Rose Hill wins its first 4A football championship
SALINA -- Facing a team with three players with more than 1,000 rushing yards, the Rose Hill defense did what its done all football season: be dominant.
Holding Eudora to 171 yards, Rose Hill won its first Class 4A championship with a 21-0 victory at Salina District Stadium.
"We knew we were in for a battle," Rose Hill coach Greg Slade said. "The shutout was just a great accomplishment."
Eudora's backfield trio of quarterback Derek Webb and running backs Gabriel Cleve-land and Christopher Pyle combined for 104 rushing yards on 43 carries less than 2½ yards a try. When it looked as if Eudora (12-2) might start to pick up momentum, Rose Hill stopped it.
Trailing 7-0 with a strong wind at its back in the third quarter, Eudora moved its first drive to the Rose Hill 34-yard line. On first down, Pyle took the handoff but lost the ball. Rose Hill's Tyler Knight caught it in mid-air and raced 66 yards for a touchdown.
"I saw it come out and just grabbed it," Knight said. "I was just hoping not to get caught."
From there, it was just a matter of holding on for the program's first state title.
The Rockets (13-1) had taken control on the score-board in the first quarter on a 27-yard scoring pass from Derrick Decker to Caleb Braddy down the middle of the field. With 1:33 left in the third quarter, Rose Hill finished its scoring when senior Hunter Lewis broke through the line and darted into the end zone from 14 yards.
"This means so much for our team and for our town," Lewis said of the state championship. "We knew they were a good team and we were just going to have to stop their running game. It was great."
Eudora was able to move 79 yards on its lone possession of the fourth quarter, but on fourth-and-1, the Rockets defense preserved the shutout by stopping Webb at the goal line.
"We really wanted the shutout," Lewis said. "That (stop) was our statement."
The state title-game appearance was the first for Rose Hill since losing to Topeka Hayden 31-13 in 2004. Rose Hill beat Hayden in last weeks semifinals.
Rose Hill (13-1) 7 0 14 0 21
Eudora (12-2) 0 0 0 0 0
RHBraddy 27 pass from Decker (Knight kick)
RHKnight 66 fumble return (kick failed)
RHLewis 14 run (Forsberg pass from Slade)
RushingRose Hill, Decker 16-76, Lewis 7-53, Dockers 6-36, Pearson 7-12, Forsberg 1-1. Eudora, Pyle 11-56, Cleveland 16-44, Webb 16-4.
PassingRose Hill, Decker 2-6-0-36. Eudora, Webb 6-10-0-67.
ReceivingRose Hill, Braddy 1-27, Anderson 1-9. Eudora, Cleveland 2-39, Ballock 3-13, Pyle 1-15.