Dodge City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–On a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon at Dodge City’s Memorial Stadium, the Dodge City Conquistadors never trailed on homecoming, and held off Ellsworth for a 21-14 win.
Dodge City would drive down to the Panther 19 on their opening series, but were stuffed on fourth down, and turned the ball over on downs. Following an Ellsworth three-and-out, the Conqs went on a five-play, 55-yard drive, that was capped off by a Grant Ciccerone touchdown pass to Tyrence Crutcher from 18 yards out with 7:01 remaining in the first quarter to go up 7-0, after the Dylan Seeker PAT. Ciccerone would throw another touchdown in the opening 15 minutes of play. This time, it was Jalen Hannah who was the recipient of a 39-yard touchdown pass with 3:49 left in the opening frame to go up 14-0 with the Seeker PAT.
When it looked like Dodge City had control of the game early, Ellsworth would mount a scoring drive. Quarterback Joshua Bauer scored from five yards out to pull the Panthers to within 14-7 with 37 second left in the opening quarter. Leonardo Araujo knocked in the extra point.
While there was no scoring in the second quarter, Ellsworth returned a fumbled punt snap for a touchdown at the time, to make it 14-13. However, a penalty on the Panthers wiped out the score, and the Conqs had a first down. That ended up being the difference in the game.
Leading 14-7 in the third quarter, quarterback DeRohn King orchestrated a scoring drive on his first series of the game. After forcing a turnover on downs at the Dodge City 19, the Conquistadors went 81 yards on only three plays, as King finished it off with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Martavious Crook to extend the lead to 21-7 with the Seeker extra point.
Dodge City punted in the fourth quarter, pinning the Panthers at their own nine. Unfortunately on the Ellsworth drive, the Conqs aided the Panthers by committing two pass interferences. Ellsworth took advantage, as Trent Lane scored from nine yards out with 6:04 left in the game to get to within 21-14 with the Araujo extra point. Dodge City would be able to run the clock out and come out with the win.
The Conquistadors finished with 421 yards in the game, as Grant Ciccerone was 15-27 passing for 169 yards with two touchdowns, and DeRohn King threw for 84 yards and a touchdown on 6-9 passing. Jalen Hannah caught eight passes for 115 yards and a touchdown and Mark McDonald rushed for 129 yards on 18 carries. Dodge City had 158 rushing yards.
For Ellsworth CC, Joshua Bauer threw for 134 yards on 13-35 passing. They ended up with 181 yards on the ground and finished with 305 yards of offense. Ernesto Rios had 77 yards on 12 rushes and Aghogho Eyafe had four receptions for 65 yards.
Dodge City is 3-4 overall, and will play at Iowa Central on Saturday at 11 am, while Ellsworth is 0-7 and visits Independence on Saturday.