Another game, another big night for Jorden Oden and Jake Leffler against an overmatched foe, one helpless to stop the Buhler rushing attack.
Oden ran for 289 yards and four touchdowns on 34 carries. Quarterback Leffler ran the option to perfection, adding 136 yards and two more scores on 14 carries. Buhler dominated Mulvane 49-14.
“It just seemed like our kids played at another level,” Buhler coach Steve Warner said after receiving a bone-chilling dousing from his players to honor his 150th career victory.
Next week, however, promises to be much more difficult for the Crusaders, who travel to Andale for a big district game. Andale, which won state titles in 2006 and 2007 and lost in the 2008 semifinals to eventual champion Topeka Hayden, is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A. Buhler is ranked No. 2.
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The Crusaders, who had outscored the opposition 263-66 in winning its first five games, appeared primed for another blowout. They scored on their first three possessions to open a 22-0 lead. Oden scored on runs of 13 and 7 yards, followed by Leffler’s scoring run of 4 yards.
Buhler led 29-7 in the third quarter when Mulvane got the big play it desperately needed. On the first play from scrimmage after forcing a Buhler punt, Dylan Hagerman caught a pass in the flat, dodged two tackles and raced 71 yards for a touchdown.
With another stop, Mulvane could dream of a potential upset. But Oden carried four times for 47 yards to begin Buhler’s next drive. Leffler covered the final 23 yards after a devastating ball fake on the option for a 35-14 lead.
Mulvane drove deep into Buhler territory on its next possession, but turned the ball over on downs inside the Buhler 5. Four plays later, Oden ended the suspense by dashing 62 yards for a score and a 42-14 lead.
“We had a chance to get back and maybe make it interesting and get some momentum there,” Mulvane coach Dave Fennewald said, “but they did what good football teams do. They find a way to finish.”
Leffler couldn’t play quarterback last year because of a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. He played wide receiver instead, but the year away from his usual position hasn’t hindered him a bit.
“Me and Oden, we’ve been best friends. We hang out together and we have a really good bond,” Leffler said. “We’ve been playing together since seventh grade, so we have a connection that not many quarterbacks and running backs have."