Abilene’s Logan Buechman (50) and Jacob Bender (77) prepare to block the Ulysses defenders and quarterback Jackson Randles (15) hands off to Robbie Keener (4) at Ulysses Friday night.

ULYSSES – The Ulysses Tigers wasted little time in putting up big offensive plays against the winless Abilene Cowboys Friday night in a 48-6 win at Ulysses.

After enduring the long drive to far Western Kansas, the Cowboy defense had trouble slowing down the Tiger rushing offense as Ulysses rushed for 159 yards in the first quarter alone. It didn’t help matters any when Abilene senior captain Kade Funston went down early with an injury.

“We’ll go back again, it’s just we can’t block people,” Abilene head coach Steve Simpson said. “Especially when they are quick on the defensive side. We missed too many guys in the A gap and directly across from us and we didn’t have Kade very much in the game so that didn’t help us either offensively. We really missed him on defense.”

The Tigers scored on runs of five yards and a 90-yard back breaker to go up 14-0 in the first period. Ulysses ran 10 offensive plays to Abilene’s nine and the Cowboys could muster only 25 yards on the ground.

Ulysses junior Oscar Martinez broke through the Cowboy defense from the 10-yard line and out run every Abilene defender on his scoring run. Senior quarterback Nick Holmes had the Tigers first score of the game marching his team to pay dirt in 10 plays.

Holmes found the end zone for the second time with 15-yard run early in the second quarter. Holmes’ score came after a 43-yard Martinez run for a touchdown was wiped away due to a Ulysses holding penalty.

Highlighting the Cowboy defense in the second period was the play of junior defensive back Camden Meeks who picked off a Holmes pass and returned it for 10 yards. The Cowboy offense stalled again and sophomore Kaleb Becker was forced to punt for Abilene. Martinez returned the kick to mid field and on the very next play senior running back Edgar Sotto dashed 54 yards for a Tiger score to give them a 28-0 halftime lead.

In the third period both teams scored once. Ulysses added to its lead with a six-yard Sotto run and Abilene moved the ball through the air with a Jackson Randles pass to senior receiver Chrisxavier Cease for 39 yards that set up a two-yard run by Randles.

Abilene’s defense stiffened a little in the third quarter as Meeks grabbed his second interception and juniors Devan Fouliard and Karsen Loader came with big plays to stop a Tiger drive. Fouliard smacked the Tiger ball carrier causing a fumble, which Loader pounced on. That play set the Cowboys up on its scoring play with 13 seconds remaining on the clock.

“Camden has played well the last two or three weeks,” Simpson said. “He’s done a good job and Devan did some good things tonight. We can’t run with people, match speed with speed, and we can’t run away from people either. We had some kids battle really hard and we had some kids play really well, but we just can’t match speed and we were not physical tonight.

“I don’t know. This has been a tough season for us,” Simpson added. “We have some kids that frankly, a handful of them, that don’t care as much as some of the others do. That’s sad, because we have some kids that really care on this team. But we are going to battle and we have another game next week.”

Leading 34-6 heading into the final period, Ulysses sent in reserves to play against the Cowboys and on a rare pass attempt, backup quarterback Ben Scott found freshman Justin Degollado on a six-yard score strike to go up 41-6.

During the period, Ulysses had two long touchdowns wiped off the board due to penalties. They however were able to add another score with 2:31 remaining in the game when freshman running back Evan Cortez dashed 41 yards.

The Cowboys ended the regular schedule 0-8 and will face number one seed McPherson at McPherson on Friday in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs. McPherson won earlier in the season at Abilene 48-3 in a game called at halftime due to lightning in the area.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

Scoring Summary:

Ulysses 48, Abilene 6

Abilene 0 0 6 0 – 6

Ulysses 14 14 6 14 – 48

First quarter:

Ulysses – Holmes 2 run. Ochoa kick. (6:12)

Ulysses – Martinez 90 run. Ochoa kick. (1:15)

Second quarter:

Ulysses – Holmes 15 run. Ochoa kick. (8:45)

Ulysses – Sotto 54 run. Ochoa kick. (12.0)

Third quarter:

Ulysses – Sotto 6 run. Kick failed. (6:57)

Abilene – Randles 2 run. Run failed. (13.0)

Fourth Quarter:

Ulysses – Degollado 6 pass from Scott. Ochoa kick. (10:58)

Ulysses – Cortez 41 run. Ochoa kick.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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