By RICK PETERSON
In Week 4 of the 2021 high school football season Washburn Rural came painfully close to knocking off traditional Centennial League power Junction City on the Blue Jays' home field, dropping an 18-17 heartbreaker.
The Junior Blues were back on the road Friday to take on another league heavyweight and this time Washburn Rural closed the deal, handing Manhattan is first defeat of the season, 21-14.
Washburn Rural never trailed against the Indians, taking 7-0 and 14-7 leads before Manhattan answered to force a pair of ties.
The Junior Blues broke the tie on a 1-yard fourth-quarter touchdown from sophomore quarterback Branton DeWeese and the Rural defense threw a second-half shutout to close out the victory, coming up with three second-half pass interceptions.
Now 5-1 on the season and 4-1 in the league, Washburn Rural put itself in a position to gain at least a share of the league championship. Rural, Manhattan and Junction City all currently have one league loss with two regular-season games remaining.
Washburn Rural will host Highland Park on Friday before hosting Seaman in its regular-season finale.
DeWeese hit senior Robby Bolin for a 38-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in addition to his game-winning score while senior Ma’kenttis Adams had a 100-yard rushing night, including a 5-yard score and Bolin caught six passes for 86 yards.
Bolin, Connor Conklin and Landon MacEwan all picked off passes for Rural, while JC Heim and Ty Weber also came up with big plays defensively.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 21, DE SOTO 20 -- Shawnee Heights was stung by three straight losses by a total of 11 points to start the season, but the T-Birds turned the tables Friday night, getting a tough one-point road win over traditional 5A power De Soto.
The T-Birds have now won two of their past three games to improve to 2-4.
"These kids never quit believing in themselves and have been resilient all season. A special victory for the TBIRDS!'' veteran Shawnee Heights coach Jason Swift posted on Twitter.
Senior running back Jarin Sanders and senior quarterback Callan Carver both had big nights for Shawnee Heights, while Jaxon Correll went 3 for 3 on extra-point attempts, including the difference-maker.
Sanders rushed for 155 yards on 31 carries while Carver rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and completed 10 of 19 pass attempts for 140 yards, including TD passes to Sanders and senior Carter Olson. Olson had two receptions for 66 yards.
HAYDEN 49, SANTA FE TRAIL 6 -- Hayden posted its fourth straight victory while improving to 5-1 overall with a 49-6 3A road district victory over Santa Fe Trail.
The Wildcats, who improved to 3-0 in 3A District 3, have outscored their opponents 162-12 over the past four games with a pair of shutouts.
Hayden put the Chargers away in the first quarter Friday night, opening up a commanding 28-0 first-quarter advantage.
Senior Jack Chisham had three of the Wildcats' first-quarter touchdowns, scoring on a pair of runs and catching a TD pass from senior quarterback Gavin Arnold.
Arnold also hit senior Kaelin Rice for Hayden's first score of the night.
Hayden was in front by a 42-0 count at the half, adding touchdowns in the second quarter on a run from Curtis Morrisey and an interception return. JC Cummings added a TD run to put the Wildcats up 49-0 before the Chargers got on the board with their lone score.
SEAMAN 22, EMPORIA 6 -- Seaman took control early in a 22-6 Centennial League victory over Emporia.
The Vikings, who improved to 4-2 on the season, led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter and extended their lead to 17-7 at the half.
Seaman added 5 points in the third quarter to build a 22-0 advantage before Emporia scored its lone touchdown in the fourth quarter.
CAIR PARAVEL LATIN 58, NORTHLAND CHRISTIAN 12 -- Cair Paravel Latin remained unbeaten on the year, improving to 6-0 with a 58-12 home romp past Northland Christian.
Lion senior quarterback Carter Brian completed 11 of 18 pass attempts for 238 yards and six touchdowns to key Cair Paravel's victory.
Senior Noah Hastert caught 4 passes for 89 yards and three touchdowns while junior Jachin Bonura had three catches for 32 yards and two TDs and and rushed for 62 yards on two attempts. Sophomore Simon Everhart caught two passes for 58 yards and a TD.
Sophomore Ian Brian led the Lions with 10 tackles.
ROSSVILLE 56, PLEASANT RIDGE 6 -- Rossville continues to pile up wins, improving to 6-0 this fall with a 56-6 2A district victory over Pleasant Ridge while extending its overall win streak to 19 games.
The Bulldawgs, who play rival Silver Lake on the road Friday, put Pleasant Ridge away with a 21-point opening quarter and Rossville took a commanding 49-0 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Rossville made the score 56-0 through the third quarter before Pleasant Ridge scored a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Bulldawg senior quarterback Torrey Horak ran for 7 and 33-yard touchdowns and threw for three TDs -- 31 yards to Braden Hensley, 24 yards to Corey Catron and 58 yards to Raphael Cooney.
Catron, a senior, also scored on 24 and 1-yard touchdown runs while Camden Horak ended Rossville's scoring with a 2-yard run in the third quarter.
SILVER LAKE 63, McLOUTH 6 -- Silver Lake tuned up for Friday's showdown with Rossville with a convincing 63-6 home 2A district victory over McLouth.
Senior Brogan Renfro scored three touchdowns and Tanner Martin two for the Eagles, who took control with 35 second-quarter points to open up a 49-0 lead en route to improving to 5-1 on the season.
The Eagles also got an interception return for a TD from Dylan VandeVelde.
JUNCTION CITY 34, TOPEKA HIGH 6 -- Junction City used a 20-point second quarter to take an insurmountable lead in Thursday night's 34-6 win over Topeka High.
Topeka High (2-4) was down by just a 7-0 count at the end of the first quarter, but the Blue Jays led 27-0 at the half as TJ Jones scored three first-half touchdowns for the Blue Jays.
High senior Tylan Alejos got the Trojans on the board with a third-quarter touchdown but Junction City added a pick six to end its scoring.