Piper cheerleaders place third in state competition

The Piper cheerleaders reacted with joy as they heard their third place award announced in the 5A KSHSAA GameDay event. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Piper and Bonner Springs cheerleading squads participated in KSHSAA GameDay, the state championship for competitive cheerleading, which was held in the Stormont-Vail Event Center in Topeka on Saturday evening. The Pirates’ cheerleaders brought home the third place trophy in Class 5A.

Teams competed in three preliminary rounds — a band chant, a crowd-leading cheer, and their school’s fight song. The top six teams after the preliminaries then performed a long-form final routine that also included a cheer for a specific football scenario assigned by the judges.

Piper qualified for the finals, but Bonner Springs was eliminated after the preliminaries.

In the final round, Piper narrowly edged out St. James Academy by less than half a point for third place. The squad from St. Thomas Aquinas High School won the 5A competition, followed by Blue Valley Southwest.

After the awards ceremony, Piper head coach Morgan Kolenda praised the skill and effort of her team.

“They’ve put in a lot of hard work this entire season,” said the coach.

“We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a lot of basketball left. They’re an amazing group of girls — talented beyond measure — and I’m just excited to see where we can go next.”

The Piper Pearls, Piper’s dance team, performed in the dance competition held Friday, winning fifth place in Class 5A.

Piper cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Bonner Springs cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Piper cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Bonner Springs cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
The Piper cheerleaders had their own cheering section for a change. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Bonner Springs cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Piper cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Bonner Springs cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Piper cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Bonner Springs cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Piper cheerleaders performed in the KSHSAA GameDay competition. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

Piper opens football playoffs with 35-14 win over Tonganoxie

Senior left tackle Camden Beebe dropped back to pass on a trick play in the third quarter of Piper’s 35-14 win over Tonganoxie. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Piper Pirates defeated the Tonganoxie Chieftains 35-14 Friday evening at Piper Stadium. The Pirates overcame an early deficit to win their first round game in the 4A KSHSAA playoffs.

The teams traded long but unfruitful drives to start the game before the Chieftains got on the board with two minutes remaining in the first quarter on a touchdown pass from Talon Langford to Isaiah Holthaus.

The Pirates weren’t able to answer back on the following drive, intercepted by Langford who was on as a defensive back. A Holthaus reception put the Chieftains into the red zone, but the Piper defense held, forcing the visitors into an unsuccessful 30-yard field goal attempt.

Having averted a two-score disadvantage, Piper’s offense moved quickly down the field, with the help of a pass interference call on the Chieftains. Poised near midfield, Piper quarterback Logan Ladish extended a play by scrambling to his right and connecting with receiver Colin Vigil near the goal line for a touchdown.

Level at 7-7, the teams again traded drives around midfield. As the clock wound down to the half, Piper coach John Black called a timeout with one minute remaining to give his team one more chance to score.

The Pirates didn’t need the whole minute. On the first play, Mason L’Heureux hauled in a Ladish pass and sprinted to the end zone for a 78-yard touchdown and a 14-7 halftime lead.

Piper kept the momentum going in the third quarter. With just three minutes gone, a Ladish run to the Tonganoxie 11-yard line set up a touchdown run from Freddie Eskridge.

After forcing a punt from the Chieftains, Piper had its most effective drive of the night. Pinned at their own 11-yard line, the Pirates drove past midfield with first-down catches from L’Heureux and Che’ Clemons and a 13-yard run from Terrel Anderson.

Miguel Martin capped the drive with a 34-yard touchdown, getting good blocking up front and bursting through the middle of the line into open space.

An unlikely pass on Piper’s next drive got the student section on its feet when left tackle Camden Beebe took a Ladish handoff and dropped back to pass. Beebe hit Vigil at the Tonganoxie 40-yard line for a 35-yard completion.

After the game, Beebe, committed to Kansas State next year, talked about the play.

“We were practicing it all week,” the Piper senior said, “and I was throwing fifty-plus. The lights got to me and I got a little scared back in the pocket and just kind of threw it up there. It had a lot of hang time, but definitely wasn’t my best pass. But you know — perfect pass completion, so I can’t complain about that.”

Tonganoxie clawed back a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard Langford sweep. The Chieftains’ onsides kick was recovered by Piper, setting up a short field for the home team.

