|SM West's Tory Powell. LJWorld.|
****SM West running back Brett Sterbach rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. While he didn't crack the 2,000-yard rushing mark (he currently sits at 1,955 yards) he did eclipse 3,000 career rushing yards. In two years as a starter he's rushed for 3,014 yards and 29 touchdowns.
****SM West, who won the Sunflower League championship this year based on their 7-0 record in league play, validated the crown by winning Sub-State and advancing to the 6A title game.
****Free State quarterback Kyle McFarland completed just four of his 18 passes for 19 yards. Twelve of those yards came on a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against SM West's second stringers.
****After starting the game with a 16-play, 89-yard drive which produced a touchdown, Free State's offense went stagnant and didn't score again until the 7:20 mark in the fourth quarter.
****McFarland--who was punting in spot duty--kicked two punts off the backside of personal protector Joe Dineen. SM West converted both to touchdowns, taking the loose ball back for a touchdown on the first and pounding a touchdown in a few plays later on the second.
****SM West's opponent in the 6A state championship game, Hutchinson, has gone 3-1 against Sunflower League opponents in state title games. The Salthawks are making their ninth title game appearance (split between classes 6A and 5A) in the past 11 seasons--and they've won in each of their last seven title games.
Sub-State Player of the Week
Andre Maloney, SM West: Maloney basically had his way with Free State, using his superior speed and quickness to dominate. He caught a 33-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter then broke the camel's back with an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half. He also helped to lock down Free State's passing offense.
The Remaining Two
Hutchinson (10-2): The Salthawks showed some guts on Friday--and they were rewarded. After scoring a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Hutchinson had the choice to kick a PAT and tie the game at 28 and likely force overtime, or go for two points and the win. They elected the latter. Quarterback Trevor Turner faked a handoff to the left then bootlegged around the right end of the line into the endzone. The score put Hutchinson up, 29-28. An intercepted pass a few plays later and they stamped their ticket to the 6A title game.
SM West (11-1): Many weren't expecting SM West to beat Free State, let alone do so by nearly four touchdowns. The Vikings, like the Salthawks, have shown some true grit through these playoffs and they've earned their way to the title game. A vastly improved passing game has added a nice dimension to SM West's offense and they've been playing opportunistic football. The naysayers are already giving Hutchinson the title--we'll see if SM West has anything to say about it.