|Derby's Tyler West attempts to avoid SM East's Mitchell
Tyler in the second half of Saturday's 6A state title game.
Derby defeated SM East 28-21. Photo Kansas.com
For SM East, the "Lancer Magic" tag the team had carried since September finally wore off -- although it might have been with the team for the better part of three quarters on Saturday.
SM East won the coin toss and deferred, kicked off and quickly forced a Derby punt. The Lancers fumbled an exchange on their first possession, after showing early promise on the drive. Derby recovered near midfield, but was forced into a second three-and-out in as many possessions.
The Lancers were able to put together another nice drive into Derby territory, but quarterback Gunnar Englund was sacked and fumbled the ball, which Derby recovered near midfield once again. However, SM East was once again able to force a Derby three-and-out, and the Panthers punted for the third time.
SM East took over at their own 12-yard line, but they weren't able to make any progress and were forced to punt.
To start the second quarter, Derby's top player, DeAndre Goolsby, fielded the punt near midfield, found a crease and took it to the SM East 20-yard line. A few plays later Derby quarterback Jeremy Dunham took a zone-read carry in from five yards out to give the Panthers a 7-0 edge with 9:56 remaining in the second quarter.
From there it looked like Derby might put the game out of reach. The Panthers forced a SM East punt, then took over near with great field position once again. A 3rd and 11 conversion on a 20-yard pass from Dunham to Goolsby set up a nine-yard touchdown run from Tyler West a few plays later. Derby converted the PAT and led 14-0 with 3:18 remaining in the first half.
Lancer Magic poked its head in on the next SM East drive. Following a unnecessary roughness call against Derby on a third down play, the Lancers managed to get the ball to out of the shadow of their endzone to their own 38-yard line. Englund then ran a play action pass and found a wide open Alec Dean on a 62-yard touchdown pass.
A lucky extra point (which bounced off the bottom crossbar) made things 14-7, Derby, at the intermission. However the momentum seemed to be in the Lancers' favor as the two teams headed to the locker rooms.
After trading possessions to begin the second half, SM East took over at their own 43. Lancer Magic really kicked into high gear in the next few plays.
Englund telegraphed a hitch route, and Derby defensive back Alex Martin picked off the pass and took it back for a touchdown. But, a late roughing the passer call gave the Lancers new life. On the very next play Englund found Dean on a nearly identical touchdown pass to their second quarter score, from 37 yards out, to tie to game at 14 all.
Derby was forced into a three-and-out on their next possession, then SM East did the same. Derby regained possession near midfield off the ensueing Lancer punt. Seconds later Dunham found receiver Tim Williamson with a bullet pass on a post route, which Williams easily took in for a 39-yard touchdown. Derby converted the PAT and led 21-14, with 2:15 remaining in the third quarter.
The teams exchanged possessions before SM East found themselves with the ball at their own 38-yard line with 9:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Lancers put together what was probably their best possession of the day, capping things off with an 18-yard touchdown run from Ryan Carter through the heart of the Derby defense.
SM East converted the PAT and tied the game at 21. At that point there was 7:06 remaining in the game -- with the momentum teetering between both teams.
Derby took possession and looked to be on their way to an easy touchdown on the heels of a 33-yard pass to Goolsby and a few nice runs from West. However, when they lined up to go for a 4th and 1 at the SM East 48-yard line, one of their lineman jumped and a false start took them back five yards. They punted, and SM East took possession at their own 22-yard line with 2:38 remaining.
A big sack on second down basically eliminated SM East's chance of converting a first down on the drive, and two plays later they punted facing a 4th and 6 at their own 28. Derby's Travis Young fielded a short punt and took it all the way back to the SM East 24-yard line.
On the next play Dunham found receiver Caleb Arnold on a 24-yard touchdown strike up the middle to give Derby a 28-21 lead with just 1:21 remaining in the game.
SM East returned the ball to their own 22 on the ensuing kickoff. Englund completed a first down pass to Dean to give the Lancers some life. However, that would be the Lancers' last gasp on the season.
A well-timed shovel pass a few plays later was fumbled by the SM East ballcarrier, and Derby recovered. SM East was actually able to get the ball back after using several time outs and benefiting from a Derby false start penalty, but it wouldn't matter.
With just 17 seconds remaining Englund threw up a prayer, which was intercepted by Derby's David Tullis.
The Panthers kneeled the ball one time and closed out the season as the 6A state champions.
Derby (12-1) 0 14 7 7 - 28
SM East (11-2) 0 7 7 7 - 21
DHS - Dunham 5 run (Williamson kick)
DHS - West 9 run (Williamson kick)
SME - Dean 62 pass from Englund (Tyler kick)
SME - Dean 37 pass from Englund (Tyler kick)
DHS - Williamson 41 pass from Dunham (Williamson kick)
SME - Carter 17 run (Tyler kick)
DHS - Arnold 24 pass from Dunham (Williamson kick)
Passing - Derby, Dunham 9-13-123-0. SM West, Englund 7-15-127-0-1, Dean 0-1-0-0.
Rushing - Derby, West 21-70, Arnold 6-25, Dunham 12-21. SM East, Carter 8-64, Taylor 17-55, Tyler 5-28, Huffman 2-7, Gossick 7-15, Englund 7-(-43).
Receiving - Derby, Goolsby, 4-38, Williamson 3-56, Arnold 2-29. SM East, Dean 2-99, Tyler 2-15, Gossick 2-11, Huffman 1-2.