PHOTOS AND STORY BY KACIE TIMMONS
The top two ranked 1A football teams in Kansas, Smith Center and Plainville, faced off on Friday, September 27th. The Redmen of SC handed the Cardinals their first loss of the season, 40-14. Plainville was missing one of their top players, Jared Casey, due to a hand injury that will keep him sidelined for at least a couple weeks.
Smith Center rushed for 414 yards and Jaden Atwood led the Redmen running 113 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns. Jordan Finnesy led the Cardinals rushing for 160 yards, passing for 206 yards, and scoring one touchdown.
The first quarter was a stalemate between the two teams, neither able to reach the endzone. Penalties prevented either team from advancing very far. The Cardinals drove to the Smith Center 6-yard line, but a fumble prevented them from scoring.
“We didn’t start the game very focused, but as the game went on, we knew our goal was to stop Finnesy and we focused on that. We did better communicating plays, routes, and coverages,” said Smith Center junior, Charlie Timmons.
The Redmen were the first to score when Trenton Colby broke away and ran 76 yards to score a touchdown with seven minutes left in the half. Sergio Lambert’s PAT put the Redmen up 7-0.
The Cardinals answered with a touchdown of their own on the next drive. Jordan Finnesy completed a pass to Cody Crawford for a 23 yard gain to put the Cardinals just inside the red zone. Kyle Werner then ran the ball 20 yards to score a touchdown for Plainville, and a successful PAT kick from Parker Krob evened the score at 7 with just under four minutes left in the half.
Trenton Colby returned the Plainville kickoff to the Redmen 42-yard line, then Colton Shoemaker broke into the open on the next play for a 58-yard touchdown carry. This put the Redmen up again 14-7.
Plainville started their drive at the 19-yard line and reached Redmen territory before Jacob Conrad recovered a fumbled snap. Smith Center had one more chance to score with only 31 seconds left in the half. A 19-yard rush from Trenton Colby and a 17-yard pass to Griffin Kugler moved the Redmen inside the red zone. However, an interception by Cody Crawford on the following play prevented Smith Center from advancing further. The score remained 14-7 going into the second half.
Three minutes into the third quarter, the Redmen scored their third touchdown. Colton Shoemaker’s 30-yard rush moved the offense to the 10, then Jaden Atwood drove the ball twice to reach the endzone, extending the lead to 21-7.
The Redmen scored two more times in the 3rd quarter. After picking up a Plainville fumble, Colby returned it 68 yards for a touchdown, moving the score to 28-7. Then, with a minute and a half left in the third quarter, Nate Hendrich found the endzone on a 1-yard run after rushing for 35 yards during the drive. The Redmen led 34-7 at the end of the third quarter.
Atwood broke loose and scored on an 80 yard touchdown run two minutes into the fourth quarter, after Charlie Timmons intercepted a pass to regain possession for the Redmen.
Plainville scored their last touchdown with seven minutes left in the game. Finnesy rushed for 55 yards to move the Cardinals within 10 yards of scoring, then Werner drove the ball to the 1 yard line. Finnesy finished the drive on the following play finalizing the score at 40-14.
The Redmen improve to 4-0 and travel to Oakley next week. Plainville moves to 3-1 and faces Republic County at home on October 4th.
“Overall we got a lot better this game, our line blocked better, backs did better, everyone improved,” said Smith Center senior Jaden Atwood.
In the last three seasons, Plainville and Smith Center have met a second time at Substate. Time will tell, but these teams may be facing each other again later this season.