Senior running back Keyon Thomas (3) tried to slip the grasp of an Ottawa defender. Thomas scored two touchdowns, grabbed an interception, and was named homecoming king. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)
by Brian Turrel
The Bonner Springs Braves overcame a rocky first quarter, coming from two touchdowns behind to overtake the Ottawa Cyclones for a 41-21 victory on the Braves’ homecoming night.
A large, loud, orange-clad crowd filled David Jaynes Stadium, but they were quickly hushed when the Braves’ first two possessions ended in interceptions. Ottawa used the short field to run up two scores, leaving the Braves 14 points down.
Bonner quarterback Noah Villareal steadied the offense in the second quarter, and his pass selection became more controlled, choosing swing passes and sideline routes instead of throwing over the middle. The Braves offensive line also loosened up the running lanes to get backs Keyon Thomas and Bryce Krone consistent yardage.
Villareal connected with Ethan Byers in the corner of the end zone for the Braves first score with 9 minutes left in the second quarter. After a defensive stop, the Braves scored again, with Keyon Thomas running in a toss from Villareal, to make the score 14-12.
With less than a minute left in the half, receiver A.J. Watson took a pitch 61 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion put the Braves ahead 20-14.
The Braves played prevent defense to run out the half, but Ottawa still retook the lead on a controversial play. Cornerback Nasjon Porter intercepted a last-second Ottawa pass, but he was stripped of the ball, which Ottawa ran in for a touchdown, giving them a 21-20 halftime advantage. The Braves’ sideline insisted the pass was incomplete to no avail.
Bonner’s defensive line clamped down in the second half, getting several tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Braves also upped the pressure on the return game, trying multiple times for an onside kick, and recovering one midway through the third quarter.
Ethan Byers pulled in his second touchdown early in the third quarter to pull the Braves back in front for good.
Keyon Thomas scored on a 59-yard pass play with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Bryce Krone followed up an 18-yard run with a 2-yard touchdown carry to top off the scoring. Late interceptions from Keyon Thomas and Noah Villareal kept the Cyclones’ offense from mounting a late challenge.
The victory takes Bonner Springs’ Frontier League record to 2-4. They play at Baldwin next Friday evening at 7 p.m.
Junior running back Bryce Krone turned the corner for a big gain. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) Senior quarterback Noah Villareal fired a touchdown pass to Byers in the corner of the end zone. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) Junior wide receiver Ethan Byers (14) pulled down the first of his two touchdown receptions. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) Senior Keyon Thomas was named homecoming king and embraced last year’s king Alonzo Hokes. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) The Bonner Springs cheerleaders performed in front of the large homecoming crowd. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) Senior defensive end Dominick Jennings (9) narrowly missed a sack when Ottawa quarterback Elias White (5) managed to throw the ball away. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) Junior offensive lineman William Johnson (75) set up protection for the quarterback. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) Senior kicker Sydni Bolewski (25) kicked an extra point in the second half. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) Bonner Springs head coach Chad Eaddy ran onto the field with his team before the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) The Bonner Springs High School marching band performed after the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) The drill team and band performed on the field after the game. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel) Senior receiver A.J. Watson (1) cut back against the Ottawa defense. (Photo copyright 2018 by Brian Turrel)