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Frankfort Stuns Axtell on Final Play
By Jonny Kane
Copyright: MSC Sports
Credit: Emmy Sedlacek

It was one of the premier high school football games around the state of Kansas Friday night with undefeated and No. 1-ranked Axtell hosting No. 5 Frankfort and it lived up to the hype with the Wildcats scoring on the final play of the game to pull the upset and remain unbeaten with a 24-20 win.

The Wildcats wanted to get off to a good start and prove that last season’s 76-28 loss to the Eagles was a fluke and they did just that jumping out to a 12-0 lead.

Frankfort received the opening kickoff and wasted no time jumping in front as Garret Dalinghaus scored on a 50-yard touchdown run on the fourth play from scrimmage giving the Wildcats a quick 6-0 lead.

After forcing Axtell to punt on their opening possession Dalinghaus was off and running again, this time on the first play of the drive scoring on a 67-yard run giving the Wildcats all the momentum early and a 12-0 lead.

Axtell wasn’t going to go away quietly and found the end zone on their second drive, needing just five plays to go 65 yards and score on a 24-yard touchdown pass from freshman Isaac Detweiler to senior Derek Buessing to pull within 12-8.

The Eagles then forced a fumble on Frankfort’s third drive and took advantage by taking the lead on a 5-yard hookup between Detweiler and Buessing for the second time giving Axtell a 14-12 lead at halftime.

Frankfort then forced a punt on Axtell’s opening possession of the second half and took the lead back on a 14-yard run by Detweiler which gave the Wildcats an 18-14 lead.

That score held all the way until late in the fourth when the freshman sensation from Axtell in Detweiler led the Eagles on a 5-play drive which ended with a Mitchell Buessing 1-yard run giving the home team a 20-18 lead with only 3:25 left.

Axtell appeared to have sealed the game with an interception on the Wildcats ensuing drive, but the Eagles made a crucial mistake by running out of bounds on third down with 45 seconds left which gave Frankfort the chance they needed.

The Eagles were forced to throw the ball and go for a fourth and nine at the Frankfort 18-yard line, but the Wildcats forced an incomplete pass with 41 seconds left giving them the ball back and time to work with.

The eventual game-winning drive for Frankfort started in disaster with an 8-yard sack on the first play of the drive, but after a pass interference penalty on Axtell and a 23-yard catch by Bryce Stowell the Wildcats had one final play with four seconds on the clock at the Eagle 31-yard line.

On the ensuing play Gavin Cornelison was able to avoid a blitzing linebacker, step up in the pocket and throw an absolute dime to Branden Bussman in the front left corner of the end zone with no time on the clock for the game-winner.

It took time for the referees to confirm the touchdown which caused mayhem throughout the stadium, but eventually the score was confirmed, and the Wildcats laid on the two-point try to start the celebration.

Garret Dalinghaus was an absolute load all night for the Wildcats rushing for 173 yards and two touchdowns, while Gavin Cornelison scored two total touchdowns including the game-winner to Bussman.

Axtell was led by Isaac Detweiler who threw for 139 yards and two touchdowns to Derek Buessing who finished with six catches for 79 yards.

The Wildcats (7-0) won’t have time to celebrate the win as they will now get set for Hanover (6-1) at home next week while the Eagles (6-1) travel to Doniphan West (3-4) the same night.

©2020 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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