AUGUSTA – Mistakes continue to cost the Abilene Cowboy football team as they dropped to 0-7 on the year with a 37-14 loss on Friday at Augusta.
After receiving the opening kickoff and collecting a couple of first downs rushing the ball, an Abilene fumble set the Augusta Orioles up in great field position in Cowboy territory. The Cowboys got much needed rushing offensive play from quarterback Jackson Randles and senior tailback Keaton Hocker before the fumbled handoff.
Augusta’s Hunter Henderson pounced on the loose ball near the Cowboy 40 yard. From there aided by two Abilene penalty flags, it took five plays and Augusta junior running back Ryan Andrews rushed in from the four-yard line.
The Cowboys go four and out on their next possession and Augusta once again got the ball on Abilene’s side of the 50-yard line. It took five plays for the Orioles to be inside the Cowboy five and junior Duke Lichlyter collected the second score of the opening period with a two-yard run. Augusta led 14-0 at the end of the quarter.
Augusta began the second quarter inside the Cowboy 40-yard line and within five plays they had their third score of the first half when senior speedster Justin Clausing dashed through the Cowboy defense on a 25 yard run. With 9:22 left in the first half, the Orioles led 20-0.
Mistakes on a fourth down play by the Cowboys handed Augusta the ball at the Cowboy 12-yard line. The Cowboy defense stiffened to play one of its best series of the entire season led by senior Kade Funston. Funston and the Cowboys tackled the Orioles’ quarterback for losses and forced Augusta to kick a 23-yard field goal by kicker Tyler Kohls.
The Cowboys ran the ball for three first downs in the next drive but stalled at the Oriole 31-yard line when Abilene kicker Kaleb Becker attempted a 41-yard field goal. The kick was on line but fell just short and Augusta took a 23-0 lead into halftime.
“We did some good things tonight,” Abilene head coach Steve Simpson said. “But we just kept making some little execution mistakes. It’s got to mean more to them, every play to make sure we execute. We didn’t do some things we are capable of doing in the first half. Kids tried some excuses for those and I told them there are no excuses for those things. They have to take it upon their self to do their job.”
During the break, Augusta was flagged with two unsportsmanlike penalties and the Cowboys tried to onside the kickoff deep in Oriole territory. Augusta recovered the kick and with barely two-minutes off the clock, Clausing busted loose for a 53-yard scoring run to put Augusta up 30-0.
The Cowboy offense got something working in the third quarter as senior Zachary Juhl and Randles had positive yardage rushing the ball and junior Devan Fouliard added rushes to put Abilene in scoring position. Randles snuck across from the one-yard line at 3:39 mark and Fouliard ran in the conversion and Abilene was on the board at 8-30.
“We came out in the second half and I thought we did a better job of taking it upon them selves and being more accountable,” Simpson said. “We’ve just got to keep working. We only have two games left and we just can’t lie down or make excuses for not executing and not doing our job on either side of the ball. I was pretty proud of the kids in the second half for coming out and playing a little better.”
During the Cowboys final drive, Abilene began at its own 11-yard line and freshman Esteban Plunkett rushed five times and Becker set up the touchdown toss with a seven-yard strike to sophomore Nathan Hartman.
Both teams added fourth quarter touchdowns when Oriole sophomore Holt Williams rushed for six yards and on the last play of the game Becker found Abilene junior Camden Meeks open down the left sideline for a Cowboy 37-yard touchdown pass making the final 37-14 in favor of Augusta.
The Cowboys will take to the road again this week with the long drive to Ulysses (4-3) to end the regular season. Abilene should then probably draw a rematch with undefeated McPherson at McPherson to begin the postseason.
Contact Ron Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Augusta 37, Abilene 14
Abilene 0 0 8 6 – 14
Augusta 14 9 7 7 – 37
Augusta – Ryan Andres four run. Tyler Kohls kick.
Augusta – Duke Lichlyter 2 run. Kohls kick.
Augusta – Justin Clausing 25 run. Kick failed.
Augusta – Kohls 23 field goal.
Augusta – Clausing 53 run. Kohls kick.
Abilene – Jackson Randles 1 run. Devin Fouliard run.
Augusta – Holt Williams 6 run. Kohls kick.
Abilene – Camden Meeks 37 pass from Kaleb Becker.