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November 19, 2010

Rarely does a team win a state quarterfinal playoff game when gaining less than 75 yards of total offense, but that’s exactly what the defending champion Olathe North Eagles did. North shutout rival Olathe South 17-0 despite gaining just 72 yards of total offense; all on the ground. The key for North was taking advantage of short fields and playing solid defense to advance to the state semifinals against Olathe East. North's dynamic rushing duo of Victor Simmons and Adonis Saunders were held to just 53 combined yards. Simmons had 26 yards on 20 carries, while Saunders had 27 yards on 13 attempts. Nick Sands led Olathe South with 108 yards on 29 carries but the Falcons only scoring threat resulted in no points.

Olathe East continued to play well enough to advance as they outlasted Shawnee Mission Northwest 14-7 on a rainy, muddy Friday night. Austin Fulson broke a 7-7 tie with an 89-yard touchdown run with just under nine minutes left in the game to give the Hawks the winning score. The game was scoreless until the third quarter when Junior Williams returned an interception deep into Cougar territory, and Brandon Willingham scored from seven yards out to give the Hawks a 7-0 lead.

Top-ranked Wichita Heights overcame an early fumble and Junction City touchdown, and a woeful second-half offense to escape the Blue Jays 18-15. Heights fumbled early in the game and Cody Parmely gave Junction City a 7-0 lead. The Falcons would respond with a Matt Reed touchdown run, and two more from Dreamius Smith to build an 18-7 lead. But the potent Heights rushing attack could do nothing in the second half; gaining less than 10 total yards and not earning a first down. Heights’ safety Evan Wessel ended the Blue Jays’ final threat by intercepting Junction City quarterback Braden Gallentine at the endzone with just over two minutes to play to preserve the victory. Smith finished with 106 yards on 14 carries. Parmely rushed for 99 yard and scored both of Junction City’s touchdowns.

Dodge City remained unbeaten with a 41-20 home win over previously unbeaten Manhattan. Dodge City quarterback Jared Helfrich set the tone with a 57-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage. Helfrich would finish with 205 yards rushing on the night, and the Red Demons got 150 more yards from Parker Davis. Each rushed for two scores in the game. The Demons led 28-14 at halftime, and took advantage of four Manhattan turnovers in the third quarter to put the game away. The Indians pulled even early on two touchdown runs from running back Jordan Nelson.

Class 5A

Brett Jensen rushed 19 times for 212 yards and four touchdowns as Gardner-Edgerton shutout Shawnee Heights 54-0. Bubba Starling scored the Blazer's first two touchdowns as part of his 8-carry, 141-yard night. Due to the poor weather conditions, Gardner-Edgerton did not attempt a pass, but didn't need to. The Trialblazers rushed for 485 yards in the game. The Trailblazer defense held Heights’ outstanding running back Donnie Lockhart to 78 yards on 16 carries. Lockhart finished the season just nine yards short of 1,700. Brandon Flanagan led the T-Birds with 102 yards rushing on just six carries.

Hutchinson knocked out Emporia 33-7 at Welch Stadium behind 193 yards and four touchdowns from senior fullback Ben Heeney. Heeney surpassed Josh Smith’s single season rushing record of 1,961 yards set during the 2008 season. Heeney now has 1,994 yards on the season. Ja'mon Cotton scored the other Hutch touchdown in the first quarter to give the Salthawks a 7-0 lead after they held Emporia out of the endzone on a fourth-and-one play. Brandon Gentz led the Spartans with 110 yards rushing, while Derek Gifford added 72 yards on the ground.

Blue Valley raced out to a 45-0 lead in disposing of Topeka Seaman, 45-14. Talented junior running back Justin Fulks rushed for 155 yards and four touchdowns for the Tigers. Quarterback Kyle Zimmerman completed all five of his passes for 80 yards on the night. The Tigers led 32-0 at the break, and neither of their second half touchdowns came from the offense. Eric Skaggs returned a fumble 69 yards for a score, and Bryant Reber took a punt back 74 yards for the Tigers last points.

Bishop Carroll continued to ride a stingy defense in shutting down one of the state’s best offenses in a 30-22 win over McPherson. The Carroll defense pressured McPherson QB Tyler Matthews all night; sacking him five times. Brandon Weber carried the load for the Eagle offense rushing for 215 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Weber also hauled in two touchdown catches from QB Tyler Nance. Nance finished with just nine completions and 90 yards through the air, but it included a 22-yard TD pass to Briah Rohleder on fourth-down to open the scoring. Tyler Matthews completed 19 of 29 attempts for 230 yards and two touchdowns, but it was too litlte too late as Bishop Carroll held off the Bullpups, 30-22. Christian Ulsaker finished a brilliant carrer with six receptions for 94 yards.

