BELOIT, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) – Hoisington and Beloit played late in the playoffs a year ago. The Cardinals went on to play in the Class 2A state championship game before losing a big class of seniors. Both teams got off to a rough start in 2021, thanks in large part to strong competition. But both teams finished the season strong and reached Friday’s game at 4-0 in district play. A PAT ended up being the difference as Hoisington escaped with a 7-6 win.
“I give a lot of credit to our seniors,” said Hoisington coach Zach Baird. “I’ll take the blame for week one. I didn’t have them ready to go. Give the seniors credit. We just keep getting better and better.
“I thought it was a long way from our best performance, but I thought it was gutty. We had different guys step and make plays when we needed to. I’m just proud of the effort and grit.”
Hoisington stopped Beloit all night and nearly took a quick lead on its first drive of the game. Instead, back-to-back fumbles resulted in a turnover at the 3-yard line to halt the first Cardinal drive.
Late in the first half, Hoisington sophomore Tony Moore went 58 yards on a pass from Wyatt Wikum. A penalty negated the first touchdown of the game and the teams hit the break tied at zero.
Hoisington opened the second half with possession and this time made it count. The Cards milked more than five minutes off the clock before senior Legend Robinson scored from a yard out. The point after would turn out to be all-important.
Beloit answered with its best drive of the night, taking advantage of a short field to set up a 4-yard touchdown run from junior Benson Berndt. The 2-point try failed, and Trojans remained behind 7-6 with 15 minutes to play in the game.
The Trojans nearly took advantage of another short field. After a short Hoisington punt, senior Owen Eilert found sophomore Maddox Waters over the middle for a 58-yard completion. Four plays later, Hoisington sophomore Mason Alderice – the smallest player on the field at 5-6, broke up a prospective touchdown pass to the corner of the endzone. The score remained 7-6.
There was excitement late. Unable to run out the clock on its final drive, Hoisington handed the ball back to Beloit 69 yards from a game-winner with just 10 seconds to play. The Trojans were unable to threaten as time expired.
“I thought it would be low scoring,” Baird said. “Just because it’s hard to get possessions. So when you have a possession you better capitalize on it. We had a couple in the red zone where we didn’t, and that’s the kind of stuff that will get you beat in the playoffs.”
Robinson, one of the top 11-man backs in the state this year, was kept in check by his standards with 102 yards and the touchdown on 30 carries. Moore added 43 yards on four carries, and Wikum completed two of his four pass attempts for 78 yards.
Beloit was down junior running back Branson Hiserote. Berndt proved to be the workhorse with 77 yards on 17 carries. Eilert threw for 76 yards on 3-of-12 passing.
As district champions, Hoisington returns home to play Ellis on Friday. Beloit stays at home to host Lakin.
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