(Updated Sunday, 6:45 p.m. with quotes, game stats) After rallying from early 14-0 deficit to tie late in first quarter, CHS (5-2) forced three Savages turnovers in second quarter, but didn't cash any in, reprieving hosts
SAVANNAH, Mo. — The Chillicothe (Mo.) HS football Hornets strode into Savannah to face the stalwart Savages Friday (Oct. 11, 2019) with some extra confidence after an unexpected triumph over St. Joseph: Lafayette the week before.
They displayed some of that new steel in their backbone by shrugging off two Savannah touchdowns in the first 2-1/2 minutes to score twice in 2:20 themselves later in the opening period, tying the game, 14-14.
The Hornets’ defense, after a second big-play score by SHS senior slotback Noah Bodenhausen before the first period ended, tried to atone for those “chunk” plays by creating three second-quarter takeaways on fumbles – twice in SHS territory. However, when the offense did not seize any of those chances, the tide turned against Chillicothe and Savannah (6-1, 4-0 conf.) pulled away for a deceptively-wide 49-14 Midland Empire Conference triumph.
“I was happy with the response in the first quarter, but just not throughout the game.” Chillicothe head coach Tim Rulo admitted afterward.
“We’ve got to go and work on those things and take care of business,” he declared a bit later in a post-game interview, “because the goal is to play these guys again hopefully in the (Class 3 District 16) championship (game).”
Before that can happen, a month-plus and four games will need to intervene, beginning with next Friday’s penultimate game of the CHS regular season – a rare out-of-state contest.
The football Hornets will venture beyond Missouri’s borders for the first time in nearly a quarter-century when it calls on the Wyandotte Bulldogs in the northwest portion of the Kansas City metropolitan area for their week eight contest. Wyandotte owns a 2-3 record after losing to keen rival Washington High this weekend.
“They’re an athletic team, … a team we can’t take lightly,” the Chillicothe head coach shared about Wyandotte, following the Savannah contest. “I think that’s my biggest fear.”
The last time Chillicothe met a non-Missouri varsity squad was in 1994 when it won at Fort Madison, Iowa. The last clash at a Kansas site was two years before that when the Hornets won at Maur Hill-Mount Academy in Atchison in 1993. A 1995 home game against Fort Madison was the last CHS clash with an out-of-state opponent.
The upcoming, uncommon contest fills the gap in the schedule left by St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond’s switch from 11-man to 8-man football after last season.
At Savannah this past Friday, down 28-14 at intermission after failing to convert the second-quarter takeaways into any points, Chillicothe was due to have the ball to begin the second half, giving the Hornets (5-2, 3-2 conf.) a fresh chance to insert itself back into the thick of the contest, if it could stick the ball in the end zone.
However, for a third time in three games, they failed to secure the catch of a foe’s kickoff – this time fumbling the attempted catch – and the Savages recovered the ball at the CHS 35.
Savannah moved into the end zone in a mere three plays – running back Evan Yount posting their second of his four inside TD runs on a 19-yards carry – to make it a 3-scores game and the air out of Chillicothe’s hope and belief balloon. What could have been a-tight game instead became one in which “running clock” timekeeping procedures were used for most of the last period after Yount 2-yards plunge and a conversion kick with 10:37 remaining made it a 35-points spread.
The jarring final margin brought the Hornets and their fans crashing down cold-turkey from the “high” they were on late in the opening period.
After Savannah struck twice early, including Bodenhausen’s 56-yards scoring run on the third play from scrimmage – a play CHS was well-positioned to stop for a very short gain, Chillicothe surged to life with a long pass play and then its best play in kickoff coverage all season.
On third-and-6 from the SHS 47 midway through the first quarter, Hornets quarterback Jaden Winder used a play-action fake to buy enough time to loft a long pass down the left side which found Colten Sewell with some separation. The play netted 43 yards and, two plays later, trailing wingback Kam Ward caught what was intended to be a lateral or backward flip from Winder, but actually was ruled by the sideline official to have been a forward pass by half-yard or so, just inside the front left end zone pylon to put Chillicothe on the scoreboard. With Jamacin Carr’s conversion kick, CHS was within 14-7.
Carr’s perfectly-placed, perfectly-paced ensuing kickoff landed in open space well in front of highly-dangerous Savannah return man Jadon Brady, but, angled to his right, took two, quick, end-over-end bounces past him toward both the sideline and end zone. However, the ball stayed in the field of play, forcing Brady to reluctantly pick the ball up at his own 1. As he trid to exploit his speed to out-run approaching Hornets, he headed horizontally straight across the field, but diving Hornet Deon Reynolds caught just enough of the returner’s leg to send him tumbling to the grass at the Savannah 2.
