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Sabetha Shuts Out Galena - Advances Back to 3A State Title Game
By Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

Sabetha 21, Galena 0

With a pair of offenses scoring more than 40 points per game and a couple defenses surrendering less than 10 an outing, something had to give in the 3A Sub-State game between unbeatens Galena and Sabetha on Friday evening.  As it turned out, the Sabetha defense didn’t give up anything in pitching their fifth shutout of the season and winning their 19th consecutive game by a 21-0 final.  The Bluejays gave up only 39 yards of offense in the first half and put together a pair of long scoring drives to led 14-0 before preserving the shutout on the final play of the game and advancing back to Hutchinson to defend their State Championship next Saturday against Pratt (a 21-19 winner versus Andale).

Sabetha did not pick up a first down on their first two possessions of the game, but got the only turnover of the contest as Braedon Cox grabbed his fifth interception in the last three games and ninth of the season on the first Galena pass play.  The Bluejays third drive went 79 yards on 14 plays before Joe Gruber scored on a nine-yard run to make it 7-0 with 9:56 left in the second quarter.  After yielding only two total first downs to the visiting Bulldogs, Sabetha went to a spread attack with 2:31 remaining in the second quarter and executed the hurry-up offense to perfection going 87 yards on 11 plays and getting a Gabe Garber three-yard improvising scramble for a touchdown with six seconds to go. 

Galena showed life to open the second half and finally moved the football into the redzone before Sabetha made a stop on fourth down and two at the 10-yard-line.  Gruber delivered the dagger with a five-yard TD midway through the fourth quarter and Galena didn't return to the redzone again until the final play of the game, which Sabetha deflected a pass to hold their ninth opponent to one score or less this season. 

Galena was only 5-17 passing the football and finished with less than 200 yards total offense.  J.C. Shelton had 81 yards rushing on 18 carries while Kooper Lawson added nine carries for 49 yards.  The Bulldogs end their season with an 11-1 record.

Sabetha rushed for 228 yards and Garber was 7-11 passing for another 74 yards, with six completions in the opening half and had 10 tackles.  Gruber finished with 118 yards on 22 carries while Garber had 24 totes for 83 yards and hit four different receivers, including Ryan Stapleton and Drew Schmelzle along with Cox and Gruber.  Cauy Rokey was named the “Player to Bank On” for his huge night on defense, including 13 tackles, and Carson Ukele earned “Lineman of the Game” honors while pulling with the lead block of both of Gruber’s touchdowns.  Defensive ends Kamden Brownlee and Colby Tinklin also made some huge plays and big stops on critical downs for the Sabetha defense along with Cory Geist and Mason Spellmeier.  Elliott Strahm had another terrific night helping Sabetha win the physical battle up front on both sides of the football.   

The Bluejays (12-0) will play in their fifth state football title game in school history and try to repeat with their fourth championship trophy.  The game against Pratt, who won the 2016 state 4AD2 title, will kickoff at 1:00 PM on Saturday, November 24th with live local coverage on KNZA 103.9 FM and audio online at     

©2019 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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