HOISINGTON, Kan. With Class 2A's frontrunner in the lead for the Class 2A, District 8 football title, a pair of wrestling powers were left to duke it out for the No. 2 spot Friday night. Hoisington used a big second half to pull away for a 49-27 win against Norton.
"Norton is a good football team," said Hoisington coach Zach Baird.
"They're big, they're well coached. We knew it was going to be a tough game For our guys to hang in there and fight in the second half like they did, I'm happy for them."
The Cardinals picked up a big momentum swing just 91 seconds into the second half when senior Xavier Robinson went 75 yards on a pass from Derek Boxberger to give Hoisington a 21-14 edge.
"We always work on pass plays on Thursdays so we were ready to make a big play," Robinson said. "Avery Brewer had a big block and that's probably what scored it."
The offenses slowed after that but the Bluejays eventually found an equalizer on their own big play. Sophomore Gavin Sproul caught a Kade Melvin pass in stride, then hurdled a Cardinal defender near midfield on his way to a 63-yard touchdown reception.
It was all Hoisington after that. The Cardinals used big plays to take command of the game for good. Two plays after Norton's score, junior Wyatt Pedigo broke free for a 60-yard touchdown. On the second play of the next Cardinal drive, Robinson ran 43 yards for the score.
"They were trying to take away the B-back a little bit," Baird said. "We got them in a front we knew we could get them in. Derek makes good reads and it was a quick pull-pitch and Xavier got out on the edge. Once we get him in space he does a really good job."
Both teams had one more big play up their sleeve. Norton's came in the way of a 65-yard hook-and-lateral play. Jonah Ruder made the original catch and flipped to Judson Wiltfong who ran down his own sideline for the final Bluejay points of the night.
Leading just 43-27, Hoisington picked up insurance points on a 1-yard run from Pedigo, then sophomore Joshua Ball ran 32 yards on the second play of the next Hoisington drive for the final score of the night.
Melvin threw for 231 yards on 8-of-19 passing to lead the Norton offense.
Melvin also accounted for 71 of Norton's 103 rushing yards.
Pedigo had another big game for Hoisington, rushing for 134 yards in the first half. He finished with 242 yards and four touchdowns on 26 attempts. Robinson ran the ball nine times for 109 yards with a touchdown, and he also had the big touchdown catch.
At 6-2 overall, Hoisington should face the winner of the Sterling/Southwestern Heights game in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs. Norton falls to 4-4 with a round-one game against Lakin.