Spurred by the offense’s score and kickoff unit’s great play, Chillicothe’s defense responded by stopping two runs for very short yardage and then covered a pass well enough to force and incompletion. A SHS punt from its own end zone gave Chillicothe the ball back quickly, taking possession back in outstanding field position at its 41.
The Hornets’ offense kept the positive momentum going. Two inside runs and a toss sweep to K. Ward moved the yardsticks for a fresh set of downs at the Savannah 48.
On the very next play, another inside handoff to fullback Dawson Wheeler produced good point-of-attack blocking on the right side by guard Luke Hopper, tackle Isaac Washburn, tight end Julius Humphrey, and lead wingback Isaak Rasche.
The quick hitter through the crease they created sent Wheeler not only to the second level of the defense, but at full gallop. Before any linebackers or defensive backs realized it, the Hornets ballcarrier was past them and end zone-bound. The 48-yards dash and Carr’s follow-up kick had the game tied at 14-14 with still 2:15 to go in the opening period.
Even after an undefended Bodenhausen caught a quick slant pass from his right slot position and took it 63 yards down the middle of the field for the hosts’ third score less than a minute later, the sense was that Chillicothe was not going away. However, its attack did, for the most part, rendering meaningless the defense’s second-quarter turnaround.
After Savannah sprung Yount up the middle for a 25-yards score to complete a 7-plays, 74-yards march just over two minutes into the second quarter, CHS defenders tried to turn the tide.
Washburn’s hit on Savages standout quarterback Chase Spoonemore at the end of his 20-yards scramble toward the left sideline got the ball loose and it bounced – barely in-bounds in front of the CHS bench – right into Brad Hayen’s arms for a turnover at the CHS 36.
The offense gained only five yards on three plays on the ensuing possession and punted a third-straight time, but soon was back on the field.
Two plays after the punt, a completed SHS pass up its right sideline to Bodenhausen became another Chillicothe takeaway when the ball was knocked free from behind by Hayden Hill and recovered by Hayen at the CHS 47 just over four minutes before halftime.
With the expectation that the offense would get the ball at the start of the second half, conversion of that very good field position into a late first-half touchdown could have led to Chillicothe being on even terms early in the second half.
This time, Chillicothe’s offense looked ready to capitalize on the defense-created break. Two runs earned a first down at the Savannah 40 and then, on a fourth-and-10, Winder fired a perfect strike to Hayen on the right side on a hook or stop route that gained 16 yards and another new set of downs.
After a catchable pass was dropped at about the SHS 5 and another incompletion on an off-target throw, a third-and-10 pass aimed down the right seam missed the open window for hitting the target before he reached the deeper pass coverage. Arriving late, it allowed Savannah’s outside defender to cut in front and intercept the ball at the SHS 5. Although a blocking penalty during his return forced the Savages to start their ensuing possession at their 16, rather than nearly to midfield, it looked likely Chillicothe had blown its chance to get within a score before halftime, since only 66 seconds remained in the half.
Lo and behold, however, after Savannah picked up one first down, on a first-and-10 run from the Savages’ 34, Chillicothe sophomore linebacker Brock Ward’s quick read on a run-pass option play and his hit separated the ball from Spoonemore’s grip before he could tuck it away. The ball rolled backward toward the Savages’ goal line with Hornet Isaih Kille – its alternate fullback on offense – in pursuit. With a clean pickup on the run, he might have toted the pigskin about 20 yards into the end zone or, even if caught and tackled, inside the Savages’ 10 with still about 10 seconds to go. Unfortunately for him and his team, Kille lost his balance as he grabbed the ball and, after a couple of stumbling strides, fell at the 16 as a retreating Savage caught up to him.
Still, Chillicothe essentially had two plays – if passes – to try to get those 16 yards and score what would have been a huge touchdown. However, with Savannah certain CHS would have to throw into the end zone, the Hornets could not get a receiver open. With two incompletions, the half ended with Savannah – barely – still up by 14 points.
Chillicothe’s failure to handle the short second-half kickoff and Savannah’s ensuing quick scoring drive to boost its lead to 21 points effectively sounded the death knell on the Hornets and their 3-games winning streak.
Any doubt about the ultimate result was erased when slotback Bodenhausen produced his third scoring play of the game of over 40 yards on a 41-yards sweep around right end with 1:15 remaining in the third frame.
