EMPORIA — It was just one play, but it may have captured the essence of Hutchinson's sixth straigth state football title perfectly.
Hutchinson's Deveon Dinwiddie took a pitch around end and was met by a gang of Gardner-Edgerton defenders, only to wriggle free and glide into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown, his fifth of the game and the final score for the Salthawks.
The previously unbeaten Trailblazers were just the latest victim to challenge the Hutchinson dynasty early in the game only to wither away, this time in a 52-14 trouncing at Welch Stadium for the Class 5A title on Saturday.
Gardner-Edgerton led 14-7 in the second quarter, only to watch as the Hutchinson rushing machine pumped out 45 unanswered points. The Salthawks' sixth consecutive title is a state record.
"Our kids have so much confidence in our system and in our defensive schemes and our offensive schemes," Hutchinson coach Randy Dreiling said, "that we know over the course of a game, if we don't give up big plays and we do what we're supposed to do, then we're going to come out on top."
Even when Gardner led in the first half after two two Bubba Starling touchdown passes, Hutchinson stood its ground.
"We don't crack under pressure," said Salthawks cornerback James Jones.
Three plays into its next drive, Hutchinson hit for the big play when Dinwiddie went untouched for 59 yards.
Gardner focused on stopping Josh Smith up the middle, and that allowed Dinwiddie to run wild. Smith's longest run was 13 yards.
"It seemed like their game plan was to stack a bunch of guys in the box and focus on that middle run game," Smith said. "That opened up the outside tremendously."
Hutchinson went to the air, too, with Cooper Bell finding Dinwiddie for a 43-yard touchdown pass and a 21-14 halftime lead.
Dinwiddie finished with 219 yards on 13 carries and five touchdowns.
"We run plays quick," Smith said. "We try to be very physical and just wear (teams) down. I think that might have happened today a little bit."
After Gardner's two quick scores, it turned the ball over twice inside the Hutchinson 10-yard line and netted only 71 yards of offense in the second half.
"We always say we've got to have relentless pressure," Hutchinson defensive end Geneo Grissom said. "We've got to make them want to quit. That's our goal, to make them quit."
After the game, Dreiling made it clear what his team's focus was before the game, and after.
"Don't think about the whole six-in-a-row thing," he told his team. "Focus on this one because you can't have the six without the one."
Hutchinson (13-0) 7 14 17 14 — 52 Gardner-Edgerton (12-1) 7 7 0 0 — 14
H—Smith 12 run (Thomas kick)
G—Berry 29 pass from Starling (Lee kick
G—Jensen 32 pass from Starling (Lee kick)
H—Dinwiddie 59 run (kick failed
H—Dinwiddie 43 pass from Bell (Bell run)
H—Dinwiddie 59 run (Thomas kick)
H—Dinwiddie 12 run (Thomas kick)
H—Thomas 37 field goal
H—Stucky 55 run (Thomas kick)
H—Dinwiddie 26 run (Thomas kick)
Rushing—Hutchinson, Dinwiddie 13-219, Smith 25-117, Bell 7-58, Stucky 1-55; Gardner-Edgerton, Jensen 13-56, Starling 20-55, Berry 2-5, Weber 3-5.
Passing—Hutchinson, Bell 2-4-63-1; Gardner-Edgerton 7-16-173-2.
Receiving—Hutchinson, Dinwiddie 1-43, Smith 1-20; Gardner-Edgerton, Berry 4-115, Jensen 3-58.