Sunday, November 25, 2012

SM West beats Hutchinson 19-14, claims 6A crown

Brett Sterbach. KC Star.
The tears were hard to miss.  Hutchinson's players and fans stood in shock, sobbing in the aftermath of their first state title loss since 2003.

The victor: SM West.

The method: attacking Hutchinson with the same tactics the Salthawks used in claiming seven state championships between 2004 and 2011.  A smash-mouth rushing attack and suffocating defensive play.

SM West--running behind a small but quick and fundamentally sound offensive line--rattled off 367 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on 51 carries.

Hutchinson?  The school known across the Midwest for their offensive prowess running the football managed 244 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries--roughly 100 yards below their season average.

SM West set the tone early.  Hutchinson, avoiding kicking to the Vikings' most dangerous offensive threat in Andre Maloney, pooched the opening kickoff and SM West started with the ball at their own 25.

On the Vikings' first offensive play running back Brett Sterbach took a sweep around the right end, hurdled a few defenders, broke through to the second level, made a cut to the middle of the field and took the carry the distance.  The 75-yard touchdown run gave SM West a 6-0 lead, but the Vikings' botched the PAT. The rushing yards were the first of 273 that Sterbach would put up on 34 carries for the day.  The run also put him over the prestigious 2,000-yard rushing mark.

SM West then kicked off--it appeared to be either a squib kick gone bad or surprise onside kick--but Hutchinson jumped on the ball near midfield.  The Salthawks marched off run plays of nine, 21, nine, nine, and finally three yards, as Colby Turner took in the final carry for a touchdown.  A successful PAT put Hutchinson up 7-6.

SM West drove to the Hutchinson 37-yard line on their next possession, but was forced to punt.  A bad kick gave the Salthawks the ball at the Viking 43-yard line, but on the first play of the drive Hutchinson quarterback Trevor Turner was intercepted by Maloney.

SM West drove to the Hutchinson 46, but was held in check and force to punt.  Hutchinson then went three and out and punted it back to SM West who took over at their own 35-yard line.

It looked like Tim Callaghan's boys were going to score again, driving deep into the Hutchinson redzone, but Sterbach's stomach had other plans.  He started dry heaving before a third-down play, but managed to take the carry and go for a one-yard gain.  Sterbach didn't get up, rolled onto all fours and began vomitting.

He was pulled from the game and on the next play Hutchinson stuffed Tory Powell short of the first down, turning the ball over on downs.

Starting from their own 20-yard line, Hutchinson put together a nice 10-play drive that took them to the SM West two-yard line.  Faced with a fourth down, Trevor Turner dropped back to pass but was unable to find an open receiver and was sacked by Max Bullard for an 18-yard loss, turning the ball over on downs.

On SM West's next play Sterbach (whose vomiting symptoms seemed to be a product of adrenaline) fumbled the ball after picking up eight yards and Hutchinson recovered, taking over at SM West's 30-yard line.

Trevor Turner took an option keep 29 yards to the SM West one, and on the next play Colby Turner punched it in from one yard out.  The touchdown and successful PAT put Hutchinson up 14-6 with 7:31 remaining in the second quarter.

The Vikings were stuffed again and forced to punt on their next possession.  Hutchinson drove down to the SM West 27-yard line and looked primed for a third touchdown.  But the Salthawk's head coach, Randy Dreiling, got a little too gimmicky.

Dreiling put backup quarterback Braydon Wells in at wing back attempting to pull off a surprise wing back pass play.  Wells threw a duck into the endzone where Maloney deflected the pass into the air and Kez Demby intercepted it and took it back to the Hutchinson 18-yard line.

With 1:23 remaining the second quarter the Vikings drove down to the Hutchinson 28-yard line.  They lined up to kick a field goal as time expired but a poor snap resulted in a Joey Reed kick that fell well short of the goalposts.  The two teams trotted to halftime with Hutchinson ahead 14-6.

I'm not sure what Callaghan told his players at halftime, but it worked.  Magnificently.  Hutchinson would only gain 50 yards on 20 plays in the second half.

Andre Maloney. KC Star.
Hutchinson received the ball to start the second half but went three and out on their first possession.  The Salthawks punted into a strong southern wind and only managed to get the ball out to their own 44-yard line.  SM West took over and Sterbach ran the first carry of the drive 34 yards deep into Salthawk territory.  Three plays later Verdini snuck a run in from one yard out.

