Over the course of the football season, Tanner Wood had withstood cuts, bruises, sprains and any other injury as the result of carrying the Conway Springs offense.
One final time, Wood gave every ounce of strength he had built in the weight room for four years. He was in on 41 of 54 plays for Conway Springs, produced 241 yards and all four of its touchdowns.
And it wasn’t enough. Garden Plain proved to be the better team for the second time this season with a 33-28 victory to advance to the third round of the Class 3A playoffs against Scott City. Conway Springs was the defending 3A champion.
Garden Plain improved to 11-0.
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“The kid is tough,” said Garden Plain’s Denver Doyle, as he watched Wood limp off the field. “He’s unbelievably tough. Like no other kid I’ve ever seen.”
Doyle can speak from experience. He plowed through the heart of the Conway Springs defense 25 times for 205 yards and scored twice.
It was the fifth time in the last six seasons the rivals have met again in the playoffs. But this was only the second time the Owls came out the victor when it counted.
This squad hopes to add more to their legacy, but a part of it will certainly be remembered as the team that defeated Wood — who committed to Kansas State last year — twice.
Neither side punted on Saturday, and both teams had one turnover. They each had a turnover. The notable difference was the only other stop of the game when Garden Plain’s defense held Wood inches short on fourth down in the third quarter.
“That’s how it always is with Conway,” Doyle said. “It’s a tough, backyard brawl.”
Even when Garden Plain appeared to have clinched victory, up 33-21 with 3:09 remaining, Wood kept making plays, hitting
brother Travis on the first play of the next possession for a 68-yard touchdown.
But the Owls could not be stopped. Aside from a fumble in the second quarter, they never were. It was a finely-tuned machine that spit out good games from Dylan Clark (78 rushing yards) and Caleb Arnold (99 total yards, three touchdowns).
“You just have to fight through it and keep on working,” Wood said.“It could be your last time, so I had to go out hard. I’m real proud of the way our team fought. We showed heart and we gave it our all.”
GP—Arnold 11 run (Puetz kick)
CS—Ta. Wood 6 run (Bond kick)
GP—De. Doyle 45 run (Puetz kick)
CS—Ta. Wood 6 run (Bond kick failed)
GP—Schumacher 15 pass from Arnold (Panek pass from Arnold)
GP—De. Doyle 25 pass from Arnold (Puetz kick failed)
CS—Ta. Wood 1 run (Bond kick)
GP—Clark 8 run (Arnold pass failed)
CS—Tr. Wood 68 pass from Ta. Wood (Bond kick)
Rushing—Garden Plain, De. Doyle 25-205, Clark 12-78, Arnold 9-59, Balestracci 2-2; Conway Springs, Ta. Wood 33-140, Stanley 8-21, Finstad 5-13.
Passing—Garden Plain, Arnold 2-3-0-40; Conway Springs, Ta. Wood 3-8-1-101.
Receiving—Garden Plain, De. Doyle 1-25, Schumacher 1-15; Conway Springs, Tr. Wood 1-68, Finstad 2-33.