Moving the football 10 yards on four plays would be, on a normal night, a task accepted gleefully by Derby’s potent offense. Friday was not a normal night.
Heights’ defensive line had wreaked havoc, spending quality time in Derby’s backfield and finishing with 12 tackles for loss.
During the first half, Derby failed to score after taking over at the Heights 7 following one of the Falcons’ six turnovers.
Yet Derby quarterback Chandler Shantz’s confidence was sky-high as the Panthers took the ball in overtime in the Class 6A-District 6 finale at Heights.
“We knew we could win there,” Shantz said. “We were pretty pumped up.”
Shantz scored on a 1-yard run on third and goal to give Derby the 21-15 overtime win over Heights to win the district title. Derby (8-1) will play host to North (1-8) on Friday, while Heights (7-2) is at Hutchinson (7-2).
“There’s a lot of times kids could have their heads down the whole time, people making mistakes,” Shantz said. “They kept their heads up, stayed in the game and got the win.”
Shantz’s stats are an example of Derby’s up-and-down offense. He had two rushing touchdowns, a passing touchdown, as well as 33 passing yards, an interception and 11 rushing yards on 16 carries. He was sacked seven times.
Heights’ offense gave Derby plenty of chances, fumbling at the Heights 13 and 38, at the Derby 12, and then in overtime on a third-down play. Derby also had interceptions by Ben Becker and Reed Trease and got a safety on a blocked punt.
Yet Heights held Derby to 156 rushing yards — 97 by Tyler West.
“Incredible,” Heights coach Rick Wheeler said. “The defense played awesome.”
“Their d-line made it hard for our offensive line to get to the next level,” Shantz said, “so the linebackers are free and they’re making plays.”
Derby’s defense was strong through the first three quarters, but then gave up a 26-yard touchdown run by quarterback Forlanda Parker and a 75-yard scoring pass from Parker to Chris Reed.
Prentice Byrd, who had a game-high 99 rushing yards, tied the score with a two-point conversion.
“We were playing a lot of prevent, and they got behind us,” Trease said. “We bounced back, went back to our base defense. It worked for us all game, and it worked for us at the end.”
Trease intercepted Parker with 41 seconds to go in regulation at the Derby 16.
“It’s high school football,” Derby coach Brandon Clark said. “When two good teams are playing, momentum is a lot.”
Derby 6 2 0 7 6 21 Heights 0 0 0 15 0 15 D—Sims 13 pass from Shantz
D—Safety: blocked punt
D—Shantz 7 run Williams kick)
H—Parker 26 run (Hoyer kick)
H—Reed 75 pass from Parker (Byrd run)
D—Shantz 1 run
Rushing– Derby, West 19-97, Peter 11-37, Shantz 16-11, Sims 4-11. Heights, Byrd 15-99, Parker 10-49, Reed 4-16, Whitten 10-15, Garrett 4-8, Wiley 1-3.
Passing—Derby, Shantz 3-12-33-1. Heights, Parker 7-15-125-2.
Receiving—Derby, Sims 2-21, Goolsby 1-12. Heights, Reed 2-80, Wiley 2-19, Whitten 2-13, Singleton 1-13.