Around The Brackets-Substate

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November 23, 2010

For being on the road against the state’s top-ranked team, Dodge City couldn’t have had a better start. The Red Demons led 28-0 after the first quarter thanks to two touchdown passes and a rushing score from quarterback Jared Helfrich and an 80-yard run from sophomore Parker Davis. Even after Davis answered two Daniel Deshazer touchdowns for Wichita Heights, it seemed that a 35-14 halftime lead would be good enough to put Dodge City in their first state championship game in 25 years. But Heights had other ideas. The Falcons scored three third-quarter touchdowns to tie the game at 35, and after a Dillon Burkhard 25-yard field goal with 10 minutes left put Dodge City back up 38-35, the Falcons got the ball back with just over two minutes left with one last chance. The result would be an 85-yard drive capped off by a 16-yard diving touchdown reception by Wichita State basketball signee Evan Wessel with just 24 seconds left on the clock. It was Heights first lead of the game as they stunned Dodge City, 42-38.

Matt Reed was key for the Falcons. The senior quarterback rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and threw for 138 yards and the game winning score to Wessel. Dreamius Smith rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown and threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Deshazer.

Dodge City was led by Helfrich who rushed for 103 yards and threw for 110 and two touchdowns. Davis led the Red Demon ground attack with 160 yards on 19 carries. After racking up more than 300 yards of total offense and 35 points in the first half, the Red Demons were held to just Burkhard's fourth quarter field goal in the second half.

The Olathe North Eagles are back in the 6A state championship game after knocking off rival Olathe East, 13-6. Adonis Saunders started the scoring for the Eagles in the second quarter with a 59-yard run. The Hawks would answer right back with a Brandon Willingham 19-yard touchdown, but the extra point was blocked and North led 7-6. The Eagles would add a Daniel Gutierrez field goal before halftime to take a 10-6 lead. Gutierrez would add another field goal in the fourth quarter for the final margin.

The Hawks would have one last scoring threat in driving to the North 14-yard line, but quarterback Trent Kuhl was intercepted by Dominick Wilson to seal the game. Olathe North’s defense was stout in limiting Willingham to just 55 yards on 24 carries, and holding the Hawks to just 159 total yards. With the win, the Eagles avenged a 25-0 shutout at the hands of the Hawks in the regular season.

Class 5A

In the final week of the regular season, Blue Valley – Stilwell played with powerful Gardner-Edgerton for more than a half before the Blazers pulled away for a 42-21 win. On Friday when it mattered most, the Tigers kept scoring and scoring and needed every last point to survive 45-42 and advance to the 5A state championship game. Like the first meeting, the game went back and forth until the teams were tied at 21, but this time is was Blue Valley that began to pull away with one of five touchdown connections between Kyle Zimmerman and Jacob McDermott and an Austin Johnson field goal to take a 31-21 halftime lead.

The Tigers would continue to put pressure on the Trailblazers in the third quarter as Zimmerman hit McDermott again for a 38-21 lead. But Gardner-Edgerton quarterback Bubba Starling would bring the Trailblazers back. Starling, who rushed for 399 yards and five touchdowns on 33 carries, scored on runs of 27 and 1-yard to cut the lead to 38-35 at the end of the third quarter. The scored remained that way until just over three minutes left when Joey Heider intercepted a Starling pass, and Zimmerman hooked up with McDermott a final time for 49-yards to put the Tigers up 45-35. Starling would not return due to cramps, but backup quarterback Tanner Webb hit Ryan Goetzman on a 20-yard strike for the final margin of 45-42.

While most of the state will focus on Starling’s numbers, Zimmerman was equally impressive. The Blue Valley junior quarterback connected on 18 of 31 passes for 331 yards and six touchdowns. McDermott caught five of those scoring strikes as part of his seven-catch, 192-yard performance. The Tiger defense was able to stop Starling in key situations and force him to the air where he finished just 2 of 12 for 19 yards and that crucial late interception. The Tigers advance to their eighth overall state championship game, and will seek their fifth state title.

For the first time since 2003, the Hutchinson Salthawks will not win a state championship. Hutchinson was shutout 21-0 by a stingy Bishop Carroll defense that allowed the Salthawks just 93 total rushing yards on the night. Hutch star fullback Ben Heeney was limited to just 95 yards on 30 carries. The Salthawks’ only scoring threat ended with a missed 17-yard field goal on their first possession of the game.

