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Morning Sun
  • Games to remember

  • The year of 2012 was jam-packed with great high school athletic events and now we take a look back at 10 games which made a more lasting impression.

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  • The year of 2012 was jam-packed with great high school athletic events and now we take a look back at 10 games which made a more lasting impression.
    Frontenac girls at Girard BKB (Feb. 17)
    The Girard Trojans had last dropped a Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League game in 2006 — in fact, Girard opened that league slate with consecutive losses to Baxter Springs (59-42) and Erie (35-32) on Jan. 24 and Jan. 27.
    Girard defeated Northeast 80-19 on Jan. 31, 2006 and its 58-43 win Feb. 14, 2012 over Southeast at Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium made it 50 straight CNC wins. The Raiders of Frontenac came into Girard on a mission and prevailed with a 67-60 win, ending several years of misery and woe.
    Amanda Cicero of Frontenac led all scorers with 19 points. Ryleigh McCartney and Bailey Flora gave Frontenac three scorers in double figures with 15 and 12 points, respectively. Jennifer Long had eight and Lindsey Gorham six.
    Girard had four scorers in double figures, two with 14 each and two with 10 apiece. Carly Heatherly and Hadyn Herlocker scored 14, Hope McLeod and Jordan Davied 10.
    Frontenac would go on to win its first league title since 2003 and Girard would go on to win substate and make its third Class 4A state tournament appearance in four years.
    Colgan boys vs. Riverton BKB (Mar. 1)
    You know you’ve come across something extremely rare when a basketball coach with over 500 career wins talks with you about a first.
    That first happened in the Class 3A basketball substate game at Erie between CNC rivals Riverton and Colgan.
    “This is the first time I’ve been in a four overtime game,” Colgan head coach Wayne Cichon said. “We’ve had one triple overtime, and one or two double overtimes, but nothing like this.”
    Both teams had several opportunities to win in regulation and the overtimes. The first and third overtimes were both marked by neither team scoring a point. Colgan finally broke free in the fourth extra period with 19 points en route to a 72-65 win.
    Zach Smith led three Colgan scorers in double figures with a game-high 27 points. Sam Gilbert added 16 and Dyson Dechant had 12. Landon North paced Riverton with 26. The Panthers enjoyed a 18-9 free throw advantage and Riverton players Dylan Weaver and Hunter Deckard both fouled out.
    Colgan defeated Galena in the substate title game two days later and made its first 3A state tournament appearance.
    Girard girls vs. Pittsburg BKB (Mar. 1)
    Games like this Class 4A substate semifinal are why the Girard and Pittsburg girls basketball teams have developed a rivalry where fans of both schools and high school basketball fans in general look forward to the next game.
    Girard sophomore Hannah Jones (now a junior) split a pair of free throws with 7 seconds remaining and this split gave the Trojans a 59-58 win. Two nights later, Girard would defeat Parsons in the championship game and qualify for its third state tournament in four years.
    Page 2 of 5 - “I would like to know what was going through her (Jones’) mind at the time,” Girard head coach Brad Herlocker told B.J. Harris of KJML after the game. “Sometimes, when you’re young, you don’t realize how big shots are.”
    Girard once enjoyed a 37-20 lead in the third quarter before Pittsburg made a comeback and took back the lead. Pittsburg was sparked by a 25-5 run.
    Giving up a lead was small adversity compared to other challenges Girard faced during its year and Coach Herlocker touched on that adversity.
    “We’ve had a lot of adversity all year long and for something to kind of start rolling our way, you start to believe that maybe it’s in the cards,” he said. “We had different players from all over stepping up all night long. Just a wonderful game of basketball. It’s one of those games that you really hate to see either team lose the game because both teams did what they needed to win the ballgame.”
    Jordan Davied of Girard led all scorers with 20 points and Hadyn Herlocker finished with 14. Skyler Muff led Pittsburg with 18 and Lizzy Willis added 12.
    Frontenac at Colgan BB (Coach Watt wins 500th game, May 3)
    The Panthers and the Raiders engaged in an epic doubleheader split at JayCee Ballpark and the 3-2 win for Colgan in the first contest gave longtime Colgan head coach Mike Watt victory No. 500.
    Watt thanked several people and called himself truly blessed.
    “The wins and the losses aren’t something I really think about,” Watt said. “When I coach, I get lost in the game. I guess that’s why you call it a passion. When I’m out here and out on the field, I don’t think about anything but what’s going on in the ballpark and I get totally lost in it.”
