BUHLER — Much of the credit to Buhler's prolific rushing offense this season has been given to Jordan Oden and Jake Reffner, and rightly so, as the two have combined for more than 3,000 yards.
And while it was business as usual for those two Friday night against Rose Hill — they combined for 232 yards — it was a powerful offensive line, along with fullback Roman Davidson's four touchdowns, that stole much of the spotlight as the Crusaders rushed for 353 yards in a 64-28 Class 4A quarterfinal victory.
Buhler will play at Topeka Hayden next week in the semifinals, the team that stopped the Crusaders in the quarterfinals last season.
"For the most part, everyone had their assignments down and we played as well as we have all season tonight," offensive tackle Matt Dobson said. "It's been a long time since we have gone this far and it feels really good."
In fact, it's been 18 years since the last time Buhler (11-1) has advanced this far into the playoffs. In 1991, the Crusaders lost to Pittsburg in the 5A championship game.
"Wow, I didn't know that," said Buhler coach Steve Warner. "Hayden is a great team, but we would like a little sweet revenge."
In the first half, Oden had 62 yards on six rushing attempts (including a 48-yard run), while Reffner had 93 yards and Davidson chipped in with 52 yards as Buhler utilized an option-based attack.
"To be real honest, I wasn't expecting four touchdowns," Davidson said. "But we knew they would key a lot on Oden and I just broke them loose and the line played great."
Rose Hill (10-2) finished with six turnovers — four from quarterback Tyler Shirley, two from running back Laqua Mayes.
"Our offense came out and executed really well," Warner said. "Our kids always seem to respond when a game is close and they did that in the second quarter."
Rose Hill's one chance to get back in the game came after Mayes scored on a 37-yard screen pass to cut the Buhler lead to 28-15 and stopped the Crusaders to get the ball back.
Buhler ended that Rockets drive with an interception, and went 92 yards on three plays, capped by a Davidson touchdown.
"That stretch was huge," Rose Hill coach Greg Slade said. "Our offense put way too much pressure on our defense tonight."
Rose Hill (10-2) 8 7 7 6 — 28 Buhler (11-1) 8 27 15 14 — 64
B—Davidson 6 run (Reffner run)
RH—Decker 9 run (Train from Shirley)
B—Partridge 54 pass from Reffner (Heide kick)
B—Davidson 18 run (Heide kick)
B—Davidson 21 run (Heide kick)
RH—Mayes 37 pass from Shirley (Knight kick)
B—Davidson 2 run (Heide kick)
B—Wimer 45 Int return (Fisher from Reffner)
RH—Leabo fumble recovery in endzone (Knight kick)
B—Oden 90 kickoff return (Heide kick)
B—Oden 23 run (Heide kick)
B—Fisher 5 run (Heide kick)
Rushing—Rose Hill, Mayes 17-71, Decker 6-28, Shirley 5-28, Mitchell 1-6. Buhler, Reffner 13-136, Oden 9-96, Davidson 6-52, Fisher 6-49, Wimer 2-8, Ortiz 2-7, Habluetzel 1-4, Shantz 1-1.
Passing—Rose Hill, Shirley 20-30-181-3. Buhler, Reffner 2-5-100-1.
Receiving—Rose Hill, Mayes 5-50, Rapp 5-44, Train 4-40, Leabo 4-28, Yates 1-13, Vaughan 1-6. Buhler, Partridge 1-54, Wimer 1-44, Story 1-2.