PITTSBURG — Everything went the way of the Pittsburg High School football team on Friday night against Chanute, as the Purple Dragons coasted to a 54-7 win over the Blue Comets.
The Purple Dragons went up and down the field, scoring seemingly at will while the defense kept Chanute off the board until late in the third quarter.
“We did see a lot of good things tonight,” PHS head coach Tom Nickelson said. “I really liked our running game tonight. I liked the way our offensive line was getting off the line, but I also liked how well our backs ran and our quarterbacks as well. Tonight was all about the running game. They were going to keep four guys deep all night long, so we knew that we were just going to run the ball. The offensive line was getting off the line quick, climbing to the next level and staying on their blocks. Plus, our backs were finishing the runs well.”
It took all of 20 seconds for the Purple Dragons to score their first touchdown of the game, as Chase Johnson intercepted a pass on the third play of the opening drive and ran it back 40 yards for a touchdown.
Pittsburg’s defense came back onto the field — after Nathan Neef added the extra point — and forced a three-and-out to give the Purple Dragons’ offense the ball for the first time in the contest.
PHS took over on the Blue Comets’ 39-yard line and capitalized on the good field position, as Jhalani Long took the handoff, found a seam and broke loose for a 39-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 21-0 at the 10-minute mark of the first quarter.
A 55-yard pass from Chase Curtis to Tye Cicero on the first play following a Chanute punt had the Purple Dragons knocking on the door again in the first quarter.
Curtis kept it himself on the next play and ran 13 yards to the end zone, extending the lead to 21-0.
The Blue Comets put together a six-minute, 15-play drive after the PHS extra point, but a 24-yard pass to the end zone on fourth down fell incomplete, giving the Purple Dragons the ball with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Pittsburg took over and marched down the field in five plays, before Curtis capped off the drive with his second rushing touchdown of the contest to increase the lead to 35-0.
The Purple Dragons added one more touchdown after halftime on a nine-yard run by Jhalani Long to push the score to 42-0 before putting in the underclassmen to close out the game.
Shay Mahnken found the end zone halfway through the third quarter on a five-yard touchdown run to put the Purple Dragons up 48-0.
The Blue Comets scored their first touchdown in the following drive on an 80-yard touchdown run, but the Purple Dragons answered with a eight-yard touchdown run by Brett Freeman in the fourth quarter and coasted to the win with the running clock in effect.
The Purple Dragons will play their first road game of the season at 7 p.m. on Friday against Webb City.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.