It was a sight not often seen this year in Dodge City High School football. On a hook and ladder play late in the first quarter, quarterback Beau Foster got a hitch to Lakin Scheck, who passed the ball to right tackle Aaron Nelson, all 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds of him, who completed the 25-yard play with a touchdown run to give the Demons a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter against the Liberal Redskins.
"For a kid his size, he runs extremely well," said Red Demons coach Dave Foster.
The Demons went on to win the game 45-6 to complete an 8-0 regular season and were 4-0 in the conference for an outright conference championship.
"Every week was a challenge," Foster said. "It's quite an accomplishment to go undefeated. We were in a dog fight and came out on top. We approached each game individually and tried not to look past anyone."
In the Liberal game, once they got past the first quarter with both teams having trouble moving the ball, they got their first score with 1:06 to go in the quarter. They scored again on their next possession with just 0:04 left in the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Demons defense kept up the pressure and the offense scored again on their first possession on a Matt Friess punt return of 57 yards. It was the first special teams score for the season and the Demons led 21-0 at 10:29 in the second.
The defense stepped up again with a Beau Foster interception that led to a 10-possession touchdown with Alden Knedler on an 8-yard run. It was Dodge 28, Liberal 0 at 5:59 in the second quarter.
Just 15 seconds later, Liberal scored their only points of the game on a one-possession, 80-yard quarterback keeper run. Their 2-point attempt was no good and Dodge led 28-6.
Dodge scored again with just 48 seconds left in the second quarter for a 31-6 halftime lead.
The Demons scored on the first possession of the second half followed by a Matt Friess interception. Liberal then got an interception and Friess was injured on the play and did not return. The third quarter ended with a 38-6 Demon lead. Quarterback Beau Foster got to rest in the fourth quarter, but the Demons continued to dominate and scored on their first possession for a 45-6 lead with 5:56 left in the game and that was the final score.
The Demon defense continues to dominate allowing just four first downs in the entire game and none in the second half. The defense had two interceptions and that was one more reception than the Liberal offense had from their own quarterback, Foster said.
"It was one of those performances that was statistically impressive," Foster said.
Liberal put a lot of focus on the Demons' defensive line, so the inside and outside linebackers stepped up and led the team in tackles.
"Our defensive line attracted extra attention," Foster said.
As they head into postseason play, Foster said he was concerned about mental errors that resulted in false starts and penalties. Penalties result in drives the team can't sustain. If it's first and 22, it changes play calling. That has to be cleaned up as they head into the playoffs, he said.
Foster said Friess, who suffered an injury during the Liberal game, is expected to be on the field when the Demons begin post season play this Friday, Nov. 1, with a home game against Haysville Campus. Campus was the opening game of the season for Dodge and the Demons won that game in Haysville, 34-12. In that game, it was a one touchdown game going into the fourth quarter before the Demons took control.
Campus won their first game of the season against Hutchinson on Friday night, Oct. 25 so they come into the game against Dodge with positive change in momentum.
So, while the Demons have defeated Campus once, they have work to do as they start postseason.
"At the end of the day, you have to focus on the game at hand," Foster said. "I'd like to think we're a better team but they are as well."
The Demons have to continue wining the turnover battle. The team is plus 9 for the season in turnovers. Campus is a heavy run team and has had success in its passing game.
"We have to play great pass defense," Foster said.
In the Liberal game, the Demons had 548 total yards with 228 passing and 320 rushing.
Quarterback Foster had 197 yards passing and 191 yards rushing. Foster, Aaron Nelson, De' Jon Delgado, Matt Friess, Aiden Knedler and kicker Jose Valverde all scored. Knedler had a 28-yard pass completion. In rushing, Knedler had 70 yards, Dakota Whitman had 24 yards and Rudy Hernandez had 22 yards.
Receiving yards: Scheck-57, Delgado-45, Nelson-34, Friess-29, Foster-28, Gavin Jones-20, D'andre Vontress-12, Stone Wilson-3.
Defense tackle leaders: Tommy Bermudez-4 and 5 assists, Josh Harshberger-3 and 5 assists, Knedler-2 at 6 assists, Cedric Rosales-2 and 3 assists, Daniel Sanchez-2.
To contact the writer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.