February 8, 2023

Hugoton Takes Defending Champ Andale to OT; Falls Point Short

Hugoton, KS (westernkansasnews.com) The experts thought the odds were against the Hugoton Eagles (5-6) football team Friday night in hosting the defending state champion Andale Indians (9-2) in a 4A-II sectional playoff game, but to borrow a spinoff line from a popular movie the Eagles did not care about no stinkin’ odds.

Hugoton scored a touchdown with 41 seconds left and converted on a two point conversion to tie the game and force overtime, only to miss an extra point in the extra period and that turned out to be the difference in a 28-27 loss.

The Eagles defense held strong against the Indians potent wishbone attack. Hugoton came up with one of their three turnovers early in the game. Just one minute in talented junior linebacker Pedro Ordonez stripped a ball at the Indians 20 setting up lineman Brandon Hickey with the recovery. Hugoton could not do anything with the short field, but the tone was set. Andale would be in for quite a game.

Andale breathed a sigh of relief from a drop pass by Hugoton’s Zack Leininger in the corner of the end zone on 4th down ending the Eagles chances to get on the board first. Indians running back Tristen Dagenais set up a scoring drive of just over five minuteds with a 25 yard run and moments later Zach Meyer ran in from 4 yards with 4:45 left in the first quarter to make it 7-0 Indians.

The Eagles could not capitalize on the first turnover of the game, but in the final minute of the first quarter they did to knot up the contest at seven. Meyer who plunged in for the first points fumbled at his own 37. The very next play Eagle quarterback Valentino Degollado threw a touchdown strike of 37 yards to Wade Heger and with 2 seconds left in the first quarter we had a tied game at 7.

Neither team scored until the early moments of the third, but Andale took control of the game for a short time establishing themselves with six minutes left in the third quarter on a 97 yard drive that consumed eight minutes off the clock. Dagenais wrapped up the drive with a 3 yard touchdown run to give the Indians a 14-7 lead.

For a game that saw both defensed completely dominate, the offenses were beginning to take form. The Eagles answered marching down the field with a pass of 18 yards to Hunter Kerbow and a 15 yard penalty after the defender pushed Kerbow while he was on the ground. In a drive that took only three minutes Degollado hit Leninger on a twenty yard pass diving catch in the back of the end zone. The celebration was short-lived after Colby Korf’s extra point did not get enough arc and was batted down by the middle of the Indians defensive line.

Andale could have very easily wrapped up the game on the ensuing drive. A halfback pass delivered into tight end Jeff Ast of 21 yards sparked the next play with Dagenais run from the Eagles 44 to their two. Meyer burrowed his way from there scoring on a fourth down run of two yards and Andale had their biggest lead of the night 21-13 with a little more than five minutes left.

When the chips were down Degollado showed the maturity that made him the starting quarterback this year and switched senior Parker Titus last year’s starter to wide receiver. When nothing was there, Degollado ran and had success on the ground. After the game many people could tell how much Degollado wanted a win, his left cheek was cut from all the hits he took.

Capitalizing on a pass interference which set up the Eagles from Andale’s 19 with less than two minutes left, Degollado hooked up with the man who once had his job Titus on 3rd and 8 for a 13 yard strike to the Indians 5.

Degollado finished the drive with a five yard touchdown run and Leininger caught the two pointer in the back of the end zone with 41 seconds to go. As Andale drove past midfield with 16 seconds to go Taylor Richter was intercepted by Hunter Kerbow setting up overtime.

In the overtime, Hugoton had the ball first and on third down Degollado hit Daniel Bustillos as he smothered the ball rolling over for a diving six yard catch in the middle of the endzone to give Hugoton their first lead. That is when Korf missed wide left on the exta point.

Sensing an opening Andale’s Zach Meyer took control rushing two times for seven yards and on third down went up the gut for the tying score. Unlike Korf, Dylan Horsch nailed his attempt although he had pressure from Kerbow coming off the right edge.

For Anadale they will bring their eight game winning streak into next week’s substate final at Holcomb, while Hugoton who rode a big comeback win after trailing by 14 on the road at Colby last week finishes at 5-6.

Team Stats

First Downs–Andale 21, Hugoton 15
Rushing–Andale 174, Hugoton 76
Passing–Andale 44, Hugoton 157
Total Yards–Hugoton 233, Andale 218
Turnovers–Andale 3, Hugoton 0
Penalities Andale 6- for 65, Hugoton 3 for 25

Individual Stats

Dadenais 15-77; Meyer 21-72, 3TD; Richter 13-22; Spexarth 1-3

Richter 4 for 8, 44 yards and 1 INT

Ast 1-20; Meyer 2-16; Degenais 1-8

Degollado 25-74, TD; Heger 2-2

Degollado 16 of 31, 157 yards, 3TD and 0 INT

Heger 2-48, TD; Leininger 4-41, TD; Goode 2-31; Titus 2-19; Bustillos 5-15, TD; Salas 1-15

Post-game Hugoton Quarterback Valentino Degollado

Post-game Hugoton Wide Receiver Zack Leininger

Post-game Hugoton Head Coach Todd Fulton