Mustangs turn back Topeka West, collect second straight title
This time it didnÃ¢ÂÂt come quite as easily.
Yet when the Class 5A title game ended Saturday at Kansas UniversityÃ¢ÂÂs Memorial Stadium, Salina Central not only had claimed another championship with a 14-6 victory against Topeka West, but it had made school history.
Ã¢ÂÂThis is a first,Ã¢ÂÂ screamed SCHS coach Marvin Diener, who has won five titles in the past 10 years but never any back-to-back.
Central, which won its past two titles in 1999 and last year by a combined score of 80-21, survived its second struggle with West this season. The 12-1 Mustangs defeated the 10-3 Chargers 21-20 in an overtime game eight weeks ago.
Saturday was similar.
The two teams had combined for just 132 yards offensively at halftime. Each rushed 19 times with Central outgaining West 38-37.
The only score came after West fumbled on a reverse deep in its territory, allowing Mustang running back Nolan Seim to smash his way in from three yards out with four minutes left in the second quarter.
Ã¢ÂÂWe just turned it over too far in our own territory,Ã¢ÂÂ said West coach Warren Seitz, whose team went 1-8 only two years ago.
And not just once.
West wavered again in the third, throwing a screen pass for a 16-yard loss and giving the Mustangs the ball on the ChargersÃ¢ÂÂ 24-yard line.
Seim needed two touches, a 14-yarder and 10-yard scoring sprint, to break the game open.
The Chargers put together a final charge in the fourth when quarterback Daniel Heflin hit Chris Snell on a 36-yard shot.
A missed conversion and a failure to stop Central on a fourth-and-two late in the fourth took West nearly completely out.
The final blow came when Heflin just missed Mario Thomas – who certainly would have scored if he had caught the ball past his defender near midfield – on third down with a minute and a half left and then came up a yard short on fourth-and-17.
Ã¢ÂÂIt doesnÃ¢ÂÂt get old,Ã¢ÂÂ Diener said of winning, Ã¢ÂÂbut it gets really hard.Ã¢ÂÂ
Salina Central 14, Topeka West 6
Topeka West (10-3) 0 0 0 6 – 6
Salina Central (12-1) 0 7 7 0 – 14
SC – Nolan Seim 3 run (Billy Mencanin kick) 4:00
SC – Seim 14 run (Mencanin kick) 6:17
TW – Chris Snell 36 pass from Daniel Heflin (pass failed) 9:16