Bluejays head to State competition

The 2017 Sabetha Bluejay Football hold their 3A Sub-State championship plaque after defeated Silver Lake, 17-14, on Friday, November 17.
The Sabetha Bluejay Football team celebrates after defeating Silver Lake, 17-14, in the 3A Sub-State football game Friday, November 17.

It has been a few seasons since the Sabetha Bluejays and the Silver Lake Eagles have met in the playoffs — two seasons to be exact, with the Jays knocking off the Eagles 34-28 in the 2015 Regional contest.

The two met again Friday, Nov. 17, in a sub-state battle with the winner punching their ticket to Hutchinson to play for a State Championship. Sabetha found themselves behind early in the game but took a lead in the first quarter and never gave it up, winning 17-14.

Junior Joe Gruber attempts to slip through this tackle during the 3A Sub-State game Friday, November 17, against Silver Lake.

The Eagles knocked off previous unbeaten Galena, 13-6, in the Sectional and hosted the sub-state game. Silver Lake won the toss and elected to defer, giving Sabetha possession to start the game.

After a Bluejay three and out, the Eagles started their first possession on their own 20. Silver Lake drove 80 yards on 11 plays to post the first points of the night on a 15-yard run by Mason Jones with 5:05 to play in the first. The point after kick was rushed by Cauy Rokey and Riley Herrmann and ultimately blocked. Silver Lake led 6-0.

The Jays started their second drive on their own 36-yard line, with Wyatt Beyer scampering for 19 yards on the first carry of the series. It took just seven plays for Sabetha to answer offensively when Mason Engelken burst through the line and accelerated into the end zone from 29 yards out. Braeden Cox gave his team the lead with the P.A.T. kick, 7-6, a lead that the Jays would maintain at the intermission.

Senior Wyatt Beyer carries the ball down the field during the 3A Sub-State game Friday, November 17, against Silver Lake.

Sabetha had 169 yards of rushing in the first half. Engelken had 59 yards, Joe Gruber had 53, and Beyer had 34 to lead the Jays’ ground game in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Eagles posted just 93 total yards in the half, 52 through the air and 42 on the ground. The Bluejay defense put pressure on the quarterback — including an interception by Beyer in the second frame — stifling Silver Lake’s passing game.

Sabetha’s defensive line prepares for Silver Lake to snap the ball during the 3A Sub-State game Friday, November 17.

The Eagles started the second half with the ball, but a quarterback sack by Cole Oehm pinned Silver Lake with a fourth and 15 on their own 19-yard line, putting them in a punting situation.

The Jays started their first drive of the half on their own 42 and chipped away at the defense. Brandon Brownlee connected with Gruber on a 33-yard pass reception on fourth down and gave the Jays a first and goal on the 6-yard line. A costly penalty pushed the Jays back to the 17. After failing to get into the end zone, Cox was successful with a 28-yard field goal with 5:08 left in the third — a kick that would be monumental in the outcome of the game.

The Jays led 10-6 at the start of the fourth quarter and would remain that way until about the 4:00 mark. Gabe Garber slipped in front of Eagles’ quarterback Mason Griffin’s pass for the pick at 5:09. Two plays later, Garber burst through the right side of the line and rambled 42 yards into the end zone with 4:19 on the clock. Cox’s point after kick gave Sabetha a 17-6 lead

Junior Cauy Rokey and sophomore Gabe Garber attempt to block this kick during the 3A Sub-State game Friday, November 17, against Silver Lake.

Beyer picked up his second interception of the night and his fifth in two games on Silver Lake’s next drive. But Sabetha was unable to maintain a drive to kill the clock and punted back to their host.

The Eagles drove 71 yards in 15 plays in a little over a minute, and capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown by Mason Jones to make the score 17-14. With Silver Lake out of timeouts, the Jays simply had to recover the kick and kill the clock for the win.

A high bouncing, onside kick with 1:09 on the clock had the entire stadium holding their collective breaths. Rokey fell on the loose ball to secure the possession for the Bluejays. Brownlee took a knee on two occasions and the Jays took the victory 17-14.

“Offensively, we did what we wanted to do, three to four yards a punch and controlled the clock,” said Head Coach Garrett Michel. “Turnovers were the difference in the game our defense made some big plays and the offense did a great job securing the ball. Defensively, we played our brand of football, with physical play and each player doing their job.”

With the victory, the Jays earn a trip to the State Championship game — where they will meet the 12-1 Marysville Bulldogs in Hutchinson this coming Saturday.

“Marysville will pose a threat with their skill guys,” Michael said. “They have athletes all over the field. To our advantage we have faced their type of offense 9-10 weeks in a row now, so we will do what we do and improve in that with this week of preparation.”

Marysville advances after a 30-24 victory over the previously undefeated Phillipsburg Panthers. Marysville suffered their one loss to Concordia in week four and have since been on a nine-game winning streak.

11.17.2017 Sub State

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

TAC

SKS

INT

FUM RCY

#      REC

REC  YDS

#         RU

RU YDS

Cole Oehn

11

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Joel Hackney

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

5

Joe Gruber

2

0

0

0

1

33

18

71

Ryan Stapleton

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Brandon Brownlee

6

0

0

0

0

0

3

7

Mason Engelken

0

0

0

0

0

0

15

82

Wyatt Beyer

4

0

2

0

0

0

7

37

Kamden Brownlee

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Gabe Garber

10

0

1

0

0

0

11

85

Riley Herrmann

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Isaac Sunderland

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Cory Geist

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Cauy Rokey

10

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Elliot Strahm

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

TEAM TOTALS

SHS

OPP

FIRST DOWNS

13

18

THIRD DOWN CONV.

7/15

3/13

FOURTH DOWN CONV.

0/2

2/3

# RUSHES

61

20

RUSHING YARDS

287

61

RUSHING AVG. YARDS

4.9

3.1

PASSING YARDS

33

208

# COMPLETIONS

1

21

# PASSES

3

40

# INTERCEPTIONS

0

3

PUNTING YARDS

39.5

40.2

FUMBLES/LOST

0

1/0

PENALTIES/LOST YARDS

5/50

5/40

TOTAL OFFENSE

320

269

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