HESSTON – Hesston quarterback Zach Esau threw for 227 yards as the Swathers’ passing game upset No. 1 ranked Hoisington 35-19 in Friday’s Class 3A football semifinals.
Central Kansas League member Hesston (10-3) will play two-time state champion Rossville (12-1) in the 3A state championship at Hutchinson.
Hoisington (12-1) broke a school record for wins and won the Central Kansas League.
“It hurts when you set lofty goals. They achieved goals that no football team has ever accomplished,” said Hoisington coach Zach Baird. “They battled and fought to the end. They did a heck of a job competing Friday night.”
Baird was thankful for his senior class, which made the football playoffs in four consecutive years.
“They’ve worked extremely hard for four years,” Baird said. “It’s a great group of young men and a fun group to work with.”
Esau completed a touchdown pass to Reece Nebel and Zach Vogt caught eight passes for 156 yards. The Swathers covered 38, 43, 67, 68 and 82 yards on their scoring drives.
“Hesston played extremely well and did a great of executing,” said Baird. “Their quarterback was very accurate and their receivers did a great job getting yardage after the catch.”
Vogt took advantage of a quick passing route. The Cardinals made adjustments, but was unable to stop the big pass play.
“They found a window between our secondary and linebackers and we didn’t do a very good job,” Baird said.
Hoisington quarterback Tyler Specht scored two touchdowns. The Cardinals (12-1) rushed for 318 yards and was unable to finish a couple of promising drives. Tailback Sean Urban rushed for 154 yards and Cameron Davis added 66 yards rushing.
Hesston’s Zach Vogt and Zach Anderson stopped the Cardinals on several short-yardage situations.
“We ran the football pretty consistent, but Hesston made us work and took away our big plays,” Baird said.
Hesston rolled 82 yards on the opening drive capped by Parker Roth’s 4-yard TD. Nebel caught a TD pass for a 14-0 lead. After Specht scored, Vogt converted a 4th-down to set up Roth’s second touchdown for a 21-7 lead.
Specht’s second touchdown made it 21-13 at halftime. Vogt’s 51-yard reception set up Esau’s touchdown for a 28-13 lead.
SWATHERS 35, CARDINALS 19
HHS 0 13 6 0 – 19
Hesston 14 7 14 0 – 35
Hess—Parker Roth 4 run (Matt Whitsitt kick), 8:02
Hess—Reese Nebel 30 pass from Zach Esau (Whitsitt kick), 2:58
Hois—Tyler Specht 10 run (Ingio Barrena Carpio kick), 10:13
Hess—Roth 8 run (Whitsitt kick), 8:09
Hois—Specht 1 run (kick failed), 1:48
Hess—Esau 5 run (Whitsitt kick), 10:24
Hois—Cameron Davis 3 run (run failed), 3:20
Hess—Esau 2 run (Whitsitt kick), 0:04
RUSHING—HHS—67-318—Sean Urban 29-154; Davis 13-66; Specht 15-45; Jake Curtis 6-27; Wyatt Pedigo 4-26; Hesston—26-102; Roth 13-52; Esau 13-45; Nebel 0-5.
PASSING—HHS—Specht 4-8-0, 11; Hesston—Esau 13-17-1, 227.
RECEIVING—HHS—Davis 3-8; Urban 1-3; Hesston—Zach Vogt 8-156; Nebel 2-38; Cameron Cox 2-25; Tanner Bachman 1-8.