SEDGWICK — Don't ask Sedgwick quarterback Trent Stucky how the offense managed to find itself in a second-and-goal situation 57 yards away from the goal line.
The senior also won't have an answer for how the Cardinals converted it into a touchdown.
The details of Sedgwick's 41-20 victory over Hillsboro in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs were better left unsaid. All that mattered was the Cardinals claiming their first 11-man playoff victory in school history.
Sedgwick (10-0) will travel to Conway Springs (9-1) for a second-round matchup on Saturday.
"Good teams find a way to win games," said Stucky. "I guess that's how we did it. It wasn't pretty, but we found a way to get it done."
The game was mired by 22 penalties — each side committing 11 apiece — for a combined 235 yards. Five turnovers and 15 total runs that went for negative yards also didn't help.
"We looked like a team that hasn't been here before," Sedgwick coach Jeff Werner said. "We didn't handle the pressure very well, but this was an important win for us. We're going to have to up our game if we expect to compete with teams like Conway."
Sedgwick's potent offense never was in synch. Stucky suffered an errant night throwing the ball, but still completed 21 passes for 263 yards and five touchdowns. Take the word of Hillsboro coach Max Heinrichs — Stucky has been the difference this season.
"The quarterback runs that offense so well, he has great command of it," Heinrichs said. "His ability to run that scheme is what the difference is."
After Hillsboro tied the score at 6 on a 35-yard touchdown strike from Luke Moore to Shaq Thiessen, it never threatened again.
Sedgwick sloshed its way through the second and third quarters, riding its passing attack to a 34-6 lead. Levi Vogt led all receivers with eight catches for 117 yards.
While the win marked the first playoff victory for Sedgwick, this one might be better off leaving out the specifics.
"This was the biggest win in Sedgwick history," said senior Elliott Money. "It's a lot of pressure now, but I think we have the experience of handling it now."
Hillsboro (5-5) 6 0 0 14 — 20 Sedgwick (10-0) 6 14 14 7 — 41
S—Money 18 pass from Stucky (kick failed)
H—S. Thiessen 35 pass from Moore (kick failed)
S—Locke 54 pass from Stucky (run failed)
S—Stucky 5 run (Money pass from Stucky)
S—L. Vogt 15 pass from Stucky (kick failed)
S—D. Vogt 4 pass from Stucky (Brandt pass from Stucky)
S—D. Vogt 5 pass from Stucky (Ware kick)
H—Moore 20 run (pass failed)
H—S. Thiessen 97 interception return (Moore run)
Rushing—Hillsboro, T. Thiessen 4-55, Moore 10-46, Proffitt 9-1. Sedgwick, Brandt 17-65, Stucky 17-32, Ware 3-22, Davis 4-11.
Passing—Hillsboro, Moore 9-24-114-1. Sedgwick, Stucky 21-40-263-0, Ware 1-2-3-1, Standefer 0-1-0-0.
Receiving—Hillsboro, Ollenburger 4-41, S. Thiessen 1-35, T. Thiessen 1-26, Dick 2-7, Klassen 1-5. Sedgwick, L. Vogt 8-117, Locke 3-69, Money 5-42, D. Vogt 6-38.