Kadin Vrbas (32) breaks outside after a pancake block by teammate Eli Hinojosa clears the way. The Longhorns were held to just 52 yards rushing Friday night. (Johnson Publications photo)

Trevor Peterson puts a hit on Chadron quarterback Coy Bila in first-quarter action in the Longhorns final regular season game Friday. (Johnson Publications photo)

Longhorns come up short against Chadron, finish 5-4

    If the whole game would have gone like the first quarter,  the Chase County Longhorns would have defeated Chadron and been playing in the playoffs this week.
    Unfortunately, it was Chadron who controlled the other three quarters and are going to the playoffs. The Cardinals handed Longhorns their fourth loss of the season Friday, 28-6.
    For the Longhorns to get into the playoffs, some teams needed to win, some needed to lose. While all those stars aligned, the loss kept the Longhorns out of the playoffs.
    After both defenses forced three-and-outs to open the game, the Longhorns drove 80 yards for their first touchdown.
    Scott Wheeler made a fingertip catch in the back of the end zone on a 19-yard strike from quarterback Caleb Weiss.
    The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Longhorns up 6-0.
    The defense answered, forcing another Chadron punt. Unfortunately, the punt was dropped and Chadron recovered at the Longhorn 30.
    With the short field, they would need just seven plays to score. Their two-point conversion failed, leaving the score tied 6-6.
    The two then traded fumbles around the Longhorn 35 with the Longhorns losing it first but getting it back three plays later.
    That ensuing possession ended with a punt that the Cardinals returned to the Longhorn 31.
    Instead of going to the air, which they did most of the night, they changed it up on the Longohrn defense, going to the ground game.
    In just four running plays, they scored. A successful two-point version gave them a 14-6 lead midway in the second quarter.
    The Longhorns couldn’t move the ball but got a 55-yard punt from Parker Dillan, pinning the Cardinals on their own 4.
    The defense held and a short Cardinal punt gave the Longhorns the ball at the Chadron 38.
    With 5:24 left in the half, it gave the Longhorns a chance to shift the momentum back their way.
    They moved it inside the Chadron 10 but couldn’t convert a 4th-and-3 to keep the drive alive, giving the ball up with just more than a minute left in the half.
    Chadron took the second-half kickoff from their own 39 to the end zone, gaining all but two yards of the drive on the ground. Another failed two-point conversion left the score at 20-6 in favor of the Cards.
    After the teams traded possessions twice, Chadron put the game away with 10-play,  63-yard drive. Again, they pounded the ball down the field, getting all but 14 yards on the ground. A two-point conversion made the final score 28-6.
    Coach Dan Lenners said the Longhorns started out strong with a couple of defensive stops and a touchdown.
    However, losing the ball several times killed their momentum.

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