|Brett Sterbach. KC Star.|
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.|
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
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)
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.
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