In one of the best second-halves of football this season the Hutchinson Salthawks were able to hold off the surging Topeka Trojans 42-33 in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.
Hutchinson got on the board first when Dakota Brower took the pitch from Trevor Turner, hit the gap and found his way to the end zone. But the Salthawks' 7-0 lead lasted for just two plays after their kickoff; Topeka's Raymond Solis called his own number and sprinted 55 yards for the touchdown to tie the game.
Solis scored all three of the Trojans' first half touchdowns but Topeka was only up 20-14 at the break because of a missed extra point. Will Smith found the end zone for the Salthawks' second score of the game.
Smith would also start the scoring in the second half, running in from short yardage after Turner hit Evan Gaines-Grissom about thirty yards downfield. Hutch's defense picked up on the next series forcing a 4th and 2 inside Topeka's territory. Solis faked the handoff and went back to his right only to fumble the ball setting up Hutch with a first and ten on the Trojans' 27 yard line.
The Salthawks turned that into another touchdown for Smith as they took a 28-20 lead.
Topeka would drive back down and score when Austin Tillman barreled his way into the end zone. Then Coach Alexander decided he wanted to tie the game and go for the 2 point conversion. Solis carried it straight ahead but he was met by a gang of Salthawks who prevented the try and helped retain the 28-26 Hutch lead.
The second half was all about Trevor Turner for Hutch as he truly sparked the team. Turner muscled his way through the line and dragged a defender into the end zone as he ran for a 55 yard score to give Hutch a 9 point lead in the third.
Topeka would get back within two of the Salthawks but Turner would once again set up another touchdown drive by Smith to keep it a 9 points Hutch advantage in the fourth quarter.
The Trojans were moving easily down the field and were poised to score with just over three minutes to play. Solis used his powerful arm to hit his receiver around the ten-yard line but the receiver bobbled the ball and tipped it into the arms of a sliding Turner Wintz. Wintz, wearing a bulky cast on his left arm, came up with the interception on the 9-yard line. That pick iced the game for Hutch as the Salthawks ran down the clock for the 42-33 win.
Hutch advances to the semi-finals of the 6A state playoffs and will play at Derby next Friday.