Wednesday, Oct. 03, 2012
Midway takes down Christ Prep
By Greg Finley
The Midway Vikings faced an unfamiliar foe Sept. 28 in the Christ Prep Patriots an opponent whose roster is well represented by players from Cass County. Christ Prep, based in Lenexa, Kan., is composed of mostly homeschooled athletes.
Christ Prep came into Midway hoping to turn around its 1-3 season, but the Vikings had other thoughts and delivered a 48-15 homecoming victory to improve to 5-1. The Midway team, combined with an electric Friday night atmosphere, made an impression on the rebuilding Patriots.
The Vikings executed well in all phases of the game, but it was a four touchdown first half juggernaut named Bobby Zielinski that put the Patriots in a hole from which they would not recover.
Before halftime, Zielinski caught three touchdown passes from quarterback Peyton Semsch. Two of the touchdown strikes were in the first quarter and measured 21 and 68 yards. Semsch found Zielinski again in the second quarter, hitting him on a 39-yard post pattern for another score at the 9:26 mark. This score came just after Zielinski had found the end zone on a 58 yard interception return several plays earlier in the second period.
Midway head coach Larry Burchett felt like one phase of his team’s effort really stood out.
“I thought our passing game was really solid,” he said. And while not denying the play of Zielinski and Semsch was exceptional, he said there was plenty of credit to go around. “As a unit we had a lot of players making plays.”
Christ Prep’s offense sputtered early, but the Patriots sustained a drive late in the second quarter that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Timothy Finley. Finley’s PAT drew Christ Prep to 28-7. After the ensuing kickoff, Midway fumbled on its first play from scrimmage, giving the Patriots excellent field position at the Viking 37-yard line with less than 45 seconds remaining in the half. Christ Prep couldn’t capitalize, however, and Midway took a 28-7 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Christ Prep received the second half kickoff but whatever hopes the Patriots had for a comeback were quickly dashed. It was Midway’s Semsch contributing on defense this time, as he picked off a Finley pass on the fourth play of the third quarter, returning it 14 yards for a touchdown. After Semsch’s PAT, the Vikings were up 35-7.
Following another stalled Christ Prep drive, the Vikings took it to the Patriots on the ground, rolling off 48 yards rushing on just a six play drive. On a play that was reminiscent of the 1985 Chicago Bears use of lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry, Midway capped the scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown run by 6-foot-5, 277 pound senior lineman Christian Cromer.
“We traditionally try to get our senior linemen a touchdown sometime during their senior year,” Burchett said.
On the Patriots next drive, Finley, who was under duress all evening from the Midway pass rush, threw an interception to Viking freshman Luke Boyer who returned it to the Christ Prep 7-yard line. Four plays later, Semsch again threw a touchdown pass – this time connecting with tight end Mason Irvin on a three yard play over the top. After Semsch’s extra point kick, the third quarter ended with Midway up 48-7.
Both teams traded possessions before Christ Prep once again found pay dirt. Finley hit wide receiver Chase Stamatis streaking down the right sideline for a 75-yard touchdown pass with 6:48 left in the game. Finley then threw to running back Davis White for the two point conversion, but those would be the last points of the game as Midway finished on top 48-15.
The Patriots’ final score showcased the team’s Cass County connection. Finley, the quarterback who typically plays tight end, is a resident of rural Garden City while teammate Stamatis, the recipient of the 75-yard touchdown pass, is a resident of Cleveland. The Patriots’ leading tackler and anchor on the offensive line is senior linebacker and center Regan Hurley – a Peculiar resident.
The game’s statistics confirmed the Vikings’ outstanding effort in all phases of the game. The team rushed for 177 yards on 41 carries while Semsch threw for 126 yards on 4-6 passing. Viking Joey Beller led all runners with 57 yards on seven carries and the Vikings’ leading receiver was Zielinski with 3 catches for 126 yards. Christ Prep managed only 25 yards rushing on 29 carries. Finley threw for 227 yards on 14 completions with three interceptions. The Patriots’ Stamatis had 2 catches for 86 yards while teammates Chris Mills and White each had five catches for 74 and 21 yards, respectively.
Midway takes its 5-1 record tonight to Rich Hill to take on the 0-6 Mustangs, while Christ Prep (1-4) travels to St. George, Kan. to play the Rock Creek Mustangs.