Conway Springs wears down Independent
CONWAY SPRINGS Tanner Wood heard the gasps when Independent’s Trey Williams turned into a flash and scored three long touchdowns in the first half, the last coming on a 77-yard kick return.
The Conway Springs senior does not like when opponents come to his town and steal the show.
So it was to the surprise of no one wearing red on Tuesday night when Wood went out of his way to catch the next kickoff and return it 68 yards as a response.
The Cardinals regained control and they never gave it back in a 69-38 victory over Independent in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Conway Springs will host Garden Plain on Saturday night in a rematch of last month’s 41-21 win for the Owls.
“I was fired up and ready to go take the ball down the field and score on them,” said Wood, who finished with 447 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns.
The mismatch was not hard to identify as the teams took their sidelines. Independent suited up 24 players, while the seven-time state champions more than doubled that number.
“A couple of years ago, I think that would have intimidated us,” Williams said. “But this year is different. We have a lot more confidence.”
Independent’s surprised many this season by winning six games, mostly because of its aerial attack. Quarterback Matthew Loveland threw for three touchdowns and 219 yards, but the Panthers couldn’t match Conway Springs’ physical play because they played so many players on both sides of the ball.
“It’s frustrating because you can see it in the kids’ eyes,” Independent coach Jarrod Hibler said. “They want to give more and they just don’t have it. We can’t get them off the field for a breather. But they’re competitors and they’re fighters and I’m just so proud of this group.”
Conway Springs was complimentary of Williams’ speed that helped him produce 154 total yards, but it also raised red flags entering the rematch against Garden Plain.
Coach Matt Biehler choose to keep mum on the topic, simply responding that the Cardinals “will be ready for Saturday.”
Another concern is that the Cardinals are a one-man team. Wood packs on 240 pounds, but has still taken a beating this season plunging into the line of scrimmage. He carried 19 more times on Tuesday, as 14 of his runs went for first downs and he finished with 318 rushing yards — 289 by halftime.
“There’s 11 guys out there on the field,” Biehler said. “Tanner is a big part of what we do, but his line does a good job for him. We’re going to continue those things to put us in the best position to win.”
Does Wood feel beat up after 10 games?
“Nope,” he said. “I’m feeling good and fresh. I’m ready to go.”
|Conway Springs (9-1)||14||27||28||0||—||69|
CS—Ta. Wood 51 run (Bond kick)
CS—Ta. Wood 35 run (Bond kick)
CS—Ta. Wood 2 run (Bond kick)
I—T. Williams 61 pass from Loveland (Loveland kick failed)
CS—Ta. Wood 58 run (Bond kick)
I—T. Williams 59 run (Loveland pass failed)
CS—Ta. Wood 48 run (Bond kick)
I—T. Williams 77 kick return (Loveland run failed)
CS—Ta. Wood 68 kick return (Bond kick failed)
CS—Pauly 2 run (Bond kick)
I—Kolbeck 59 pass from Loveland (Loveland run)
CS—Stanley 51 run (Bond kick)
CS—Tr. Wood 61 pass from Ta. Wood (Bond kick)
CS—Huff 5 run (Bond kick)
I—Dean 16 pass from Loveland (Loveland pass failed)
I—Campbell 1 run (Eikleberry run failed)
Rushing—Independent, T. Williams 2-67, Rowe 10-42, Loveland 8-35, S. Williams 1-19, Dean 4-10, Campbell 2-1, Kolbeck 1-0; Conway Springs, Ta. Wood 19-318, Stanley 9-161, Huff 5-43, Ebenkamp 3-14, Bri. Vancuren 3-8, Pauly 2-7, Salsbery 3-5, Bre. Vancuren 2-2.
Passing—Independent, Loveland 16-31-0-219, T. Williams 0-2-0-0; Conway Springs, Ta. Wood 1-4-0-61.
Receiving—Independent, T. Williams 5-87, Dean 8-67, Kolbeck 2-60, Gilman 1-5; Conway Springs, Tr. Wood 1-61.