Orioles move into district's catbird seat
Other than an early glitch, the Concordia Orioles looked in prime playoff form, downing the visiting Santa Fe Chiefs 61-6 Friday night in I-70 Conference and Class 1, District 6 football action.
The Orioles raced out to a 26-6 lead after the first quarter and led 55-6 by halftime. They scored the game's final touchdown in the fourth quarter
The early glitch was a touchdown run by Collin Werths that was called back due to an illegal-motion penalty.
However, Luke Kapala took the handoff on a jet sweep to the left. He raced 56 yards to the end zone on the game's next play, setting the early tone.
The Orioles added a 60-yard touchdown pass from Josh Bushman to Kyle Wilson on their next possession and a 57-yard run to paydirt by Kapala for a 20-0 lead.
"We ran play-action off of our counter, and Kyle got behind the defense," CHS head coach John Cox said. "Josh made a great throw, and Kyle made a great catch."
The only glimmer of hope for Santa Fe is when it capitalized on a drive late in the first quarter, quarterback Matt Bodenhamer scoring on a six-yard run, trimming the lead to 20-6.
However, Kapala returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown.
"Luke caught it off the bounce, and our two wedges did a great job of opening up the middle for Luke to make a great run," Cox said.
From there, the Orioles dominated.
Concordia scored four second-quarter touchdowns, starting with Collin Werths' 14-yard run.
Then, Werths hauled in a 23-yard scoring strike from Bushman.
Kapala was on the receiving end of a 20-yard touchdown pass from Bushman, and Dan Miller plunged across the goal line from two yards out.
With the quick-clock rule in effect the entire second half, the Orioles scored their last touchdown on a five-yard run by Trent McGinnis.
Bushman had a big game throwing the ball, completing seven of 10 tosses for 190 yards.
"We need to continue to use Josh the way we did Friday night," Cox said. "He is too good of a weapon for not to use his abilities."
Cox also knows it is important for the Orioles to become more of a dual threat on offense.
"Since the Wellington game, we knew we needed to start opening up the offense, using some different formations and throwing the football," Cox said.
Bushman zeroed in on five different receivers, Wilson catching two for 92 yards and Kapala two for 33 yards. Blake Heimsoth also caught one for 33 yards and Cale Brunkhorst one for nine yards.
Of course, the Orioles did the bulk of their damage on the ground, accumulating 296 of their 486 total yards.
Kapala rushed four times for 118 yards, Austin Hon four for 89 and Miller five for 34.
Santa Fe, which gained 11 first downs, totaled 101 yards on the ground, led by Boden-hamer with 62 yards in 11 carries. Alex Martinez was next with 29 yards in 13 totes.
The Chiefs were limited to 180 yards of total offense, including seven tackles for loss and one quarterback sack by the Concordia defense.
"Our defense did a great job of defending the option all night," Coix said. "They threw a lot of play-action at us, and I thought, overall, we defended it well.
"We have really had some guys step up and fill some key roles for us, especially the play of Blake Heimsoth at outside linebacker."
Heimsoth finished the game with two solo tackles, one tackle for a loss and broke up a pass.
Jamie Thieman had a good night on defense with five solo tackles and two assists. Josh Kock finished with four solo tackles, four assists, one quarterback pressure, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Bushman also contributed on defense with three solos, five assists, one quarterback pressure and one tackle for a loss. Miller contributed three solos, one assist, one tackle for a loss and two quarterback pressures.
The Orioles, 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the I-70 Conference, have nailed down a spot in the Class 1 state playoffs, leading the district at 2-0 and a plus-26 in the scoring differential.
Now, they will go after their second straight district championship, traveling to Center-view to tangle with Crest Ridge, which shut out Sweet Springs 44-0 on the road Friday.
The Cougars, 1-1 in the district, 2-4 in the conference and 4-5 overall, present different kinds of problems for the CHS defense.
"They have some good receivers that you need to account for on every play," Cox said. "We need to again get off to a fast start, try to force some turnovers and keep our offense balanced."
The Chiefs, 3-3 in the conference, 6-3 overall and 1-1 in the district, are in a must-win situation because they are 24 points behind Crest Ridge in the point-differential category.
Santa Fe hosts the Sweet Springs Greyhounds, 1-5 in the conference, 1-8 overall and 0-2 in the district.
Both games are Thursday night at 7.
The Orioles won last year's battle with Crest Ridge 64-0. Santa Fe beat the Greyhounds 42-20 in 2010.