Bishop Carroll wasn’t exactly impressive on the offensive side of the ball, but given their defensive effort they didn’t need to be. The Eagles scored in the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run by Brandon Weber. Carroll added to their lead in the third quarter when Danny Crippen hit Evan McMillan on a fake punt touchdown pass for a 14-0 lead. The Eagles managed only 77 yards rushing on the night on 34 carries. Quarterback Tyler Nance finished 8 of 19 passing for 88 yards.

Class 4A

Louisburg used a 21-point first quarter to bury Paola in the 4A semifinal match-up between Frontier League rivals. The top-ranked Wildcats came out passing as quarterback Kody Cook threw for 156 yards in the first half. He threw for 66 yards on Louisburg’s opening drive setting up a 2-yard Garrett Griffin touchdown run. Paola would then fumble on their first possession, and Cook hit Griffin on a 37-yard touchdown to put the Wildcats up 14-0.

Alex Gentges and Griffin would score on short touchdown runs to put the Wildcats up 28-0 at the half and Paola in an insurmountable hole. The Panthers would finally get on the board in the fourth when quarterback Seth Kern, back from injury, hit Dustin Matz on a 23-yard touchdown pass.

The Holton Wildcats turned the hyped 4A west semifinal into a rout by rushing using a balanced rushing attack and a smothering defense to advance to their first state championship game since 2005. The Wildcats led 21-0 at halftime and rolled to a 42-7 win over previously unbeaten Buhler. Holton rushed for 360 yards in the game and did not attempt a pass. Drake Lovvorn led the Wildcats with 89 yards on 14 carries, while Rob Riederer added 59 yards and a pair of touchdown runs. Senior Gunnar McKenna rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Buhler was unable to generate any offense against the Holton defense. Crusader junior running back Tanner Fisher entered as the state’s leading rusher with more than 2,300 yards and 40 touchdowns, but managed just 19 yards on 10 carries on Friday night. Buhler's only touchdown came on a 57-yard pass from Chandler Shantz to J.P. Lohrentz in the third quarter that cut Holton’s lead to 28-7. Shanz threw for 117 yards, but was intercepted three times. Buhler’s season ended in the state semifinals for the second consecutive season.

Class 3A

Conway Springs kept rolling through the 3A playoffs with a 59-22 home win over Beloit. The Cardinals broke open a 14-14 tie with three consecutive Brian Doffing touchdown runs in the second quarter to build a 33-14 halftime lead. Conway would then use a 20-0 third quarter to pull away. Cory Misak led the Cardinal ground attack with 194 yards and three touchdowns. Doffing added 145 yards and five scores as the Cardinals’ single-wing attack racked up nearly 500 yards rushing.

Beloit, which made a stellar playoff run eliminating the likes of Hutchinson Trinity and Norton, received 147 yards and two early touchdowns from Lane Koster. Fellow senior backs Luke Shamburg and Robert Ludwig added 84 and 56 yards respectively. The Trojans finished the season 10-3 making Greg Koenig’s group 28-8 over the past three seasons.

Silver Lake continued its dominance of the ‘War on 24’ with a 38-0 shutout of its arch-rival Rossville. The game marked the fourth time the two schools had met in the state semifinals in the past eight season – all four won by the Eagles.

In this edition, Silver Lake scored 10 points in the final 30 seconds of the first half to take a 24-0 lead. Jordan Haverkamp picked off a Mitch Buhler screen pass and rumbled 20 yards for a touchdown to put the Eagles up 21-0. The Eagles then jumped on the ensuing kickoff and turned it into a Jesse Barnes 30-yard field goal to steal away an thoughts of a Bulldog comeback.

Camron Rickel led the Eagles with 114 rushing yards on 19 carries. Quarterback Keenan Kruger completed 8 of 15 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown for the Eagels. Silver Lake’s defense held Rossville to just 137 total yards on the night. Rossville’s talented senior quarterback Buhler finished only 7 of 30 for 72 yards and two interceptions.

Class 2-1A

Through two-and-a-half quarters Friday night, the scoreboard told one story and the stat sheet told another. Olpe had just went ahead 24-7 on top-ranked St. Marys Colgan thanks to a 41-yard touchdown pass from Jake Brinkman to Linden Stueve, but that was the majority of the Eagles offensive production to that point. Colgan used a dominating defensive performance and finally converted offensive drives into points in the second half to rally from that 17-point deficit for a 35-24 win.

