INMAN — The jubilation surrounding the Inman High School side line after Kane Thimmesch picked off Moundridge High School quarterback Anthony Otte with under a minute to play, was something the Teutons have only felt one other time this season.
Last week in a 10-7 win at Medicine Lodge.
Now the Teutons are celebrating their second consecutive win, after holding off Moundridge 17-14 in front of a fired up Inman crowd. And after an 0-4 start to the season, Inman is now 2-0 in their district, and in sole possession of first place.
As for Moundridge, they will try to pick up the pieces of a brutal, rivalry loss, because they still have a lot to play for. The Wildcats can not afford to lose another district game, but if they defeat 4-2 Sedgwick and 0-6 Medicine Lodge in the following weeks, they will put themselves in an ideal position to advance to state.
But Inman is the team on a two game winning streak, and a lot of credit can be attributed to quarterback Payton Froese.
The sophomore is now 2-1 as a starter since taking over for the injured Keaton Case, and once again led Inman to victory in his first home start.
Froese went 6 of 13 for 109 yards and a pair of scores, including a 67-yard bomb to Lucas Barlow early in the first quarter.
Moundridge answered right back in the form of a four-yard Dylan Sugars touchdown run, tying the game at seven. Sugars single handily out rushed the entire Inman offense, 125-98, and was the majority of his own offense.
Moundridge had a costly turnover late in the second half — deep in their own territory — which set up Froese’s second touchdown pass of the game; a six-yard score to Ethan DeWitt with 36 seconds left.
It was a demoralizing score for Moundridge, and a momentum swinging touchdown for Inman. The way the Teutons ran into the locker room with their adrenalin at full blast, it was obvious how much this game meant to them.
And the way the Wildcats responded, leaving it all on the field, it was obvious how much this game meant to them too.
The Moundridge defense came up huge midway through the third quarter, when a fumble on offense gave Inman first-and-10 deep in Wildcats territory.
Inman faced fourth-and-two from the four, and lined up to go for it, before calling a timeout to think it over. The Teutons sent Taiten Winkel to attempt a 21-yard field goal, which he nailed with ease.
That made it a 10-point game, and gave a sense of urgency to the Moundridge offense.
Sugars had runs of 22, 30, and a 23-yard touchdown, on a drive which took 1:24 off the clock.
With 3:08 remaining in the third quarter, Inman held a slight 17-14 lead, which they never surrendered.
This was an old-fashioned type rivalry game, where both defenses were delivering some serious blows, and dictated the game.
The Wildcats had their best scoring opportunity midway through the fourth quarter, facing fourth-and-goal from the Inman five. Otte threw a perfect pass to the corner of the end zone, but Inman defensive back Ben Pankratz was there in coverage to force an incompletion.
Moundridge was able to force a punt and get the ball back to the offense with 57 seconds left, but, under heavy pressure, Otte chucked a ball back into the middle of the field while falling out of bounds, and in to the waiting hands of Thimmesch.
Both defenses were phenomenal, with Moundridge holding a slight advantage in yards, 225-207. Inman turned the ball over six times, four interceptions and two fumbles, but Moundridge couldn’t turn them into points.
The win for Inman avenges a 21-0 loss suffered against Moundridge last year.
Both teams continue district action next week, Inman at Whitewater-Remington, and Moundridge home to Sedgwick.
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.