Kingman tops SE of Saline in Double OT thriller

Southeast of Saline vs. Kingman
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 11:25 PM CST
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KINGMAN, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Kingman Eagles advanced to the 2A State Championship with a 28-22 double-overtime victory over the Southeast of Saline Trojans.

Both teams entered the game with perfect 11-0 records. The only Sub-State game in Classes 1A through 6A to feature two undefeated sides.

The teams also were Sub-State runner-ups last season. Southeast of Saline lost to Andale in Class 3A. Kingman fell to Beloit in the 2A semifinal.

Kingman won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Southeast of Saline took the ball but went three-and-out.

The Eagles took over on their 44-yard line. They took 13 plays to make it to the Trojan seven-yard line. Nolan Freund then handed the ball off to Avery Albright on a jet sweep. Albright found the end zone for the first score of the night.

Freund kicked the point after touchdown to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 2:48 to go in the first quarter.

Southeast of Saline got their second touch on the ball starting at their 28-yard line. Southeast quarterback Luke Gebhardt used three passes and six rushes to get the Trojans down the field to the Kingman 15-yard line. He then found his brother Jake with a 15-yard touchdown pass.

The Trojans elected to go for two points. Luke Gebhardt took the snap and kept the ball. He only made it about a yard before a wall of Eagles stood him up.

Southeast of Saline still trailed 7-6 early in the second quarter.

Kingman started the next possession on their 39-yard line. They advanced to the Trojan 40-yard line and faced a fourth and one. Jake Fischer made a two-yard rush to give his team a new set of downs.

Nolan Freund rolled out on the first down and let loose with a 38-yard long pass to a diving Avery Albright. The catch was ruled a completion and a touchdown for Kingman. Freund added the extra point to make it a 14-6 game with 7:03 left in the second quarter.

Southeast of Saline took the ball and worked it down the field. They made it to the Kingman eight-yard line with less than a minute to go in the game.

Luke Gebhardt was looking to score with a pass into the end zone, but Nolan Freund was there to intercept the pass on the three-yard line.

Kingman let the clock run out and took an eight-point lead into the locker room at halftime.

Both teams traded possessions in the third quarter. Kingman took over and started the fourth at the Southeast of Saline two-yard line.

On fourth down and goal from the one-yard line, Nolan Freund mishandled the hike, ran out of bounds at the four-yard line, and turned over the ball on downs.

With under two minutes to go, Luke Gebhardt completed a 20-yard pass to Jake Gebhardt to get within two points of the Eagles. Gebhardt found Tucker Thaxton with a pass to score the two-point conversion.

The score stood tied at 14 all with 1:28 remaining.

Neither team was able to score before the end of regulation.

Each team would get four plays from the 10-yard line to score in overtime.

Southeast of Saline received the ball first in overtime. Nathan Friesen scored on a ten-yard run on the very first play. Jake Gebhardt rushed the three-yards for the two-point conversion to make it 22-14.

Kingman took their turn with the ball. The first three downs only gained the Eagles four yards. On their potential last play of the season, Nolan Freund threw a pass to Tristen Davidson in the far corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Avery Albright got the call for the two-point conversion. He made the three-yard rush to tie the game back up at 22 all.

Southeast of Saline went on offense to start the second overtime. The Trojans could only advance the ball three yards on the first play. They lost nine on the next play. The final two plays were incompletions.

Kingman took over needing to only score to win the game. Nolan Freund ran with the ball for five yards on the first play. Then he took it the final five yards on the next play to win the game 28-22.

The Kingman Eagles raised the Sub-State Champion trophy for the first time since 1972.

“I’m just so proud of our guys,” said fourth-year Kingman head coach Tanner Hageman. “I made a coaching mistake early in the fourth quarter not going for points and making it a two-possession game.

“Just the way out kids battled. Scoring a touchdown, getting a two-point conversion, and then stopping them. The Seniors on our team have such an incredible heart.”

Both quarterbacks led their teams in rushing.

Southeast of Saline’s Luke Gebhardt ran for 98 yards on 28 touches. He also threw for 100 yards on 15 of 27 attempts including two touchdowns and an interception.

Nolan Freund ran for 78 yards on 22 carries. He also threw two touchdown passes as part of a 116-yard total and made 13 completions on 16 throws.

Southeast of Saline’s season ends with an 11-1 record.

Kingman will take their 12-0 record to Salina to face the also undefeated Nemaha Central Thunder in the Class 2A State Championship game next Saturday.