Louisburg rallies to win 4A crown
By Keegan McCullick Special to PrepsKC
In 2010’s 4A State Championship matchup, the battle of the Wildcats was on display for all who stopped by Salina at one o’clock today. The Holton Wildcats and the Louisburg Wildcats faced off in what was an intriguing matchup.
Holton jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead before Louisburg scored the next 24 points. Only a last second touchdown broke up the Louisburg scoring as Louisburg won its first state title 24-16.
The game opened as Holton’s Gunnar McKenna took a short opening kick off by Louisburg 54 yards inside the red zone. This lead to a 27-yard field goal giving Holton an early 3-0 lead.
Louisburg was held to three-and-out on their first two possessions of the game.
Holton went up 10-0 before the end of the first quarter on a 22-yard touchdown run by McKenna.
After just one quarter, it looked as if Holton might be too physical for undefeated Louisburg and would simply take this game one four-yard burst at a time. This 10-0 deficit put undefeated Louisburg into an unusual spot, as coach Gary Griffin made clear when asked about what message he sent to his team after being down early.
“(I told them) just hang in there and we’ll find something that will work. That is actually the first time we’ve been down all year so I didn’t know how we’d react.”
After three scoreless drives by both teams, Louisburg finally got on the board with a combination of running back Garret Griffin running the ball out of the Wildcat offense and quarterback Kody Cook picking apart the Holton defense out of a spread formation. The drive ended with Cook finding receiver David Embers in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown pass with only 47 seconds remaining in the half.
Holton went into the half clinging to a 10-7 lead.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Louisburg took the ball all the way to the 15-yard line on a 60-yard pass from Cook to Griffin down the sideline. Louisburg settled for a field goal, tying the game at 10-10.
The state’s top ranked team would take the lead early in the fourth. Louisburg was aided by a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty and scored on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Cook to Griffin taking their first lead of the contest at 17-10.
Moments later, Holton quarterback Bryce Barnett attempted a play-action pass, but was picked-off by Cook, who returned the interception 50 yards for a Louisburg touchdown. The PAT gave Louisburg a 24-10 lead.
Holton was able to muster up one more touchdown in the final seconds of the game. It was simply too late, however, as the Louisburg Wildcats finished the 2010 football season as 4A State Champions, winning 24-16. Louisburg finished 14-0 on the season while Holton ended the season 11-3.
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