Salina South tailback Cody Busby set an aggressive tone by running over Hutchinson High defenders like they were bowling pins.
The 209-pound Busby rushed for 149 yards and rumbled for four touchdowns to spark Salina South past No. 1 Class 6A Hutchinson 35-10 Friday night. Busby credited his offensive line of tackles Doug DeWindt, Kevrick Cox, guards Tyler Rhea and Zach Lowers and center Cameron Weishaar for South’s 300-yard rushing night.
“I’m so happy now right now because we’ve never beaten Hutch before,” Busby said. “It was a great time to do it. Our offensive line was so amazing tonight. They opened big holes. They were really small defensively and we believed our offense could run the ball and dominate.”
The Cougars (4-1, 3-1 AVCTL) had lost the last 10 meetings against Hutchinson (3-2, 3-1 AVCTL). Hutchinson plays Derby (5-0, 4-0) at home next week and the Cougars play at Newton.
“I’m proud of our team because Hutchinson is the ultimate measuring stick in the state,” said Salina South coach Sam Sellers. “It’s so big for our team to finally break through. We have great respect for Hutchinson and went out and executed. Our guys up front did a great job. We’ve got some guys behind the line with some talent.”
It was a rare AVCTL loss for seven-time state champion Hutchinson. South outscored the Salthawks 21-0 after halftime. South’s fans celebrated by storming the field.
“South played well and was more physical than us and that hasn’t happened to us since 2004,” said Hutchinson coach Randy Dreiling. “They outcoached us, obviously, and they did a better job getting their kids ready to play. They want to get where were at and they are darn close. That’s certainly is one of South’s best teams.”
After a first with no passes, South complimented the running game with two crucial pass plays, a 44-yard halfback pass from Busby to Zach Nachbar to start the second half and a 46-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Justin Stonebraker to Nachbar for a 28-10 lead.
The touchdown pass was a back-breaker after South gained a first down after a measurement. South completed 3-of-3 passes for 105 yards keyed by the play calling of assistant Jason Hooper.
“We knew we had some things open in the air because we were so successful on the ground,” Sellers said. “Obviously coming out of halftime with a halfback pass was big. It was a great play by Busby and Nachbor.”
South scored five touchdowns on six drives deep inside Hutchinson territory. The Salthawks drove inside South’s 10-yard line three times and scored just three points.
Hutchinson rushed for 320 yards on 50 attempts, but had to drive the field. Quarterback Trevor Turner rushed for 82 yards on 21 carries. Dakota Brower averaged 10 yards a carry and Will Smith rushed for 114 yards and averaged 8 yards per carry.
Tanner O'Donnell and Dalton Harman tackled Hutchinson’s Will Smith on 4th-and-5 at the 10-yard line in the first half.
South’s Cade Calvert tackled Jamison Likes for a 5-yard loss on 4th-and-goal at the 1-yard line on Hutchinson’s first drive of the second half, a play Dreiling second-guessed himself on. Calvert also intercepted a pass.
“I did a poor job calling plays once we got to the goal-line,” Dreiling said. “We made bad decisions and didn’t get the ball in the endzone. We’re down there three times and scored three points.”
Dreiling said the Salthawks’ defense was pushed off the line by the Cougars’ offensive line and their backs ran with extra effort. South finished with 405 yards with Turner Wintz’s fumble recovery one of Hutchinson’s highlights.
“I didn’t expect them to run over our guys,” Dreiling said. “They made plays, caught a touchdown pass and broke tackles. We got outplayed and outcoached. Sometimes that happens. They bounced off us and scored and I don’t know how to fix that. Some of that is determination. They were a very determined team tonight.”
Salina South and Hutchinson matched running attacks in a 50-minute first half with no pass attempts. The clean first half showed no fumbles and one 15-yard late hit on the Cougars. South's Busby gained 104 yards and the Cougars rushed for 173 yards on 21 attempts.
Hutchinson's Turner had 15 rushes for 73 yards by halftime. The Salthawks gained 202 rushing yards on 32 attempts. Hutchinson struck first on Dakota Brower's 50-yard touchdown dash as he avoided a tackle by South's Mike Shirk. The 68-yard drive took four plays.
The Cougars answered with a 75-yard drive in eight plays. Busby dashed 36 yards on one play and scored on a 2-yard run, South surged ahead 14-7 after a key defensive stop at South's 10-yard line.
South started with a 28-yard run by Busby followed by a 23-yard dash by Mike Jones. Busby scored on a 1-yard run to cap the 90-play, 10-play drive.