Class 4A
Running back Skylar Hawkins broke a 70-yard touchdown on the game's third play and Paola used three Baldwin turnovers to advance to the state semifinals for the second consecutive year. Tyler Hieber returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown, and Paola also blocked a punt which led to a score as all the scoring took place in the first half on a rainy, sloppy field. Ryan Rogers scored the only points for the Bulldogs on a second quarter touchdown.

Louisburg and DeSoto battled through nasty field conditions with Louisburg prevailing 21-0. Wildcat junior running back Garrett Griffin rushed for two touchdowns as Louisburg led 14-0 at half. Alex Gentges scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter after the Wildcats recovered a DeSoto fumble. DeSoto’s best chance to score came early as the Wildcats recovered an onside kick but couldn’t move the chains. Louisburg would fumble on their first possession, but a big defensive sack ended that scoring threat for DeSoto.

Buhler made the best of the sloppy conditions by forcing five Topeka Hayden turnovers in a 21-0 shutout of the top-ranked Wildcats. Tanner Fisher had a game high 88 rushing yards on 25 carries for the Crusaders, and his first quarter touchdown run turned out to be all the offense Buhler would need. J.P. Lorentz intercepted Grant Arnold and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown to give Buhler a two-score advantage. Hayden’s five turnovers on such a rainy night was too much to overcome. The Wildcats drove inside the Buhler 35 yard line four times but came up empty losing the ball on downs twice and losing two fumbles. The Wildcat offense was led by Alec Steuber who rushed for 81 yards, and Jon Banister who added 76 yards on the ground.

Holton used a quick start to eliminate Ulysses 42-20. The Wildcats scored on their first two possessions; opening with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Barnett to Loren McDaniel. A blocked punt set up Holton deep in Tiger territory again resulting in a 20-0 Wildcat lead at the end of the first quarter. Holton’s Gunnar McKenna rushed for 197 yards and scored two touchdowns as Holton led 27-0 at halftime. The Wildcats racked up 358 rushing yards on the day while holding Ulysses back Josh Jarnigan to just 51 yards on 20 carries.

Class 3A
Top-ranked Conway Springs turned the showdown of perennial small school powers into a second-half rout in eliminating Smith Center, 56-6. Brian Doffing rushed for 188 yards and four touchdowns as the Cardinals pulled away from the Redmen with 21 third-quarter points. Cory Misak added 160 yards and two scores as Conway Springs racked up 469 rushing yards in the game. Smith Center trailed just 14-6 when Conway quarterback Tanner Wood hit Michael Harris on a 19-yard touchdown pass as the first half expired to build a 21-6 lead. The Redmen struggled in slowing down the Cardinals' single-wing which racked up 469 rushing yards. Smith Center rushed for 243 yards in the loss.

For the second consecutive season Hutchinson Trinity traveled to north central Kansas in the quarterfinal round, and for the second consecutive season the Celtics encountered less than ideal conditions for their past-first offense. The result, a 38-12 loss to Beloit on a wet, muddy field which Beloit used to rack up 525 rushing yards using their Double Wing offense. Lane Koster led the Trojans with 286 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. Robert Ludwig also scored three times, and finished with 130 yards on 13 attempts. The Trojans held Trinity to just 181 total yards and limited quarterback Derek Racette to just 119 yards on 6 of 20 passing.

Rossville was able to better adapt to the poor conditions in narrowly clipping Caney Valley, 18-16. The typically pass-heavy Bulldogs turned to the ground as the conditions worsened. Quarterback Mitch Buhler rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown, threw for 104 yards and a score, and kicked a 30-yard field goal. After the game was tied at 8 at halftime, Rossville scored 10 points in the third quarter to take an 18-8 lead. Caney would pull within two points as Dustin Mullinax scored on a 4-yard run with 4 minutes left. The Bullpups would attempt an onside kick, but were unsuccessful and Rossville ran out the clock.

Silver Lake is back in the state semifinals after a one-year absence. The Eagles knocked off a good Wellsville team, 28-7 behind 109 yards and a touchdown from J.D. Morehead. Camron Rickel added 82 yards and a score for the Eagles, and quarterback Keenan Kruger threw for 90 yards while throwing a touchdown pass and rushing for a score. Brandon Ebeck broke a 52-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to spoil the shutout. Ebeck finished with 78 yards rushing to lead the Eagles.

Class 2-1A
Meade won at LaCrosse for the first time in school history eliminating the previously-unbeaten Leopards, 44-12. The Buffaloes got on the board first with a 20-play, 75-yard drive that took up the first 10:10 of the game. Meade built a 32-0 lead before the Leopards cut the lead to 32-12. Meade fullback Jaden Friesen rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries giving him 1,200 yards and 15 scores on the season. Quarterback Kellan Hernandez completed four of five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown and added 76 yards rushing. Marcus Moeder led LaCrosse with 118 yards on 17 carries.

