The Chanute Blue Comets opened up their football season against the Circle Thunderbirds on Friday. Chanute took the 16-14 win behind Garrett Almond’s seven receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown and Jackson Coombs’s clutch kickoff return touchdown.
ICYMI: Trailing with 15 seconds left @CometAthletics 's Jackson Coombs took matters into his own hands for the win on the kick-off return.— Eastern Kansas Sports (@EasternKSSports) September 5, 2020
(Video courtesy of Comet Vision / @feradio with the call)
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Coombs ended the game with 27 rushing yards on eight attempts, one interception, and of course one 80-yard kickoff return touchdown.
Circle won the toss and chose to differ to the second half. Both teams traded punts and a turnover from Almond. Then with 4:38 left in the first quarter Chanute’s sophomore quarterback Eric Erbe connected with Almond while on the run for a deep touchdown and Tyson Lucas popped in the extra point to put Chanute up 7-0. The score would stay at 7-0 through the end of the first.
Unfortunately, Erbe would leave the game in the first four minutes of the second quarter with a broken collarbone. That injury typically sidelines NFL players for 6-8 weeks. Erbe left the game throwing 6/13 for 90 yards and that one touchdown.
Neither team were able to get much going in the second quarter. Junior Dylan Bougher grabbed an interception towards the end of the half but the Thunderbirds were unable to do anything with it, leaving the score still at 7-0 at halftime.
Bougher’s night ended with that one interception along with 13 rushing attempts for 58 yards, and one reception for 40 yards.
In the third quarter, neither team was able to score until with 6:24 left in the quarter, Lucas put in a 39-yard field goal. Chanute lead 10-0 at the end of the first. Lucas ended the game 1/3 on field goals and 1/1 on extra points.
On Circle’s first drive of the fourth quarter, they drove down to their own four-yard-line before junior quarterback Luke McGinnis connected with sophomore receiver Ty Smith for a touchdown. Will Trier successfully put in the extra point. Comets still leading 10-7.
McGinnis ended the game 14/33 for 182 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in the air. He also had eight rushing attempts for 35 yards on the ground. Smith caught four of seven targets for 42 yards and two touchdowns.
The game stayed at 10-7 until after the final two-minute warning. With 1:18 left on the clock McGinnis connected with Bougher for 40 yards. They drove down to a first and goal from Chanute’s nine and McGinnis connected once more for a touchdown with Smith. The extra point went in to put the Thunderbirds up 14-10 with 0:15 on the clock.
“Our guys were just tired. They started throwing the ball like crazy and our guys were worn out because on offense, we lost our quarterback there back in the first half to a broken collarbone,” Chanute’s head coach Clete Frazell said, “After that quarterback change, Kam just hasn’t had a lot of reps, so we weren’t real smooth offensively. We were having trouble moving the ball and sustaining drives. We put our defense in a bad spot. We were on the field forever and anytime they’re on the field that long there’s going to be some plays given up and that happened.”
Coombs received the kickoff at the Blue Comet 20 yard-line. He ran past all eleven Thunderbirds for the game-winning touchdown. Chanute wins 16-10.
“We almost broke about three of those during the game and we said hey just keep doing what you’re doing. Hat on a hap, whoever gets it extra firepower, let’s go take it to the house and win this game. Fortunately for us it worked,” Frazell said