CLAFLIN, Kan. - With the 45 point rule in 8 man football, shutouts are more common than in 11 man. That's known. But the clip at which Central Plains is doing it, and against high level competition, is anything but common.
The Oilers have played 12 games this season. At the end of 9 of those game their opponents score was unchanged from the opening kick. St. Francis is just the latest team to succomb to a defense that has given up just 28 points all season, an astounding 2.3 points per game.
And the games like that aren't exactly against weak competition. The Indians entered the game today a perfect 11-0. A week ago, defending champion Hoxie scored the first points on the Oilers since week two but still lost 54-6. Before that, Ness City fell 50-0 in the teams second matchup of the year. The Eagles are the only team to cross the goal line twice against the Oilers this year, a 30-14 week one matchup.
While it's the defense that's making the headlines, the offense is doing anything but slack on the opposite side of the ball. Saturday's game is just the third game all season to not finish early due to the 45 point rule, and first since a 32-8 week two win against Victoria. The 42 point win Saturday actually drops their season scoring average to only 48 points per game.
Quarterback Myles Menges got the scoring started against the Indians with one of the best plays you'll see all year, somehow escaping a sack to deliver a dart on the run to Devin Ryan for the deep score. From there, the defense did their job, the Oilers kept the scoring coming, with a heavy dose of Menges and running back Alex Hickel proving too much for St. Francis. The result, Chris Steiner and company are back in the title game for the first time since winning the title in 2014.
The Oilers will be heavy favorites against Solomon in the title game, but the Gorillas are hungry. Solomon will be making their first title game appearance in school history. And as Coach Steiner warned his team following the game, they shouldn't get too comfortable. In 2014 Central Plains entered their game against perennial power Hanover in the same position before getting the victory.