Austin Nairn rushed for the majority of his 137 yards in the first half as Stanton County rolled to a 30-0 halftime advantage in eliminating Ell-Saline, 36-14. The Trojans led by as much as 36-0 in the third quarter before Tate Omli rallied the Cardinals. The senior quarterback threw for 252 yards in his final outing on a night where the weather clearly impacted the Cardinal offense. Stanton County didn’t mind, however, racking up more than 360 yards rushing, while the Trojan defense forced five Ell-Saline turnovers.

St. Marys Colgan got off to a blistering start in scoring 21 first-quarter points and cruising to a 27-2 win over St. Marys in a torrential downpour at Hutchinson Field in Pittsburg. Christian Smith rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns, while Zach Smith added 82 yards and two scores for the Panthers. The Colgan defense limited St. Marys' speedster Dorian Sills-Berry to 76 yards on 16 carries. Mitch Baumchen led the Bears with 92 yards rushing on 19 attempts. The Bears struggled to handled the weather conditions as they fumbled eight center-quarterback exchanges on the night.

Olpe used a strong defensive effort to shutout defending 2-1A champion Centralia 10-0. The Eagles blocked a Centralia punt in the second quarter and recovered at the Panther 8-yard line. Three plays later, Olpe quarterback Jake Brinkman hit Jason Klumpe for the game’s only touchdown. Tanner Burenheide added a 20-yard field goal in the third quarter as Olpe was unable to punch it into the endzone on three tries from the three-yard line. Missed opportunities were the story for Centralia which actually outgained Olpe in total offense. The Panthers had the ball inside the Olpe 20-yard line three times, including twice inside the Eagle 5-yard line but were unable to come away with any points. Instead two of those trips ended on downs and the third on one of two Burenheide interceptions of Centralia quarterback Michael Glatczak. Glatczak rushed for 145 yards to lead Centralia which finished their season at 9-2.

Class 8M-I

Hill City avenged a 50-38 loss to Osborne in district play by rolling to a 30-0 halftime lead in eliminating the Bulldogs, 48-24. Hill City quarterback Reggie Jordan rushed 48 times for 308 yards and two touchdowns to push his season total to 2,245 and 39 scores. Adam Pfeifer rushed for 60 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Dylan Anderson turned both of his end-around plays into 109 yards and two touchdowns. Despite the large halftime lead, Osborne came back and got as close as 36-24 before the Ringnecks put the game away. The Bulldogs rushed for 415 yards the first time the two teams met, but were held to a season low 195 yards on the ground.

Lebo was a bit healthier this time around against Madison, but it didn’t matter. Madison advanced to the state title game with a 51-18 win of their Lyon County League rivals. The Wolves were missing multiple starters when the two teams met earlier this season, and Madison took advantage with a 46-0 shutout. This time around, Lebo led 12-3 early in the second quarter. Madison would respond with 48 straight points taking advantage of turnovers and short fields. Ryan Thomsen returned two fumbles for touchdowns and Madison blocked a punt to set up another score. Bulldog running back Kole Schankie rushed for 119 yards and threes scores.

Class 8M-II

Down 14-0 after the first quarter, Hanover quarterback Austin Steinfort threw two touchdowns passes and rushed for another score to rally the Wildcats to a 22-20 halftime lead over top-ranked Baileyville B&B. The stage was set for another 8-man classic between these two programs who went into overtime earlier this season. But the Falcons would have none of it. Baileyville B&B shutout Hanover in a snowy second half, and rolled to a 48-22 win and a spot in the Division II title game. Cody Heiman rushed for 128 yards and returned one of four Falcon interceptions for a touchdown. Eric Huerter had the other three interceptions for B&B. Mitch Engelken added 57 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns for the Falcons.

A year ago, the Otis-Bison Cougars were a favorite amongst many in the state to reach the 8-Man Division II State Championship game for the first time since 1987. After all, the Cougars had averaged more than 60 points per game during the regular season behind Kpreps 2009 8 Man-II Player of the Year Kevin Wissman. But Quivira Heights shutdown Wissman and the Cougars 42-6 in the second round. Fast forward one year later, and the Cougars have reached 8-Man’s ultimate game.

The Cougars advanced to the state title game for just the second time in school history with a 26-14 win over previously-unbeaten Ashland. Otis-Bison used a balanced rushing attack led by Dylan Wissman's 87 yards, Michael Hlavaty’s 63 yards, and Patrick Piper’s 95 yards and two touchdowns. For Ashland, Ervin Swonger had more than 60 yards rushing and receiving and produced a touchdown in each fashion, but it wasn't enough against the Cougar defense. Blue Jay quarterback Austin Stebens threw for 147 yards and a touchdown on the night, but was intercepted two times.

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