Two minutes into Friday’s Kansas Class 4A Division I substate championship game, Bishop Miege senior quarterback Ryan Willis threw a perfect spiral to Jafar Armstrong for a touchdown.
Six minutes later, Willis topped that with a 67-yard bomb to Chris Ford that gave Miege a 17-point lead over Piper, and Miege junior running back Dawson Downing had yet to score one of his four, first-half touchdowns.
Piper gave a spirited effort for much of the first quarter, but was overwhelmed by the Stags offensive firepower as Miege came away with an impressive 62-7 victory at Bishop Miege.
“Our team came out and competed from the start,” Willis said. “We started out really fast, and that carried through the game. Our defense did an excellent job stopping them all game.”
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Miege improved to 12-0 and will play for the 4A championship against Topeka Hayden next Saturday at Topeka Hummer Sports Complex. Piper finished the season 10-2.
“Our guys have had a goal all year to win a state championship,” Miege head coach Jon Holmes said. “We got through the EKL undefeated, which is something we have never done.
“We have 22 seniors, and everyone plays a big part on this team. They want nothing more than to come home with a state championship their last year.”
After the touchdown to Armstrong, the Stags got a safety.
Piper managed to stop Miege later in the first quarter on an interception by senior Devin McIntosh. It was the only mistake by Willis.
Willis quickly made up for his miscue on his next pass. He tossed the long touchdown to Ford that gave the Stags a 17-0 lead with 3 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first quarter.
“It was good to bounce back after the interception,” Willis said. “Chris Ford ran a good route, and I put it out there for him and he made a play for me.”
As well as the Stags played in the first quarter, they raised their game to another level in the second quarter. Downing scored his first touchdown early in the second quarter, making it 24-0.
Holmes likes what he has in Willis and Downing. “Ryan is a special player, Dawson is a special player and the five guys up front all do a great job,” Holmes said. “It puts a lot of stress on a defense.”
Less than 2 minutes later, the Stags showed they can score when it is more than 20 yards from the end zone. Senior Sean Galey booted a 38-yard field goal that would have been good from 48.
With 4 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Downing scored his second touchdown on 1-yard run, making it 34-0.
“I had a lot of help from the offensive line, the lead blockers and executing the game plan,” Downing said.
Downing scored two more TDs in the final 4 minutes of the first half. He rushed for 107 yards in 21 carries in the first half.
Miege went into halftime with a 48-0 lead. A running clock ruled the second half, but the Stags still had enough time to score a touchdown on a 15-yard run by Downing midway through the third quarter.
Downing finished with 133 yards rushing with five TDs in the game.