By Tony Eubanks
VIAN — With not a seat open in the stands and lawn chairs wrapped around the end zone, Vian’s Class 2A game with Kansas turned into a track meet in the early going.
That wasn’t the only strange thing. Vian also had a first-half battle for a change.
In the end, the top-ranked Wolverines turned a 35-26 lead at the break into a 76-26 win over the Comets, advancing to a rematch against Hennessey in the quarterfinals next week, back here at St. John Stadium.
Vian stopped Kansas on its opening possession on a fourth-and-2 stop, then on the first play from scrimmage, Wolverines running back Rowdy Simon raced 75 yards for a score, his first of three as he finished with 322 yards on 17 carries.
The two teams would trade touchdowns not once but three times. Landon Decker’s 5-yard run and Simon’s second TD, a 40-yard run, had Vian getting the first word each time but the Comets didn’t quite match their counterparts due to three missed conversions.
A 70-yard Simon run made it 35-26 at the half. Vian’s defense also had a stop at the 2-yard line to preserve the advantage.
Vian began to have an answer for Kansas’ Logan Blaine’s passing arm, especially with receiver Johnny Lewis (5 catches, 196 yards before the break) being on the end of those catches.
Blaine’s first pass of the second half was intercepted and one play later, Eric Casey sped 50 yards for the score. Quarterback Landon Decker added a touchdown and after another interception by Jon Parks, Warren Zachary took it 75 yards on a rush for a score.
Casey would add two touchdowns, one from 23 yards out and another on a 60-yard punt return.
Decker ended up with four touchdowns on the night.
“I’m glad we get another one here at home next week. Hennessey’s a very find ball club,” Vian coach Brandon Tyler said. “But I’m very proud of this team. We finally got some pressure on their quarterback and it shut down their passing game.”
Vian moved to 12-0. Kansas finished at 9-3.