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No thrills Tuesday

The outcomes from Sacred Heart were not surprising. The drama was sucked out of both games right from the start.

Russell’s girls led 22-0 in the first quarter. It got a little sloppy in the second, but Sacred Heart could not take advantage, and the Broncos led by 18 at halftime.

Kyleigh Kasper, Russell’s 6-foot junior, hit just about everything she put up. She was deadly accurate from anywhere closer than 16 feet. If the Broncos had to rely only upon her scoring, they still would have won, for Sacred Heart wasn’t going to threaten.

The final was 55-22. Most of the fourth quarter was played with a running clock, which occurs when one team gains a lead of 30 points.

I didn’t expect there to be much suspense in the boys game.

There wasn’t.

Sacred Heart led 13-0 early. Russell was down 17-2 at the end of the first quarter, and it could have been worse had the Knights not missed several open layups.

Russell began to hit a few shots late in the first half and went to the locker room trailing 34-15, but sooner or later, the Knights figured to expand their lead.

With 6:40 to go, Sacred Heart went up 53-23, and the clock was on the run. It ended 61-34.

I have witnessed six basketball games so far this month. No contest has been closer than 18 points, and three have gone to the running clock.

The running clocks and the relative lack of fouls ensured the night would not drag on. Indeed, I got out of the school at 8:45, and by 8:58, I was at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m glad I came, because Krystine is here, and so is Kendall, my favorite waitress. She hasn’t reached the Brittany-Liz-Lisa exosphere, but she’ll get there one day.

I’m going to stay until at least 10, maybe a little longer. Of course, closing here is an hour earlier than in Kansas City, so the absolute latest I would make it back to the Courtyard would be 12:10, provided I don’t stop–highly unlikely at that hour.

Tough part of Tuesday over

The hard part of the day is over. Now it’s time relax and get ready for some basketball.

I couldn’t quite get myself going this morning. Slept on and off, but I still had my work done for Phillipsburg by 8:45, so they couldn’t complain. I got Plainville done next ahead of Smith Center since Candace Rachel wanted to try to get done early and go to Plainville’s basketball games in Claflin. I don’t know if he shot it done in time, but I tried to do my part.

I had Smith Center wrapped at 2:30 and Ellis an hour later. Elaine Mercer tried getting in touch with me around 4, but I was in the bathroom getting myself ready. I didn’t heart he pone ring, but I finally saw the missed call. Everything turned out okay.

The good news is I had only a short drive from the hotel to Sacred Heart. It actually took me longer to wait in the drive thru line at Taco Bell to pick up a snack than it did to drive from NInth and Schilling to the school on East Claflin.

As I drove over, I got a look at the construction in Kansas Wesleyan’s football stadium. The turf is down and it looks great. It will be a major upgrade over the old Glen Martin Stadium, where the field was not very good. Russell doesn’t play Sacred Heart next season, so the earliest the Broncos will return is 2016, although it’s more likely for 2017. Besides, it won’t be any big thrill for the Broncos, since they already play on turf at home, and will do so on the road too in 2015 at TMP-Marian, which uses Fort Hays State’s Lewis Field Stadium.

The Russell-Sacred Heart boys game should be one-sided. The Knights blew away the Broncos in Russell in December, and Sacred Heart is playing even better now, as evidenced by a victory at previously undefeated Beloit two weeks ago. The girls game should go in Russell’s favor, but the Lady Broncos have been inconsistent at times. They haven’t won three in a row all year, so that needs to change.

I guess I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings after the game. I promised Krystine, the manager who has taken a liking to me, I would come back. I had the buffalo mac and cheese there last night. Awesome.

I finished fifth nationally in Buzztime’s The Pulse, but less than 400 points out of first. Not bad. I also own all 10 high scores this month for Countdown. As much as I like the Salina location, I can’t help but miss Kansas City and everyone there.

