SEDGWICK — The Smith Center Redmen had three 100-yard rushers in a 61-27 win over the Sedgwick Cardinals Friday night in the Class 1A playoff quarterfinals in Sedgwick.
Smith Center, 10-1, advances to the semifinals Friday at home against rival Plainville. Sedgwick ends the season 8-2.
“We struggled to stop one play — a double-dive, off-tackle,” Sedgwick coach Jeff Werner said. “We weren’t able to get it stopped. They hit us and kept hitting us. We just weren’t able to get a stop, and when we did get a stop, we weren’t able to punch it in. We didn’t play at the elite level to beat them. You saw some of them cramping. We were trying to play up-tempo, we weren’t able to eat up enough clock to keep them off the field.”
The Redmen were led by Ethan Peterson with 16 carries for 199 yards and four touchdowns. Colby Benoit had 11 carries for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Hesston Maxwell had 20 carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Maxwell added an interception return for a score.
Sedgwick senior Hooper Schroeder finished the game hitting 30 of 49 passes for 329 yards and four touchdowns. Cauy Root had eight catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Hooper Schroeder finishes play as Sedgwick’s all-time leading passer.
Smith Center capped its opening drive with a five-yard Peterson run. The PAT kick missed wide. Sedgwick came back with a 23-yard pass from Hooper Schroeder to Cauy Root. Conner Tillman hit the kick to put the Cardinals in the lead.
The Redman regained the lead 10 seconds later on a 74-yard Colby Beniot kickoff return. After a three-and-out for the Cardinals, Smith Center scored on a 26-yard Peterson run.
Root and Hooper Schroeder connected again on a 12-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter.
Smith Center came back with a 27-yard Beniot run and a 36-yard Peterson run. The Redmen missed extra-point attempts on both scores. Hesston Maxwell scored on a two-yard run with 1.4 seconds left in the half.
The Sedgwick defense made one defensive stop and recovered an onside kick in the first half.
Smith Center finished the first half with 366 yards in the first half, 351 on the ground. Sedgwick had 170 yards in the first half, 162 in the air.
The Cardinals opened the second half with a 12-play, 76-yard drive that ended with 10-yard pass from Hooper Schroeder to Qayden Shephard. The Redmen replied in seven plays, capping a 55-yard drive with a four-yard Maxwell run.
Sedgwick had a drive end on downs at the Redman 10 late in the third quarter. Eight plays later, Peterson scored on a 42-yard run. Maxwell followed with a 55-yard interception return.
Hooper Schroeder hit Kale Schroeder on a 22-yard pass with 6:44 to play. For the second time in the game, Sedgwick recovered the on-side kick, but turned the ball over on downs four plays later.
Both teams finished the games with their reserves.
Sedgwick loses 14 seniors.
We lose our all-time leading passer,” Werner said. “We had several four-year starters on this team. It’s a tough group to see go on, but we’re excited to see them get this far. It’s only the third time in school history we’ve been here. We’re proud of the steps we’ve taken this year. We think Smith Center is the team to beat. This group of seniors had not won a playoff game, and we had kind of come off an era where we won some playoff games. To get those guys going again is exciting and we’re proud of them.
“We have some players coming back next year. We’ll be good. We have to find a quarterback. I told the Smith Center coach, the way the bracket is set up, we’ll play you again. We put it on the schedule. Hopefully, we’ll be a bit bigger next year. We have a good freshman quarterback. We had a freshman right tackle. We had a young left tackle. We had some other young kids out there. We’ll be back.”
1q. SC Peterson 5-yd. run (kick failed) 9:25
1q. S Root 23-yd. pass from H.Schroeder (Tillman kick) 6:22
1q. SC Benoit 74-yd. kickoff return (Peterson run) 6:12
1q. SC Peterson 26-yd. run (Lambert kick) 3:20
1q. S Root 12-yd. pass from H.Schroeder (Tillman kick) 1:33
2q. SC Benoit 27-yd. run (kick failed) 7:21
2q. SC Peterson 36-yd. run (run failed) 2:37
2q. SC Maxwell 2-yd. run (Maxwell run) :01.4
3q. S Shephard 10-yd. pass from H.Schroeder (kick failed) 8:16
3q. SC Maxwell 4-yd. run (run failed) 4:45
4q. SC Peterson 42-yd. run (Lambert kick) 10:12
4q. SC Maxwell 55-yd. interception return (Lambert kick) 9:15
4q. S K.Schroeder 22-yd. pass from H.Schroeder (Tillman kick) 6:44
RUSHING — Smith Center: Maxwell 20-108, Peterson 16-199, Benoit 11-177, Colby 1-11, Mertins 1-1, Atwood 2-12, Fitch 3-7. Sedgwick: Smith 14-47, H.Schroeder 9-(-2), Hutton 5-10.
PASSING — Smith Center: Colby 1-2-0, 15 yards. Sedgwick: H.Schroeder 30-49-1, 329 yards; Hoffsommer 1-3-0, 19 yards.
RECEIVING — Smith Center: Kugler 1-2-0, 15 yards. Sedgwick: K.Schroeder 5-58, Lacey 10-78, Root 8-116, Becker 1-19, Shephard 5-14.
Missed field goals — none.