Cobra footballers beat JCN, are 2018 NEK League champs
With a 38-8 win on Friday over Jefferson County North — and Pleasant Ridge’s loss to Maur Hill that same night — the Jackson Heights High School Cobras emerged from a somewhat muddy contest as the undisputed Northeast Kansas League varsity football champions for 2018, it was reported.
Now, Head Coach Caleb Wick said, the Cobras are looking to zero in on a win in its last regular-season game this coming Friday against Lyndon at home to win the district championship and take some good momentum into the postseason.
“This is one of those must-wins to get a district championship, because if we lose to Lyndon, that’s going to be three teams in our district tied with a 2-1 record,” coach Wick said. “And then it would come down to points, and Troy would be on top.”
Despite the muddy field conditions that Wick said were prevalent throughout northeastern Kansas on Friday night, the Cobras dug in and struck first with sophomore Dylan Thompson running one in from the Charger 24 halfway through the first quarter, followed by a two-yard TD run from senior Conlan Bruggeman less than two minutes later to bring the first-quarter score to 12-0.
“I think this was Conlan’s best game running,” Wick said of Bruggeman, who picked up 140 rushing yards on the night. “I thought he ran tough, I thought he ran low. He ran through some tackles — that’s a credit to him.”
Junior Cooper Williams picked up another six with less than half a minute to go in the second quarter, and with Thompson’s two-point conversion, the Cobras took a 20-0 lead into the locker at the half.
Despite that impressive first-half lead, Wick said, “I thought we played a lot better in the second half… We still had a long way to go.”
That was evident as the Cobras dug in even deeper in the third, with Thompson running for a seven-yard TD halfway through the frame, bringing the score to 26-0. And in the fourth, junior quarterback Cable Wareham added six on a 17-yard QB keep, followed by freshman Jason Bosley’s six-yard run for a score to put the Cobras up 38-0.
The Chargers weren’t content to take a shutout, however, and in the last 30 seconds of the game, junior quarterback Boyd Tweed nailed a 55-yard pass to freshman Ryan Feldkamp for six, followed by a quick two-pointer pass from Tweed to Feldkamp to bring the final score to 38-8.
Offensively, Wick said that in addition to Bruggeman’s contribution to the Cobras’ 417-yard rushing total and Wareham’s pass for 11 yards, Williams picked up 156 yards to lead the team while Thompson added 46 and Wareham added 68 on the ground.
“I thought Cable got around the end pretty well a couple times on his quarterback keeps,” he said. “And Dylan was impressive. Kolby Rethman was out with a foot injury, so anytime we can have a sophomore step up and score, that’s definitely a positive for you.”
Wick also expressed pride in the Cobra defense, particularly with junior Riley Watkins picking up 10 tackles, followed by Bruggeman with nine, and Bosley and junior Carson Williams — including a sack on Tweed for a 12-yard Charger loss — each with seven.
Bosley also picked up an interception with a 15-yard return, and Wareham also intercepted a pass and took it back three yards.
“They had some trouble with the snaps all night,” Wick said of JCN. “They had five or six snaps that went over their heads or to the side, but again, that’s due to the field conditions. But I thought our defense played very well until probably the last part of the game… We got stuck in the mud, too.”
For the Cobras, now 4-0 in the NEK League and 6-1 overall, the regular season will end this Friday at home with the 7 p.m. district final against Lyndon, currently at 3-4 overall.
“They run a ton of different formations at you,” Wick said of Lyndon. “They’ve got a lot of young athletes on the offensive line and in their skill positions, so hopefully we can take advantage of their youth a little bit.”
(Editor's note: This story was prepared for the Monday, Oct. 15 edition of The Recorder but was inadvertently omitted.)