HOISINGTON, Kan. Hoisington and Garden Plain have wins against Conway Springs and Norton, the two teams playing in the other half of the bracket. That meant most of the power was in Hoisington as the unbeaten Owls looked to upend top-ranked Hoisington. Instead, the Cardinal ground attack proved to be too much. Wyatt Pedigo found the end zone five times in a 48-22 win.
Hoisington opened the game with two penalties and put up a rare punt on its first possession. Cardinal senior Avery Brewer came up big on the first Garden Plain possession with an interception. With a second chance, Cardinal quarterback Mason Haxton took advantage with runs of 15 and 21 yards to set up a 3-yard touchdown run from Wyatt Pedigo.
"That was just the read series," said Hoisington coach Zach Baird. "I thought Mason did a great job of making reads. Our offensive line played with great pad level off the football. I thought they set the tone for us tonight. All of our backs, whoever it was, I just thought everyone played really well."
Owl quarterback Matt Pauly had the answer just two plays later with a 61-yard burst from scrimmage. A blocked point-after kept Hoisington on top 7-6 late in the first.
"They're a good football team," Baird said. "You know they have great athletes and you know they're going to make big plays. The key was not allowing one big one over and over to hurt you. We weren't perfect, but I thought we rebounded well. Our guys, we have great senior leadership, and they stayed in and fought for each other."
Haxton capped the next Cardinal drive on a 20-yard run, then Pedigo ran 74 yards to give Hoisington a 20-4 edge by halftime.
Garden Plain refused to go away. On fourth-and-short, the Owls capped a lengthy drive with an 18-yard pass from Pauly to senior Trey Smith.
Haxton and Pedigo, however, were just too much. Haxton ran 58 yards on the next play from scrimmage, and Pedigo punched it in from six yards out two plays later. After a Garden Plain punt, Haxton broke free for a 42-yard touchdown. He had 100 yards on his first two carries of the second half.
Garden Plain scored on the first play of the fourth quarter an a short run from senior Blake Long to keep things interesting at 34-22, but Pedigo scored from a yard out on the next Cardinal drive, then nearly returned an interception 40 yards to the house before settling for a 5-yard touchdown run for the final points of the game with 4:18 remaining in the contest.
Haxton finished with 182 yards on just two carries. Four of his attempts went for at least 20 yards. Pedigo, who entered the night averaging 15 yards a carry, ran for 267 yards on 27 attempts. He now sits at 2,271 yards on the season.
Garden Plain ends its season at 10-1. Hoisington moves to 11-0 heading into a rematch with Norton. The Cardinals defeated the Jays 38-7 for a district title on Oct. 25.