The Salina South Cougars were pumped for their 2018 home opener. So was the electrifying crowd at Salina Stadium when South claimed the lead in the fourth.
The energy was immediately replaced with the next play.
Dodge City matched South’s scoring drive with a 95-yard kickoff return and a trick play for three scores as the Red Demons spoiled the Cougars’ night with a 27-17 victory.
Both halves couldn’t have been any different as neither team could find an offensive rhythm. A combined four turnovers resulted in short fields, but just 10 points. After a Dodge City fumble, Salina South moved the ball to the Dodge City five-yard line. The Cougars were pushed back and settled for a 25-yard field goal by Eric Rincon with 11:12 to play in the second.
South opened the door for Dodge City when the Cougars fumbled inside their own 20. A few plays later, DC quarterback Beau Foster sniffed out the end zone for a two-yard TD, giving Dodge City a 7-3 advantage at the break.
Neither team turned the ball over in the second half, but there was plenty of excitement. Salina South reclaimed the lead when sophomore signal caller Terran Galloway zipped a pass to junior receiver Ty Garrett. Garrett stiff-armed his man to the ground at the five, completing the play for a 16-yard score with 7:55 remaining in the game.
With a juiced crowd, Dodge City Jaiel Johnson slipped as the ensuing kickoff came his way. The senior tailback stood up, took off, and ran to the house for a 95-yard score, putting DC ahead, 14-10, with 7:42 on the clock.
On third down, barely in South territory, Dodge City turned to its bag of tricks, although only one was needed. Sophomore Alden Knedler threw a halfback pass to John Johnson for a 48-yard TD connection with 2:46 left in the contest.
Salina Ortho Player of the Game Cai Calvert set up the Cougars at their own 48-yard line after the kick return. Later, he caught a lob from Galloway for a 14-yard score, cutting the deficit to 20-17 with 1:12 to go.
South used two timeouts and faced Dodge City on third down at the Cougar 49. The Red Demons used the same trick play and the result wasn’t different as Knedler found Johnson for the game-clinching score.
South’s Garrett pulled in 10 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. Galloway was 19-of-37 passing for 256 yards, two TD’s and an interception. The sophomore was just 1-of-5 at the half as the Cougars had 70 yards of offense.
Salina South (0-2) clashes with Salina Central (1-1) next Friday for the Battle of the Mayor’s Cup. The Freddy’s and Mokas pregame show takes place at 6:45 on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL and Y93.7.