The final score was almost identical to their meeting on the first game of the season — Dodge 34, Campus 12 — but the Dodge City High School Red Demons came up against a more stubborn Haysville Campus team Friday before the offense got going and recorded a 34-13 victory.
Coach Dave Foster said he felt the team was a little flat in the pregame warmup. The team had already beaten Campus once and the coaching staff had talked with the players about being complacent.
Foster said he didn't sense it during the week but it just seemed it took a while for the team to get going even with a long opening possession drive that resulted in no points.
Things started strong for the Dodge defense when they stopped the Colts on Dodge's 1-yard line for no score.
The Demons put together a 16-play possession but failed to score when a field goal attempt went wide.
Both teams had goal line stands and that balanced out the start of the game. The Demons had moved the ball effectively on the ground and it was that ability to run the ball that opened up some explosive plays, Foster said.
Campus countered the long Demon drive with an 8 play drive for a touchdown with just 30.9 left in the first quarter for a Dodge 0, Colts 7 score at the end of the first.
Defense took over in the second quarter as both teams stopped drives until the Demons recovered a Campus fumble deep in Campus territory. It took three plays for quarterback Beau Foster to run for a 3-yard touchdown for a 7-7 tie halfway through the second quarter.
Campus countered with a four-play, 80-yard touchdown, but the PAT went wide for a score of Dodge 7, Campus 13 with 5:09 left in the first half. But the Demons offense had found itself and engineered a six-play touchdown drive to make the score Dodge 14, Campus 13. It was the last time Campus would score in the game.
On their next possession, the Demons took just four plays for Alden Knedler to take a 3-yard run into the end zone for a Dodge 21-Campus 13 score at halftime.
The Demons took the second half opening kickoff and put together an 11-play drive that included two big gains but did not score when the Colts defense stopped four touchdown attempts within the 7-yard line. Foster said he thought they had the touchdown three times in a row but the officials marked it short.
"I thought we were across the line. I still think we got across three times," Foster said.
Foster said they opted to go for it on fourth and goal on the 1 because it was a chance to put them away. They have a good kicker, but Foster said it would have felt like it was a failure to drive 99 yards and not get a touchdown.
"I felt like it was a chance to put them away," Foster said.
Neither team could get the ball over the goal line in the third quarter so it was still Dodge 21, Campus 13, going into the fourth.
The Demons finished out a 14-play drive that started in the third and ended in the fourth with a touchdown.
The PAT missed, but a Campus penalty gave the Demons a second chance and it was good for a Dodge 28, Campus 13 score with 7:56 to go in the fourth.
On the following Campus possession, Cedric Rosales intercepted the ball but Dodge turned it back over on the next play with a fumble at the goal line.
The Demon defense forced a 3 and out then the Demons went to work again and Lakin Scheck scored his first touchdown of the season on a 9 yard pass play. The PAT missed and with 1:20 to go, the Demons finished the game with a 34-13 victory over the Colts.
The Demons registered 339 yards of offense in the game with most of that on the ground. There were some key pass receptions also that helped stretch the Campus defense. But when a team can run the football, they can sustain long drives that run the clock and control the game, Foster said.
"It's a tribute to the way the offensive line was playing," Foster said.
There were some misalignments that left the team a man short on the weak side, and that happened 10 to 12 times on one game.
"We have to learn from that," Foster said. "If we have a focused football team, we don't have those issues."
Next up for the Demons in post season play is the Junction City Bluejays at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, in a home game for Dodge City. Junction City, 7-2, defeated Southeast 48-21 to advance to the second round of post season play. The winner of that game will take on the winner of Topeka vs. Lawrence.
Foster said Junction has a superior athletic football team, especially in its skill positions. The team has speed in its favor, Foster said.
Junction's two losses were to Manhattan and a one point loss to Emporia by 1, plus they have a signature win over Topeka High 48-41. The Demons beat Junction City last year 25-15, but that was a year ago.
"This is not the same team we're going to face this year," Foster said. "There won't be any complacency around the football office this week or at our practices."
To beat the Blue Jays, the Demons will have to continue to win the turnover battle, the defense has to be a dominate group. They have to control the line of scrimmage and have strong pass coverage because Junction City has so many explosive players.
The Demon offensive line will have to sustain their offensive opportunities.
"It comes down to kids executing fundamentals in an efficient manner," Foster said. "That's what makes good football teams."
The Demons still continue to play without two of their captains because of injury and another senior starter will not be available this Friday because his family is going on vacation.
One thing that would help the team is more fans in the stands. Foster said it seemed like the fans had become complacent and just automatically expect the team to go out and win.
"I don't think the fans understand the impact they have on the game. The crowd can be a factor in winning the game," Foster said. "We need our people in the stands, rowdy and loud."
The Demons are 9-0 on the season and ranked 21st in the state. The Bluejays are 7-2 and ranked 27th.
In the Dodge-Campus game, Foster had 84 yards passing (1 touchdown) and 155 rushing (2 touchdowns), Knedler had 182 rushing (2 touchdowns), Matt Friess 10 rushing.
Receiving yards: Friess 41, Gavin Jones 26, Scheck 9 (1 touchdown), D'andre Vontress 8.
Defense tackles and assists: Josh Harshberger 4-5, Tommy Bermudez 4-7, De Jon Delgado 3-0, Foster 2-1, Knedler 2-3, Scheck 2-0, Santonio Turner 2-5 with 1-sack, Matt Friess 1-0, Gavin Jones 1-1, Jashon Taylor 1-0, Aaron Nelson 1-3, Daniel Sanchez 1-0, Joshua Bertholf, 0-6, Christian Erives 0-1, Cedric Rosales 1 interception.
Valverde was 4 for 4 on PATs and had 329 kickoff yards. Harshberger had 2 punts. Friess had 1 kickoff return for 54 yards.
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