Zane Pudenz got Piper into the red zone, breaking several tackles before being dragged down at the Tonganoxie 14-yard line. Aaron Henson cashed in with a 2-yard touchdown run for the final score, pushing the pile with a second effort to get to the end zone.

Clemons shut down Tonganoxie’s last gasp drive with an interception on the Piper 12-yard line.

Piper, now with a 6-3 season record, will travel to Chanute to face the undefeated and top-seeded Chanute Blue Comets in the regional playoff round.

In other football post-season action, Sumner Academy defeated Topeka West 47-42 in the 5A playoffs, the Academy’s first playoff win since 2010. The 7-2 Sabres will play host to the 6-3 Pittsburg Dragons at Schlagle Stadium next Friday at 7 p.m.

Bishop Ward beat Perry LeCompton 32-6 in the 3A playoffs. The 7-2 Cyclones will travel to Holton to take on the Wildcats next Friday.

The Wyandotte Bulldogs closed out their season with a 56-6 loss at Olathe Northwest in the 6A playoffs.

The Washington Wildcats lost to Pittsburg on the road 42-8 in the 5A playoffs, finishing with a 3-6 record.

In the 5A playoffs, Turner lost at second-seeded De Soto 49-0, and Harmon lost at top-seeded Mill Valley 69-0, wrapping up winless seasons for both squads.

In 4A games, Bonner Springs lost to Louisburg 48-0, ending the season at 2-7. Schlagle lost 42-6 to Chanute, wrapping up at 1-8.

Sophomore defensive back Che’ Clemons grabbed an interception to put an end to Tonganoxie’s last drive. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Junior running back Zane Pudenz was pursued by a pack of Chieftains, breaking multiple tackles on a long 4th quarter run. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior receiver Colin Vigil hauled in a 35-yard pass from Camden Beebe. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior running back Miguel Martin sprinted to the end zone in the third quarter. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Sophomore Aaron Henson took a handoff from senior quarterback Logan Ladish. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior quarterback Logan Ladish released a short pass to sophomore receiver Che’ Clemons. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior offensive lineman Cameron Rogers set up in a three-point stance. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Piper marching band performed at halftime. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Piper cheerleaders performed along with the marching band for the school fight song. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior receiver Mason L’Heureux secured the ball on a 78-yard touchdown reception. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior receiver Colin Vigil caught a 52-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior receiver Colin Vigil tiptoed on the sideline on a first quarter reception. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

Pirates sink Vikings 31-13, head to post-season

Senior quarterback Logan Ladish outraced the Seaman defense on a 34-yard touchdown run. Ladish ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in Piper’s 31-13 win over the Seaman High School Vikings. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Piper Pirates beat Topeka’s Seaman Vikings 31-13 Friday evening in their last regular season game of 2022. Hundreds of fans packed Piper Stadium on a breezy and warm mid-October evening.

Senior quarterback Logan Ladish led the scoring with two long touchdown runs of 34 and 48 yards. He also connected with receiver Che’ Clemons for a 25-yard touchdown pass.

Senior receiver Colin Vigil scored on a 9-yard run in the first quarter, and kicker Zane Busick converted a 26-yard field goal.

Defensive back Tannar McDaniel made an impact on the defensive side, grabbing an interception at the end of the first half that led to a scoring drive. He also made some hard-hitting open field tackles on Seaman’s receivers over the middle.

Piper finished the regular season with a 5-3 record and are seeded 8th in the east bracket of the KSHSAA 4A playoffs. The Pirates will play at home next Friday against the Tonganoxie Chieftains in their first round match, starting at 7 p.m.

Senior receiver Colin Vigil fended off a tackler on a fourth quarter run. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Sophomore defensive back Tannar McDaniel brought down Seaman junior receiver Callen Barta before he could turn up field after a catch. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior running back Miguel Martin made a run around the right end. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior receiver Mason L’Heureux leaped high to bring down a pass on the right sideline. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior offensive lineman Camden Beebe led the team in thanking the fans after the game. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior kicker Zane Busick converted 4 extra points and a 26-yard field goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Piper Pearls dance team performed a cops-and-robbers themed dance number at halftime. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Piper cheerleading team posed with their senior members before halftime. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Sophomore lineman Maddix Davis burst through to sack Seaman sophomore quarterback Max Huston. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Sophomore receiver Che’ Clemons snared a 25-yard touchdown pass. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)