In preparing to play Kapaun Mount Carmel in the Class 5A playoffs this week, Salina South coach Sam Sellers saw something familiar — a power running game.
"We saw them on film, and that's what we like to do, too," Sellers said. "We like that physical style of football."
The Cougars perfected it Friday, getting 100-yard rushing games from three players in their 31-14 first-round win at Cessna Stadium. Kapaun had no match for South's attack, as running back Dyllon Knox was held to 71 yards.
South plays hosts to Hutchinson in next week's quarterfinals. Kapaun's season ends at 6-4.
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Knox, who rushed for more than 500 yards in the Crusaders' final two regular-season wins, was shut down. He had a 71-yard touchdown, but that represented his final total — one of his other six carries went for positive yards.
"I knew he was going to make a play like that because he's too good a player," Sellers said. "Fortunately, we bottled him up and were able to stop him enough."
Kapaun couldn't find a way to stop strong freshman running back Cody Busby and his bruising cohort Xavier Lewis, who combined for 233 yards and two touchdowns.
"When he gets his speed in the next three years, he's going to be tough to stop," Sellers said of Busby. "He's just got those powerful legs and he refuses to come down."
Busby's and Lewis' two scores were matched by quarterback Jason Seibel, who went over the century mark with a 12-yard rushing score on South's final drive.
The trio combined for 54 carries and enabled South to dominate time of possession.
"When they control the football like that, your offensive possessions become more critical," Kapaun coach Dan Adelhardt said. "Then when you don't get a block or you don't get that reception you need, you feel like you have to call the perfect play."
Kapaun quarterback Keaton Lewis cracked the scoreboard first with a 71-yard run. After South took a 17-7 lead in the third quarter, the Crusaders answered on Knox's run.
Though they had the advantage in big plays, the Crusaders couldn't match South in efficiency. Lewis and Knox totaled 14 yards on non-touchdown runs.
South was also able to keep the ball from Kapaun's other playmaker, receiver Chris Hayes, who had two catches for 29 yards.
"We got very little done on first down tonight," Adelhardt said. "We found ourselves looking at second and long a lot. They did a good job coming after the quarterback. We got hit more tonight than we have in any game this season."
Salina South (6-4) 3 7 7 14 — 31 Kapaun Mount Carmel (6-4) 7 0 7 0 — 14
KMC—Lewis 72 run (Cantele kick)
S—Harman 22 FG
S—Busby 1 run (Harman kick)
S—Seibel 57 run (Harman kick)
KMC—Knox 71 run (Cantele kick)
S—Lewis 31 run (Harman kick)
S—Seibel 12 run (Harman kick)
Rushing—Salina South, Busby 26-119, Lewis 13-114, Seibel 15-103, Harradine 1-3, Taylor 1-1. Kapaun, Lewis 11-85, Knox 7-71, Stump 4-3, Hays 1-0, Kehr 1-(-5).
Passing—Salina South, Seibel 2-5-11-0, Neuberger 0-1-0-0. Kapaun, Lewis 11-21-101-1, Hayes 1-2-31-0, Knox 0-1-0-0.
Receiving—Salina South, Dolan 1-8, Lewis 1-3. Kapaun, Schulte 3-27, Knox 3-9, Rasmussen 2-46, Lewis 2-29, Reynolds 1-11, Nulik 1-9.