By Travis Mounts
The Conway Springs Cardinals kept their district perfect with Friday’s 35-14 win over the previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Inman Teutons.
The Cardinals’ running game dominated the game. Brayden Kunz ran for 287 yards and scored three touchdowns. The Cardinals as a team rushed for 349 yards. Those results were not season highs, but they were close to it.
The run game was so effective, the Cardinals did not attempt a pass.
“The kids and the community are very excited about last Friday,” said Conway Springs head coach Matt Biehler. “We were able to churn out yards. It was our best week of practice.”
Friday’s victory gives Conway Springs control of Class 1A District with one game to go. The Cardinals are 4-0 in district games, while Inman and Hutchinson Trinity are 3-1. The Cardinals will win the district with a victory at Trinity this Friday. A win also guarantees a home playoff game. If Trinity beats Conway Springs and Inman downs Medicine Lodge, the top three spots will be decided by point differential.
One big difference last Friday was first down conversions. The Cardinals were perfect, converting all three tries. The Teutons went 2-for-5.
“Our offensive line has come together. And our backs blocked for each other,” Biehler said.
The Cardinals’ defense got interceptions from Kunz and Taylor Wykes, and they held Inman to 149 rushing yards and 90 passing yards.
Kunz gained more yards on his own than Inman had as a team. Nathan Berntsen ran for some hard yards on third down. A lot of growth happened as the Cardinals lost their first three games, in what is now a distant memory.
Conway Springs entered the Catch It Kansas 1A rankings at No. 7. Inman dropped from No. 1 to No. 8.
Kunz opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Inman responded a few minutes later with a 57-yard pass play but failed on a two-point try, leaving Conway Springs ahead 7-6.
The Cardinals then scored 28 unanswered points. Kunz had a 66-yard touchdown and Cade Howell scored from 11 yards out before halftime. Kunz added a 44-yard scoring run in the third quarter, and returned an interception for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Inman added a late score.
The Trinity Celtics have put together a successful season, going 6-1. Their only loss was 21-3 at Inman, but since then they have victories over Medicine Lodge and Sterling. The Celtics are ranked No. 9, dropping two spots after falling to Inman.
Biehler expects a tough game.
“We feel our district is the best in 1A. Every other district has one or two good teams. Nobody else has three good ones,” he said.