Kearney holds off Smithville for district title

By Scott Kendall PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: November 8, 2014 - 2:14 AM

Smithville won the toss and elected to take the ball in the 2nd half, giving the ball to Kearney to start off the game.  The first quarter was full of defense.  Both teams exchanged 3-and-outs and both teams came up empty on long drives.  It looked as if Kearney would get on the board first with a 93-yard punt return from Jake Gassman, but the punt return was called back on an offensive holding, keeping the Bulldogs out of the end zone.  The Warriors held their ground as they only allowed 2-yards on 3-plays.  The Bulldogs had to settle for a 42-yard field goal by Dawson Goepferich.  But, the field goal hit the left up-right and was no good.

On Smithville’s ensuing drive, they managed to get a first down on a big 16-yard run by Charlie Nihart, but stalled after that and were forced to punt.  On Kearney’s next play from scrimmage, quarterback Johnny Weidmaier hooked up with full back, Cale Garrett on a 75-yard pass catch, the extra-point from Goepferich put the Bulldogs up 7-0.

Smithville would start their next drive on their own 18-yard line.  The Warriors picked up three quick first downs, but just couldn’t get anything going after that and were forced to punt once again.  On Kearney’s first play, Reagan Frakes eluded would be tacklers and ran the ball 72-yards to the house.  But, the TD was called back on another penalty.  That was the second time a big play was called back because of a penalty.  The Warriors stopped the Bulldogs in their tracks and forced them to punt.

Smithville’s punt returner muffed the punt and Nikolas Markarian came up with the loose ball, giving the ball back to Kearney on Smithville’s 14-yard line.  Hinck and Frakes ran the ball in the next four plays, capped off by a 3-yard run by Frakes, with the extra-point by Goepferich, the lead was 14-0.  Smithville could get nothing going to finish out the half and in the process were forced a 3-and-out on their next two possessions.  Maybe things can turn around in the second half since they will start out with the ball.

The Warriors opened up the 2nd half with the ball and put together a monster of drive.  A 12-play drive; which included a punt that was kicked three-feet off the ground, struck a Kearney player in the back and was picked up by Sam Aviles.  Aviles would end the drive as well on 38-yard field goal.  The field goal put the Warriors on the board, but they were still trailing 14-3.

The Bulldogs would answer with a field goal for themselves.  This field goal was made by Goepferich from 38-yards out, although he could have hit it from 50+ yards out.  The field goal gave the Bulldogs back their 14-point lead.  Kearney was trying to put the game away for good and looked as if they were going to, but Smithville’s Jake Boyd had other intensions.  Boyd stripped the ball from Weidmaier’s hand and picked up the ball to complete the turnover.  The Warriors would then put together a 12-play drive that ultimately ended on an interception thrown by Mitch Orr to the hands of Kearney’s own Kale Harmon.  Although on the drive, Orr was tackled in the back field and was grabbed by his face mask but the zebra’s missed the call which led to Orr’s interception.  Senior, Nihart carried the ball 7-times on the drive for a total of 28-yards, two of the runs resulted in Smithville first downs.

Smithville would get the ball back with 4:16 left in the game.  Mitch Orr would connect with Quintin Mueller two times on the drive for 29-yards and Mueller was able to get a Pass Interference called on his defender that put the Warriors on Kearney’s 43-yard line.  But, that was as far as the Warriors would get.  Kearney would take over on downs from Kearney’s own 40-yard line.  Frakes broke up the game with a 51-yard TD run, the point after by Goepferich was good and the lead was a commanding 24-3 lead in Kearney’s favor.

Kearney’s defense was just too much for Smithville in the end.  Smithville’s season ends with a 9-3 record and Kearney improves to 11-1.  Kearney will go on to play Helias Catholic (District 7 champions) in the next round.  Helias is 11-1 and their only loss this season was to Rockhurst, 40-10.

Charlie Nihart for Smithville led the team with 123 rushing yards, Quintin Mueller led the team with 52-receiving yards on 4 catches.  Weidmaier of Kearney had 125 passing yards and 1-TD.  His lone passing TD was to Cale Garrett who finished with 2-catches and 80-yards.  Reagan Frakes led all rushers with 181-yards and 2 TD’s.  It was an all around good season for Smithville, who will be looking to do more damage next season, especially when Mitch Orr, Luke Sachs, Cole Justice, Connely White and Jake Boyd will all be returning next season.  They will definitely be a team on the hunt for the district championship, if not more.