving (completions-yards-TD)—Daniel Regier 3-87-2, Michael May 3-32-1, Misael Garcia 2-26-0.
Passing (attempts-completions-yards-TD-interceptions)—Alex Strand 23-8-145-3-4, Kale Gockley 4-0-0-0-1.
Total Offense Rushing (attempts-yards-TD)—Chase County 44-131-0; Ravenna 44-301-5.
Total Offense Receiving (attempts-completions-yards-TD)—Chase County 27-8-145-3, Ravenna 5-3-18-1.
Ravenna: 13 yd. pass from Trevor Cyboron to Kelly McFadden, 2 pt. conversion failed.
Ravenna: 79 yd. run by Cyboron, kick by Ethan Schambach good.
CCS: 40 yd. pass from Alex Strand to Daniel Regier, kick by David Almanza blocked.
CCS: 12 yd. pass to Michael May, kick by Almanza good.
Ravenna: 1 yd. run by Cyboron, kick by Schambach good.
Ravenna: 5 yd. run by Cyboron, kick by Schambach good.
CCS: 20 yd. pass from Strand to Regier, kick by Almanza good.
Ravenna: 51 yd. run by Lucas Wilke, kick by Schambach is blocked.
Ravenna: 9 yd. run by Cyboron, kick by Schambach good.
CCS 0 13 7 0—20
Ravenna 6 7 20 7—40
Local scores in playoffs
Bayard 21, Hastings Cecilia 62.
North Platte St. Pat’s 51, Cross County 0.
Perkins County 28, Hershey 7.
Cambridge 45, Superior 21.