Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Fourth-Down Stops Help Shawnee Heights Beat Washburn Rural, 20-15

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Fourth-Down Stops Help Shawnee Heights Beat Washburn Rural, 20-15

Article excerpt

Four key stops on fourth down mixed with three explosive plays on offense carried Shawnee Heights to a 20-15 win over Washburn Rural on Friday night at Rural.

Rural opened with back-to-back promising drives but Heights ended each threat with a pair of stops on fourth-and-short plays.

The T-Birds then came away with two more big stops on fourth down in the second half to maintain control and later held off a Rural rally in the waning moments.

"We made stops when they were needed. Those fourth-down stops were huge," Heights coach Jason Swift said. "Washburn Rural moved the ball and we needed stops and we did it. That allowed our offense to play a little better."

All three of Heights' touchdowns came from 41 yards out or longer, starting with Michael Hoffer's 68-yard run late in the first quarter that gave the T-Birds a 7-0 lead at the break.

"We were really confident coming into halftime. We talked about coming out cool and keeping our heads in the game and just keep doing our thing," Shawnee Heights linebacker Dane Terry said.

Quarterback Mitchell Lady had a 42-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter and found Zach Cummings for a 41-yard TD late in the third to open up a 20-0 cushion for Heights.

"We're going to grind it out and make plays and hope for one that busts. We know one is going to bust, we just got to be ready for it," Swift said. "Tonight, we had three plays where it busted."

Michael Schurig, who got the start at quarterback in place of Jordan White (leg injury), threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns for Rural, but Heights (3-0) limited Rural to just 52 yards on the ground.

"If you take away that run, which they're so good and strong with it, and make them one dimensional, it makes it a little bit of a different game, " Swift said. "Up until the end, we played great."

Rural (1-2) got on the board with a safety midway through the fourth and then made it interesting with a pair of touchdowns -- a 39-yarder to Braedon Breckenridge with 3:42 left and then a 17-yarder to Preston Williams with 1:09 remaining.

Heights then recovered an onside kick and got a first down to seal it.

"A lot of different things early in the game got away from us," Washburn Rural coach Steve Buhler said. …

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