Huskies dominate on both sides of the ball, defeat Thunder, 47-10.

The varsity football team defeated the St. James Thunder, 47-10, Sept. 24. The Huskies offense was led by junior Grant Stubblefield who finished the game with 128 rushing yards on 25 carries to go along with three rushing touchdowns.

Jack Nitz, Sports Editor

Coming into the game against a winless St. James, junior Grant Stubblefield said the Huskies knew they couldn’t underestimate the Thunder because of their record. 

“We knew we just had to take care of business and not overlook anybody. We saw their record, but we couldn’t really think about it because every game in the EKL is going to be a battle,” Stubblefield said.

The Huskies got off to an early lead after a 31-yard touchdown pass from senior Mikey Pauley to senior Steven Whitter and a 69-yard touchdown pass from Pauley to senior Nick Cusick on back-to-back drives. The Thunder would respond with a touchdown of their own with 1:17 remaining in the first quarter to make the score, 14-7. 

Both offenses were stagnant for a majority of the second quarter until Stubblefield scored on a 10-yard rush with 1:15 remaining in the half. The Thunder marched down the field quickly and made a field goal with time expiring and the Huskies entered halftime with a 21-10 lead. 

Despite the lead at halftime, Stubblefield said the team talked about staying focused and playing in the second half with the mindset that the game was tied.

“It felt good to get off to the big lead, but we had to think that it was 0-0 at halftime. We knew we had to come out and keep pounding the ball and scoring,” Stubblefield said.

The Huskies added three touchdowns in the third quarter on a pass from Pauley to Cusick, a 7-yard rush by Stubblefield and a pick-six from senior Carter Worthington. Stubblefield scored on his third rushing touchdown of the game with 11:14 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Huskies a 47-10 lead, which would be the final score of the game.

Head coach Clint Rider said the Huskies success on offense was a direct result of the offensive line’s ability to open holes in the run game and protect Pauley on passes. 

“The offensive line allows us to do so many things. One of our strengths is that we can run it well and we can throw it well, but it all goes through the O-line. If we don’t protect and move guys out of the way neither of those things are going to happen, so I thought our offensive line was phenomenal,” Rider said. 

Stubblefield agreed with Rider, saying the offensive line allows the offense to be able to mix up the game plan with some games focusing on the run and others on the pass.

“Our offensive line was making holes all game and we had a good game plan. We can beat you anyway either by passing or running. Today was a running day and next week might be a passing day,” Stubblefield said.

The defense held the Thunder to 10 points, including shutting them out in the second half. Senior Drew Kaufman said the defense didn’t perform as well as they wanted in the first half, but was able to come out strong in the second half after a halftime speech by the coaches.

“We came out a little slow in the first half. We didn’t want to let up any points in the first half, but we let up 10,” Kaufman said. “The intensity picked up after the coaches hyped up in the locker room and we came out in the second half and dominated.”

Halfway through the regular season, the Huskies find themselves 4-0 and sitting atop the 6A East and Eastern Kansas League standings. Rider said the team needs to stay focused and humble in order to continue their success.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to get better. Everything that we want is in front of us, but we can only get those things if we stay humble and keep working hard. I’m forward to just enjoying my time with these guys and it should be a fun rest of the year,” Rider said.

The Huskies will return to the DAC for the homecoming game against Blue Valley Southwest, Oct. 1 at 7:00 p.m.