“They have a lot of athletes right now and they’re very talented,” Rulo said of Savannah’s quick-strike capability even when Spoonemore and Brady are kept in check.
Overall, he assessed, “It didn’t go the way we wanted.”
Citing the eventual margin, which, he said, he believes exaggerates the degree of separation between the teams, the Chillicothe coach still acknowledged, “It shows we have a lot of things we need to go and get better at.
“We’ll have a lot of things to work on this week.”
SAVANNAH 49, CHILLICOTHE 14
Chillicothe 14 0 0 0 – 14
Savannah 20 8 14 7 – 49
10:44 (1) – (SHS) Noah Bodenhausen 56-yards run (Jayden Arn kick) (3 plays, 60 yards) SAV 7-0
9:33 (1) – (SHS) Evan Yount 3-yards run (Arn kick) (5 plays, 34 yards) SAV 14-0
4:35 (1) – (CHS) Kam Ward 4-yards pass from Jaden Winder (Jamacin Carr kick) (6 plays, 64 yards) SAV 14-7
2:15 (1) – (CHS) Dawson Wheeler 48-yards run (Carr kick) (4 plays, 59 yards) 14-14 tie
1:29 (1) – (SHS) Bodenhausen 63-yards pass from Chase Spoonemore (Arn kick NG-WR) (2 plays, 65 yards) SAV 20-14
9:51 (2) – (SHS) Yount 25-yards run (Drew Duane pass from Bodenhausen) (7 plays, 74 yards) SAV 28-14
10:54 (3) – (SHS) Yount 19-yards run (Arn kick) (3 plays, 35 yards) SAV 35-14
1:15 (3) – (SHS) Bodenhausen 41-yards run (Arn kick) (7 plays, 95 yards) SAV 42-14
10:37 (4) – (SHS) Yount 2-yards run (Arn kick) (6 plays, 41 yards) SAV 49-14
INDIVIDUAL, TEAM STATISTICS
(CHS) Dawson Wheeler 13 carries for 111 yards (1 TD), Jaden Winder 9-49, Isaih Kille 5-17, Hayden Hill 1-4, Allen Eakins 1-3, Isaak Rasche 4-2, Kam Ward 7-(-1), Tucker Wagers 1-(-4). [TOTAL 41-181 (1)] (SHS) Evan Yount 23-158 (4), Noah Bodenhausen 5-132 (2), Chase Spoonemore 9-48, Jadon Brady 3-5, Collin Reese 1-(-2). [TOTAL 41-341 (6)]
(CHS) Winder 7 comp. in 19 attempts, 115 yards (1 TD/2 int.), Gage Leamer 0-1, 0 (0/0). [TOTAL 7-20 (1/2)] (SHS) Spoonemore 4-6, 92 yds. (1/0)
(CHS) Colten Sewell 3 receptions for 87 yards, Brad Hayen 3-24, K. Ward 1-4 (1 TD). [TOTAL 7-115 (1)] (SHS) Bodenhausen 4-92 (1).
CHILLICOTHE TACKLES (solos)
Wheeler 10 (8), Kille 7 (4), Sewell 6 (2), Brock Ward 6 (2), Washburn 5 (3), Hill 5 (3), Rasche 4 (4), Luke Hopper 3 (2), Hayen 3 (1), D. Reynolds 2 (2), K. Ward 2 (2), Brock Gott 2 (1), Julius Humphrey 1, Damarcus Kelow 1.
TACKLES FOR LOSSES (incl. QB sacks)
Chillicothe 3 for -12 yards (Washburn, B. Ward,Kille); Savannah 7 for -16 yards.
(SHS) Blayne Nelson (21 yds.), Brady (15 yds.). [TOTAL 2 (36 yds.]
Chillicothe 3 (2). Savannah 3 (3).
OPPONENT’S FUMBLES RECOVERED
(CHS) Hayen 2 (2nd), Kille (1st). [TOTAL 3] (SHS) Brady, Bodenhausen. [TOTAL 2]
(CHS) Rasche 3-36, Sewell 3-34, Wheeler 2-6. [TOTAL 8-76]. (SHS) Brady 2-19, Yount 1-10. [TOTAL 3-29]
(CHS) Rasche 1-0. (SHS) Brady 2-23, Bodenhausen 1-3. [TOTAL3-26 ]
(CHS) Winder 3-99. (SHS) Spoonemore 2-97.
Chillicothe 4 for 39 yards; Savannah 3-25.
Chillicothe 10 (4 passing,6 rushing); Savannah (1 passing, 12 rushing, 2 penalty)