CHANUTE — For the first five minutes of Friday night’s game, Iola High’s Mustangs were in charge. They executed their game plan, moved the football.
When the opening drive stalled, the Iola defense took over. The Mustangs recovered the first of five fumbles and scored.
Mason Coons, who finished 24 of 50 passing for 143 yards in the game, connected with Devon Conner in the corner of the end zone from four yards out. The extra-point run failed but Iola led 6-0.
Then the roof caved in. Chanute High’s Blue Comets blasted away for a 67-19 victory. The Blue Comets piled up a 52-6 advantage by halftime.
“No the scoreboard doesn’t reflect it but I felt this was the best game we’ve played this season,” said Rick Horton, Mustang head coach. “We had a game plan and the kids executed. We got the ball out to the flats with passes and moved the football.
“We had drives tonight but turnovers and penalties stopped us.”
The Mustangs fall to 0-5 on the season and have lost 16 straight games. Iola has lost 23 consecutive times to Chanute.
Following Iola’s touchdown, it appeared the Mustangs had stopped Christian Wiltse on the return. But Chanute teammate Sam Son was trailing Wiltse and took the ball on a toss and raced down the field.
Iola brought Son down at the Iola 28. It took just one play — a 28-yard run by Son to tie the game. Wiltse ran in the two-point conversion.
On the next Iola possession, Chanute’s Chase Bartholomew intercepted a Coons’ pass and went 30 yards on the return for the score. A.J. LaRocca kicked the extra point.
And it continued.
Chanute’s next two points came on a safety. Coons was flagged for intentional grounding when he was in the end zone. That resulted in a safety.
Iola was still in the game, down 17-6. Chanute mishandled the free kick following the safety. Eric Maxwell made the recovery for the Mustangs at the Iola 49-yard line.
Three incomplete passes forced Iola to punt the football. A bad snap got past Conner who picked the ball up but was tackled by Josh Smeed at the Iola 25.
Three plays later, the Blue Comets were in the end zone on a 10-yard run by Son. Son had just eight carries in the game for 196 yards and had four touchdowns.
Chanute scored four touchdowns in the second quarter to push its lead to 52-6. The Mustangs had one more opportunity to score late in the second quarter.
Jerrik Sigg intercepted a Brock Gilmore pass at the 3:03 mark. The Mustangs moved the ball down the field through the air and runs by Sigg.
Helped by a couple of Chanute penalties, Iola was at the Chanute 22 with 20 seconds left. Three incomplete passes closed the door.
Iola opened the second half with a successful onside kick. Zach Crawford recovered the football at the Chanute 46. But on third-and-long, Iola fumbled the football which began a series of fumbles by the teams.
The last one was an Iola fumble recovered by Chanute at the Iola 21. The Comets scored.
The Mustangs again had a drive going until on a fourth-and-four play, the Comets sacked Coons. Son finished the scoring for Chanute on an 81-yard run with 3:42 left in the third quarter.
Out of the “wildcat” formation, Sigg broke off chunks of yardage on a 46-yard touchdown drive for Iola. He finished it with an 11-yard run into the end zone.
Iola forced a punt. Sigg threw a 34-yard pass to Jacob Rhoads then dashed 45 yards to the end zone on the final play of the period. Isaias Macias kicked the extra point.
“This was a step forward for our kids. We did a lot of good things tonight. But we’re not a good enough team to turn the ball over and have penalties like we had. You can’t do those things against a good team like Chanute and win,” Horton said. Sigg rushed for 126 yards on 11 carries and had 10 catches for 68 yards. Clint Heffern hauled in six receptions for 35 yards. Rhoads made seven catches for 64 yards. Corey Taylor caught one pass for seven yards.
Chanute’s Gilmore was 7 of 10 passing for 145 yards. Gilmore was injured on the final play of the first half and did not return to the action. Grant McMillan moved from wide receiver to quarterback for the second half but did not throw a pass.
Kaden Macha led the Iola defense with seven unassisted tackles and five assisted tackles. Clint Heffern made four solo stops and four assisted tackles. Rhodes had three unassisted tackles and two assisted.
Crawford had two fumble recoveries while Maxwell and Devin Culler each had a fumble recovery. Sigg had an interception.
The Mustangs are at home next Friday against Labette County High’s Grizzlies in Southeast Kansas League play. It is homecoming for Iola High.
Iola — Conner 4 yd pass from Coons (run failed)
Chanute — Son 28 yd run (Wiltse run)
Chanute — Bartholomew 30 yd interception return (LaRocca kick)
Chanute — safety
Chanute — Son 10 yd run (LaRocca kick)
Chanute — Kisner 1 yd run (LaRocca kick)
Chanute — Bartholomew 25 yd pass from Gilmore (LaRocca kick)
Chanute — Kisner 22 yd run (LaRocca kick)
Chanute — Son 68 yd run (LaRocca kick)
Chanute — Kisner 8 yd run (Son pass from Wiltse)
Chanute — Son 81 yd run (LaRocca kick)
Iola — Sigg 11 yd run (pass failed)
Iola — Sigg 45 yd run (Macias kick)
First downs 17 14
Rushes-yds 29-108 35-404
Passing yds 178 145
Total Offense 286 549
Passing 25-51-2 4-10-1
Fumbles-lost 4/3 5/5
Punts-Avg 5-26 1-40
Penalties-yds 4-40 12-115
Rushing: Iola-Sigg 11-126, Coons 10-(-24), Conner 1-(-24), Rhoads 1-6, McIntosh 3-8, Macha 3-16. Chanute-Son 8-196, Kisner 6-31, Gilmore 8-92, Smeed 4-26, Others 9-59.
Passing: Iola-Coons 24-50-143-2, Sigg 1-35. Chanute-Gilmore 4-10-145-1.
Receiving: Iola-Sigg 10-68, Rhoads 7-64, C. Heffern 6-35, Taylor 1-7, Conner 1-4. Chanute-McMillan 2-50, Bartholomew 2-40, Son 3-55.
Punting: Iola-Conner 5-120 (26 yd avg.). Chanute-McMillan 1-40.