By RICK PETERSON
The Centennial League has undergone major changes over the past several years, going from 10 to nine and now six members.
But one thing that hasn't changed is the school that wins the boys soccer league championship.
With Tuesday night's 5-0 win over Topeka HIgh at Hummer Sports Park, Washburn Rural won its 29th straight Centennial League title (outright or shared), completing a 5-0 league run this fall.
"Part of our soccer tradition, our soccer pedigree is winning the Centennial League,'' Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. "The league used to have 10 teams and now it has six. It used to be double the work to try to win the league but every year that still means we have to beat some rival schools.
"The five games we had to win this year we played great in those five games to do it and the streak keeps going. Every year that I've been here we've won it and every year our senior class doesn't want to be the one to lose it, so we're excited to win it again.''
Rural senior star Devon Rutschmann, who had a hat trick against the Trojans, agreed with Hensyel that winning the league title is a source of pride.
"It started before every single player was even alive and coach said after the game that we have players that were born after Rural's last loss to a league team (in 2008), so there's obviously a little bit of pride to keep it going,'' Rutschmann said.
The Junior Blues, who improved to 14-1-0 overall, got the only goal they would need at the 34:45 mark of the first half on a shot from sophomore Dylan Willingham and Rural made it a 2-0 game at halftime on a goal from sophomore Drew Moore with 23:01 left in the half.
Rutschmann then took over the game in the second half, scoring all three Rural goals to close out the 5-0 victory.
Rutschmann scored his first goal just 29 seconds into the second half and scored again at 26:23 mark before notching his hat trick with 6:31 left.
Rutschmann has now scored 20 goals in 15 games but said winning is his major motivation.
"Obviously I want to score some goals every season and get some assists, but at the end of the day, I play to win the state title,'' Rutschmann said. "That's really the only goal I have.
"Accolades are great, goals are great, but if we can get that state title win, that's more important than anything.''
Sophomore Draden Chooncharoen picked up a pair of assists for the Junior Blues, who also got assists from Willingham and senior Lawsen Lobatos-Dick.
Seniors Ethan Uhlrig and Brayden Lehnherr combined for the shutout in goal for Washburn Rural.
Topeka High (7-9-0 overall, 1-4 Centennial) closed out its regular season with Tuesday's Senior Night game while Washburn Rural will go on the road to face Blue Valley North Thursday night in its regular-season finale.
WASHBURN RURAL 5, TOPEKA HIGH 0
Washburn Rural (14-1-0, 5-0-0) 2 3 -- 5
Topeka High (7-9-0, 1-4-0) 0 0 -- 0
Washburn Rural -- Goals: Devon Rutschmann 3, Dylan Willingham, Drew Moore. Assists: Draden Chooncharoen 2, Lawsen Labatos-Dick, Drew Willingham.. Shutout: Ethan Uhlrig, Brayden Lehnherr.