Olpe built a 17-7 halftime lead by virtue of a Stueve punt return for a touchdown, an Alex Kuhlman interception of a screen pass for a score, and a Tanner Burenheide kicked a 27-yard field goal. Burenheide’s field goal came after an Olpe punt return set the Eagles up at the Colgan 17-yard line. So despite managing just 145 yards of total offense for the game, Olpe found itself with a three-score advantage.

The Panthers, on the other hand, were stopped deep in Olpe territory three times on downs in addition to committing two turnovers. But in the third quarter, Colgan got a 35-yard touchdown pass from Andy Farmer to Jesse Newcomb and a Zach Smith touchdown run to pull within 24-21. That same combination worked in the fourth quarter as well as Farmer hit Newcomb for a 12-yard strike and Smith scored again late to put the game away. Smith finished with 66 yards rushing and three touchdowns, while his twin brother Christian finished with a game-high 158 yards on 14 carries. Colgan allowed Olpe to rush for just 57 yards on 28 carries, including just 29 yards on 13 carries from the Eagles’ star tailback Stueve.

Meade advanced to the state championship game in Hays next Saturday by virtue of a 44-26 win over Stanton County, their second win over the Trojans this season. Unlike the first one, however, this one wasn’t easy.

Stanton County capitalized on a couple of Meade mistakes to pull within 22-12 at halftime and 22-18 in the third quarter. The Trojans recovered a kickoff that the Buffaloes failed to get on, and a Kellan Hernandez fumble on a punt return set the Trojans up for another score. Still it wasn’t enough as the Buffaloes answered to build a 38-18 lead before the Trojans would get within 12.

Hernandez, the Meade quarterback, led the Buffaloes single-wing attack with 149 yards on 23 carries. He rushed for two touchdowns on the day. Fullback Jaden Friesen added 105 yards and a touchdown, and Trevin Wiens returned from a concussion to add 79 yards and two scores. The Buffaloes rushed for 355 yards on the night.

Class 8M-I

Madison won their first state championship since 1984 with a 52-44 victory over Hill City. The Bulldogs built a 32-6 lead in the second quarter by showing the ability to grind out long drives as well as break big plays. Junior running back Kole Schankie rushed for 204 of his 266 yards in the first half and quarterback Collin Kile scored four first-half touchdowns as the Bulldogs led 38-22.

Hill City’s outstanding quarterback Reggie Jordan brought the Ringnecks back within 16 by halftime, and rallied them back within 44-36 with his fifth touchdown of the day at the 8 minute mark of the fourth quarter. Madison took over on their own 15-yard line, and after a 5-yard loss on first down, Kile hit Schankie on a 70-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs up 52-36.

Jordan would score again –his sixth touchdown – to pull the Ringnecks within 52-44 with five minutes left. Hill City would then recover an onside kick and drive to the Madison 10-yard line where they faced third-and-two with less than a minute to go. Jordan was stuffed for no gain on third down, and on his 44th carry of the game was again stuffed on fourth down to preserve the victory for Madison.

Jordan finished with 286 yards and six touchdowns on the day, giving him 2,531 yards and 45 touchdowns on the season and more than 5,000 rushing yards for his career. Kile added 93 yards rushing for the Bulldogs and completed 2 of 3 passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

Class 8M-II

Baileyville B&B won their second state title in the last three seasons by outscoring Otis-Bison 50-34. Every time the Cougars would pull within a touchdown, the Falcons would answer with a big play. Most of the time the answer was provided by junior Mitch Engelken. Engelken rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and also returned a kickoff 61-yards for a score right after an Otis-Bison touchdown. B&B quarterback Eric Huerter threw for 145 yards and two touchdowns, both to Cody Heiman who had 121 yards on two receptions.

Otis-Bison got a solid performance from junior quarterback Trevor Keller who threw for 209 yards and four touchdowns . All four of Keller’s touchdown passes went to sophomore Dylan Wissman who caught six passes for 142 yards. Patrick Piper rushed for 100 yards on 24 carries for the Cougars, as they played without star running back Michael Hlavaty on offense because of an ankle injury sustained in the semifinal win over Ashland. The state appearance was the first for the Cougars since they finished runners-up in 1987 to Midway-Denton.

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