PITTSBURG — Humboldt High’s Cubs had lived by the pass all season, setting a litany of school records en route to the Class 3A playoffs.
On Saturday, the Cubs died by it.
Host St. Mary’s Colgan High of Pittsburg turned the tide against Humboldt in a disastrous second quarter in which Cub quarterback Nathan Whitcomb was picked off four times.
Colgan turned a 14-14 tie into a 49-14 lead by the latter moments of the opening half.
Humboldt scored in the final minute of the second quarter, but could not cut the gap within three touchdowns in the second half of a 63-28 loss.
The defeat ends Humboldt’s season at 8-3.
“Offensively we played really, really well between the 25-yard lines. We just could not finish drives and turned the ball over too many times,” Humboldt coach K.B. Criss said. “When you give a team like Colgan that many extra possessions they are definitely going to make you pay.”
Humboldt did not go down without a fight.
Whitcomb continue to throw the ball downfield in the comeback attempt and wound up with 497 passing yards and three touchdowns.
But the Panthers forced nine turnovers — eight on interceptions — to take control.
The game began as a barn-burner.
Whitcomb’s 15-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter knotted the score at 7-7.
After the Panthers regained the lead, Whitcomb connected with senior wideout Tanner McNutt on a 28-yard touchdown pass to even the score at 14-14.
Then disaster struck.
Colgan scored five touchdowns in a nine-minute stretch, including an 87-yard interception return by Trevor Hoffman, which gave the Panthers a 35-14 lead.
Whitcomb was able to stop the bleeding with 48 seconds left in the half on a 28-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Noah Thornbrugh.
The Cubs moved the ball consistently throughout the second half, but turnovers frequently ended scoring chances.
Whitcomb connected with McNutt a second time, on a 27-yard pass late in the game to cap Humboldt’s scoring.
McNutt led Humboldt with 13 catches for 179 yards, followed by Blake Crawford’s nine for 113 and Thornbrugh’s eight for 117. Hunter Murrow added 85 yards on five catches.
“Five hundred twenty-nine yards of total offense and four touchdowns is nothing to be ashamed of and most of the time that will win you plenty of games, we just simply gave them to many extra possessions,” Criss said. “Words cannot say how proud I am of this football team. They came such a long ways over the last six months and we had a lot of fun along the way. We all wish the results would have played out differently, but this team will be able to look back on this season with pride and a sense of accomplishment.
“We are excited about the future of our football program and hope to use this as a springboard for next year. We are going to work harder than ever to make sure we are in a position to maximize our potential,” Criss concluded.
Conner Dayton paced Colgan with 154 yards on 14 carries. Dyan Dechant passed for 280 yards.
Colgan advances to take on Kansas City Piper Saturday in the state 3A quarterfinals.
Humboldt 14 7 0 7 — 28
St. Mary’s Colgan 14 35 7 7 — 63
Colgan — Grimaldi 61 yd pass from Dechant (Twarog kick)
Humboldt — Nathan Whitcomb 15 yd run (Boring kick)
Colgan — Hoffman 70 yd pass from Dechant (Twarog kick)
Humboldt — McNutt 28 pass from Whitcomb (Boring kick
Colgan — Gilbert 20 yd run (Twarog kick
Colgan — Cedeno 10 yd pass from Dechant (Twarog kick
Colgan — Hoffman 84 yd interception return (Twarog kick
Colgan — Dayton 49 yd run (Twarog kick)
Colgan — Cedeno 33 yd run (Twarog kick)
Humboldt — Thornbrugh 28 yd pass from Whitcomb (Boring kick)
Colgan — Cedeno 51 yd pass from Dechant (Twarog kick)
Colgan — Dayton 43 run (Twarog kick)
Humboldt — McNutt 27 yd pass from Whitcomb (Boring kick)
First downs 30 13
Rushes-yds 12-32 34-238
Passing yds 497 329
Total offense 529 567
Passing 36-66-8 10-16-1
Fumbles 1-1 3-0
Punts 1/19 3/34
Penalties 9-79 8-85
Rushing: Humboldt – Whitcomb 9-14, McNutt 1-13, Boring 1-5, Carpenter 1-0; Colgan – Dayton 14-154, Cedeno 10-68, Gilbert 1-20, Battitori 1-8, Stewart 1-3, Dawson 1-1, Yoakam 2-0, Dechant 1-(-8).
Passing: Humboldt – Whitcomb 36-65-487-3; Colgan – Dechant 9-16-280-4.
Receiving: Humboldt – McNutt 13-179, Crawford 9-113, Thornbrugh 8-117, Murrow 5-85, Boring 1-3; Colgan – Cedeno 2-61, Hoffman 1-70, Grimaldi 1-61, Marquardt 1-36, Dayton 1-27, Dawson 1-21, Casey 1-10, Twarog 1-(-4)
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