    Frontenac head coach Bill Sullivan, as well as former Girard head coach Keith Matlock and Riverton head coach Danny Weaver, congratulated Watt.
    “He’s deserving of it,” Sullivan said. “He’s had a great program over here and he’s done some tremendous things. I commend him and I told him that I didn’t like that it came against us but it had to happen sometime. He’s a great coach and he deserves everything.”
    Colgan starter Sam Gilbert pitched a complete game five-hitter, an effort matched by Frontenac starter Blake Vail, but two Frontenac errors helped Colgan earn a one-run win. Frontenac won the second game 2-0, behind a two-hit shutout by Matt Standlee.
    Frontenac vs. Colgan BB (Class 3A Regional Final, May 15)
    It was only fitting the Frontenac Raiders and the Colgan Panthers met in the 3A baseball regional final, especially after their earlier doubleheader split at JayCee Ballpark.
    Page 3 of 5 - Frontenac catcher Bryan Wade turned a 2-3 double play in the first that ended a potential Colgan rally (one run already on the board and Wade forced out Sam Gilbert at home before throwing out Jack Villamaria at first), second baseman Ross Edge tied it up in the second with a RBI single and Blake Barto put Frontenac ahead 4-1 with a two-run double. The Raiders would hold on for a 5-2 win and second consecutive regional title.
    Defense, the pitching of starter Matt Standlee and timely hitting were big in the regional final.
    “That’s the three main parts of baseball,” Frontenac head coach Bill Sullivan said. “You’ve got to come out and pitch it well, play good defense behind your pitchers and get the timely hits. I am so proud of these guys right now. They did that and they came through and battled and worked their way through the game. We’ve had a knack for doing that, for staying close and striking late. What great games.”
    Frontenac, a team of destiny, won its first state title and no doubt the competition of the CNC helped the Raiders on the biggest stage.
    Colgan vs. Humboldt SB (Class 3A Regional Final, May 15)
    Morgan Gilmore propelled the Colgan Panthers into the state tournament — she hit a game-winning walk-off home run in the first round of regionals against Galena and then dominated previously undefeated Humboldt in the regional final with a two-run home run and 19 strikeouts in a 5-3 win.
    “She has put us on her back and carried us,” Colgan head coach Abby Farabi said. “We might as well get her a saddle. The other girls showed up and fought hard all night long.”
    Of a possible 21 outs, Gilmore struck out 19 Cubs. The Panthers defeated rival Frontenac in the semifinals.
    Frontenac at Colgan FB (Sept. 21)
    The buzz coming into this Friday night showdown at Hutchinson Field was centered on father-son head coaches (Chuck Smith of Colgan and Mark Smith of Frontenac) going against one another for the first time on statewide TV.
    However, once the game started, it was all about the players on the field and the rivals, whose paths seemed to cross even more in 2012, delivered a 26-25 overtime thriller with a little bit of everything in the Frontenac win.
    The game had multiple swings. Colgan turned a pair of Frontenac fumbles into a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, Frontenac went back ahead 13-10 on a pair of second-quarter scores and Colgan tied it up at the halftime gun on a Aaron Twarog 21-yard field goal.
    Conner Dayton gave the Panthers a 19-13 lead on a 12-yard TD run but Frontenac derailed two potential Colgan scoring drives with interceptions by Bryan Wade and Tanner Craig. Craig made his interception in the end zone. Frontenac running back Taylor Johnson scored the game-tying touchdown with a 5-yard rumble.
    Page 4 of 5 - In overtime, Frontenac scored on its first possession with a TD pass to Brett Macary from Devon Keith. Colgan responded with a Dyson Dechant TD run but a missed extra point gave the Raiders their first win of the season.
    “Our defense did a great job of bending but not breaking and our offense figured out how to take care of the football after that first quarter,” Frontenac head coach Mark Smith said. “We’ve been preaching it and preaching it and they saw the results of it.”
    Frontenac won its first game against Colgan since 1997.
    “It feels amazing,” Frontenac senior Bryan Wade said. “It’s been 15 years. I moved in second grade and I remember going to Coach Smith’s (Mark Smith) senior year at Colgan’s game and he didn’t play. That game and the 2007 clash were the only two games I remember even being close and that was still 28-14 both times. For us to come out and beat them, we’re just happy that it’s over and we’re glad we’re the Class of 2013 and the 2012 football team’s the one that’s going to be known for breaking the streak.”
