COFFEYVILLE — With the regular season quickly winding down, each game becomes that much more important for playoff seeding in Class 4A. So driving down the field for a potential game-winning touchdown, the Coffeyville-Field Kindley Golden Tornado were on the verge of coming up with a big victory over western foe Abilene.
That’s when disaster struck for the ‘Nado. A lost fumble with 1:30 remaining on the clock sealed the team’s fate as it suffered a heartbreaking 30-25 loss to the Cowboys last Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“Obviously, the loss was tough to take,” said FKHS coach Darrin Wegner. “We were up 10 at the half, and I felt like we didn’t take care of business in the third quarter. We let them back in it and found ourselves in a dog fight. The touchdowns that we gave up on third-and-long and fourth-and-long, along with a punting mistake and turnovers, killed us. You can’t win close games and make those kinds of mistakes. We are all disappointed by our performance, but you move on and prepare for the next one.”
Field Kindley lost for a second straight game in falling to 2-4 overall. The Golden Tornado are still trying to work their way up the western bracket for the playoffs, but they will need some late-season wins to do so. That starts on Friday when they entertain Southeast Kansas League foe Chanute in their final home game of the regular season. The Blue Comets — winners of 10 of the last 15 meetings against the ‘Nado — are coming off a 22-10 home loss to Fort Scott to drop to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the SEK.
Field Kindley had a 25-24 lead in the fourth quarter before Abilene marched down the field to regain the advantage. The Cowboys moved the ball 62 yards in 11 plays, capped off with a 20-yard scoring strike from Jackson Randles to Chrisxavier Cease on a third-and-goal play.
Yet with 3:26 remaining, the Golden Tornado had one last opportunity at victory. The ‘Nado regained possession at their own 36-yard line and moved down the field, getting inside Abilene territory following a 22-yard pass play from Jaylen Logan to C.J. Kelley. FKHS had the ball down at the 28 facing a third-and-one with about 90 seconds remaining. That’s when a fumble on a handoff exchange doomed Field Kindley and resulted in a lost possession. The Cowboys ran out the game’s final 1:30 of the clock to seal the deal.
Although there are still two weeks left in the regular season, the loss to Abilene could sting for awhile, especially against a Cowboy team from the west side of the state that is battling Field Kindley for playoff seeding.
The Golden Tornado controlled much of the first half, building an 18-8 advantage off a five-yard touchdown run from Brennden Graham and a five-yard TD pass from Logan to Tajahn Thomas.
Leading at the intermission, things would quickly go downhill for Field Kindley after the break. Facing a strong wind during the third quarter, FKHS could get nothing going offensively, resulting in three punts and an interception in its four possessions.
The Cowboys narrowed the gap on a 27-yard scoring strike from Randles to Preston Boyd, but the big blow came on special teams when Abilene blocked a ‘Nado punt and return it eight yards for a touchdown to take a 24-18 advantage.
Despite those struggles in the third quarter, FKHS found itself down by just a touchdown heading into the final period. Field Kindley would eventually reclaim the lead on a four-yard run into the end zone by Graham. William Stokesbury’s point-after kick gave the ‘Nado a one-point lead at 25-24.
Field Kindley lost the contest despite having a 298-254 edge in total yardage. Logan led the way for the Golden Tornado, completing 13-of-22 passes for 165 yards while also carrying the ball 14 times for 89 rushing yards.
As for Abilene, it was led in rushing by James Mayden with a game-high 154 yards on 28 attempts.