by Brian Turrel
The Piper Pirates traveled to Topeka for a rare Saturday daytime game, facing off against the Topeka West Chargers at Hummer Sports Park and powering their way to a 49-0 win. Piper scored all its points in the first half, and head coach John Black used the second half to get experience for his reserve players.
The Chargers, despite coming into the game with an 0-3 record, looked formidable on their opening drive, featuring an option offense led by quarterback Malachi Berg. The Chargers moved the ball all the way to the Piper 9-yard line then gave up a fumble, ending their best scoring threat of the game.
Piper started deep in its own end, but runs from running back Zane Pudenz and quarterback Logan Ladish brought the ball out near midfield. Running back Miguel Martin then broke a 58-yard touchdown run to start the scoring.
Collin Ketter recovered another Chargers fumble on the next possession to give Piper a short field from the Topeka West 28-yard line. Zane Pudenz scored on the ground to put the Pirates up by 14.
With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Zane Pudenz scored again, this time on defense, scooping a Topeka West fumble and running it back for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
J.J. Jarrett opened the second quarter scoring with a 67-yard run, making great use of the downfield blocking from Lamar Lynch and Camden Beebe.
On the next possession, Piper took over at the Topeka West 29-yard line after another fumble. On the next play, Ladish hit receiver Mason L’Heureux in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown and 35-0 lead.
Topeka West pinned the Pirates deep on the next possession by punting to the Piper 12-yard line, but Ladish responded with an 88-yard touchdown run, finding a crease in the defensive front and then taking off up the left sideline.
On the next possession, Piper drove the ball down to the Chargers 25-yard line, and running back Skyler Little ran the ball around the left side for a touchdown and the final 49-0 margin.
Zane Busick and Kaleb Kirgan split duties on the PAT attempts, converting all seven.
Quarterback Gannon Roth led the Pirates onto the field in the second half. After two yardage-losing plays from scrimmage, Black called a timeout to get the squad together.
Due to the size of the lead, there were no clock stoppages in the second half, and with both teams in a run-heavy offense, the time slipped away quickly to the end of the game.
After the game, Black talked with his team about their goal of returning to Hummer Sports Park at the end of the season, when the KSHSAA Class 4A state championship is played there.
Thursday and Saturday games are being scheduled more frequently this year due to a shortage of available officials. The state activities association has made an appeal for new officials to register at https://www.kshsaa.org/Public/Official/NewOfficials.cfm. KSHSAA touts the benefits of staying involved in sports and earning some extra income.
The Piper Pirates are now 2-2 for the season. They will play at home against the Turner Golden Bears next Friday starting at 7:00 P.M.