The Vikings pulled off a perfectly run reverse play to Maloney for a successful two-point conversion, but a phantom holding call nullified the play.  SM West came up short on the next try, and remained behind 14-12.

Hutchinson found some momentum on their next drive but Trevor Turner fumbled the ball on a botched handoff and Marquan Osbey was able to pounce on it.  SM West drove down to the Hutchinson 25, but a Reed kick hooked left, resulting in another wasted possession.

Hutchinson took over and went three and out and punted. SM West got the ball with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter and basically went all-out with the Wildcat formation.

It took three big runs plays--an eight-yarder from Sterbach, a 23-yarder on a jet sweep to Justin Hobbs and a 19-yarder that went for a score from Maloney--for the Vikings to add their third touchdown.  Maloney's score was yet another highlight clip for Division One recruiters.  The Vikings kicked a successful PAT this time, giving them a 19-14 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff Hutchinson's Tanner Higgins fumbled the ball and SM West's Cooper Arner recovered it.  The Vikings ran the ball seven times all the way to the Hutchinson one-yard line, but Sterbach was stuffed on a fourth-and-goal play at the goaline and SM West turned it over on downs.

The Salthawks took possession, down five with 9:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, with 99 yards in front of them.  It looked like the potential set up for another unbelievable chapter in Hutchinson's state championship book, but it was just the opposite.

Nine plays later the Salthawks were forced to punt the football.  It was a great punt--helped by an amazing roll--and the Hutchinson defenders downed the ball at the SM West five-yard line.  The Vikings took over with 5:39 remaining.

SM West proceeded with a clock killing drive that will go down in history as one of the school's finest--even if it didn't produce a score.

Play one.  The Wildcat shotgun snap hit fullback Steffon Ward and the Vikings nearly lost the football, recovering it at their own four-yard line.  Play two. Sterbach busted a carry through the left side of the Salthawk line for 14 yards.  Play three.  Verdini threw a frozen rope to Maloney on a comeback route, good for 21 yards and another first down.

Play four. Sterbach took a one-yard loss and Hutchinson called a timeout.  Play five. Sterbach diced up the Salthawk defense once again, taking a carry 15 yards for another first down.  Play six.  Sterbach was stopped for no gain and Hutchinson called another timeout.

Play seven. Verdini hit Ward on a six yard completion in the flats.  SM West then ran the playclock to one second and called another timeout.  Play eight.  SM West caught the Hutchinson defense off-guard on an inside wing back reverse to Joel Spiller.  The play was good for seven yards and a first down.

Play nine. Ward took a carry three yards.  Play 10. Sterbach added a one-yard run.  SM West ran the playclock down to one second, again, and called another timeout.  Play 11. Maloney took a Wildcat keeper but a shoelace tackle kept him inches from the first down on a five-yard run.

Play 12.  On a fourth-and-one play, Sterbach took a carry six yards through the right side of a battered Hutchinson defense.  The play was good for a first down, a victory, and a third state championship for SM West's football program.  The decimating 12-play drive ran off the last 5:39 of the game and ensured Hutchinson wouldn't have another chance at victory.

SM West claimed their third state football title and first since 1985. KC Star.

Video of Game - SM West 19, Hutchinson 14

Box Score

Hutchinson (10-3) 7 7 0 0 - 14
SM West (12-1) 6 0 13 0 - 19

SMW - Sterbach 75 run (missed kick)
HHS - C. Turner 3 run (Lemons kick)
HHS - C. Turner 1 run (Lemons kick)
SMW - Verdini 1 run (failed two point)
SMW - Maloney 19 run (Reed kick)

Individual Statistics

Passing - Hutchinson, Turner 0-2-1-0, Wells 0-1-1-0. SM West, Verdini 6-17-0-79, Sterbach 1-1-0-11.

Rushing - Hutchinson, Brower 12-93, Higgins 3-43, T. Turner 13-29, C. Turner 8-27, Likes 3-26, Smith 5-26. SM West, Sterbach 34-273, Maloney 10-63, Hobbs 1-23, Spiller 1-7, Ward 2-3, Verdini 1-1, TEAM 1--1.

