A perfect ending: SM East caps 13-0 state championship season with emblematic win over Hutchinson

Delaney congratulated his team after the game.
Delaney congratulated his team after the game.

Considering the enormity of the milestone they’d just reached, the SM East Lancers’ celebration on the field after Saturday’s state championship win was relatively subdued — like the kind of congratulations the crew of a ship might give each other after safely docking in their destination port at the conclusion of a carefully planned months-long voyage.

Maybe such a businesslike demeanor from the team was to be expected, given the fact that they’ve been all business, all year.

[pullquote]Kyle Ball on what he told his teammates before the game
Click the arrow to hear SM East defensive end Kyle Ball talk about what he told his teammates in a pre-game pep speech.

[/pullquote]Save for the dramatics of the substate win over Olathe North that came on a do-or-die two point conversion, this year’s SM East team was most notable for its precision and efficiency, taking care of the details needed to put up big points and keep opponents off the board. Saturday’s 33-14 win over Hutchinson in the 6A title game was a case in point. The Lancers simply out executed the Salthawks, and the school’s first state championship was their reward.

SM East set the tone for the game in the opening minutes, forcing a fumble by Hutchinson running back Blaik Middleton and turning it into a 14 play, 52 yard touchdown drive that included two fourth down conversions.

Despite the early fumble, Middleton, who destroyed Lawrence Free State in the substate game with a 356 yard, six touchdown performance, looked like he might be poised for another huge game in the first half. He broke free for a 39 yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to tie the game. But the Lancers responded with another long drive of their own, with running back Wyatt Edmisten finding the end zone for his second touchdown.

The Lancers’ missed PAT on their second touchdown allowed Hutchinson to take a brief one-point lead after quarterback Turner Wintz marched the Salthawks 73 yards down the field for a touchdown to put them up 14-13 with 4:03 to play in the half.


SM East didn’t flinch, though, after finding itself down with a title on the line. On the ensuing possession, coach Dustin Delaney called for senior receiver Charley White to run a fade route to the corner of the end zone, where he roped in quarterback Gunnar Englund’s pass to give the Lancers the lead heading into the half. SM East would never look back.

Middleton finished the first half with 122 yards on the ground, but SM East’s defense adjusted to Hutchinson’s schemes during the break, and kept Middleton largely at bay for the rest of the game. He added just 41 yards to his rushing stats in the third and fourth quarters, finishing the day with 163.

Edmisten, on the other hand, kept running right through the Hutchinson line, eating up the clock and scoring another touchdown for the Lancers in the third quarter. He finished the day with 142 yards and three touchdowns. Edmisten credited the Lancers’ offensive line with allowing him to find the endzone Saturday.

“They did awesome,” Edmisten said after the game. “All year they’ve been doing amazing. And they did amazing tonight. I can’t thank them any more.”

White capped the Lancers’ scoring for the day with another fade route reception in the fourth quarter that made it 33-14 and effectively put the game out of reach for the Salthawks.

Delaney said after the game that his seniors showed the discipline they’d learned from playing in the system for two seasons.

“We had seniors making big plays all over today which is no surprise, because they’ve been doing it for two years,” he said. “Charley White’s just an incredible football player. We threw two fades to him and he caught them both for touchdowns. Gunnar stood in there in heat and made plays. He got the ball where it was supposed to go all day.”

With the win, SM East wrapped up a perfect 13-0 season for the school, and one of the most dominant in Sunflower League history. SM East put up a total of 600 points in 2014, and allowed just 146.

Wyatt Edmisten became one of only nine Sunflower League running backs to have rushed for 2,000 yards in a season.
Wyatt Edmisten became one of only nine Sunflower League running backs to have rushed for 30 touchdowns in a season.
Charley White looked over his shoulder to zero in on the pass that would give the Lancers their final touchdown of the afternoon.
Charley White looked over his shoulder to zero in on the pass that would give the Lancers their final touchdown of the afternoon.
Head coach Dustin Delaney reacted with smile and a simple fist pump as the Lancers team captains accepted the state title trophy.
Head coach Dustin Delaney reacted with smile and a simple fist pump as the Lancers team captains accepted the state title trophy.
Edmisten dived across the goalline for one of his three touchdowns. Photo by Daniel Blom.
Edmisten dived across the goalline for one of his three touchdowns. Photo by Daniel Blom.
Lancer cheerleaders and fans gathered on the sidelines as the clock wound down, preparing to join the team on the field.
Lancer cheerleaders and fans gathered on the sidelines as the clock wound down, preparing to join the team on the field.
SM East's defense was able to keep quarterback Turner Wintz and running back Blaik Middleton from doing much damage.
SM East’s defense was able to keep quarterback Turner Wintz and running back Blaik Middleton from doing much damage.
A beautiful fall afternoon in Emporia served as the backdrop for the state title game.
A beautiful fall afternoon in Emporia served as the backdrop for the state title game.