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Morning Sun
  • Big plays move Silver Lake into 3A semis

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  • It was the snowball effect Friday night when the Silver Lake Eagles defeated the St. Mary's Colgan Panthers 41-7 in a Class 3A sectional at Hutchinson Field. Ahead 14-0 late in the second quarter, Ryan Boyd intercepted a Luke Marquardt pass on a long-developing screen pass irritated by Silver Lake pressure and returned it for a 47-yard touchdown with 44.4 seconds remaining, the Eagles taking a 20-0 halftime advantage. Later, another Silver Lake interception return for touchdown gave Silver Lake a 34-7 lead in the fourth. "They kind of 10-run ruled us in the first half and maybe in the fourth quarter," Colgan head coach Chuck Smith said. "Boy, they're very physical. The kids had a good season and this is going to hurt because we got stuck. But, they're an awfully good football team and they're very well-coached. I'd like for it to have ended better. It was a hard night for us, it really was." The Panthers were kept in check during that first half — 26 yards of total offense and two first downs. Drew Dawson's 2-yard run at the 3:45 mark of the second quarter gave Colgan its first moving of the chains. On the first drive of the second half, Colgan sustained a 10-play, 82-yard scoring drive. Marquardt connected with senior receiver Colton Gilbert on a 47-yard deep ball over the Silver Lake secondary and Gilbert found some open space for a 15-yard run on a patented Colgan play. On the next play, Marquardt hit Tucker Hoffman on a 9-yard touchdown pass. With 4:37 left in the third, Colgan was down only 20-7 and seemed to have momentum on its side. The Panthers defense kept Silver Lake quiet in the second half until a 3-play, 80-yard drive early in the fourth lasting all of 79 seconds. Senior quarterback Dailin Kruger, playing on a torn ACL for the last several games, found big-play receivers Isaac Pridey and Jace Freeman for 78 of the 80 yards, Freeman going in for the first Silver Lake points of the second half on a 38-yard catch and sprint down the Silver Lake sideline. Less than 30 seconds later, Ryan Matzke intercepted Marquardt and returned it 48 yards for that 34-7 advantage. Matzke closed out the scoring on a 49-yard run. "The pick sixes, they inflated the game," Smith said. "I think the big one was the first half. It would have been nice to have gone in 14-0 at halftime but I thought Silver Lake has a really nice football team and boy, they're so explosive. Our kids didn't quit and I'm glad for that. I'm really proud of them in the third quarter and then in the fourth quarter, Silver Lake was just too much." Kruger completed 15 of 33 passes for 273 yards, two scores and one interception. At the half, No. 9 was 12-22 for 180, one TD and his interception. His three completions after halftime went for 93 yards, 78 on that one drive. Kruger began the scoring on a 9-yard run, culminating a 8-play, 79-yard clockwork opening drive lasting 2:14. Freeman led the Eagles with five catches for 118 yards and one TD, averaging 23.6 yards per catch. Silver Lake receivers averaged 18.2 yards on 15 catches. Of the Colgan senior class, Hoffman finished the night with a team-high three grabs for 19 yards and the lone Panther touchdown. Hoffman intercepted Kruger in the second quarter, forcing the lone Silver Lake turnover. Gilbert caught two passes for 50 yards — highlighted by his 47-yard play — and added his 15-yard run on the scoring drive. Christian Cedeno found the most success on the ground against the fearsome Silver Lake defense — 49 yards on seven carries. "They're a good senior class," Smith said. "I appreciate how hard they've worked to get ready for this and they're hurting right now but as time goes on, they're going to look back and they have a lot of good memories." Colgan finished its season 9-3 and was the only Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League team to advance past the first round of the state playoffs this season. Silver Lake, seeking its 11th title game appearance in 12 years and its first title since 2010, improved to 11-1 and the Eagles will face their Mid-East League rival Rossville (12-0) in the semifinals. Rossville defeated Silver Lake 27-21 in Week 6.

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