DODGE CITY, Kan. It may not be an official state-sanctioned game but the American Implement Wild West Bowl brings with it some serious hardware for the Kansas 6-man state champion. Saturday in Dodge City, Moscow made quick work of Cheylin 52-6 for its first championship in more than four decades.
"It feels really good," said Moscow senior Austin Snyder. "It's the first one in 41 or 42 years. It's pretty fun."
Snyder's huge day came just three plays after Cheylin's first turnover on downs when he ran 10 yards to the end zone just three minutes into the game. After another Cougar turnover on downs, Wildcat quarterback Adan Granillo appeared to be wrapped up. Instead, he handed off to a streaking Snyder who ran 30 yards down the sideline for a 14-0 score with 4:37 still to play in the opening frame.
The Wildcat defense was tough all day, forcing seven turnovers on downs, including the first three Cheylin possessions. On Moscow's third possession, it was again Snyder, this time breaking loose for 32 yards.
"They key on that was hooking the end," Snyder said. "Our guys hook the end and I'm gone every time."
Snyder continued to amaze in the first half. He added a 29-yard score, then appeared to have a 50-yard touchdown run on the first play of the following Moscow drive. When that run was called back on a penalty, he took the very next play 60 yards to the house.
The Cougars eventually got on the board, but only with a little luck. Cheylin junior Colton McCarty was named 6-man quarterback of the year. He struggled completing passes Saturday, and nearly threw an interception to Snyder. Instead, junior Drew Schiets grabbed the tip and ran 43 yards for what proved to be the only Cougar points of the contest.
Snyder and company, however, pressed on. Schiets recovered the ensuing kick and the Cougars were driving before Moscow junior Trenton Kennedy forced a fumble. Snyder was there to pick it up and run 60 yards for the score.
"Luckily our end got to him,pushed him forward and just popped it out," Snyder said. "I just scooped and scored - that's all it is."
Moscow neared the 45-point rule with a 39-6 lead at the break. Just four plays into the second half, Snyder scored from a yard out. After one more defensive stop, Snyder needed just two runs to go the final 32 yards of the season.
McCarty completed just three of his 12 pass attempts on the day for 85 yards. He was also kept in check with just 21 net yards on 18 carries. He netted minus eight yards in the second half.
"We came with a big-hitting mentality," said Snyder. "We just keyed on (McCarty). He was the leading rusher but not tonight."
Snyder finished with 216 yards and seven rushing touchdowns on his 14 carries. Big-hitting Gerardo Garcia had a monster defensive game and rushed for 37 yards on four attempts.