Macksville celebrates homecoming, endures a battle royale on the football field

Edward J. Naughton
St. John News
Macksville High School students celebrated 2021 Fall Homecoming prior to the start of Friday night's game against the Moundridge Wildcats. Students involved in the crowing ceremony were Berenice Acosta, Thoran Cross, Yoselin Ibarra, Fabian Ortiz, Emma Hottovy and James Lee.

After a week of quarantined classrooms, themed fun-filled games and contests outside and a special parade, Macksville students and families were ready to celebrate 2021 Fall Homecoming before last Friday's high school football game with Moundridge.

High school senior candidates Berenice Acosta, Thoran Cross, Yoselin Ibarra, Fabian Ortiz, Emma Hottovy and James Lee assembled for the crowning ceremony before the start of the football game. Acosta and Cross were crowned Queen and King, respectively. And then it was time to play football.

Macksville's Ryan Kuckelman, QB #15 in red, plows ahead despite an opponent's attempt to bring him down early in the Friday homecoming game at Macksville.

The first play of the Mackvsille vs. Moundridge football game set the tone for a difficult evening that ended with a tough 54-36 homecoming loss for the Mustangs.

On the very first play, Macksville's #14 Lance Lickiss crashed head-on with Moundridge's #12 Kase Ptacek, as the Moundridge player brought the kick-off return down the field.

Despite visible disorientation, the Mustang's Lickiss stayed in the game until the second quarter when his coaches made the decision to send him to a waiting ambulance that took him to Pratt Regional Medical Center for an exam, head CT, and concussion evaluation.

That war of attrituion continued on the field with Macksville Coach Kyle Bright yelling for his Mustangs to "get the downhill run going." Macksville quarterback #15 Ryan Kuckelman also played the position of middle linebacker on defense, and many players filled offensive and defensive rolls for the team. No rest for the weary.

Each team demonstrated determination and dedication in the ground-pound, run-it-up the middle game. There were many running plays, with pounding line of scrimmage thrusts by the tackles and nose guards, and each team used their ineman to open holes for their quarterbacks or running backs. 

Kuckelman made an exciting 16-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, trying to regain the momentum for his team, but #12 Ptacek for the Wildcat was unrelenting, scoring four touchdowns in the game, driving a stake into the heart of the Mustangs as they attempted to regain control of the game.

Ptacek scored two TDs by the run in the fourth quarter alone which quieted any late come-back attempts. He carried the ball for 185 yards in total for the evening in 31 carries. 

For the home team, #2 Hector Gomez got the Mustangs in the endzone too with a touchdown run in the match-up. He played well overall on offense and defense.  Mustang defenders held tight on most Wildcat conversion attempts with a solid wall of defense throughout the game.

It was perhaps, two air-strikes by the Wildcats that determined the difference in the game, which was stil an overwhelming exhibition of grit and determination on the line of scrimmage for both teams.

Macksville travels to Medicine Lodge this Friday, September 17 for their next football contest of the season.