After opening up with a well-executed game plan, De Soto was sitting with a 17-7 lead over heavily-favorited Bishop Miege with eight minutes left in the second quarter. For a moment it looked the Wildcats method of controlling the ball and capitalizing on turnovers would keep them in arm’s reach of pulling a massive upset.
That did not last.
The rest of the half, Bishop Miege showed why it’s probably the most talented team in Kansas by rolling off 28 straight points in five game minutes. The Stags did this by showing off impressive speed on the ground and timely passing connections.
“Their game plan was incredible,” Bishop Miege coach Jon Holmes said. “They had some good adjustments on the offensive side and the defensive side. It’s good to know now with one game left, we are able to do that.”
That first half effort, along with more offensive power in the second half, led Bishop Miege to clinch its fourth straight trip to the Kansas Class 4A-Divison I state title game, with its 56-24 victory at De Soto.
The major highlight for the Stags was senior quarterback Carter Putz breaking another Kansas state record, this time the mark for most career passing yards for a Sunflower state quarterback. He ended the night with 260 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Putz clinched the state record on a pass on the sideline that was completed to senior wide receiver Peyton Hamrick while the Stags were still in the middle of a drive in the fourth quarter.
“I heard a couple talk about it,” Putz said of that pass. “I didn’t know if it was that play or the next play, but kind of in the back of my mind I knew I was close.”
After clinching the record, Putz threw a high-arching 69-yard touchdown to sophomore receiver Daniel Jackson to put an exclamation point on his record.
But it was the Stags running ability of Brison Cobbins and Cameron Clark who continued to blow by the De Soto defenders for long gains. Cobbins finished with 207 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including one for 74 yards, while Clark tallied 68 yards and a touchdown.
“We knew they were good at tackling in space and gang tackling when they played us last game so we made sure they couldn’t tackle us in space this game,” Cobbins said.
De Soto showed some fight early on, but turnovers and an inability to match the speed of Bishop Miege on both sides of the ball proved to be too much.
“A lot of it had to do with the physicality of us up front last game,” De Soto coach Brian King. “We didn’t win that battle. And this game we did (early). And our kids’ physicality was phenomenal and I’m extremely proud of them.”
With the way it responded to the early deficit, Bishop Miege showed it is not slowing down heading into the championship game. Right now it’s about finishing off the undefeated season by putting up another big number.
“You read things on social media; you see things on the news, ‘you’re supposed to beat this team by this amount of points.’ Our kids are able to do that every single week,” Holmes said. “They come in. They watch film. We tell them Friday night is their show and they do it every week. We told them we’ve got one more to get.”