Thursday, 26 November 2020
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Holton Dominates Frontenac, Sets Sights on Perry
By Jake W Spalding
Copyright: MSC Sports
Photo Courtesy : Lisa Lierz

Frontenac KS,

For the fourth time in the past six seasons, Holton and Frontenac linked up in the sectional round of the playoffs. Holton had won two of the previous three meetings, but Frontenac won the most recent match-up in 2017, 55-21. This time around, Holton would ensure there was never a doubt who would move on in the 3A state playoffs, dominating 42-6 and find themselves in the sub-state round for the first time since 2016.

Holton would receive the opening kickoff and march right down the field, as they have done so many times this season. The very first play of the game caught Frontenac off guard as senior quarterback Kale Purcell faked a hand-off to senior fullback Konner Tannahill and fired a pass to senior running back Canon Karn who slipped out of the backfield and trotted 76 yards to set the Wildcats up with first and goal. Holton would only need two more plays on the drive as it was capped off by a 6 yard touchdown run from Purcell. Frontenac's first offensive possession saw some big plays before the Raiders would stall out on the Holton ten yard line as the defense from the Wildcats proved once again to be a bend, but don't break defense. Holton would continue their dominance on the gridiron, scoring on four of their five first half possessions as Canon Karn and Konner Tannahill (twice) joined Purcell with first half scores to put the 'Cats up 28-0 at halftime.

The second half was the same story, just a different chapter. Holton dominated in the second half just as much as they did in the first outscoring Frontenac 14-6 en route to their 42-6 victory. Holton never substituted in the backfield on Friday night. The game started with Purcell at quarterback, Tannahill at fullback, Karn and Hundley at running back and that never changed throughout the game. For the first time this year, Holton stayed with the same three backs in the backfield for the duration of the game, and when you do that, you put up some big statistics. Holton came into the game averaging 370 yards of offense on the ground, and the Wildcats nearly put that up in the first half. Total yardage for the night, Holton went over four hundred yards for the sixth straight game tallying 448 total yards while allowing just over 200 yards for Frontenac. Holton was led by Karn who had a career night for the Wildcats. Karn had 76 yards through the air and 234 on the ground on just 22 carries with three touchdown runs as Tannahill attributed 14 carries for 49 yards and two scores.

For the sixth consecutive week, Holton's defense has forced at least two turnovers in a game. The Wildcats have now forced nine fumbles and have intercepted fifteen passes on the year. An opportunistic defense has given an already potent offense plenty of chances to put up points, on a shortened field. This Wildcat team is averaging 45 points per game, in large part due to how great their defense is. Defensively, aside from forcing an astounding 24 turnovers this season, Holton is only allowing 13.5 points per game. Holton will now set their sights on a familiar foe, Perry-Lecompton. The Kaws have dominated in the post season as well, with a marquee win at Topeka-Hayden just a few weeks ago. The Kaws upended Holton 28-14 back in week three at Holton, in a game where senior quarterback Billy Welch left the game with a torn ACL. Both teams have had to make adjustments throughout the season to get where they are. Now, there's no doubt about it and Perry will host Holton in the sub-state round for just the second time in school history. The first time was in 2008 where the Kaws won 56-35 en route to their first ever state title appearance. This should be a phenomenal game with both defenses playing their best ball at the right time. Perry won the turnover battle in Holton in week three. Whoever wins it this time might just be finding their spot in Hutchinson two days after Thanksgiving.

One side note about the upcoming match-up between Holton and Perry that I find amazing. For the fourth consecutive year, a Big 7 league team will represent the East at the 3A state championship game. Let that sink in for a minute, and then tell me another league that has the success that the Big 7 has had. (Don't forget Nemaha Central winning state a year ago, and playing for a chance to defend their title vs Rossville this Friday night as well).

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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