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Indians Advance To State Semi-Final

The St. Francis Indians advanced to the 1A 8-man state semi-final contest with a 50-0 win over 9-1 Hodgeman County in Jetmore on Friday, November 15 in the Sectional championship game. The Indians will play Leoti-Wichita County (10-1) in the Sub-State contest on Friday, November 22, at 7:00 p.m. in St. Francis. St. Francis and Wichita County met earlier in the year in district play with the Indians winning 46-0. Wichita County defeated Little River (9-2) 74-38 to advance to the Sub-State contest.

On the opposite side of the 8-man bracket, Madison (11-0) defeated Caldwell (7-4) 60-14. In a battle of unbeaten teams, Coldwater-South Central and Canton-Galva ended in a 42-18 victory by Canton-Galva. Canton-Galva and Madison will play at Madison for their Sub-State Championship. 

Hodgeman County (HC) won the coin toss and elected to defer. St. Francis received the opening kick-off. Junior Conner Ruff's kick-off was fielded by Jayce Nider and returned to the St. Francis (SF) 37 yard line. St. Francis opened the contest with five straight carries by running back Shadryon Blanka. Blanka's second carry resulted in an Indian first down at the Longhorn 31. Three more carries resulted in a 4th-&-1 situation as the Longhorn defense gave away ground reluctantly. Before the 4th-down snap, the Indians were penalized for illegal procedure making the situation 4th-&-6. Brady Dinkel then rounded the right end gaining good yardage before being forced out-of-bounds at the SF 19. On the next play of the series, Dinkel attempted a pass to Nider in the left corner of the end zone. The pass was just slightly long and fell incomplete. Dinkel then ran around the left end earning three yards. On the following play, Dinkel squirted up the middle for a 15-yard touchdown run. Adam Krien carried the football untouched around the left end for the conversion points. With 8:45 remaining in the first period, St. Francis led 8-0.

Eli Salmans (6' 0" 205 lb. senior running back) returned Brady Dinkel's kick-off to the WC 33 yard line. Drew Damsel (6' 2" 178 lb sophomore running back) ran around the left end on first down earning 5 yards. Salmans carried around the other end on the next play earning a first down at the SF 36. Colton Neitzel made the tackle on Salmans. Salmans then powered up the middle and was tackled by Kobe Tice after another gain of 5. The Longhorns were looking to be a formidable opponent. Quarterback Isaac Salmans  then tried the middle and was met by Colton Neitzel and Adam Krien for a 2-yard loss. On 3rd down, Isaac Salmans attempted a pass to Conner Ruff. Ruff who was open on the left side of the field, but the ball fell incomplete due to pressure on the quarterback by Jesse Baxter and Neitzel. On 4th-&-7, a screen pass to the left side resulted in a roughing-the-passer penalty against the Indians. With a new set of downs at the SF 19, the Longhorns continued to attack. A first down pass from quarterback Salmans to Ruff deep on the left side was incomplete. Isaac Salmans ran around the left end on the next play earning two yards before being tackled by Tyson Poling. Isaac Salmons carried on the next two plays moving the Longhorns close to the goal. The Longhorns were now at the 6 with 1st-&-goal. A keeper by quarterback Salmans moved the ball two yards closer before Nider made an important tackle. When the Longhorns lined up at the 4 in a different formation, the Indians used a time-out at 4:47. On the next play, a run to the right side, Shadryon Blanka stripped the football from the HC running back and Tice recovered for the Indians. The Indians had stopped the initial threat of the Longhorns.

St. Francis took possession on their own 3-yard line. After a carry by Shadryon Blanka earned 9 yards, Brady Dinkel earned a new series at the 26 running straight up the middle behind good line blocking. Blanka then earned 5 more over the left side. Before the next snap, the Inidans were penalized for a false start returning the yardage earned on the previous play. Blanka then banged up the middle reclaiming the yardage. Blanka's next carry straight ahead resulted in another Indian first down at the SF 39. The Indians were beginning to click off good yardage on each play, but Conner Ruff slowed the Indians a bit only allowing Blanka 1 yard on a carry over the right side. Dinkel was then stopped by Garrett Ruff (152 lb So.), Austin Ruff (Sr.) and Isaac Salmans after a gain of three. Facing 3rd-&-6, Blanka carried over the left side earning big yardage. Abrehm Law (195 lb. So.) made a touchdown-saving tackle at the HC 16 yard line. Dinkel then sprinted up the middle to the 5. On the next snap, Dinkel scored the second St. Francis touchdown running straight ahead. Adam Krien ran over the left side for the conversion points. St. Francis led 16-0 with 6.3 seconds left in the first period.

The Indians kick-off sailed into the end zone for a touchback. On the Longhorns' first snap at the 15, Isaac Salmans attempted a deep pass to Conner Ruff deep on the left side. The pass was nearly intercepted by Jayce Nider, but fell incomplete. On the next play, Drew Dansel tried the left side and was met by Colton Neitzel. The tackle resulted in a fumble. Shadryon Blanka recovered the football for the Indians on the HC 18 yard line. The play ended the first period.

