Monarchs capture district title

Randy Gonzales
Special to Hays Daily News

The Monarchs continued their magical season on Friday night.

The Thomas More Prep-Marian football team won the Class 2A, District 7 title at Lakin, rolling past the Broncs 46-14. TMP, after dropping its season opener, will take a seven-game winning streak into its home playoff game against Beloit on Friday.

“Just very excited about it, for the boys to be able to accomplish something like that,” TMP coach Jay Harris said. “Feel good for them.”

Lakin crowded the line of scrimmage in an attempt to stop the run. So Monarch QB Kade Harris, the coach’s son, took to the air. He threw for four touchdowns and also returned a kickoff into the end zone and ran in another, accounting for six scores.

“He has really good vision of the field, can see who’s open,” Coach Harris said. “He can see if there’s running lanes to take the ball. Just able to take advantage of what’s given to him.”

Lakin (4-4) took advantage of a Monarch turnover to take the early lead. Running back Allen Martinez scored on a 5-yard run and also took in the 2-point conversion and Lakin led 8-0 with 9:37 left in the first quarter.

Harris returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards into the end zone and after Jace Wentling’s extra point TMP trailed 8-7 with 9:26 remaining in the opening quarter. Andrew Schwartz, who had three catches all season going into the game, was on the receiving end of an 18-yard TD pass from Harris with 3:47 left in the first quarter. TMP led 13-8 after a bad snap on the PAT attempt.

“Andrew did a very good job, stepping up, making some big catches,” Coach Harris said. “Mark Rack, the same thing. Just having guys you can go to when Wentling’s covered.”

Harris connected with Schwartz again early in the second quarter, this time from 71 yards out, to make it 20-8 with 10:30 left in the first half. Harris then ran the quarterback draw to score on a 10-yard dash up the middle with 7:10 left. A 2-point conversion run failed, and TMP led 26-8.

Lakin scored on its next series, on an 80-yard reception by Connor Hudson on a halfback pass, but TMP responded with two more TDs to take a 40-14 lead into the locker room. Wentling caught a 26-yard scoring pass and Schwartz continued his big night, returning a fumble 53 yards into the end zone.

TMP maintained the lead in the second half, scoring the only TD after intermission on a 41-yard TD connection from Harris to Jace Lang with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter.

TMP (7-1) now entertains Beloit (2-6) on Friday night at Lewis Field Stadium in a playoff opener. Beloit gave undefeated Hoisington a scare on its home field on Friday before losing 26-20.

“The guys really enjoy playing at Lewis Field, having a home crowd,” Coach Harris said. “That’s a big deal, getting to play a home playoff game.”