Amelia Earhart Stadium hosted a sloppy affair Friday night inhabited by offensive woes and penalties on both sides, but the Atchison defense was able to dominate a conference opponent for the second straight week securing a shut out leading to a 14-0 win on homecoming over Wyandotte.
Coach Jim Smith said being aggressive and pursuing the ball has been the key to the defense these last two outings
“I thought they were gang tackling very well and in the right spots all night long,” Smith said. “We’re pursuing better, getting to the ball and gang tackling.”
The Redmen held the Bulldogs to 157 total yards of offense on the night.
Senior Garyeon Simpson said the team mentality on defense has been emphasized through practice and that it’s transferring to the field.
“We’ve been playing hard and aggressive as a team,” Simpson said. “That’s what we’ve been preaching to play as a team all week in practice.”
In a game with 256 penalty yards and only 27 total yards passing between both teams, Simpson had the highlight of the night early in the third quarter.
On Atchison’s first possession of the second half Simpson ran for a 60 yard touchdown in which he reversed his field from the right sideline at around the 30 yard line and out ran just about every Bulldog defender to the left pylon of the end zone.
“I saw the play kind of break down a little bit but I worked my way through my shiftiness and scored the touchdown,” Simpson said. “I give props to my line as well. They had good push all night.”
The electric run gave the home team a 14-0 lead with about nine minutes remaining in the third quarter.
This was Simpson’s first outing as the quarterback of the Redmen and while the passing game wasn’t producing much he added a spark in a game where he was the only one to find pay dirt finishing with 119 yards on the ground with two touchdowns.
“He runs the ball extremely well,” Smith said. “There were a few things he was a little green on tonight but in the open field I don’t think there is any better.”
Simpson said he was pleased with his first venture as quarterback.
“For my first time playing quarterback I thought I did well but could have done some things better,” Simpson said. “Some passes were missed but we’ll get that right in practice.”
Smith said getting more momentum from another win always builds confidence for a team that was once 0-3 before two straight home victories.
“Any time you win you feel good about yourself,” Smith said. “The kids are feeling good about themselves and makes going to practice a lot easier.”
Atchison will next host Louisburg Friday with kickoff set for 7 p.m.