Hillsboro pinned Hesston High's offense back at its own 1-yard line. For some football coaches, that's time to panic.
Hesston tailback Ryan Schadler looked at the situation as an opportunity for something special. The off-tackle run behind left guard Braden Weber and left tackle Garrett Roth was executed perfectly.
Ninty-nine yards later, Schadler was celebrating the first of a school-record seven touchdowns that ignited a 56-28 victory over Hillsboro.
"That was amazing blocking because I did not get touched," Schadler said. "I give a ton of credit to them because they've got a demanding job. It's fun to be a part of something that's a school record."
Schadler's school-record touchdown was a coach's dream.
"We executed a great cross block and the fullback, Merek Barber, got a great block on the linebacker," said Hesston coach Clint Rider. "The blocking was executed to perfection and he was literally untouched the entire way, and he didn't have to change directions at all. Once he saw it open up, he turned on the jets, and he was gone."
Heading to Class 4A District play, Schadler has eye-popping numbers -- 30 touchdowns, 1,539-yards, a 16-yard average and 256 yards per game. He's converted four receptions into touchdowns from quarterback Wyatt McKinney. Schadler has 10 touchdown runs longer than 50 yards.
Schadler credits tight end Brad Simpson, tackles Garrett Roth and Devon Wenger, guards Braden Weber and Christian Graber and center Chase Brown for his success.
"They are an amazing group and they get all the credit," Schadler said. "As long as they stay on their blocks, I believe I can break any play for a touchdown. They have a lot of experience from last year."
Rider said the offensive line freeing Schadler past the line of scrimmage is the key.
"The offensive line has done a great job opening up holes and getting blocks on linebackers," he said. "The importance of his speed in kind of summed up ths phrase "speed kills." There is no substitute for raw speed."
Rider has total confidence in his offensive line.
"Part of that feeling is the confidence I have in our offensive line as well to open the running lanes for Ryan," Rider said. "However, Ryan has turned a couple of plays in which he should have been tackled in the backfield into long touchdown runs."
Hesston utilizes a "zone blocking," scheme that many running teams on read option plays. The line follows a series of steps according to the play and blocks whoever comes into their "cylinder."
Rider said the blocking scheme is perfectly suited to a mobile offensive line.
"Zone blocking schemes allow us to take advantage of the mobility of our linemen," Rider said. "They don't have to get devastating blocks, but rather get hands on and run their feet long enough for the back to make a read and cut off of it. They have an idea who they will blocking, but if the defense stunts, then that may change."
Rider said Schadler's 4.5 speed and ability to cut back gives him with the ability to break any play. Schadler's play has merited recruiting attention from Kansas State, Emporia State, Pittsburg State, Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Western
Schadler enjoyed a strong junior season with 27 rushing touchdowns, nine TDs receiving and 1,750 yards. But the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder has improved because of his off-season work.
"My strength and speed has improved because of my work in the off-season," Schadler said. "I'm stronger and have the ability to run through tackles this season."
Rider said Schadler can hang clean 330 pounds and maxes at 460 pounds on the squat.
"What has elevated Ryan to a new level this season is his commitment in the offseason to get bigger and stronger," Rider said. "That has improved his ability to run through arm tackles, and his strengthened posterior chain has contributed to his explosiveness."
Schadler said his ability to see the field and find a crease in the defense is critical.
"I don't really think about cutting back," he said. "I just see the field and watch for an opening. A lot of teams will overrun the play."
Rider said has the knack of seeing a crease and cutting back.
"That is where our zone blocking scheme fits well into Ryan's strength in this area," Rider said. "It provides a lot of flexibility for the runner to see the open lane instead of giving him a set-in-stone destination.
“Ryan can see things really well and has great vision," Rider said. "Even when you think you have him corralled, he can break free. Ryan is very explosive. He’s one of the most agile and versatile runners I’ve been around. We like to see Ryan is space and let him go.”"
Hesston is averaging 47 points per game, 350 yards rushing and 120 yards passing per game. The way Schadler figures, he's just doing his part. He believes his linemen have a much harder job.
"I am not concerned about what I do individually, but I am invested in our team goals," he said. "I am way more concerned by what we achieve as a team. I like the direction we are headed. Coach Rider has created a family-type atmosphere where everyone's goals are directed to our team."
Rider said Schadler has kept everything in proper perspective and rightfully credits everyone around him.
"Ryan has earned every bit of the success he has had, but he fully understands and appreciates the execution of those around him who have contributed to his success," Rider said.