Receiving - Hutchinson, none. SM West, Spiller 2-25, Wade 2-11, Sterbach 1-27, Maloney 1-21, Ward 1-6.

Tackles - Hutchinson, Wintz 12, Stoecklien 10, Higgins 8, Cox 7, Dawson 6, C. Turner 5, Blea 4, Luce 4, Henderson 3, Gagnebin 3, Marr 2, T. Turner 1, Brower 1, Hale 1, Gaines-Grissom 1. SM West, Bullard 8, Arner 8, Osbey 8, Owens 8, Demby 6, Neff 5, Chambers 4, Spight 2, Lake 2, Spiller 2, Maloney 1, Brown 1.

Sacks - Hutchinson, none. SM West, Bullard 1.

Forced Fumbles - Hutchinson, Wintz 2. SM West, Arner 1.

Fumble Recoveries - Hutchinson, Gagnebin 1-0. SM West, Demby 1-0, Osbey 1-0.

Interceptions - Hutchinson, none. SM West, Demby 1-18, Maloney 1-0.

Team Statistics

Hutchinson, SM West

First Downs: 10, 20
Rushing Yards: 244, 367
Passing Yards: 0, 90
Penalties, Yards: 1-5, 3-35
Fumbles-lost: 2-2, 4-1 
Interceptions (defensive): 0, 2
Time of Possession: 21:48, 26:12


Who's Your Daddy said...

Congrats to the Vikes on a fantastic season. Lets try to keep the 6A hardware in our area for a few years.

I would like to take the time to congratulate Brett Sterbach for his accomplishments this season. For a player of his size to rush for over 2200 yards. Come up huge in every big game he played in. To carry the ball as many times as he did without injury. It could be one of the most amazing accomplishments ever in this league.

I watched him on his hands and knees in the first quarter blowing his guts out. Then he gets up and proceeds to rush for 237 yards. Are you kidding me!! Brett you are a FREAKING WARRIOR !!! I hope you have continued success in your college career. With all due respect to Maloney and the rest of the State Champs. Brett's accomplishments are mind boggling. Someone needs to hire him the swedish massage team for about two months to get him ready for college ball. Lol

TheImpaler said...

Great recap Eli. One big highlight of the game I thought was Joel Spiller with a monster TFL turning 2nd and 7 into 3rd and 10 for Hutch on their final posession.

Other props:

To Washburn University who handled this game so so much better than ESU did in 2006.

To the Hutch players and fans for a thrilling game.

To the West Band for being great as always.

To Coach Dreiling for throwing on 4th and goal from the 2.

And one big boo hiss to the officials in this game who called only one penalty on Hutch the whole game even going so far as to emphatically throw a flag on a blatant intentional grounding then huddle up, decide that there was in fact an eligible receiver somewhere in the city of Topeka and wave off the obvious penalty. Good job guys. Just one of your blatant miscues on the game.

Eli Underwood said...

Sterbach's 2,228 rushing yards truly is a spectacle. And to be fair he's not one of these small kids who has blazing 4.4 speed or agility like the Murphys. His best attribute was his toughness and I don't think anybody's pounded the Hutchinson defense the way he did yesterday since Jake Sharp and Salina Central took Hutch behind the woodshed in 2005.

Great points, Imp. Spiller was the dagger player for SM West. It was like everyime they needed a big catch or a first down conversion on fourth down or a big tackle--he was the man to do it. Washburn did an excellent job hosting and I hope the game continues to be played there in future years. Officiating was so-so for most of the afternoon--but I'm glad the zebras weren't flag-happy. It's better when they let them play.

Govannon Grey said...

The one thing I kept wondering is why it took so long to get the ball in Maloney's hands. I know they were trying some deep passes to him early on, but when it was clear Hutch wasn't going to let that happen, why not try going wildcat earlier when the offense was stalling in the first half. Brett is a baller, and the work horse, but Maloney with the ball in his hand is one of those "hold your breath" athletes.

That being said, they won the game. Doesn't matter.

I don't doubt that will be more the game plan next year without the Sterbinator. I got to watch the last three games of the year for West and I had no idea what kind of player that kid was. A kid like that deserves the ring he's going to get to put on his finger.

anb9924 said...

Congratulations Vikings. I am so glad a SM school has the hardware after a 27 year drought. Like to also recognize the coaching staff for a great job as well. Any idea how they will be next year?

