Mustangs overpower Vikings

Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Wrapping up Central Heights High’s Dalton Schwab for a loss are Iola High senior linebackers Kyler Thompson (52) and Chris Heffern (10) as senior linebacker Seth Walden (83) occupies a Viking blocker on the play. Iola’s defense thwarted the Vikings all night Friday in a 45-0 win at Riverside Park.

It was good to be home.
Iola High’s Mustangs defended their turf in their 2009 home opener Friday night against the invading Central Heights High Vikings. The Vikings came in ready for battle and appeared to have the upper hand early.
In stepped senior outside linebacker Seth Walden. Walden intercepted a pass by Viking quarterback Skye Mills at the Iola four-yard line, returning the football 15 yards at the 3:40-mark of the first quarter.
The turnover sparked an 81-yard drive by the Mustangs and the fall of the Vikings. Seth Walden finished off the drive by catching a 19-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Charles Apt on the second play of the second quarter.
“It really was great feeling to get the touchdown pass. Tonight, we finally worked together. Our blocking was so much better and defensively, we were on the ball,” Walden said after Iola’s 45-0 win.
How good was the pursuit of the Mustang defense Friday? The Vikings were held to 43 yards of total offense — 19 on the ground and 24 through the air. The Mustangs held the Vikings to a negative-11 yards offensively in the second half.
Iola had three of its six touchdowns set up by takeaways. Seth Walden had two interceptions in the game. Apt recovered a forced fumble by Marcus Sullivan, returned it to the Central Heights eight-yard line.
Four plays later, Apt pushed over the goal line up the middle on a quarterback sneak from two yards out. Connor Frazell kicked his second extra point of the night for a 14-0 lead at the 6:56 mark.
Sullivan, who finished the game with over 140 return yards, gathered in a punt from Mills and ran 40 yards. That set up Iola third touchdown. Apt found sophomore Jerrik Sigg over the middle for a completion that turned into a 35-yard touchdown play. Sigg carried two Central Heights defenders over the goal line with him.
The Mustangs led 21-0 at halftime.
Sullivan took the second-half kickoff to the house, which means he returned the kick 79 yards for a touchdown. With Frazell’s kick it was 28-0.
Sullivan would reach the end zone two more times — a one-yard plunge at the 3:33 mark and a 24-yard dash with 2:29 left. The second run was made after senior linebacker Kyler Thompson, who led the Mustang defense with seven solo tackles and one assisted tackle, made an interception.
“Seth’s interception was huge for us. Central Heights had some momentum going early because we were not playing well. They believed they could come in here and beat us,” said Rick Horton, Mustang head coach.
“That play was one we really celebrated. We’ve talked about that we want to celebrate of defensive plays — the hard hits, the turnovers. Tonight, the kids really stepped up defensively and the intensity was there. It also gave us some momentum for our offense.”
On a third down after the interception, Apt connected with senior Chris Heffern for a 37-yard pass play. Iola still struggled with snap the ball Friday with several bad snaps to the quarterback resulting in loss of yardage.
The Mustangs were able to pick up a critical fourth-and-four on that first touchdown drive. Apt passed to Sigg, who pulled away from a Viking defender to get just enough for the first down.
On the first play of the second quarter, Apt used a shovel pass to Sullivan to gain 14 yards. Then came the touchdown pass to Seth Walden.
Central Heights never had another offensive threat.
“But at halftime we told our kids they had to come out and assert themselves again on the field. Central Heights’ kids don’t give up. Last week they trailed 7-6 at halftime and scored 24 points to win 30-7 so our 21-0 lead wasn’t something we could sit on,” Horton said.
“Our kids responded well. The defense was relentless tonight and that’s what we need. Our offense was better. We were able to get our running game established and we gave Charles time to throw the ball.”
Sullivan finished with 57 yards on 21 carries for Iola. Apt completed 11 of 22 passes for 168 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Six receivers caught passes for the Mustangs led by Sigg with six receptions for 70 yards.
Iola ended up with 229 yards of offense. The Mustangs did turn the ball over three times.
Linebackers Shane Snavely and Chris Heffern were almost identical in tackles. Snavely had four solo stops and five assisted tackles with one tackle for loss while Heffern had four solo tackles, six assisted tackles and one tackle for loss. Clint Heffern recovered a fumble.
Central Heights’ sophomore tailback Dalton Schwab carried the football 22 times for 28 yards. Mills was 5 of 15 passing for 24 yards, all the completions came in the first half. Max Weiderholt made four catches for 24 yards.
Iola improved to 1-1 on the season. The Mustangs travel to Osawatomie next Friday.
Iola 0-21-21-3—45
Central Heights 0-0-0-0—0

Iola —S. Walden 19 yd pass from Apt (Frazell kick)
Iola — Apt 2 yd run (Frazell kick)
Iola — Sigg 35 yd pass from Apt (Frazell kick)
Iola — Sullivan 79 yd kickoff return (Frazell kick)
Iola — Sullivan 1 yd run (Frazell kick)
Iola — Sullivan 24 yd run (Frazell kick)
Iola — Frazell 30 yd field goal

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Iola - Sullivan 21-57, Apt 7 (-22), Chris Heffern 3-(-2), D. Walden 3-35, Sigg 2-3. Central Heights - Dalton Schwab 22-28, Johnson 2-(-5), Others 3-(1-4).
Passing: Iola - Apt 11-22-168-2. Central Heights - Mills 5-15, 24-3.
Receiving: Iola -Sigg 6-70, Snavely 1-22, Chris Heffern 1-30, Sullivan 1-14, Seth Walden 1-19, Frazell 1-10. Central Heights - Wiederholt 4-24, J. Hoskins 1-5.
Punting: Iola- Frazell 3-80 (26-yd avg.). Central Heights - Mills 11-227 (23 yd avg.).