BY JIM MISUNAS
CLAFLIN – No. 1 ranked Spearville played perfect football to build a 36-0 lead en route to a dominating 58-26 Eight-Man I playoff victory over Central Plains Saturday.
The defending state champion Royal Lancers (11-0) and the No. 5 ranked Oilers (10-1) have met the past three years in the state quarterfinals with Spearville winning the past two years. Spearville advances into a semifinal game at St. Francis (10-0).
Spearville tailback Luke Heskamp and Bailey Sites each scored two touchdowns to lead a 321-yard ground game. The Royal Lancers' single wing offense scored on runs of 30, 37, 37, 47 and 60 yards. Spearville's speed took advantage of every Oiler missed tackle or missed assignment.
Spearville’s offense dominated after the Oilers elected to start the game kicking into a 20 mph south wind. The Oilers started their first four drives from the 15-yard line when Spearville booted every kickoff into the endzone. The Oilers battled poor field position when they were unable to force a turnover.
“We jumped out and got off to a great start,” said Spearville coach Matt Fowler. “We executed really well early and came out ready to play.”
The Royal Lancers benefited from an early roughing the quarterback penalty that fueled five touchdowns in five first-half drives. The Royal Lancers were facing fourth down and a punting situation when they were handed a first down.
“We got a penalty there. We just went a little too far,” said Central Plains coach Chris Steiner. “They made plays and we didn’t stay at home and do our job on defense. We got out of position.”
Kolby Stein capped a 47-yard drive with a 12-yard TD. Heskamp scored on a 37-yard run and Sites scored on a 47-yarder for back-to-back one-play scoring drives for a 20-0 lead. Heskamp’s 37-yard touchdown led to a 28-0 lead. Sites added a 30-yard score for a 36-0 lead.
“Sites hurt us last year too,” Steiner said. “We knew it was coming. When you concentrate on Heskamp, that’s normally what happens with these guys. It’s tough on a short week to stop that offense.”
The Oilers matched the Royal Lancers with three touchdowns in the second half. The Oilers put together back-to-back 14-play drives for a pair of third-quarter touchdowns behind solid offensive line play and aggressive running. The Oilers scored on 65-yard drives to run 28 plays to two plays by Spearville in the third period.
“We looked to run the ball. The whole second half we did what we said we could with our running game,” Steiner said. “No one has run the football on them. We’ve run the ball the past three years on them.”
Receiver Alex Barton gave the Oilers a spark with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Devin Ryan who completed 22 passes for 184 yards. The Oilers regrouped with 140 yards rushing and 194 yards passing. Barton caught eight passes for 71 yards. RB Dalton Beck rushed for 68 yards and RB Bryce Miller added 49 yards rushing.
“I’m really pleased with what this team accomplished,” Steiner said.
SHS 28 8 8 14 – 58
CP 0 6 14 6 – 26
S—Kolby Stein 12 run (Luke Heskamp run), 9:51; S—Heskamp 37 run (run failed), 7:32; S—Bailey Sites 47 run (run failed), 5:34; S—Heskamp 37 run (Granger Rodda run), 1:53; S—Sites 30 run (Heskamp run), 10:31; CP—Alex Barton 13 pass from Devin Ryan (run failed), 6:36; CP—Dylan Lemieux 4 run (run failed), 5:41; S—Kolby Stein 60 run (Heskamp run), 5:25; CP—Bryce Miller 3 run (Brett Liebl pass from Ryan), 0:43; S—Waylon Strecker 25 run (run failed), 8:19; S—Ben Stegman 15 pass from Strecker (Heskamp run), 2:44; CP—Liebl 15 pass from Ryan (run failed), 1:25
RUSHING—S--36-321; Heskamp 14-119, Kolby Stein 8-86, Sites 3-82, Strecker 5-34, Fisher 2-6, Roddo 1-3, team 3-(-9); CP—42-138; Dalton Beck 15-66, Miller 10-42, Lemieux 6-27, Hickel 6-15, Ryan 5-(-12).
PASSING—S—Kolby Stein 6-8-0, 63; Strecker 2-2-0, 29; CP—Ryan 22-29-1, 189; Hickel 2-5-0, 10.
RECEIVING—S—Heskamp 3-35, Sites 2-25, Stegman 1-15, Granger Rodda 1-11, Kyler Stein 1-6; CP—Barton 8-78, Beck 5-44, Liebl 5-39, Trey Schulte 1-21, Miller 4-14, Lemieux 1-3.