State football round-up
Five schools hoisted 11-man state championship trophies as the high school football season came to a close Saturday. Here is a recap of each class' title game:
Class 6A (Topeka)
Derby found itself in a 21-21 tie with Shawnee Mission East late in the fourth quarter, but quarterback Jeremy Dunham found Caleb Arnold for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 1:21 left, giving the Panthers a 28-21 win at Washburn University's Yager Stadium.
Dunham threw for two scores and ran for another to lead the Panthers (12-1) to their first state title since 1994. Tyler West had a game-high 70 rushing yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, SME quarterback Gunnar Englund threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns — both to Alec Dean — and Ryan Carter paced the Lancers (11-2) with 64 rushing yards and a score.
Class 5A (Emporia)
Blue Valley led Salina South by 19 after three quarters, but needed to survive a furious fourth-quarter comeback for a 27-26 victory at Emporia State's Welch Stadium.
The Tigers (10-3) entered the final period with a 27-6 lead, but the Cougars (10-3) scored 20 unanswered to get within one point. They opted to try a two-point conversion after drawing within a point, but came up empty. The BV defense came up with one more stop in the final minute to secure the win.
Salina South's Mike Jones led all ball carriers with 125 yards and three touchdowns. Blue Valley's Logan Brettell accounted for all 27 Tiger points, throwing for a touchdown, running for two more and kicking two field goals and three extra points.
Class 4A (Salina)
Buhler opened up an 11-point halftime lead and never looked back in a 31-14 win against Coffeyville-Field Kindley and clinching its first-ever state title at Salina Stadium.
Coffeyville (12-2) led by six points after the first quarter, but the Crusaders (13-1) took control with 17 second-quarter points, including the first of three rushing touchdowns by Riley Allen. Allen, who ran for 173 yards on 30 carries, added two more scores in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Buhler quarterback threw for 139 yards and a touchdown. Coffeyville's Destin Downing ran for 80 yards and a score, while Darron Deffebaugh threw a 67-yard touchdown pass on his only attempt of the game.
Class 3A (Hutchinson)
Silver Lake won its third state title since 2006 and broke a 23-year-old record in the process with an 82-38 shellacking of Beloit at Gowan Stadium.
The Eagles (13-1) scored the most points in 11-man state championship history, surpassing the previous record of 66 scored by Atwood in 1990. They owned a 41-22 lead at halftime and scored 13 points in each quarter.
Despite playing with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, SLHS quarterback Dailin Kruger threw for 317 yards, ran for 92 more and accounted for eight total touchdowns. As a team, the Eagles amassed 601 yards of offense.
Beloit (13-1) committed six turnovers in the loss. Payton Vetter threw for 170 yards and three touchdowns, but was intercepted three times. He also had 74 rushing yards and returned the game's opening kick 85 yards for a score.
Class 2-1A (Hays)
All of Centralia's 532 yards came on the ground as it cruised to a 61-0 shutout of LaCrosse at Lewis Field Stadium, winning its third state title in five years.
The Panthers (13-0) led by just seven after one quarter, but scored 22 in the second for a commanding halftime lead. They continued to pile it on after the break and held the Leopards (12-1) scoreless for their seventh shutout of the season.
Sam Steinlage ran for 254 yards and four touchdowns on just 14 carries to lead the Centralia ground attack. LaCrosse managed just 138 yards of offense. Quarterback Jack Garcia threw four interceptions in the loss. The Leopards entered the game averaging 41.3 points per contest, including four showings of at least 50 points.