Smith Center, Kan. With the 20-19 win over Plainville in the semifinals tonight, Smith Center will look to win its third straight state championship next Saturday.
This is the fourth season in a row Smith Center and Plainville have faced off in the sub-state championship. The Redmen’s win marks its sixth straight win over Plainville.
Plainville got off to a fast start though, as Ben Hansen recovered Smith Center’s fumble and returned it 50 yards to put Plainville on the board 7-0 with 10:50 left in the first quarter.
Smith Center was unable to respond until just three minutes left to play in the second quarter, as Jaden Atwood found the end zone to tie the game at 7-7 going into the half.
Plainville took the lead again with 3:38 left in the third quarter, as senior quarterback Jordan Finnesy found the end zone on a 13-yard run to put the Indians up 13-7. Griffin Kugler blocked the extra point.
Smith Center took the lead for the first time all night on a 7-yard run from Nate Hendrich with 9:32 left in the game to put the Redmen up 14-13.
Finnesy found the end zone again on a 42-yard run to put the Indians ahead once again 19-14 with 3:28 left in the game. Plainville failed to convert on the two-point conversion.
Smith Center responded right away, quarterback Trenton Colby found Griffin Kugler in the end zone on a 33-yard pass with 1:26 left to play.
The Redmen went for two but failed to convert, putting them up 20-14.
The game was sealed when Smith Center’s Sergio Lambert picked off Finnesy as the clock ran out.
Smith Center defeated Olpe in last year’s 1A championship 59-0 and will face Centralia in the state title game in Hays on Saturday the 30th.
Smith Center and Centralia faced off in the championship game in 2009, Centralia won in overtime and ended Smith Center's five straight title streak.