The Dodge City Red Demons continued to show their heart late in the season against the Derby Panthers in their Class 6A sectional playoff game at Memorial Stadium.
But the Demons couldn't overcome a patient offense as the Panthers used time management and their patented running game to earn a 42-19 victory and ending the Dodge City season with a 5-6 record.
"I thought our kids just played their hearts out," said Dodge City head coach Dave Foster. "They played with a lot of desire. We had a couple of opportunities, but stalled out in the red zone a couple of times. I'm proud of our kids and the way our seniors played out there."
The Demons had cut the margin to two early in the second half, but then committed four turnovers that the Panthers were able to take advantage of in the game. Derby finished with 312 yards rushing in the game.
"Derby is very talented and well coached," Foster said. "The turnovers in the second half killed us. We had a chance to stay in the game if not for those turnovers. Their idea was to run the ball down our throats, and that's been our arch nemesis to stop the run game."
Parker Davis ran 25 times for 170 yards and a touchdown on offense and 10 tackles and a forced fumble on defense in his final game as a Red Demon. Quarterback Kelan Newton was 14-of-26 for 134 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions; while kicker Dillon Burkhart made both of his field goal attempts.
Quarterback Chandler Shantz ran for 185 yards and three scores and also threw a touchdown pass to lead the Panthers (10-1).
It took the Demons two plays to get on the scoreboard. Newton completed a 21-yard pass before Davis scored on a 61-yard run to give Dodge City a 7-0 lead.
Derby answered on the ensuing kickoff as Damian Avery went 97 yards to tie the game after 53 seconds of play. The Panthers took the lead with 32 seconds left in the stanza on an 18-yard run by Shantz to make the score 14-7.
Dodge City answered with two Dillon Burkhart field goals from 34 and 28 yards to cut the deficit to 14-13 with a minute before halftime. Derby used its passing game to get a quick score before intermission when Shantz threw a 7-yard pass to DeAndre Goolsby to make the score 21-13.
The Demons took advantage of good field position early in the second half. Derby went for a fourth-and-1 at their 20, but couldn't gain the yard to give the ball back to Dodge City. Newton found Dakota Duckett for an 8-yard touchdown pass. The Demons didn't convert the 2-point conversion and trailed 21-19 less than four minutes into the third quarter.
The Panthers didn't slow down as they marched down the field on the next drive, closing out with a 4-yard touchdown run by Shantz. After the Demons fumbled the ball at midfield on their next drive, Shantz scored his second touchdown of the stanza on a 1-yard run to make the score 35-19.
Page 2 of 2 - Dodge City wasn't able to recover the pooch kickoff by the Panthers and Derby responded with a touchdown by Tyler West early in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.
Foster reminded everyone of the way things had been three weeks ago after the Maize game where he challenged the seniors and all but one responded.
"I challenged them to be 'all-in' or 'all-out' and we had one leave," Foster said. "After that, I think we had all of our kids committed to it and this became a special ride. The kids have nothing to be ashamed of, and neither do our coaches. They worked their hearts out to get to this point and not too many teams get to do what we did down the stretch."