Early in the 4th quarter, it appeared that Pratt High had the upper hand and might be able to end their season with a win over rival Larned on Senior Night. But then, almost as though it were Halloween or something, the Greenbacks were visited by the same evil spirit that has haunted them throughout this season— the dreaded Specter of the Big Play.
Within the space of a minute in Q4, Larned put up two quick touchdowns to turn a 7-point deficit into a 7-point lead, which put them in the driver’s seat on their way to a 27-14 triumph over the Pratt Greenbacks.
The game began normally enough. The Greenback D held Larned on downs following a short Indian drive. Pratt could not sustain any offense, though, and the ensuing punt was a short one. Larned threatened, but Chance Henke recovered a Larned fumble to turn the Indians aside once again.
On the ensuing possession, Larned intercepted a Greenback pass and set up shop on the Frog 30- yardline. From there, they drove in for the game’s initial score as time was expiring in the first stanza. 7-0 Larned.
After the teams exchanged punts to open Q2, the Greenback offense executed one of their better drives of the season. Rushing yardage has been difficult to achieve for the Frogs this season, but you’d never know it from watching this drive.
Runs by Brandon Ruckle, Cesar Regalado and Derek Barnard moved the ball into Indian territory. Regalado executed the halfback pass to Shawn Ramos to give Pratt 1st and goal. At the 3:27 mark, Ruckle punched it in from 3 yards. After the Regalado PAT, it was 7-7.
The Pratt D forced a Larned punt and Pratt had the ball back with a chance to extend their lead before the end of the half. Completions from Ruckle to Ramos and Ryan Landry gained some yards for Pratt, but the drive fizzled. The first half expired when Larned took a knee after the Pratt punt pinned them inside their own 5.
It was Pratt’s ball to start the second half, but they went 3-and-out. Larned drove from its 40 to the Pratt 5 where the Greenbacks bowed their necks and kept the Indians out of the end zone.
From there, the Greenback offense authored its most impressive drive of the season— a 15 play, 95-yarder to take the lead. Ruckle gained yardage on the ground. He hit Derek Barnard on a crossing pattern to move the chains. Executing the read-option to perfection, Ruckle moved the ball into Larned territory. Regalado got the ball to the 1-yd line, from where Ruckle dove in for the score. 14-7 Pratt with 10:43 left in the game, as the Pratt drive continued into the 4th quarter.
Page 2 of 2 - Pratt looked to be in control of the game at this point, but then it got weird. Again. Just like earlier games when momentary lapses had resulted in huge turnarounds against Pratt, Larned struck for 2 TDs in less than a minute to regain the lead. On their first play from scrimmage, Larned pulled off a 66-yd touchdown pass. On Pratt’s next possession, the Indians’ Trey Kraisinger came up with a ‘pick-6’ to give Larned the 21-14 lead.
Pratt still had a chance to drive for the tying/go-ahead score, but they shot themselves in the foot. A series of penalties made it 4th and 50 from their own 11-yd line. Larned capitalized, eventually driving the stake through Pratt’s heart on a 1-yd plunge to go up 27-14 with 4:12 left.
Subsequently, Pratt got the ball back one final time following an abortive fake field goal by Larned, following another interception. But Pratt turned it over on downs and Larned went into the victory formation to preserve the win. Pratt ends its season at 2-7.