Meade’s Trevin Wiens dazzled Sterling High with four long touchdown runs. The Buffaloes’ defense had five takeaways to spark a dominating 32-14 Class 2A football quarterfinal playoff victory Friday over Sterling.
Wiens rushed for 242 yards on 12 carries and showed breakaway speed on touchdown runs of 27, 49, 78 and 95 yards. He credited his offensive line for breaking open huge gaps in the middle of Sterling’s defense.
“When I see an opening, I turn on the jets and try not to get caught. That was definitely my top game this year,” Wiens said. “I couldn’t do anything without my offensive line. They were amazing. They did the hard work.”
“Trevin’s big plays were huge,” said Meade coach Scott Moshier. “Sometimes, Trevin gets us the tough yards. That’s one of our base plays, one of the first plays we put in with our offense. When the defense takes away the outside, we’ll run it inside.”
Wiens dashed 78 yards and added a back-breaking 95-yard touchdown run to hand the Buffaloes an early 13-0 lead. Jeff Little highlighted Meade’s dominant first half with a 45-yard touchdown return on an interception of a tipped pass for a 19-0 halftime lead.
Meade (10-1) advances into next week’s Class 2A semifinal at home against LaCrosse (11-0).
Meade has captured three state football titles, including the 2010 Class 2A state championship. Meade lost to state runner-up LaCrosse 21-12 last year in the 2A quarterfinals. The Buffaloes have qualified for the playoffs the past seven years.
Meade’s secondary intercepted four Riley Galyon passes to help the Buffaloes improve to plus 35 on turnover margin for the season. Meade’s Mark Finster intercepted two passes. Chris Hardaway intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble by Sterling’s Austin Myers.
“We played really well defensively,” Moshier said. “We do a good job of handling the football on offense. Our secondary did a really nice job breaking to the football. They are a veteran group back there.”
Sterling quarterback Riley Galyon was a warrior behind an offensive line featuring four juniors. Galyon rushed for 189 yards on 36 hard-fought carries. The Black Bears gained 253 yards on 52 carries.
“Galyon is something special,” Moshier said. “He’s probably the toughest kid in 2A football. He earned our player’s respect with the way he played. He’s also their leading tackler.”
The Buffaloes made it 26-0 on Wiens’ 27-yard touchdown dash to start the second half. Wiens capped his sparkling night with a 49-yard scoring dash for a 32-8 lead.
But Galyon rallied the Black Bears on a 80-yard touchdown drive, capped by his 6-yard TD. Layne Tommer caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Galyon, who accounted for 252 yards. Sterling outgained Meade 316-291, but five turnovers were too much to overcome.
“I’m proud of the way our guys battled tonight,” said Sterling coach Matt Hendricks. “We played them hard and played physical football.”
But Hendricks said the Buffaloes made the Black Bears pay for every mistake, whether it was a missed tackle or a turnover.
“But we gave up a couple of big plays on defense and missed some tackles and you can’t do that against a quality football team like Meade,” Hendricks said. “You can’t turn the ball over like we did the first half and give them opportunities. After some turnovers, I got antsy in the second quarter and we got away from what we do well. That’s on me.”
Hendricks said the Black Bears returned to their base offense the second half and committed just one more turnover. Sterling finished the season with a 4-7 record.
“But our guys continued to fight hard the second half and we played them more competitive,” Hendricks said.
Sterling was down 7-0 when Myers was popped by a Meade defender and lost the football at the Meade 11-yard line. Wiens dashed 95 yards two plays later for a 13-0 lead.
Wiens rushed for 164 first-half yards and Meade gained 169 yards. Sterling managed 138 yards offense with 127 yards rushing.
The showdown was a rematch of last year’s Class 2A state basketball championship won by Sterling.
Galyon finished the season with more than 1,800 yards rushing. He had rushed for 1,591 yards and 22 touchdowns, including a career best 277-yard effort against Smith Center.
Sterling shocked Smith Center 26-16 in the opening round by outscoring the Redmen 26-0 in the second half. Sterling outgained Smith Center 290-20 after halftime. Smith Center coach Roger Barta, who retired after the playoff loss, won eight state football championships and 323 games.
The Black Bears had lost seven consecutive opening-round playoff games from 2004 to 2011. Sterling beat Inman 8-6 before losing to Claflin in 2003. Sterling captured its lone state championship in 1982 under head coach Gary White.