By JIM MISUNAS
CLAFLIN – Once Central Plains adjusted its pass defense, the Oilers were a well-oiled machine. The Oilers outscored the Titans 40-0 after trailing 22-20 for a dominating 60-20 Eight-Man 1 victory over Attica-Argonia.
The Oilers (10-0) will meet defending state champion Spearville (10-0) Saturday in a showdown between the state champions from the past two years. It’s the third consecutive year they’ve met in the playoffs.
The Oilers converted an interception by Kade Beck and a fumble recovery by Dalton Beck forced by Philip Donecker into touchdowns to rally from a 20-16 deficit. Devin Ryan intercepted a pass and Brett Liebl recovered a fumble as the Oilers earned four takeaways.
“The turnovers were huge,” said Central Plains coach Chris Steiner. “We’re better as the turnovers ratio and were able to capitalize on that. Our score right before half was big.”
The Oilers’ goal-line offense was unstoppable as tailback Alex Hickel scored four rushing touchdowns from the vintage Wildcat formation. Quarterback Devin Ryan threw touchdown passes to Brett Liebl and Bryce Miller and added a rushing touchdown.
Dalton Beck rushed for 80 yards and the Oilers’ opening 32-yard touchdown.
“We saw some packages that we could take advantage with the running game,” Steiner said.
Titan quarterback Trevor Pierce scored two rushing touchdowns on runs of 3- and 29-yards and completed 10 first-half passes for 107 yards. But the Oilers locked down the Titan receivers and harassed Pierce with excellent pressure. Lee Letourneau, Dylan Lemieux, Liebl and Trey Schulte also contributed quarterback sacks. Devin Ryan contributed 12 tackles and assists and Kade Beck had eight stops.
“We got out of position and didn’t stay at home and missed some tackles,” Steiner said. “They capitalized. They are a great football team. We went back to our defensive game plan and executed what we were supposed to.”
The teams had traded five touchdowns after Titan Brady Ricke sprinted 67 yards with a kickoff return for a 20-16 lead. Pierce scored two early touchdowns that was matched by Dalton Beck and Hickel.
Oiler coach Steiner timed a perfectly executed 32-yard touchdown strike from Ryan to Liebl for a 22-20 lead. Hickel followed with a TD that capped a 70-yard drive. Hickel handed the Oilers a 38-20 halftime lead on a 8-yard TD with three seconds left in the half.
“We knew that play with a fly pass down the middle would be open,” Steiner said. “I knew that play would work.”
OILERS 60, TITANS 20
AA 12 8 0 0 – 20
CP 8 30 14 8 – 60
AA—Trevor Pierce 29 run (pass failed), 7:55
CP—Dalton Beck 31 run (Alex Hickel run), 5:49
AA—Pierce 3 run (run failed), 3:36
CP—Hickel 2 run (Alex Barton pass from Devin Ryan), 10:14
AA—Brady Ricke 67 kickoff return (Seth Hemberger run), 10:03
CP—Brett Liebl 32 pass from Ryan (pass failed), 7:07
CP—Hickel 1 run (Hickel run), 3:08
CP—Hickel 7 run ((Hickel run), 0:03
CP—Bryce Miller 15 pass from Ryan (Barton pass from Ryan), 8:16
CP—Hickel 3 run (run failed), 4:02
CP—Ryan 1 run (Jacob McAtee run), 8:16
RUSHING—AA—23-66; Pierce 12-36; Hemberger 8-12; Blake Harnden 2-17; Mason Miller 1-1; CP—47-239; Beck 12-80; Ryan 10-54; Hickel 7-26; Miller 5-20; McAtee 6-24; Trey Schulte 1-13; Barton 1-12; Oberle 2-6; Lawson Oeser 2-3; Dylan Lemieux 1-1.
PASSING—AA—Pierce 17-31-2, 175; CP—Ryan 7-17-0, 149.
RECEIVING—AA—Ricke 8-94; Harnden 4-46; Hemberger 4-28; Anthony Handlin 1-7; CP—Miller 3-63; Liebl 1-32; Barton 3-26; Beck 1-28.
EIGHT-MAN 1 PLAYOFFS
St. Paul 78, Peabody 32
Burlingame 72, Solomon 46
West Elk 54, Oxford 30
Osborne 64, Clifton-Clyde 16
Central Plains 60, Argonia-Attica 20
Spearville 52, Atwood-Rawlins County 6
South Central 54, Little River 28
St. Francis 54, Ness City 0
Burlingame 10-0 at St. Paul 10-0
Osborne 10-0 at West Elk 9-1, 3 p.m.
Spearville 10-0 at Central Plains 10-0, 3 p.m.
St. Francis 9-0 at South Central 9-1