Kapaun Mount Carmel’s “little brothers” were enough to help it to an early lead, then the Crusaders managed to keep Southeast at arm’s length the rest of the way in a 27-7 victory Friday night at Cessna Stadium.
Senior running back Tate Heiland carried 17 times for 104 yards, finding the end zone on three of them in the first half, and fellow senior Nick Degenhardt completed eight of 15 passes for 142 yards and another score.
Heiland scored on first-half runs of 4,6 and 9 yards, helping the Crusaders to a 21-7 halftime lead. A 24-yard scoring pass from senior Nick Degenhardt to Connor Shank turned out to be the only points of the second half.
“I told the kids that football was about adjusting,” Kapaun coach Dan Adelhardt said afterward. “They adjusted to us, and we didn’t adjust too well to them, which killed some drives. But I’m proud of the kids playing hard and get an opening-season win.”
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They were playing the same positions as their now-graduated brothers Nathan Degenhardt and Nick Heiland.
Tate Heiland, a three-year starter, said he heard from his brother, now a student at Kansas State, before the game.
“My brother texted me before the game, talking about his senior year, just the facts of what to do as the fullback,” Tate said. “(Friday’s game) really reminded me of my brother’s senior year, and that felt nice.”
Kapaun took the opening kickoff and drove 52 yards in five plays for a 7-0 lead on Heiland’s 4-yard run with 10:14 remaining in the period. Heiland set up his score with a 48-yard run that took the ball from the Kapaun 47 to the Southeast 5, scoring two plays later.
“The offensive line, they really surprised us this game,” Heiland said. “We were somewhat a little shaky on our offensive line, but they really picked it up this game.”
The Crusaders then stopped the Buffaloes on Southeast’s first possession, forcing a punt. Kapaun began at its 34 and drove 66 yards for its second score on Heiland’s 6-yard run with 5:17 left in the first quarter. Degenhardt set up the score with a 23-yard completion to sophomorereceiver Jacob Schmitz that took the ball to the Southeast 13.
“It’s my first start at quarterback, and to get that one under your belt feels really good,” Degenhardt said. “We kind of went lax there for a while, but we’ve got some things to clean up and hopefully improve.”
The Buffaloes’ offense had trouble getting started and sputtered again on the next possession, hurt by two penalties. But Southeast got on the scoreboard on Kapaun’s next possession, when junior Brandon Payne intercepted Degenhardt at the Kapaun 47 and returned it for a touchdown with 22.7 seconds left in the quarter.
Senior Jordan Paul recovered a Southeast fumble late in the second quarter, and Heiland found the end zone again for his third score with 51.2 seconds before halftime on a 9-yard run.
Penalties and mistakes dogged both teams in the first half, as might be expected for a season-opener.
Kapaun had trouble fielding punts, but managed to dodge a bullet each time.
Degenhardt and Southeast’s Tarik Adkins each threw a first-half interception, and each team fumbled once, losing it.
Southeast was flagged 11 times for 60 yards, and Kapaun was penalized seven times for 65 yards.
Senior Camron Bond rushed for 30 yards against a stingy Kapaun defense, and coach Mike Schartz said the youth of his team showed.
“Our youth on offense really showed (Friday night),” he said. “I thought for the most part our defense played exceptional, got us turnovers, got us field position, and we just weren’t able to capitalize.”
Southeast will play host to Dodge City next Friday at Heights, and Kapaun will play at Andover.
KMC – Heiland 4 run (Schrock kick)
KMC – Heiland 6 run (Schrock kick)
SE – Payne 47 interception return (Guzman kick)
KMC – Heiland 9 run (Schrock kick)
KMC – Shank 24 pass from Degenhardt (snap fumbled on two-point try)
RUSHING – Southeast: Bond 11-30, Adkins 16-(-4). Kapaun Mount Carmel: Heiland 17-104, Channel 8-36, Degenhardt 4-14, Akao 1-0, Schoelwer 1-(-2).
PASSING – Southeast: Adkins 7-21-1-32. Kapaun Mount Carmel: Degenhardt 8-15-1-142.
RECEIVING – Southeast: Bond 4-6, Loggins 1-13, Dunn 1-7, Eckels 1-6. Kapaun Mount Carmel: Shank 3-78, Channel 2-19, Schmitz 1-23, Heiland 1-14, Schoelwer 1-8.