In their final home game of the season, the Independence High School Bulldogs welcomed Circle to town on Friday, October 18. IHS honored the class of 2020 with Senior Night festivities prior to kickoff, then proceeded to send the seniors out in spectacular fashion in a 40-6 win.
Circle won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, and the ‘Dogs took advantage immediately. On the first play from scrimmage, senior tailback Amauryon Farley took a handoff up the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown. The PAT was no good and the hosts were quickly on top 6-0.
After trading a couple of empty possessions, Indy senior Matthew Grant returned a punt to the house for six, but a penalty negated the score. Independence proceeded to drive down the field and push the cushion to 13-0 on a five-yard run from senior fullback Trevor Rinne with 3:13 in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, IHS resorted to some trickery with a short kick that caught the Thunderbirds by surprise, was recovered by Farley and returned all the way to the Circle 23 yard line. Junior running back Zach Moses capped the short drive with a two-yard plunge to give the home team a 19-0 advantage with 1:45 in the first.
Just before the end of the opening period, Circle was forced to punt and may have gotten away with one as the IHS returner signaled for a fair catch but seemed to be impeded by contact and the T-Birds scooped up the fumble. However, the Indy defense came up big early in the second and forced a turnover on downs inside the redzone. Later in the second stanza, Bulldogs junior back Travareus Wilson got in on the scoring action with a 16-yard rush to stretch the advantage to 26-0 with 4:03.
Late in the first half, Circle had another scoring opportunity, but the ‘Dogs defense once again held strong to force a field goal attempt. Thunderbirds senior kicker Trevor Hammer’s kick missed the mark and Indy took a 26-0 lead into intermission.
After the break, the visitors looked to possibly shift the momentum after recovering a fumble in IHS territory. Inside the redzone, senior quarterback Luke Myers called his own number on a sneak to give Circle a first and goal at the seven, then a couple of plays later Myers found junior wideout Jake Shaults on an 8-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was blocked and CHS cut the lead to 26-6 with just under five minutes in the third quarter.
Early in the final 12 minutes, another Indy senior had his name called as the team lined up in a jumbo package and handed off to senior lineman Cooper Short a couple of times, with Short pushing his way in for the score and the 33-6 lead with 9:08 remaining. Independence tacked on one more touchdown with 1:24 left on the clock as junior Ian Pralle scampered in from 15 yards out to seal the 40-6 victory.
Circle (1-6) will host McPherson in their eason finale next week at home.