Kearney stops Winnetonka to win league title
By SJ Munoz PrepsKC staff writer
It was every bit of what you'd expect from a conference championship game until Kearney got a special teams’ spark and turned the game into a one-sided affair, beating Winnetonka 27-6 to win the Suburban Small Six Conference Championship.
“It's a great feeling for these kids, even the year we won state we didn't win a conference championship,” Kearney head coach Greg Jones said. “It's a loaded conference and that's a great football team (Winnetonka) over there.”
After the defenses flexed their muscles in the first quarter, the Bulldogs opened the scoring less than four minutes into the second and once they got going, there was no slowing them.
Jake Gassman took a punt the distance from 47-yards out to give Kearney the game's first score and a 7-0 lead with 8:09 to go in the half.
A Winnetonka special teams gaffe, (a kick-catch interference call) gave the Bulldogs prime field position, and they capitalized. On first down, Austin Hinck hit Zack Davis on a 35-yard pass down to the Winnetonka six. On the next play, Brock Broughton scored his first rushing touchdown of the game to give Kearney at 14-0 lead at the 5:39 mark.
“I always talk about special teams winning and losing more games than anything,” Jones said. “Jake Gassman popped that thing and it was just like throwing a little gas on the fire. It got everybody fired up and rolling and we were able to capitalize on some things.”
The Bulldogs offense just kept rolling as they scored their third touchdown just over two minutes later.
On the Bulldog scoring drive, the big play came from Broughton, whose 66-yard scamper set up his second rushing TD, and Kearney took a 20-0 edge into halftime.
“I feel like in the first quarter we just weren't as physical as we usually are,” said Broughton, who finished the game with 173 yards and three scores on 24 carries. “Being physical is always a big thing for us every week no matter who it is. In the second quarter we got that back.”
To start the second half, Winnetonka finally began to find success against the Kearney defense. The Griffins put together their first scoring drive of the night, capped by a Marquise Doherty 5-yard TD run.
The extra point missed and it was 20-6 with 6:18 left in the quarter.
The 14-point difference was as close as it would get as the Kearney defense bottled up the Griffins' attack the rest of the way, while the offense moved the chains with regularity, adding to their lead in the fourth.
When Broughton rumbled in for his third rushing score with 9:47 to play, the Bulldogs took the 21-point lead (27-6) their biggest of the game, which was also the final margin of victory.
Kearney held Winnetonka (7-2) to just 85 yard of total offense, while racking up 360 of its own.
“Defense played incredible, holding that team to six points.” Jones said. “It was just a great overall team win. We felt offensively we didn't play that well offensively so to be able to still win 27-6, I'll take it.”
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