Varsity Kansas

Maize South edges Maize in first football meeting

Maize South quarterback Korie Frausto cuts through the Maize defense Friday night.
Maize South quarterback Korie Frausto cuts through the Maize defense Friday night. The Wichita Eagle

Forget the playoff math. Near the end of Friday’s first football meeting between Maize and Maize South, the only number that mattered for both teams was one.

Finish with one more point, secure some bragging rights.

“There was no way we were going to come into this game thinking we were ahead by 14 or whatever,” Maize South senior Kale Bulloch said. “We weren’t going to mess with any of that.

“We knew we would have taken a lot of crap if we lost the game and still got into the playoffs.”

In a wild game filled with plenty of ebb and flow, Bulloch did what it took to give the Mavericks one more point. He swatted away a two-point conversion pass by his longtime friend, Maize quarterback Connor Lungwitz, with 23 seconds remaining to give host Maize South a 28-27 victory.

Maize South (7-2) secured a playoff berth for the fifth consecutive season as the second-place finisher Class 5A-District 7. Maize, which finished 4-5, needed a 15-point victory under the state’s district playoff rules to have a chance.

Instead, a large crowd – many of whom rushed to secure a spot in the grandstands two hours before kickoff – witnessed a thrilling battle in the inaugural duel that left little doubt a rivalry was born.

Maize South, which will travel to Liberal next Friday, got the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run by quarterback Korie Frausto with 8:15 remaining. The touchdown was set up by a 38-yard pass on a fake punt from Logan Mormando to Frausto on fourth-and-8 from the Maize 47.

The Mavericks also executed the play in last year’s 4A playoff game against Topeka Hayden.

“We didn’t know if they’d seen that and would maybe be ready for it,” Maize South coach Brent Pfeifer said. “But it worked out great.”

Frausto finished with 21 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns.

Down 28-21, Maize’s fate appeared to be sealed on the ensuing kickoff when the Eagles’ Ian McHugh fumbled a pooch kick and South’s Bryan Gnagy recovered.

But the Mavericks lost their third fumble of the game five plays later, giving Maize the ball at its own 40 with 5:35 remaining. Lungwitz, who was 16 of 28 passing for 192 yards, then engineered a 15-play drive that was aided by two pass interference penalties.

A key play in the march was an 11-yard completion from Lungwitz to Gabe Chavez on fourth-and-6 from South’s 41 that Chavez secured while on the ground.

Maize pulled within 28-27 when Lungwitz hit Alex Lee with a pass near the 5 and Lee tumbled into the end zone. At that point, the Eagles were determined to make the contest render an outcome.

After the teams traded timeouts, Maize shifted into a formation in which six players lined up near the left hashmark away from Lungwitz and three other players. Lungwitz took the snap and rolled right. He tried to connect on an out pattern with Dylan Jones, but Bulloch was there to knock down the pass.

“They had it covered pretty well,” Lungwitz said. “They took away the option and I had to try to force it in there a little bit.”

Maize faced a similar scenario in the third week of the season and lost 29-28 at Salina Central.

“Obviously, we wanted to make the playoffs,” Maize coach Gary Guzman said. “But winning the game was the most important thing.”

The playoff possibility was a longshot for Maize from the start. On the Eagles’ first offensive play, Lungwitz’s pass deflected off his intended receiver and into the hands of Maize South’s Johnny Hepler. Four plays later, Frausto bounced outside on a fourth-and-1 play and ran 26 yards for a touchdown.

Maize South’s defense followed with a three-and-out, and the Mavericks marched 61 yards in seven plays to make it 14-0. Frausto capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge.

The Eagles settled in midway through the opening quarter. Lungwitz completed 5 of 6 passes on a 12-play, 73-yard drive, which ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Chavez.

After Maize South turned the ball over on downs midway through the second quarter, Maize drove 65 yards to pull even. Lungwitz connected with Kendall Stewart on a post route for 46 yards. Six plays later, Lungwitz’s 1-yard sneak made it 14-14 with 3:33 to play in the first half.

The Mavericks missed an opportunity to regain the lead just before halftime. Tight end Cole Koster couldn’t secure a third-down pass in the end zone. On fourth down, Frausto connected with Jeremiah Fettke, but an official ruled Fettke’s foot was on the sideline in the end zone, giving Maize the ball.

Maize South ultimately produced enough offense, churning out 340 of its 415 yards on the ground. But the three turnovers helped Maize reach the final seconds with a chance to win.

Bulloch, who complemented his defense with 102 rushing yards on 12 carries – all in the second half – celebrated the victory with his teammates. But after a short time, he came over and exchanged hugs with Lungwitz, who reflected on his final high school game.

“It was so much fun,” Bulloch said. “There was so much hype leading up to this game. We just stayed strong and stayed mentally tough, and came out with a victory.”

Maize 7 7 0 13 27
Maize South 14 0 7 7 28

MS��Frausto 26 run (Galliher kick)

MS—Frausto 1 run (Galliher kick)

M—Chavez 10 pass from Lungwitz (Pfeifer kick)

M—Lungwitz 1 run (Pfeifer kick)

MS—Bulloch 2 run (Galliher kick)

M—Lungwitz 1 run (Pfeifer kick)

MS—Frausto 1 run (Galliher kick)

M—Lee 4 pass from Lungwitz (pass failed)

Individual Statistics

Rushing—Maize, Guerrero 9-34, Johnson 4-6, West 1-1, Lungwitz 14-(-2). Maize South, Frausto 21-147, Bulloch 12-102, Perez 10-41, Maxson 6-41, Vicin 3-9.

Passing—Maize, Lungwitz 16-128-192-1. Maize South, Mormando 1-1-38-0, Frausto 3-10-37-0.

Receiving—Maize, Stewart 3-96, Chavez 7-76, Lee 4-18, Guerrero 1-4, Jones 1-(-2). Maize South, Frausto 1-38, Parke 2-29, Maxson 1-8.