Panthers pull through

Phillipsburg didn’t look pretty last night, but the Panthers got the job done vs. Sacred Heart, prevailing 22-15 in double overtime in the first round of the Kansas State High School Activities Association Class 2-1A football state playoffs.

The Panthers came in 8-1, and some media sources had them ranked first in Class 2-1A. Sacred Heart was 4-4, and got in because it finished second in a district which included three teams with losing records. Nobody gave the Knights much of a chance, even though Sacred Heart and Phillipsburg played a close game in the 3A playoffs a year ago, with the Panthers prevailing 27-20 on a rainy night in Salina.

Nobody should have taken Sacred Heart lightly. It played a difficult schedule which included 3A playoff teams Beloit, Minneapolis and Southeast of Saline, and the Knights are coached by Bruce Graber, who enjoyed tremendous success during his 12-year tenure at Norton from 1994 through 2005. Most importantly, his Bluejay teams lost only once to Phillipsburg, and that was Graber’s last season.

Phillipsburg scored on the game’s first play from scrimmage when Stuart Lennemann swept right end and raced 60 yards to paydirt.

At least, appeared to score.

The touchdown was wiped out when a Panther was detected holding near the line of scrimmage. It would not be the last time Lennemann would have touchdown called back.

Neither team did much until late in the first half, when Phillipsburg drove to the game’s first touchdown, a 7-yard run by Lennemann with 1:18 to go before halftime.

Sacred Heart tied the game in the third quarter on a 3-yard touchdown by Cedric Salas.

In the fourth quarter, Phillipsburg appeared to regain the upper hand when Lennemann caught a pass from Sam Sage in the left flat and romped 13 yards to the end zone, but again, the score was wiped out by an illegal block in the back. The Panthers were stopped at the 4-yard line following the score, and neither side threatened for the remainder of regulation.

In 1971, Kansas was the first state to implement overtime for high school football. It consists of each team receiving a series from the 10-yard line. It continues back and forth in this manner until one team is ahead after each team has had an equal number of possessions. The defense can NOT score on a turnover.

I do not like the format, period. I especially do not like the idea of starting from the 10-yard line. It’s too tilted towards the offense. I’m not a fan of the NCAA format, either, which is basically the same as high school, with a few differences: the possessions start at the 25, the defense can score on a turnover, and starting with the third overtime, a team must attempt a 2-point conversion after scoring a touchdown. Some states, including Louisiana and Oregon, have adopted the 2-point conversion rule for overtime in their states.

Massachusetts and Texas use the college overtime format since those states largely play by NCAA rules, with a few modifications.

Prior to the implementation of overtime, ties were broken in all sorts of zany ways. That’s another post for another time.

Sacred Heart got the ball first in the first overtime, and it scored on second down on a 7-yard run by Salas. The Knights lined up as if they would kick the extra point, but instead,, the holder threw to Salas for the 2-point conversion.

The pressure was now on Phillipsburg. Not only did the Panthers have to score a touchdown, they had to add the 2-point conversion–a kick would do no good–and that would only get the game to a second overtime.

Lennemann was stuffed for a loss on first down. On second, Sage rolled right and found Nate Prewitt at the 4. Prewitt broke two tackles and powered his way into the end zone to set up the crucial conversion.

Sage kept right on the conversion and dove over a defender at the pylon. Conversion good. Second overtime ahead.

It took Phillipsburg one play to score. Lennemann took an option pitch around right end to paydirt. Jaron Kellerman kicked the extra point.

Sacred Heart’s Justin McCartney threw incomplete on first down of the Knights’ possessoin. The next play turned out to be their last of 2014.

Sage stepped in front of McCartney’s intended receiver to not only end the game, but post his third interception of the night. Phillipsburg 22, Sacred Heart 15.

The Panthers travel to Oakley Friday for the quarterfinals.

I’m out of here. Gotta get ready for the long trip to Minneola for Victoria’s game in Clark County.