Dodge City High School’s Jace Banner had the type of game Saturday that running backs dream about: eclipsing the ever-elusive 300-yard plateau.
Banner, a senior tailback, rushed for a school-record 305 yards on 38 carries and scored four touchdowns, wearing down Topeka High in a 35-14 victory in a first-round Class 6A state football playoff game.
Banner zoomed past Shiloh Konrade’s school record of 279 yards in a 1996 game against Liberal.
"It's a great feeling," Banner said. "I don't think I have words to describe it. We went out there and executed as a team.
"My offensive line, like I've said, I believe it is the best in the state and they went out and did their job and everything just fell into place.”
Burke ranked Banner’s banner game right at the top.
"That's the best performance I've ever seen from a back," Burke said. "His step-brother (Broderick Smith of Garden City) had one of the best performances against us a couple years ago.
"Broderick rushed for some 347 yards against us in the Hatchet game (during Garden's 42-28 victory), but Jace's performance is the best I've ever seen on our side of the ball."
Smith, who is sitting out this season as red-shirt freshman at Kansas State, transferred from Minnesota, where he saw action as a freshman.
One of the top backs in the state, Banner had already thrust himself into the consciousness of the NCAA Division-I recruiters early in the season. He pushed his season rushing total to 1, 608 yards, a 178.7 yards-per-game average
"I was playing like this was the last game of the season. I'm a senior and this could have been it. I didn't want it to end, and I was giving my all."
"This is just a small step to our overall goal. We are one team with one goal and we're on our way. This is just one small step, and we need to keep moving forward."