TheImpaler said...

Verdini, Maloney, Spight, Chambers, Arner all back next year. No question Sterbinator will be missed but Callaghan's always got another tailback in the pipe. I just hope it's not Maloney, I think he's too valuable as an X factor kind of guy, they need someone else to carry the load at tailback. I hear a lot of talk about Israel Anders but he's just a freshman next year so he's still st least a year away. Still, I agree with gov that SMW, LFS and ON have to be the preseason favorites for next season in the league. The Easts should be rebuilding next year and Lawrence is going to have a tough time replacing Strauss.

Free State Fan said...

Not sold on Washburn being a great host. LONG lines for only three ticket booths to get in. Got there a half hour early and missed much of the first quarter.

Otherwise, great game to watch and no disrespect to Hutch, but I believe that SMW, FS, LAW and possibly SME could have won. All four of these teams had the defense to do beat Hutch and the offense to score enough points. Sterbach ran through them with lots of holes and the switch up with Maloney and the wildcat kept Hutch off balance the whole second half. Great game plan. Well done, Vikings!

Eli Underwood said...

Thoughts that have bounced through me head today about the game:

1. Hutchinson was the biggest (in terms of collective size and weight) high school football team I've ever seen in person. Their warm-up routine--which I might add was basically 90 players warming up in a "cocky" manner the way athletes with lots of swagger do--was oddly both unorganized and intimidating.

I counted at least 25 guys who were over the 220-pound mark, not to mention numerous fullback and linebacker types who were right at the 200-line.

Hutchinson was the most physically impressive team I've ever seen "get off the bus." Glad SM West was busy with their own warm ups and didn't watch it.

2. Some people are blaming Dreiling, saying he blew a touchdown when he called the wing back toss that Demby intercepted. Newsflash: the wing back was a quarterback (who may start next year) but he was throwing against what might have been the state's best secondary. Maloney, Demby and Lake were impossible to throw against. McFarland only completed four passes against them and they forced Strauss to toss three interceptions. Hutchinson didn't stand a chance throwing the football, but I'm not sure they fully understood that going in and it wasn't as asinine of a call as what some people have made it out to be. It probably would have worked against many other teams in that situation.

3. SM East's defense could have done well against Hutchinson but they wouldn't have been able to move the football on offense. Lawrence would have been the opposite. Free State... I think they had similar talent to Hutchinson, but I'm not sure they would have been able to win on that stage considering how they played in Sub-State.

smwpops said...

Eli....said like a true irishman.....bounced through me head.........appreaciate your page. West has several Jrs coming back Verdini, Maloney, Spight, Chambers, Arner. Get the QB to add a few lbs and run and we might be looking at another state championship. Kids got a rifle for an arm.

smwpops said...

Eli....said like a true irishman.....bounced through me head.........appreaciate your page. West has several Jrs coming back Verdini, Maloney, Spight, Chambers, Arner. Get the QB to add a few lbs and run and we might be looking at another state championship. Kids got a rifle for an arm.

LAW'04 said...

i'm glad to see this side take the trophy back again...what is the overall count on East/West state championships?

TFL said...

The Impaler- On the intentional grounding...there was a Hutch player literally 2 feet from the ball, so I have no idea what you're talking about there. And watch the game from the link that Eli gives and you'll see the most blatant fumble ever by #27 when he was called down. SMW won fair and square and was the better team, but I think your comments on officiating are laughable.

TFL said...

The fumble was at the 26 minute mark on the youtube video.

TheImpaler said...

Okay there was a Hutch back there I admit on seeing the replay. Still not convinced the QB saw him as he was spun around and blindly flung the ball away. On the 'fumble', forward progress clearly stopped and Sterbs is going backwards when the ball comes out...both calls probably technically correct I guess. Have to watch the film, live it seemed there were at least two false starts and one offsides on Hutch that were missed.

Eli Underwood said...

Imp, tell me more about Israel Anders. I've heard his name mentioned numerous times but I wasn't sure if it was anything more than middle school hype?

TheImpaler said...

Kimble Anders' son I guess. So good genes. I hear he's putting up some numbers coming up through the system. Be interesting to see if he pans out.

Eli Underwood said...

Anders... yeah I was wondering when I read that. Well, if he's as good as what I've heard through the grapevine he's entering the right program for running the football.