Kapaun Mount Carmel scored on each of its six first-half drives, and recorded two first-half safeties on its way to a 71-14 rout over Arkansas City on Friday night at Cessna Stadium.
Kapaun entered Class 5A-District 7 play 3-3, but the Crusaders performed like anything but a .500 team and can clinch a playoff berth next week when it plays host to Winfield.
Kapaun coach Dan Adelhardt said the key was that his team executed.
“My kids came out and played hard from the start like we had coached them up the whole week to do,” he said. “Our defense was phenomenal to start, from a field-position standpoint, so yeah, it was nice to get a quick start.”
He said it gave him a good feeling to easily get halfway to clinching one of two District 7 berths.
“Every team in the state tonight is 0-0, and you play to be 1-0, and that’s what we did, so we’re happy,” Adelhardt said.
Standout senior running back Dyllon Knox had eight of his 10 carries and 117 of his 124 yards in the first half. He also scored three first-half touchdowns.
“We’ve got to keep mixing the ball up, and when he touches it, he’s pretty dynamic,” Adelhardt said.
The Crusaders (4-3, 1-0) had all the points they would need for victory by the 8:31 mark of the first quarter, capitalizing on Ark City’s bad snaps to jump to a 17-0 lead.
Kapaun kicked off to open the game but scored just 51 seconds later when Ark City quarterback Devin Avery was forced out of the end zone after running down a bad snap. A personal-foul penalty on the kickoff return had forced the Bulldogs to start at their 4. A pass play lost three yards, placing the ball on the 1 and setting up the first of two Crusader safeties.
On the ensuing free kick, the Crusaders again struck on their first play from scrimmage when two quarterbacks hooked up for a 60-yard scoring play. Keaton Lewis, who took over as starter in Week 5, hit former starting quarterback Chris Hayes for the touchdown.
“Chris is a nice receiver; he really is,” Adelhardt said. “That switch has made us more of a complete team.”
After an encroachment penalty moved the conversion try closer, Jonathan Truman ran the ball in for a two-point conversion.
Ark City (4-3, 0-1) found itself having to start deep in its territory after another penalty on the return forced it to start at its 5. The Bulldogs reached their 12 before having to punt.
Kapaun’s Zac Rasmussen return the ball to the original line of scrimmage. From there, Dyllon Knox scored three plays later on a 4-yard run for the 17-0 lead.
But Ark City’s misery was just beginning. Its next drive lasted just two plays, both plagued by bad snaps. The second bad snap went over Avery’s head for another safety.
“They kind of dug themselves a hole, and we capitalized on it like we needed to do,” Adelhardt said.
The free kick allowed the Crusaders to begin on Ark City’s 46, and they needed just four plays to score from there, capped by Knox’s 27-yard scoring run.
Ark City punted, and Kapaun overcame a couple of 5-yard penalties and benefited from two Ark City encroachment penalties to go 20 yards for a 33-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But the Bulldogs’ problems didn’t stop in the second quarter. Defensive end Michael Reynolds sacked Avery at the Ark City 41 and outran the Bulldogs to the end zone.
Ark City finally got on the scoreboard with 3:47 left in the first half on an 18-yard pass from Avery to Tayler Rock, denting the deficit only slightly at 40-7. But Kapaun punched right back on a Knox touchdown from 60 yards out, capping a three-play, 92-yard drive.
The Crusaders went to the locker room with a 50-7 lead on Jack Cantele’s 49-yard field goal as the half ended.
Kapaun would score three more times, including a 51-yard run by Lewis. Ark City scored the only points in the fourth quarter when running back Josh Camp went up the middle for an 84-yard score, carrying on all three plays of the 92-yard drive.
Adelhardt said that he realizes that the job of securing a state berth is only halfway complete and likes that the Crusaders will have the home-field advantage of Cessna against Winfield next week.
“Coach (Tim) Friess does a good job with those kids, and they’ll be ready to go,” Adelhardt said.
Arkansas City (4-3, 0-1) 0 7 0 7 — 14
Kapaun Mount Carmel (4-3. 1-0) 33 17 21 0 — 71
KMC—Safety, QB tackled out of end zone
KMC—Hayes 60 pass from Lewis (Truman run)
KMC—Knox 4 run (Cantele kick)
KMC—Safety, ball snapped out of end zone
KMC—Knox 8 run (Cantele kick)
KMC—Stump 2 run (Cantele kick)
KMC—Reynolds 41 fumble return (Cantele kick)
AC—Rock 18 pass from Avery (G. Young kick)
KMC—Knox 60 run (Cantele kick)
KMC—Cantele 49 FG
KMC—Truman 27 pass from Lewis (Cantele kick)
KMC—Lewis 51 run (Cantele kick)
KMC—Krehbiel 7 run (Krehbiel kick)
AC—Camp 84 run (G. Young kick)
Rushing—Ark City, Camp 16-119, Marr 5-16, Spencer 3-(-5), Avery 5-(-25). Kapaun, Knox 10-124, Lewis 5-94, Krehbiel 7-22, Stump 2-7, Schulte 2-7, Degenhardt 4-5, Schaefer 4-2, Cahn 1-7, J. Martin 1-1.
Passing—Ark City, Avery 9-14-78-0. Kapaun, Lewis 5-9-117-0, Degenhardt 0-1-0-0.
Receiving—Ark City, Rock 3-42, Cameron 6-36. Kapaun, Hayes 2-68, Truman 2-43, Rasmussen 1-6.