ST. FRANCIS, KS — It wasn’t as easy as some might of expected but the St. Francis Indians in the end defeated Caldwell 48-0 to advance to the state football semifinals on an extremely windy day in Northwest Kansas.
St. Francis, who had cruised to easy wins over Bucklin & Ingalls in the first two rounds, found themselves in a tussle with the Bluejays at the end of the first quarter only leading 6-0. Most of it having to do with each team having one long possession in the opening quarter. The Indian’s was 11 plays capped with an Adam Krien touchdown run of seven yards. While Caldwell’s was 10 plays long and ending in a Ben Busse interception, his seventh of the season.
The second quarter is where things really started to go Sainty’s way. After forcing a Caldwell punt after a three-and-out the Indians used a Ben Busse reverse from 39 yards out plus a two point conversion to go up 14-0. The defense then halted a decent drive by Caldwell with a fourth down stop.
Then Shadyron Blanka, who had been kept in check most of the game to that point, took over. Blanka would score on touchdown runs of 44, 46 & 32 yards, on consecutive carries to give Sainty a 34-0 lead with just over a minute left to play in the half.
The Caldwell offense took over with just :53 seconds left in the half and on a third down run, quarterback Keiondre Smith fumbled the football for the second straight drive only this time it was picked up and taken back for score by Kobe Tice for the Indian defense making it 42-0 after a two-point conversion going into halftime.
St. Francis would receive the second half kickoff and despite a couple of penalties would eventually punch it in the end-zone on a fourth down run from Blanka from eight yards out. That would end the game with a final score of 44-0 with 7:32 left in the third quarter.
Blanka, despite the slow start, once again led the Sainty offense with 233 yards rushing on 26 carries and four touchdowns, bringing his season total up to 35. Ben Busse ran seven times for 74 yards and score. Adam Krien ran for a tough 19 yards and a score, his 11th of the year.
As a team St. Francis had a total of 329 yards, all of it on the ground. The defense pitched a shut out for the third straight game and for the sixth time this season.
Caldwell was held to just 72 total yards of offense while committing three turnovers. Keiondre Smith led the Bluejays with 57 total yards as they end 2020 with an 8-3 record.
St. Francis (10-0), will play in the state semifinals for the fifth straight year this next week when they head east of Hays to face the Victoria Knights.