By RICK PETERSON
Underdog Topeka West got Shawnee Heights' attention early in Friday's United Kansas Conference game, with the Chargers taking a 6-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.
But Shawnee Heights responded just like T-Bird coach Jason Swift hoped it would, scoring 62 straight points and stiffening defensively on the way to a 62-12 Homecoming win over West.
"Creidit to Topeka West,'' Swift said. "That just shows how much heart they have, and determination. We told the kids before the game that (the Chargers) were going to play their hearts out, but we responded. We had a great second quarter and then opened up with two quick scores in the third quarter and was able to put it away for us.''
With Friday's victory Shawnee Heights improved to 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the UKC while strengthening its hold on a home playoff berth. Topeka West fell to 1-6 overall and in the UKC.
"We have a great senior class and this is a class that we don't want to walk off this home field yet and luckily I think we're going to get at least one more based on the seedings right now,'' Swift said.
Topeka West stopped Shawnee Heights at the West 26 on the T-Birds' opening possession and the Chargers got a 63-yard run from senior Josh Nitschkeon first down to set up an 11-yard touchdown run from junior Trey Barr on the very next play (conversion failed).
West's lead was short lived, however, with a 57-yard kickoff return from sophomore Tyren Parker setting up a 23-yard touchdown pass from senior Ryeki Tuley to senior Jacob Malcom on first down (Camden Granado kick).
Heights added an 8-yard TD pass from Tuley to Malcom with 18 seconds left in the first quarter (Chase Tofflemire kick) to go up 14-6 and the T-Birds tacked on three second-quarter scores to take a commanding 35-6 lead at halftime.
The T-Birds got a 1-yard TD run from senior Allen Baughman midway through the second (Granado kick), a 17-yard TD pass from Tuley to senior Jordan Armbruster (Tofflemire kick) and a 19-yard scoring run from Tuley with 18 seconds left in the half after a Parker interception (Granado kick)..
Parker opened the second half with a 90-yard kickoff return from Parker (Tofflemire kick) and Heights boosted its lead to 49-6 on a 13-yard TD run from Baughman (Granado kick).
Sophomore Aiden Scott, the third quarterback used by Heights, hit sophomore AJ Gallegos for a 12-yard TD (kick failed) with 3:24 left in the third to give the T-Birds a 55-6 lead and force a running clock the rest of the way due to the 45-point spread rule.
Scott connected with senior Brayden Wheatley for a 24-yard TD (Granado kick) to end Heights' scoring before Topeka West scored its second TD of the night on the final play from scrimmage, with junior Kenton Tisdale hitting senior Alex Engel for a 30-yard score (conversion failed).
Tuley completed nine of 11 passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns while Scott went six of six for 66 yards and two TDs.
Baughman carried the ball 12 times for 89 yards and his two TDs.
Topeka West's Nitschke carried the ball 15 times for 104 yards before leaving the game in the second quarter with an injury.
Topeka West will close out its regular season next Thursday at Hummer Sports Park against unbeaten Washburn Rural while Shawnee Heights will travel to Leavenworth next Friday.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 62, TOPEKA WEST 12
Topeka West (1-6, 1-6) 6 0 0 6 -- 12
Shawnee Heights (5-2, 4-2) 14 21 20 7 -- 62
Topeka West -- Barr 11 run (run failed)
Shawnee Heights -- Malcom 23 pass from Tuley (Granado kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Malcom 8 pass from Tuley (Tofflemire kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Baughman 1 run (Granado kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Armbruster 17 pass from Tuley (Tofflemire kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Tuley 19 run (Granado kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Parker 90 kickoff return (Tofflemire kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Baughman 13 run (Granado kick)
Shawnee Heights -- Gallegos 12 pass from Scott (kick failed)
Shawnee Heights -- Wheatley 24 pass from Scott (Granado kick)
Topeka West -- Engel 30 pass from Tisdale (pass failed)
Rushing -- Topeka West: Nitschke 15-104, Berg 1-35, Barr 6-30, Lassiter 6-2, Kirtdoll 3-0, Tisdale 4-(minus)-1, Banks 2-(minus)-1. Shawnee Heights: Baughman 12-89, Wakes 4-43, Tuley 5-24, Wheatley 1-1, Scott 1-(minus)-1.
Passing -- Topeka West: Tisdale 7-17-1, 104 yards. Shawnee Heights: Tuley 9-11-0, 139; Scott 6-6-0, 66, Wheatley 1-2-0, minus-1.
Receiving -- Topeka West: Berg 5-66, Engel 1-30, Barr 1-8. Shawnee Heights: Malcom 4-72, Moore 4-32, Wheatley 3-28, Armbruster 2-34, Parker 2-26, Gallegos 1-12. .
Punting -- Topeka West:Engel 2-19.0.