It’s been awhile since Pratt High has gotten the better of Ulysses on the gridiron. It didn’t happen again Friday night as the Tigers continued their domination over the Greenbacks with a convincing 36-14 victory.
The first quarter was fairly tightly contested, but Ulysses exploded for 29 unanswered points in the second quarter to effectively put the game on ice, 36-0 at the break.
To start the game, the teams traded punts, but on their second possession Ulysses marched the ball into the red zone. They were momentarily thwarted as Skylar Dean intercepted a Tiger pass in the endzone.
Pratt could not move the ball, however, and had to punt. Ulysses resumed their offense and moved the ball into scoring territory again. One big play was a long pass that Tiger Tate Annis and Greenback defender Skylar Dean wrestled for, and Annis came down with on the Frogs’ 5 yard line. From there, Tiger QB Alec Meierhoff scampered 5 yards around right end for the Tigers first score, 7-0 Ulysses.
The second quarter was basically the Ian Rudzik show as the Ulysses freshman RB scored on touchdown runs of 41, 5, 15 and 10 yards. Rudzik, 6’1” 200 lbs., was virtually unstoppable as he amassed 160 yards rushing in the first half alone. He averaged 12+ yards per carry against the ineffectual Greenback defense.
In that second quarter that was dominated by Rudzik’s heroics, Pratt’s offense was an exercise in futility as they turned it over once on an interception and once on a fumble.
The Greenbacks’ best chance in the second quarter was when Ryan Landry recovered a Tiger muffed punt reception on the 22 yard line. From there, a Skylar Dean run got PHS into 1st and goal at the 9. But the Greenbacks misfired on 4 plays and the Tigers took over on downs.
With the Greenback failing to convert on their few 1st half opportunities and the Tigers clicking on all cylinders, Ulysses carried a 36-0 lead into halftime.
The second half went by quickly, as with Ulysses up 36-0 it was decided to employ the running clock.
To open the 3rd quarter, Pratt drove the ball to the Ulysses 5 yard line. But then, in what has become an all-too-common theme for the Greenbacks this year, they were again unable to push the ball into the endzone.
Pratt then recovered a Ulysses fumble but they turned the ball right back to the Tigers with a pass interception. The third quarter ended with no one scoring, still 36-0 Tigers.
Ulysses coach Jason Kenny gave reserves some playing time in the 4th quarter and the Greenbacks were finally able to break into the scoring column.
Skylar Dean was able to connect on a couple of 5 yard runs in the 4th quarter, and when the inexorable running clock ran out, Pratt had the ball on the 2 yard line for what could have been another score. The cosmetic touchdowns made it a 36-14 final in favor of Ulysses.
Page 2 of 2 - The loss takes the Greenbacks out of the playoff hunt. Next week’s game against Larned will be for nothing but pride, but Pratt and Larned have a rivalry so it should be a game the Greenbacks really want to win to end the season.
Pratt 0 0 0 14 14
Ulysses 7 29 0 0 36
First downs Pratt 8; Uly 14
Rushing Pratt 19/40; Uly 46/329
Passing Pratt 11/24/2int; Uly 5/8/77
Ind. Rushing Dean 13/30/2 TD
Ind. Passing Dean 6/15/87
Ind. Receiving Ramos 5/72