By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
CHEROKEE, Kan. —
Josh Thompson and the Southeast offense have been known for the passing game, but it was the Lancers’ running game that came up big in their district opener.
Thompson rushed for 142 yards on 26 carries as the Lancers defeated the Riverton Rams 48-22 on Friday night at Southeast High School. The win gives Southeast a head start in its Kansas Class 3A District 8, as the Lancers are tied for the lead with St. Mary’s-Colgan, which beat Galena 21-0 on Friday.
“When you’re playing in a district like this, to get the win and your 13 points is just huge going into next week,’’ Southeast head coach Clint Rider said.
Thompson entered Friday’s game as one of the top passers in the area with 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns. While Thompson attempted only 11 passes, he followed the offensive line for several big runs.
“We knew their athleticism would make it very difficult on our receivers, and we feel like our offensive line gets undercredited a lot of the time,’’ Rider said. “We wanted to see what we could do on the run game. The kids executed and the offensive line blocked their tails off.’’
Riverton (4-3 overall, 3-3 CNC League) cut the lead to 27-22 in the third quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run from quarterback Chandler Underhill and a conversion pass from Underhill to Hunter Deckard.
Southeast (6-1 overall, 5-1) responded in its next possession behind several big runs from Thompson. Lancer running back Colton Charleton capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown on the first play of the first quarter. A conversion pass from Thompson to Ryan Rakestraw gave the Lancers a 35-22 lead.
“I thought our kids did a good job responding, because they were doing some good things offensively,’’ Rider said. “They were gaining momentum, and I was getting kind of worried. But we kept with our game plan and we were able to build some momentum within that drive.’’
Thompson also executed on his few passing opportunities, hitting Rakestraw on two scoring strikes and Dan Peak on another. Southeast also excelled in the secondary, as Peak and Caleb Biancarelli each returned an interception for a touchdown.
“It’s a huge win,’’ Thompson said. “We didn’t play very well the last few weeks. It was nice to come out tonight and play hard and come away with the win against a very good team in Riverton.’’
The game also marked the second annual Rider Cup between Clint Rider and Riverton head coach Derrick Rider, who is Clint Rider’s older brother. Clint Rider avenged a 62-12 loss to Riverton from last season, but the victory remained bittersweet.
“They’re going to do well and they’re going to come back,’’ Clint Rider said. “They got two more district games, and I know he’ll get right back to work. Like I say, I love him to death. He’s a great guy, and he always carries himself with class.’’
Riverton will be at Colgan, and Southeast will travel to Galena.