Coming in to the game Friday night, Salina Central knew that they couldn’t afford many mistakes and needed a lot of things to go their way in order to topple the defending back-to-back 6A state champs.
Central did neither, which Derby subsequently took advantage for a 34-0 win in a lightning shortened game.
With the game being moved up two-hours earlier than normal, Central took the opening kickoff and held the ball for over eight-minutes and drove the ball 72-yards behind the powerful rushing attack of Taylon Peters.
However, with the ball at the Derby eight yard line, the Central running back threw an interception out of the Wildcat package to end the Mustang scoring threat.
Derby would subsequently turn the ball back over to Central after a scoreless first quarter.
However, on the very first play of the second stanza, Central snapped the ball over the head of quarterback, Jackson Kavanagh, in which Derby recovered deep in Mustang territory.
The Panthers would not look back.
Led by running back, Brody Kooser, and backup quarterback, Hunter Igo; the Panthers struck on a 49-yard TD pass to Kooser to start the scoring.
With a 13-0 lead and approaching halftime, Derby held the Central offense to a three-and-out. The ensuing Brogen Richardson punt landed in the arms of Kooser at the 50 when Kooser proceeded with perhaps the most impressive punt return of the season, weaving through would-be Mustang tacklers on his way to a 50-yard punt return for a TD.
Derby tacked on another TD just before halftime and the Panthers led 27-0 at the break as the Mustangs’ offense couldn’t find the end zone.
Derby took the opening kickoff of the second half and capped it off with a 45-yard TD run by Kooser to officially blow the game wide open, 34-0.
After the following kickoff, lightning struck close to Salina Stadium as dark clouds rolled in from the west.
Salina Central Athletic Director, Greg Maring, made the call to take both the teams off the field and send them back to the locker rooms at the 11:05 mark in the third quarter.
Both Central and Derby (5-1, 3-0 AVCTL-I) decided that the game would not be resumed.
Derby’s Igo completed five of his seven passes for 138 yards and three TDs. Salina Central’s Kavanagh also completed five of his seven throws for 42 yards, however, he had one interception.
Peters finished with 40 yards rushing and an interception after a half of play for the Mustangs.
With the loss, Salina Central (0-6, 0-3 AVCTL-I) dropped their 15th in-a-row. The Mustangs return to Salina Stadium next week when they host the Maize Eagles. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on 1150 KSAL.