On fourth-and-8, Wichita Northwest coach Steve Martin set a tone.
Northwest was at the Kapaun 10-yard line up a point, and the Grizzlies went for it. Junior quarterback Reagan Jones was pressured off the snap, question marked around and fired a seed to senior receiver Kale Patterson.
Northwest went up a touchdown and finished with a 55-26 win over previously-undefeated Kapaun. Martin said he knew the potential his team had. Friday, he conceded he didn’t know whether these Grizzlies have a weakness.
“I challenged them to make me see what we’re capable of being, and I saw glimpses of that for longer than spurts tonight,” he said. “I saw it for quarters.”
Jones made several of those types of plays to stay undefeated. Martin said his transfer slinger “refuses to lose.”
But senior running back Breece Hall was the alpha.
Hall finished with five touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the Wichita area, and much like Martin’s fourth-down call, Hall’s night was set early.
Early in the first quarter after the Crusaders went up a score, Hall broke a near 70-yard touchdown. He bowled through defenders and outran the would-be tacklers behind him.
After three more second-half scores, including a 40-yard catch, Hall lined up in what Martin deemed the “Breece Cat.” Taking the snap, Hall took one step and leaped over the defense to make it five touchdowns — nearly doubling his total through four games.
“I knew I was going to get in,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t going to be denied from the 1-yard line. That’s just all it was. Determination.”
Martin said he wouldn’t rather have any other player in the state in that spot.
“I love watching him punish defenders,” Martin said. “I don’t like all the dancing. He is a 218-pound back, and when he runs over his pads, that’s what excites me. I told him in the first half, ‘I need you to run over people and set the tone. The second half, they’ll be going, ‘I’m not sure I want to hit this guy.’ “
For Jones, he is still learning the offense, which is scary to think about. Martin said Jones comes over to his house every Sunday to watch film. He is a student of the game and one of the reasons for Friday’s win.
Jones finished with three passing touchdowns and one on the ground from 69 yards out. Even with a monster night like that, Hall still took the cake. And Jones said he didn’t even get to watch it.
“I can’t because I have to get the call from the sideline,” he said. “Coach says, ‘You can watch it in film,’ and I say, ‘I want to watch it here. I got the front-row seats.’“
Jones said Hall and senior defensive end Marcus Hicks are 1A and 1B when it comes to the best players he has suited up with. And with the supporting cast around them, himself included, Hall said this team isn’t just scary.
It might be the best in Kansas.
“It all just has to do with consistency and work ethic,” he said. “I think if we do all of those things, we’re unbeatable.”