Facing Hutchinson’s vaunted flexbone offense, Salina South knew it would need a fast start.
Instead, the opening kickoff was just the opposite.
Salina South (1-6, 1-4 AVCTL-I) fumbled the opening boot, an ominous beginning en route to a 44-21 loss to the Hutchinson Salthawks Friday night at Salina Stadium. Hutch (2-5, 1-4) built a 30-7 halftime lead and forced four turnovers in the Salthawks’ fifth consecutive win over the Cougars.
After the bobble by Salina South senior Drew Baird, Hutchinson recovered at the South 23. Shortly after, senior fullback Izaiah Delvalle plunged into the end zone two inches away, putting the Salthawks on top by seven with 2:55 into the contest.
South’s first draw saw a gain of one, resulting in a punt for senior Kam Xaysongkam. The snap was well over his head as the ball shot out of the end zone for a safety. Hutch received great field position following the kick from the 20. Once again, Delvalle found pay dirt, this time on a 21-yard scamper, giving Hutch a 16-0 advantage with 3:17 left in the opening quarter.
The Cougars turned to sophomore Brandt Cox to bring life back to the team. The sensational tailback shined on a 7-play, 79-yard drive, capped off with an eight-yard score, trimming the deficit to 16-7 with 24 seconds to go in the first period.
Hutch took control of the game with a remarkable 16-play, 71-yard drive that featured two 4th down conversions. Junior Alec McCuan scored from five yards out, finishing off a march that lasted 9:30. On the ensuing kickoff, Baird fumbled in South territory for a second time, allowing Hutch to pad the lead, 30-7 at the half, with a 13-yard TD from McCuan.
The Salthawks drove the final nail in the coffin with a 12-play, 80-yard trek that took 7:19 off the scoreboard to start the second half. Delvalle reached the goal line for the third time, the last being a five-yard score.
Hutchinson dominated all phases as the game. The Salthawks doubled up the time of possession, accumulating 376 yards on 64 plays. Salina South had just 28 for 242 yards, 15 plays taking place in the first half.
Junior quarterback Terran Galloway completed 11-of-16 passes for 166 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Seventy came on a TD strike to senior receiver Ty Garrett. The other was a 10-yard lob to junior receiver Colin Schreiber, his first touchdown of his career.
Salina South wraps up the regular season with a road test with the Newton Railers next Friday. The Freddy’s and Mokas Pregame Show begins at 6:45 on Y93.7.