HAYS – Exactly 10 years have gone by since the Centralia Panthers claimed their first football state title and ended the Smith Center Redmen run of 79 straight games with an overtime victory.
The two teams would meet once again Saturday at Lewis Field Stadium in Hays with the Redmen looking for their third state title and a state record 11th championship but just like 10 years ago the Panthers would play spoiler in an 18-14 come from behind win.
The Redmen scored the games from points when senior quarterback Trenton Colby scored on a 21 yard touchdown run that capped off a 13-play 78-yard drive to give Smith Center a 7-0 lead after the extra point.
It took Centralia just two plays to answer with a touchdown of their own. Kamble Haverkamp scored his first of three rushing touchdowns to make it 7-6 after the two-point conversion failed at the end of the first quarter.
Colby scored his second rushing touchdown, from 13 yards out, to cap off a six play, 38 yard drive that made it 14-6 with just under one minute left in the first half.
In the third quarter Smith Center turned it over on downs after a pair of long drives and the fact that they failed to scored turnout out to be huge.
With the wind in the face of the Redmen Centralia forced Smith Center to punt into the 35 mph wind and got the short field in the fourth quarter twice, both times they took advantage.
With 6:45 to play Haverkamp scored from 37 yards out to cut the deficit to 14-12 and then with just under a minute left he scored again, this time from two yards out to put Centralia up 18-14.
Smith Center out gained the Panthers 257 to 148 total yards. Colby lead all rushers with 138 yards. Haverkamp led the Panthers with 104 rushing yards.
Smith Center finishes the season 12-1.
Centralia also finishes 12-1 and claims their fourth state championship.