BY BUDDY TABLER
Special to the Tribune
LARNED – Winless Cimarron parlayed third-down conversions into an upset of Larned 23-14 in Friday’s 2A District 7 football game.
The Bluejays had been shut out three times in four games. Friday night the offense was nearly flawless.
Larned’s Carson Shaver hit Jonathan Ortivez with a 46-yard touchdown pass on the first drive. Shaver converted the 2-point conversion. The fans in the stands were enjoying the possibility of an easy win.
But Cimarron reversed fortunes. Quarterback Trace Kopper converted a 3-yard touchdown. Ethan Ogles added the 2-pointer.
Kopper broke loose on a third-and-long play and rambled 58 yards for a touchdown. Holden Kite’s 2-poinyer made it 16-8.
“Kopper made a great run and we had three or four missed tackles,” said Larned coach Tad Remy. “We went stagnant on offense after the opening drive. Cimarron took advantage.”
Larned regained control with a methodical drive capped by Carson Shaver scored on a 13-yard touchdown run. But Cimarron stopped Larned’s 2-point conversion run for a 16-14 lead.
Cimarron played keep away as the Blujays dominated time of possession. On numerous occasions, Cimarron converted key third and fourth down attempts to keep possession. Kopper’s elusive scrambling frustrated Larned tacklers and provided key gains.
The key play was late in the fourth quarter when a bad snap forced Kopper back deep. He somehow got off a long, floating pass that Samuel Allen gathered in for a score and a 23-14 lead.
Larned (2-3, 0-1 District) moved to the 5-yard line, but could not score.
“We did not do a good job containing their quarterback, especially on third and fourth down plays,” Remy said. “Cimarron did different, unusual things that worked. Give them credit. They played a good game.”
Kopper led the Bluejay offense with 25 carries for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns. He connected for 110 passing yards to balance the ground game for Cimarron (1-4, 1-1 District).
Larned compiled a total offense of 246 yards as Carson Shaver completed 8 of 20 passes for 112 yards. Shaver rushed 17 times for 86 yards.
Larned plays at SW Heights next week.
Cimarron 8 8 0 7 – 23
Larned 8 0 6 0 – 14
L—Johnathan Ortivez 46 pass from Carson Shaver (Shaver run)
C—Kopper 3 run (Ethan Ogles run)
C—Kopper 58 run (Holden Kite run)
L—Shaver 13 run (run fails)
C—Samuel Allen 13 pass from Kopper (kick)
RUSHING—C—Kopper 25-152; L—Shaver 17-86; Fischer 6-33; Ortivez 3-6
PASSING—C—Kopper 6-13-2, 110; L—Shaver 8-20-1, 112
RECEIVING—L—Ortivez 3-87; Smith 4-32; Fischer 1-12