Northwest Runs Away From Central Mustangs

5A West Regional Playoffs: No. 4 Wichita Northwest 66, No. 5 Salina Central 21

There were early fireworks at Northwest Stadium in Wichita on Friday night, as the Central Mustangs and Wichita Northwest Grizzlies traded touchdowns in the opening minutes. But the Grizzlies got a couple stops and their potent rushing attack was relentless as they pulled ahead and then ran away with the contest in the 3rd quarter, on the way to a 66-21 win.

On the second play from scrimmage, Mustang quarterback Parker Kavanagh hit wideout Logan Losey for an 81-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead only 39 seconds in.

After Northwest QB Geremiah Moore scampered in for a 17-yard TD run to make it 7-6, Central used a 51-yard run by Kenyon McMillan to set up Kavanagh’s 23-yard touchdown pass to David Brown. The Mustangs led 14-6 and were feeling good. But the momentum quickly swung the Grizzlies’ way.

L.J. Phillips broke loose for a 65-yard touchdown run, and then following a Central punt, Moore scored from 19 yards out to give Northwest a 19-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Moore scored again to make it 27-14, and then with five minutes left in the half, the Mustangs took advantage of a short field. On 3rd and goal, Kavanagh found Hayden Vidricksen at the goal-line for another TD pass and Central only trailed 27-21.

With 1:25 left in the half, Moore fought his way in on 4th and goal from the 1, and the Grizzlies led 33-21. Then, a short kickoff was not covered by Central and the Grizzlies pounced on the ball and the opportunity to extend the lead further as Cencere Thompson caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Moore for a 39-21 halftime lead.

Northwest (8-2) then put the game away by forcing a pair of Central turnovers and scoring 27 3rd quarter points to force a running clock.

The Grizzlies rushed for 408 yards on the night. Kavanagh threw for 217 yards and three scores. He and the rest of the Central seniors helped pave the way for an impressive turnaround after a 1-8 season as the Mustangs finished the 2021 campaign at 7-3.