    Colgan at Girard FB (Sept. 28)
    Walking into Frank Jameson Field that Friday night for the annual showdown between Girard and Colgan, one could definitely sense something special in the air and it was not only because of the Homecoming festivities.
    No, something felt different about this game for both teams.
    Sure enough, Girard stifled Colgan during a 29-0 win and in the first half alone, Colgan gained only 17 yards of total offense and no first downs, punted three times and committed three turnovers (two fumble, one interception). The Panthers finished with 26 rushing and 80 total yards.
    Meanwhile, the Trojans had 387 rushing and 437 total yards for the contest. Taylor Lewis rushed for 199 yards and one TD on 24 carries and Anthony Scholes 150 yards and two TDs on 18 carries. Brayden Johnson and Trenton Stolte also connected on a 21-yard TD pass to put Girard up 21-0.
    “Our offensive and our defensive line, they’re a strength for us,” Girard head coach Leon Miller said. “Those kids do a great job up there but our backs block for each other and they run hard, all of them run hard. It’s a good formula for us. Defensively, our backers are doing what they’re supposed to do, our d-backs are doing what they’re supposed to do and we’re playing great football. It’s a total team effort but if you can control the line of scrimmage, it gives you an edge.”
    Girard defeated Colgan for the first time since 1999, went undefeated in CNC games (6-0) for its first league title since 1999 and won its first playoff game since 2006.
    Page 5 of 5 - Colgan, Frontenac, Girard VB triangular (Oct. 2)
    When these three schools and communities get together in anything, it’s always going to be intense competition.
    Early in October, when Colgan hosted Frontenac and Girard for their annual Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League triangular, it transcended competition as the Fieldhouse was converted into stands filled with pink colors.
    Since Frontenac did not have a home volleyball match in October, since October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and since Frontenac senior Lindsey Gorham’s mother, Diana, was then diagnosed with cervical cancer, the three schools banded together, sold T-shirts and all the proceeds benefited the Gorham family.
    Frontenac head coach Cassie Buche and Colgan head coach Cathy Oplotnik talked about the magnitude of the event that night.
    “I can’t say enough great things about Cathy Oplotnik and her program and (Girard head coach) Emily Vosseler and her program,” Buche said. “For them to donate their proceeds to Lindsey’s family was just a tremendous thing for them to do. I just have so much respect for them and for their kids to be willing to do it and for my kids, we raised over $2,000 profit for Lindsey’s family just from selling these shirts. The girls wanted to do something awesome for Lindsey because of who Lindsey and who Lindsey’s family is and it was about a lot more than volleyball.”
    “It’s a great thing for our three schools because I think the three schools are great rivals,” Oplotnik said. “To see our communities come together and support this cause was amazing. It was a great atmosphere in this gym tonight. This is the most people we’ve had here for a volleyball match ever.”
    Humboldt at Colgan FB (Nov. 3)
    In a football season that previously brought us a game where Pittsburg and Coffeyville scored a combined 120 points (Pittsburg 67-53), no game may have been wilder than the Class 3A state playoff game pitting the visiting Humboldt Cubs against the Colgan Panthers at Hutchinson Field.
    Here’s some of the numbers: 91 points (Colgan 63-28), 13 TDs, 13 successful extra points, 1,051 yards of total offense, 767 passing yards, four TDs longer than 50 yards, nine interceptions and 20 penalties for over 200 yards of losses.
    Colgan won on the strength of 35 unanswered points in the second quarter and intercepted Humboldt quarterback Nathan Whitcomb eight times. Whitcomb attempted 65 passes, completed 36 and threw three TDs.
    The Cubs had three receivers over 100 yards, who combined for 30 catches. Tanner McNutt caught 13 passes for 177 yards and two TDs, Blake Crawford nine for 113 and Noah Thornbrugh eight for 109 and one TD.
    Meanwhile, Colgan senior quarterback Dyson Dechant passed for 280 yards and four scores — a 61-yarder to Nate Grimaldi, a 70-yarder to Tucker Hoffman, a 10-yarder to Christian Cedeno and a 51-yarder to Cedeno. Conner Dayton scored on TD runs of 49 and 43. Hoffman scored on a 84-yard interception return for a touchdown. Colton Gilbert and Cedeno added respective TD runs of 20 and 33 yards.

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