SEDGWICK—Although Beloit topped Sedgwick 52-24 in Class 3A quarterfinal action Friday, both football teams had reason to be proud.
This year’s trip to state quarterfinals marked the best football-postseason finish in Sedgwick High School history. Beloit also advanced further than last year, earning a spot in the 2012 state semifinals.
Host Sedgwick entered Friday’s showdown with a 10-1 record while Beloit was undefeated. The visiting Trojans scored first, when junior Tanner Niemczyk picked up his first of three touchdowns for the night.
Sedgwick answered with 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Senior Logan Thompson’s touchdown knotted the score at 6-6 heading into the second quarter.
Niemczyk’s second touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion, gave Beloit a lead it would not relinquish. The Trojans added to their 14-6 advantage when junior Payton Vetter scored with 7:20 left in the first half. Niemczyk’s two-point conversion resulted in a 22-6 lead.
Sedgwick answered late in the period when a touchdown pass to senior Drake Standefer narrowed the gap to 10, 22-12. He scored with 47 seconds on the clock, but Beloit wasn’t finished.
Niemczyk continued his assault with his third touchdown on the night. It occurred at the 10-second mark, and junior Bowe Behymer’s two-point conversion resulted in a 30-12 Beloit lead at halftime.
After the game, Beloit coach Greg Koenig said he knew Sedgwick’s offense would be different than what the Trojans had seen, but they thought they could control the ball on offense. He added that his squad managed to take Thompson, the Sedgwick quarterback, out of the running game.
Beloit showed no signs of slowing down in the third quarter, when junior Stanten Krone had an 80-yard touchdown run. Koenig later explained that Sedgwick had used an odd-front defense but switched to a four-man, even-front defense. He described Krone’s touchdown run as a “big play.” It put the Trojans ahead 36-12.
Although Beloit started the third-quarter scoring, Sedgwick finished it. Junior Dalton Brandt picked up a touchdown with 4:52 remaining that sent his squad into the fourth quarter trailing 36-18.
Beloit expanded its cushion early in the fourth quarter, when Vetter threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Krone. Sophomore R.J. Jackson secured the two-point conversion, and Beloit led 44-18 with 10:42 left.
After a series of incomplete passes, Thompson managed a successful pass to Standefer and then Thompson ran it in for a touchdown with 7:29 on the clock. Sedgwick trailed by 20, 44-24.
Following Vetter’s 15-yard gain at the 4:42 mark, Behymer’s 13-yard touchdown run capped Beloit’s offensive display for the night. Niemczyk’s two-point conversion resulted in the final margin, 52-24.
As the minutes waned, penalties that had been mounting all night culminated in a call of unsportsmanlike conduct against a Sedgwick and Beloit player. Both boys were ejected from the game.
Sedgwick coach Jeff Werner said the game “got sloppy” in the second half with penalties on both sides. He added that athletes play especially hard during postseason matchups and emotions can run high.
Beloit accumulated more than 600 yards of offense but had more than 100 yards in penalties Friday. Sedgwick struggled with penalties and turnovers last week at Hillsboro, and Werner said he thought the Cardinals played better Friday even though they did not win. He added that he knew Beloit was one of the top teams in Kansas.
“They’re the best team we’ve seen,” he remarked. “ … They’re just a little more physical than we are and a little bit stronger.”
Beloit will host unbeaten Scott City on Friday, Nov. 16, in state semifinals.
“We’re going to have to be very disciplined, very efficient on both sides of the ball,” said Koenig.