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Morning Sun
  • Second half swing: Turnovers key in Colgan victory

  • The St. Mary’s Colgan offense did not have its first possession of the fourth quarter until there were 3 minutes, 8 seconds left in the game.



    On any other day, that might not be a good sign. However, Colgan extended its lead to 34-20 on back-to-back interception returns for touchdown, 42 yards by safety Luke Marquardt and 55 yards by linebacker Austin Commons.

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  • The St. Mary’s Colgan offense did not have its first possession of the fourth quarter until there were 3 minutes, 8 seconds left in the game.
    On any other day, that might not be a good sign. However, Colgan extended its lead to 34-20 on back-to-back interception returns for touchdown, 42 yards by safety Luke Marquardt and 55 yards by linebacker Austin Commons.
    The Panthers ran out the clock during their one fourth-quarter possession — set up by a third consecutive INT, this one by Drew Dawson in the end zone — and claimed a 34-20 win over Neodesha in a Class 3A bi-district contest Tuesday night at Hutchinson Field.
    “Turnovers are big,” Colgan head coach Chuck Smith told reporters after the game. “Boy, Luke Marquardt picked his off and I almost wanted to go for two. I didn’t have the courage to do it and then, Austin Commons, what a great catch that was. The way he kind of played with it, I thought maybe it hit the ground but then he takes off and the Neodesha kid had a chance to catch him but Austin broke a tackle and took in it. There were just big plays . . . but we couldn’t relax because they drive right back down the field and give themselves a chance to score again. We never could relax.”
    Colgan trailed 20-14 at halftime and went ahead on its second drive after halftime — a methodical 10-play, 82-yard drive lasting 4:53. Senior quarterback Dyson Dechant played a major role on this possession — a first-down run of five yards and first-down passes to senior Conner Dayton (13 yards), Aaron Twarog (11) and Tucker Hoffman (33), all setting up a Dechant  1-yard rumble up the middle for a tie score.
    “It was a great drive,” Smith said. “We were a little bit fortunate with the deflected pass. Tucker stayed with it and caught it and then pushed it for a couple more yards. I thought it was a good team effort tonight. I thought everybody played hard and boy, it was a physical ballgame. We’re going to be a little bit beat up tomorrow but I just feel real good about the win.”
    Colgan kept Neodesha off the scoreboard in the second half after the Blue Streaks gained 353 yards of total offense in the first half, including 285 rushing yards and 252 from two ball carriers.
    At halftime, junior running back Hayden Dierks had 142 yards and one TD on five carries and senior quarterback Justice Baird 110 yards and two TDs on six carries. Dierks finished with 163 yards on 13 carries and Baird 117 yards on 10 carries.
    “I thought (senior) Tieler Commons . . . you didn’t see Tieler because he’s on the defensive line but, boy, I thought he had his best ballgame and really played well,” Smith said. “He was playing like he wanted to play this Saturday and then the rest of the kids made some good hits. We bent a little bit but I thought we had a real good (second) half. We beat a real good Neodesha team.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Neodesha scored two of its touchdowns on runs of at least 67 yards — Baird 67 on the first play from scrimmage and Dierks from 74 early in the second. Baird scored the final Neodesha TD on a 10-yard plunge.
    Dayton scored a pair of first-half touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) and finished with 192 yards of total offense on 21 touches — 104 yards on 19 carries and 88 yards on two receptions, including a 75-yard TD on a screen pass turned big play. Two of the first three TDs scored were over 70 yards.
    Hoffman led Colgan with four receptions, good for 51 yards.
    Colgan (7-3) will host Humboldt (8-2) on Saturday at Hutchinson Field. Humboldt defeated Central Heights 48-6.
    “Have a home game Saturday,” Smith said. “We’re excited about being at home and extending the season a little bit. That’s great.”
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