Maize beats Kapaun to advance to first state championship

Published: Nov. 20, 2021 at 12:13 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The first meeting between Maize and Kapaun in 26 years produced an instant classic in the 5A semis, as the Eagles defeated the Crusaders with a two-point conversion to advance to its first state championship game with a 22-21 win.

“It’s amazing for anyone to get to this point, there is a lot that takes place,” Maize Head Coach Gary Guzman said. “They’ve put in a lot of hard work and sacrifice, to finally get there is amazing and I’m very proud of our kids.”

Both teams would exchange scores in the first half, and the Eagles would block the Crusaders field goal attempt to tie the game at seven all at the break.

Omari Elias gave Kapaun a 14-7 lead in the third quarter with his second rushing touchdown of the night.

The Eagles were quick to respond, with Avery Johnson scoring his second rushing touchdown knotting the game at 14 all.

With two minutes to play, Elias scored his third touchdown of the night to give Kapaun a 21-14 lead and seemingly secure the Crusaders first trip to the state championship since 1987.

But Johnson once again showed why he’s one of the nation’s top dual threat quarterbacks, leading Maize right down the field and capping off the drive with a touchdown pass to Jaeden Martin to pull the Eagles within one with 1:36 left to play.

“They had us down late and the only thing on our mind was lets go win it,” Johnson said.

That’s just what the Eagles would do, as Landon Helm ran the 2-point conversion into the end zone to give Maize the 22-21 lead with under a minute to play.

“We had been in that situation before against Derby and it really helped us,” Johnson said. “We stayed calm and we are happy to be where we are right now.”

Maize will play Mill Valley in the 5A Championship in Pittsburg Saturday at 2.

Kapaun’s season ends at 10-2.

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