The Southeast of Saline Trojans are no strangers to Northeast Kansas.
In the opening round of the 2018 Class 2A state playoffs, Southeast traveled 140 miles to Seneca. This season, the Trojans had a little bit longer of a trek, worth 193 miles to Wathena.
Still, the Trojans made the journey back to Gypsum with a victory.
Southeast of Saline scored 26 straight in the second half, the defense forced six turnovers, and the Trojans advanced to the second round with a 47-16 win over Riverside Friday night. The Trojans collide with the Riley County Falcons next week, seeking revenge after a 33-29 loss in week seven.
Southeast (7-2) opened the scoring with a five-yard run by Raef Boley. The next two scores belonged to Riverside (6-3). The first was a 22-yard field goal, followed by a 7-yard TD pass in the second quarter, giving the Cyclones an early 9-7 advantage.
The Trojans answered with a long run of 90 yards by quarterback Jaxson Gebhardt, putting Southeast of Saline on top, 15-9, at halftime.
Bryant Banks padded the lead, but on defense as he picked off a pass and returned the ball 31 yards for a touchdown, extending the cushion to 21-9. Riverside countered with a 29-yard touchdown pass to trim the deficit to 21-16 in the third period.
From there, it was all Southeast of Saline. Banks had scoring runs of 28, 14 and 4 yards, combined with Gebhardt’s 11-yard scoring scamper, completing the 26-0 outburst.
Banks ran 17 times for 127 yards and three scores. Gebhardt carried the ball 16 times for 160 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also was 8-of-13 passing for 120 yards.
Banks, Tyler Breeding, Eddie McVay and Seth Eklund all intercepted a pass. Breeding added 12 tackles while Matthew Rodriguez finished with 13 tackles, three for loss.