St. Mary’s got off the mat after Lone Jack landed a big punch right away Friday night.

St. Mary’s got off the mat after Lone Jack landed a big punch right away Friday night.

But a barrage late in the second quarter by the Mules proved too much for the Trojans to overcome in the first round of the Class 1 District 7 playoffs at Truman High School.

A pair of big defensive plays leading to two touchdowns in the final minutes of the first half helped the visiting Mules turn what had been a 19-12 contest into a 54-24 runaway.

In addition to those Lone Jack (4-6) touchdowns, which made the halftime score 34-12, St. Mary’s (3-7) also lost junior running back/linebacker Tucker West to injury with 3:37 left in the half. The junior was carted off the field and taken away by ambulance, though Trojan coach Tim Cogan said afterward it was mostly for precautionary reasons and that West likely sustained a neck stinger and should recover.

“With our small numbers, it’s kind of like getting two guys hurt on one play,” Cogan said. “We tried to make some halftime adjustments to overcome that.

“The kids played hard and had a stronger second half offensively. We’re proud of them.”

Even after receiving the opening kick, St. Mary’s soon had to fight from behind, as Lone Jack’s Landon Schroeder intercepted Drew Huttinger’s pass on the first play from scrimmage and returned it 26 yards to the 5. Jake Locker plunged in from the 1 three plays later, making it 7-0 at the 10:33 mark.

That began a 121-yard, four touchdown night on 30 carries for Locker.

“We were gonna pound the big guy,” said Lone Jack coach Jason Fenstermaker, who served as the football and wrestling coach at St. Mary’s before taking over at Lone Jack this summer. “He hasn’t played running back very long, but every day he’s getting better.

“Landon made a great break on the ball (at the start) and made a great return, and that set us up and fired them up.”
St. Mary’s responded with a 13-play, 61-yard drive, converting twice on fourth down and finishing with Huttinger’s 8-yard touchdown pass to younger brother Alex.

Hopper’s second touchdown plunge and 17-yard scoring pass from Joey Brandon to Michael Bresette had the Mules up 19-12. But Drew Huttinger broke free for a 38-yard TD run, and the Trojans then forced the game’s only punt.

That’s when Lone Jack’s defense stepped up, stopping West a couple yards short on a fake-punt run at midfield. After West’s injury, Hopper converted a fourth-and-1, and seven plays later Brandon scored on a 1-yard sneak with 1:03 showing.

Schroeder then intercepted another pass to give Lone Jack possession at the St. Mary’s 33, and Brandon threw over the top to Blake Chura on the next play.

Hopper had two more short TD runs in the third quarter, and Brandon scored on an 11-yard keeper to finish the period.
Brandon complemented Hopper with 12 carries for 87 yards, and he added 98 yards on 6-of-8 passing.

“They had a pretty good power run game, and they used it pretty well,” Cogan said of the Mules, who will play Wellington-Napoleon in Wednesday’s second round. “Coach Fenstermaker does a good job with them.”

With the running clock in the fourth quarter, Drew Huttinger (16 carries, 92 yards) scored on a 9-yard quarterback draw. Antonio Johnson, who led the Trojans with 118 rushing yards on 14 attempts, caught an 19-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play.