By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com
After an emotional win against Basehor-Linwood on the road last week, the possibility of a let down loomed for the Piper Pirates in Friday night's home opener against Tonganoxie.
That possibility faded away in the beautiful Western Wyandotte County skies Friday after Piper's defense forced two early turnovers.
In its home opener, Piper crushed Tonganoxie 61-13 in a game that featured domination at about every position for the Pirates.
After some three-and-outs from both teams, it was the Piper defense that got things started for the Pirates.
Ty Banes intercepted a pass deep inside Tonganoxie territory to set-up the first of many Piper scores in the game - a Matt McDonald touchdown from four yards out.
At the 6:45 mark, sophomore linebacker Colton Beebe forced a Chieftains fumble at around midfield, one that was recovered by the Pirates.
Two plays later, the Pirates struck again. Tanner Eikenbary connected on a 41-yard pass to Paul Jones to set up Jones' four-yard touchdown.
The combination of Jones, McDonald and Beebe were dominant in the rushing attack all night.
Jones and McDonald would combine for over 200 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Beebe broke off a few runs in the second half as well.
"We try to spread the ball out as much as possible," said Piper head coach Chris Brindle. "All three of those guys deserve those opportunities to play well. We want all three to have a chance and we have the guys up front to block for them."
Jones continued his first-half assault on Tonganoxie's defense. Eikenbary found Jones on a 57-yard touchdown score to push the Pirates advantage to 20-6.
Jones had three touchdowns and over 150 total yards for the Pirates in the first half alone.
After a 24-yard touchdown from Tongnoxie's Cole Holloway to cut the score down to 20-6, it was McDonald and Piper's defense that put the game away.
McDonald's 46-yard touchdown on the ground pushed the Piper lead back to three scores. On the next possession, Dalton Hays intercepted a pass and took it 71 yards to the house - increasing the lead to 34-6.
A 20-yard touchdown from Jones and a McDonald two-yard score would push the advantage to 47-6 midway through the third.
"The line blocked great for us all night," Jones said. "The quarterback did a nice job getting the ball to us."
As they did last week, Piper took advantage of mistakes from the opposing team and cashed them in.
Piper would turn three Tonganoxie turnovers into touchdowns.
"We have a bit of experience on defense," Brindle said. "That senior secondary we have understands things. They've played together and have helped us score a few times this year."
Improving to 2-1 on the season, Piper will host Bonner Springs in a critical Kaw Valley League showdown next week. The Braves come in at an undefeated 3-0.