ANDOVER — There's a moment right before a big, bruising defensive lineman crashes into the quarterback's blind side where everyone watching cringes.
And when Kapaun Mount Carmel senior defensive end Michael Reynolds — all 6-foot-3, 215 pounds of him — pulverized Andover Central quarterback Landon Huslig during the fourth quarter of the Crusaders' 21-13 win Friday night, it was definitely cringe-worthy.
The win gave Kapaun the Class 5A-District 7 championship. Both teams are in the playoffs, with Kapaun hosting Bishop Carroll and Andover Central traveling to Great Bend next Friday.
"It was just an adrenaline rush," Reynolds said. "It felt so amazing. There's nothing better than it."
Kapaun (8-1, 3-0) was fortunate it received its most dominating defensive effort of the season — the Crusaders racked up six sacks — because its offense never clicked.
But the Crusaders were opportunistic. Kapaun's first drive started on Central's 19 after a fumble. Four plays later, quarterback Keaton Lewis connected with Austin Griffith for a 7-yard touchdown pass.
Kapaun extended its lead by another touchdown when Lewis threw for his second score, this one to Nick Cook. On the next Andover Central possession, Luke Bean pressured Huslig into a forced throw, which Reynolds was waiting for and returned 35 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 halftime lead.
"We kind of lost our composure the first half and things kind of snowballed," Central coach Tom Audley said. "It wasn't pretty. Bottom line, they took away what we liked to do."
Central's bread and butter this season has been its running game with Alex Bontz. He ran 23 times for only 49 yards. As a whole, the Jaguars finished with 39 yards on 37 carries.
"They couldn't control (Reynolds)," Kapaun linebacker Eric Peters said. "It seemed like every play, one of us were in the backfield making a stop."
Central (7-2, 2-1) scored its first touchdown early in the fourth quarter and made it interesting when Kapaun's Skyler Krehbiel fumbled the ball at the Central 7-yard line and Preston Solomon scooped it up and returned it 93 yards for a touchdown.
The Jaguars had one last chance, but Kapaun's defense sacked Huslig twice.
"They just confused our guys up front," Huslig said. "We haven't seen that defense too much. We weren't used to those kinds of blitzes."
Kapaun (8-1, 3-0) 7 14 0 0 — 21 Andover Central (7-2, 2-1) 0 0 0 13 — 13
KMC—Griffith 7 pass from Lewis (Cantele kick)
KMC—Cook 21 pass from Lewis (kick failed)
KMC—Reynolds 35 interception return (Cook pass from Lewis)
AC—M. Clements 11 pass from Huslig (Omar kick)
AC— Solomon 93 fumble return (pass failed)
Rushing—Kapaun, Krehbiel 24-105, Peters 3-18, Bean 2-10, Schaeffer 2-8, Lewis 6-1. Central, Bontz 23-49, Broadhead 2-4, Hoy 1-2, Lock 1-(-1), Huslig 10-(-15).
Passing—Kapaun, Lewis 8-13-80-0. Central, Huslig 13-31-150-2.
Receiving— Kapaun, J. Martin 1-31, Cook 1-17, Griffith 2-15, M. Martin 1-12, Krehbiel 1-4, Heiland 1-3, Degenhardt 1-(-2). Central, J. Clements 6-65, M. Clements 3-36, Lock 3-35, Bontz 1-14.