Jayhawks defense, ground game bring down Falcons, 32-12

Jayhawk quarterback Trace Compton hands off to Dre Flores. The Hawks' offense rushed for 276 yards in the win over the West Franklin Falcons during a homecoming game.

In a game that pitted two evenly matched teams against each other, determined defense and a running game punctuated by completed passes gave the Jayhawks a 32-13 win at home over the West Franklin Falcons on Friday, Oct. 15.

In a game that saw each side draw plenty of penalties, often offsetting each other, neither team was able to make it to the end zone in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Falcons got on the scoreboard first on a 24 yard pass. The kick for the extra point was off the mark and the Falcons settled for a 6-0 lead.

After a three-and-out by each team, the Hawks put numbers on the scoreboard after the Falcons punted the ball to the Jayhawk 48 yard line.

The Jayhawks drive got the ball into the red zone and on a 7-yard pass to sophomore Gus Grote, the Hawks tied the score 6-6. The extra-point attempt on the ground was no good.

Neither team was able to mount a successful drive before the half.

Jayhawk sophomore wide receiver Gus Grote outruns Falcon defenders for a touchdown on a 33-yard pass.

After both teams had stalled drives early in the third quarter, West Franklin quarterback Lance McCullough managed to free himself from a scrum at the line of scrimmage and scamper 56 yards for a touchdown. The kick was good for an extra point and the Falcons were up 13-6.

With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Hawks took possession of the ball again on their own 20 yard line. A 9-yard run by Dre Flores for a second and 10 set up the next play: a 71-yard keeper by quarterback Trace Compton for a touchdown.

The extra-point attempt on the ground was no good, and the Hawks were down by a point, 13-12 West Franklin.

But the tide of the game began to change on the Falcons’ next possession. The Jayhawks recovered a West Franklin fumble on the Falcons’ 37 yard line.

It only took one pass for the Hawks to capitalize on that mistake. A 37-yard pass play to Austin Nation and the Jayhawks were up 18-13 after the extra-point attempt failed. They would not relinquish that lead.

The Jayhawks added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 55-yard run by Compton. The extra-point attempt failed but the Hawks began to pull away, leading 24-13.

The next drive by the Falcons was cut short after Nation intercepted a pass, giving the Hawks a first down on their own 43 yard line. Rushing by Grote and Compton carried the ball to the Falcons’ 27.

A fumble by the Hawks gave the Falcons an opening, but the Jayhawks recovered the ball on the 28-yard line. Compton and Grote again combined rushing to push the ball to the 14, and Nation carried the ball to the 4. From there, Compton was able to punch it in for a touchdown.

With successful point-after run by Nation, the Hawks were up 32-13 for the final score.

The Hawks gained a total of 359 yard on 45 plays during the game. Of that, 276 yards were rushing. Compton, a senior quarterback, used the pass sparingly, but when he did, it was potent.

Jayhawks Ethan Ranes, left, and Curtis Brown, right, put pressure on Falcon quarterback Lance McCullough. McCullough was able to complete 13 passes on 30 attempts for 110 yards because of pressure by the Hawks.

Completing three passes on five attempts, Compton’s passes netted 83 yards and two touchdowns. Nation caught three of the passes for a total of 36 yards and one touchdown, and Grote’s sole reception of 33 yards gave the Hawks another six points.

Compton contributed 159 yards rushing on 11 carries for three touchdowns, and Grote carried 16 times for 82 yards. Flores had 15 yards on the ground and Nation carried for 19 yards.

West Franklin gained only 114 yards on the ground.

On the defensive side of the ball, Compton was credited with seven unassisted tackles and Bryton Spencer had seven as well. Both Austin Nation and Braeden Nation had five unassisted tackles each, with Grote and Jared Willard picking up four each, Flores and Ethan Ranes taking down Falcons without assistance three times each.

"I’m really proud of our boys for staying focused and positive with each other," said Hawk's head coach Clint Johnson. "Instead of falling apart when we were down, we rallied together, believed in one another and played for one another. And that allowed us to pull away and win the game."

The Falcons move on to play away at Eureka this Friday.

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