Kapaun Mount Carmel's football team is on a mission to erase recent history.
Step 1 came Friday, when the Crusaders reversed a trend in close games, beating Winfield 28-21 in a Class 5A-District 7 game at Cessna Stadium.
Kapaun clinched a playoff berth and plays at Newton next week for the district title.
The Crusaders have lost three games this season by 12 total points.
"We're looking for a new birth, a new life," Kapaun senior Zac Rasmussen said. "It's a new season in district, and we're just going to try to keep it rolling."
Dyllon Knox's second wind helped Kapaun hold off the Vikings, who tied it 14-14 in the fourth quarter.
Knox started strong, rushing for 82 yards and a touchdown on his first eight carries. But Knox's next 11 carries produced 10 yards. It didn't damage his confidence, though.
"I just told my team in the huddle, 'Just put it on my back and let me do it,' " Knox said. "The line got down there and made good blocks, and I took care of the rest."
Knox ran for 134 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter and finished with 221 yards, helping the Crusaders take a late 28-14 lead.
"I didn't have much previous success in the first half," Knox said. "But I have a switch and I turned it on. I knew I had to go. We needed a score."
Kapaun's defense and Rasmussen were the other heroes. The Crusaders forced 10 punts and allowed two Winfield offensive touchdowns, one on the last play of the game. Kapaun also held the Vikings to 66 rushing yards on 30 attempts.
Rasmussen fumbled a punt return in the second quarter — one of three Kapaun turnovers — leading to a Winfield touchdown.
On the following kickoff, though, Rasmussen scored on a 90-yard return.
"I felt like I had to show my teammates that I'm going to step it up," Rasmussen said. "I just saw the gap and caught it and took off."
Winfield (3-5, 0-2) 0 7 0 14 — 21 Kapaun Mount Carmel (5-3, 2-0) 7 7 0 14 — 28
KMC—Knox 2 run (Cantele kick)
W—Coble 1 run (Groene kick)
KMC—Rasmussen 90 kickoff return (Cantele kick)
W—Mangrum 10 blocked punt return (Groene kick)
KMC—Knox 34 run (Cantele kick)
KMC—Nulik 16 pass from Lewis (Cantele kick)
W—Bannister 4 pass from Bailey (Groene kick)
Rushing—Winfield, Coble 10-34, Bailey 13-19, Oliver 4-7, Ja. Groene 3-6; Kapaun, Knox 27-221, Lewis 10-56, Krehbiel 1-7, Truman 4-6, Hayes 2-1, Rasmussen 1-0.
Passing—Winfield, Bailey 15-32-142-0; Kapaun, Lewis 6-11-66-0.
Receiving—Winfield, Bannister 6-38, Ja. Groene 2-53, Je. Groene 2-27, Menne 3-21, Sawyer 1-5, Bailey 1-(-2); Kapaun, Nulik 3-35, Reynolds 1-23, Knox 1-6, Rasmussen 1-2.