By Todd Fertig
Shawnee Heights left no doubt it was advancing to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs next week. steamrolling Kansas City-Sumner 68-0 Friday night at Wetter Field.
T-Bird coach Jason Swift’s 100th victory at Shawnee Heights was a special one – a home sendoff for 26 seniors in a blowout playoff win.
“We were clicking on all cylinders,” Swift said. “These kids practiced hard this week. They have goals ahead of themselves, but they came out tonight knowing this could be the last time they play together on this football field. That means a lot to them. For them to get this shutout, this big victory, that’s awfully special.”
The T-Birds' romp sets up a playoff matchup with city rival Highland Park next Friday at Hummer Sports Park.
The visiting Sabres never advanced from their end of the field the entire first period. In fact, Shawnee Heights started every one of their possessions of the first quarter inside the Sumner 44-yard line.
The T-Birds scored on each of their four possessions in the opening quarter as three rushing touchdowns from senior Allen Baughman helped put the T-Birds out front, 28-0.
The second period was nearly as lopsided.
Two touchdown receptions by Jayden Moore, another scoring run by Baughman, and a blocked punt for a touchdown gave the T-Birds another 28 points. They led 56-0 at the intermission.
“Man, it was really great, coming out here, probably the last time we’ll ever play on this field, to have a great outcome,” Baughman said. “We took care of business, did everything we’re supposed to do, and we see good results.”
Those good results included 99 yards and four touchdowns on 10 carries for Baughman.
Quarterback Ryeki Tuley completed 15 passes for 199 yards on just 19 attempts. And all that happened before halftime.
Shawnee Heights inserted backups for the second half, which was played with a running clock. The T-Birds tacked on 12 more points after the break.
The T-Bird defense was as special as the offense. Shawnee Heights limited Sumner to a negative 31 yards from scrimmage.
Swift reflected on his career at the 100-victory milepost.
“I’m lucky,” Swift said. “I’m blessed to have a wonderful family that supports what I do. What I love to do. Being a part of so many great kids and so many great coaches. It’s incredible.”
Swift sees this current group peaking at the right time, primarily due to the leadership of his seniors.
“We’ve got 26 seniors, tied for the biggest senior class in school history,” Swift said. “They’ve grown up together. They’ve got a tight bond, and they work real well with each other. So, it’s kind of hard to stick out as a leader because there are so many of them. But they know each other kind of like brothers do. They can control and motivate and push each other kind of like brothers do. It’s special, maybe because they know that the next game may be their last.”
“We have so many seniors. We’ve had each other since seventh grade,” added Baughman. “We all stuck through it, stuck together as a football team. We gave our all and we’re trying to give an example to the younger players to persevere and give it everything they have.”
Next up for the T-Birds is a date with Highland Park, which blew out KC-Harmon 55-7, the first playoff victory for the program since 1991.
“They’re electric. They’ve got athletes,” Swift said about the Scots. “We’ve got to do our job. It’s good to play another Topeka team.”
“It’s really exciting,” Baughman said, recalling last year’s playoff loss to eventual 5A state champ Mill Valley. “Last year we didn’t have the greatest result when we had a regional championship opportunity. I’m glad we get to have it against HP, another Topeka team. It will be a great crowd. Great energy. It will be a lot of fun.”
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 68, KC-SUMNER 0
KC-Sumner (4-5) 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Shawnee Heights (7-2) 28 28 6 6 -- 68
Shawnee Heights – Baughman 5 run (Tofflemire kick)
Shawnee Heights – Baughman 2 run (Tofflemire kick)
Shawnee Heights – Malcom 1 pass from Tuley (Granado kick)
Shawnee Heights – Baughman 7 run (Tofflemire kick)
Shawnee Heights – Moore 23 pass from Tuley (Granado kick)
Shawnee Heights – Parker recovery of blocked punt (Tofflemire kick)
Shawnee Heights – Baughman 2 run (Granado kick)
Shawnee Heights – Moore 11 pass from Tuley (Tofflemire kick)
Shawnee Heights – Parker 9 pass from Scott (kick failed)
Shawnee Heights – Wheatley 1 run (kick failed)
Rushing – KC-Sumner: Gordon 9-(minus)39, Scruggs 10-(minus)7. Shawnee Heights: Tuley 4-33, Baughman 10-99, Scott 9-80, Wakes 7-44, Wheatley 2-11, Daniels 3-14.
Passing – KC-Sumner: Gordon 5-19-1 15 yards. Shawnee Heights: Tuley 15-19-0 199 yards, Scott 5-6-0 43 yards, Wheatley 0-1-0 0 yards.
Receiving – KC-Sumner: Neely 2-4, Bandy 1-0, Moore 1-5, Scruggs 1-6. Shawnee Heights: Holly 4-58, Baughman 1-5, Moore 3-44, Parker 3-33, Malcom 2-17, Armbruster 3-45, Wheatley 2-2, Wohler 1-21, Ward 1-11.
Punting – KC-Sumner: Gordon 9-28.8. Shawnee Heights: none.