Before the Indians snapped the football, they were again penalized for a false start penalty, their 3rd of the contest. Now at the 22, a hard run by Shadryon Blanka around the right side was finally ended by a tackle by Jacob Poteet (junior). Blanka's next carry resulted in the third St. Francis touchdown on a carry up the middle. Josiah Sims ran into the middle for the conversion. With 11:22 left in the first half, St. Francis led 24-0.

Eli Salmans returned the SF kick-off to the HC 22 yard line where he was tackled by Kobe Tice. Josiah Sims ended Salmans carry into the middle for a loss of 2 on the first snap of the possession. Salman regained the yards on the next play but was soon stopped by Jayce Nider. On 3rd-&-10, Isaac Salmans scrambled left and passed out-of-bounds under pressure. Salmans was penalized for intentional grounding moving the situation to 4th-&-20. The Longhorns punted.

The Indians took possession at their own 30 with 9:44 remaining in the first half. Brady Dinkel tried the right end and was tackled by Ethan Burns (6' 3" 170 lb. Sr.) for no gain. Shadryon Blanka carried around the right end on the next two plays gaining good yardage, but he second gain was nullified by a holding penalty on the Indians. Facing 3rd-&-18, the Indians tried a quick-pitch to Adam Krien going right. The play made 4 yards, but left the Indians well short of the line to gain. The Indians punted for the first (and only) time in the contest. Dinkel's excellent punt came to rest at the HC 6 yard line.

Hodgeman County took possession with 7:28 remaining in the first half. Eli Salmans rounded the right end for good yardage and was forced out-of-bounds at the HC 33 by Brady Dinkel. Drew Dansel then carried up the middle for three yards before being stopped by Kobe Tice. Salmans added a strong run, spinning off several would-be tackles for another first down. After a short gain by Salmons up the middle, Dansel banged into the middle and was stopped by Adam Krien for no gain. On 3rd-&-8, Jesse Baxter sacked Isaac Salmans for a 7-yard loss. Facing 4th-&-15, the Longhorns punted yet again.

Brady Dinkel muffed the punt. The football was nearly recovered by HC, but rolled out-of-bounds at the SF 23. Josiah Sims earned 4 yards around the right end on the first snap of the possession and picked up 3 more on another run up the middle. On third down, Shadryon Blanka ran over the right side, breaking several tackles to score a 50-yard touchdown. The try for the conversion points failed. With 3:23 left in the first half, St. Francis led 30-0.

Drew Dansel returned the Indians kick-off and was tackled by Jayce Nider at the HC 20. On the first play of the Longhorns' possession, Brady DInkel intercepted a pass from Isaac Salmans and returned it up the right sideline to the HC 19 yard line. Josiah Sims followed with a spinning run powering his way to the 7. On the play Isaac Salmans, the Longhorn quarterback, was injured and left the contest. On the ensuing snap, Shadryon Blanka ran up the middle untouched into the end zone. Sims ran straight ahead untouched for the conversion points. St. Francis led 38-0 with 2:51 left in the half.

Hodgeman County set up offense at the 16 yard line after the return with sophomore Brayden Bergkamp (6' 2" 145 lb.) now playing quarterback, A run by Dansel was quickly stopped by Brady Dinkel and Jayce Nider for a 1-yard loss. Eli Salmans was forced out-of-bounds by Dinkel on the next play after a one-yard gain. Salmans' next carry netted but two yards before Jesse Baxter and Nider combined for the tackle. Facing 4th-&-8, the Longhorns went to the air. Nider intercepted the pass and was forced out-of-bounds on the right sideline at the 25 with 1:26 to go.

Brady Dinkel scampered around the right end for a 25-yard touchdown on the first snap of the possession. The score was erased by a holding penalty on the Indians. After the mark-off, Dinkel followed an aggressive block by Shadryon Blanka around the right end earning 11 of the needed 16 yards for a first down. The Indians called time-out with 37.1 seconds remaining. With 1st-&-10 at the 12 yard line, Blanka passed to Jayce Nider in the right flat. Nider ran into the end zone, but this play was also erased by a holding penalty on the Indians. The Indians were again backed up. With the situation now 1st-&-10 at the 24 and 29.5 seconds left, Dinkel ran over the left side for another touchdown. Adam Krien's conversion carry was just short of the goal line due to an excellent solo tackle by Dansel. After the play, another penalty on the Indians resulted in improved field position for the Longhorns after the kick-off.

Beginning at the SF 36, Eli Salmans ran over the right side. Kobe Tice tackled him after a two-yard gain. HC called time-out with 5.4 seconds remaining. The next snap was bobbled by the Longhorn quarterback, and Colton Neitzel made the tackle to end the first half. The teams went into halftime with the Indians leading 44-0.

Hodgeman County received the second half kick-off. On the second play from scrimmage, Jesse Baxter swiped the football from the Longhorns' running back during the tackle.

The Indians set up offense on the HC 28 yard line. Brady Dinkel ran around the right end earning a first down at the 11 on the first play of the possession. Shadryon Blanka powered over the right side on second down to the 7. On the next play, Blanka scored the game-ending touchdown with 10:33 left in the third period. St. Francis defeated Hodgeman County 50-0..

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