MAIZE — Once the Maize Eagles were able to get some separation in the second quarter, Emporia High was forced to come out of its comfort zone.
That was too much for the Spartans.
The E-High offense struggled to run the ball against the Eagles’ front all night, falling 31-0 to Maize in the second round of the 5A Playoffs.
The Eagles scored on their opening possession, with a 7-yard pass from Camden Jurgensen to Preven Christon. That’s where the game stood into the second quarter, when Caden Cox added a 20-yard touchdown run to extend Maize’s lead. The Eagles officially turned the heat up in just the final two minutes of the first half, getting a 20-yard field goal at the 1:54 mark, making the lead 17-0, but got the ball back with less than a minute to play and turning 30 seconds into another touchdown right before halftime.
That pushed the Spartan deficit to 24-0.
In attempt to spark an offense that largely struggled to move the ball most of the first half, E-High went to quarterback Kadyn Williams after the break, but until the final drive of the contest, E-High still couldn’t get deep into Maize territory.
The Eagles added one final score, with less than three minutes to play, as Jurgensen himself ran the ball in from four yards out to make it a 31-0 contest.
Beau Baumgardner had a pair of big runs in the Spartans’ final drive, getting E-High within kicking range of the end zone, but a last-second field goal try to avoid the shutout fell short to end the game.
Overall, Maize finished with 420 yards of total offense, getting a tremendous night from Camden Jurgensen, who ran for 163 yards and added 156 through the air.
“I think all of our kids defensively played well at times,” EHS Head Coach Corby Milleson said. “Caden Cox is a terrific back, Jurgensen’s a terrific quarterback, he does some really great things with his legs running the football. We looked a little slow, overall. Maybe that’s because of how fast they are.”
The Spartans had but 148 yards of offense on the night, 133 coming from Baumgardner.
“Beau’s played well all year long,” Milleson said. “We wanted to give Skyler (Douglas) some reps tonight, try to get something going with him and give Beau a little rest and Beau played like Beau does. I think he did an excellent job.”
It was the final game for 17 seniors which made up a majority of the defensive unit and several two-way players.
“I’m very proud of our senior class,” Milleson said. “I think they battled very, very hard tonight. Maize is a quality football team and proved it on the field. I think that our (team) gave us every single thing they had, we just came up on the short end.
EHS finished its season with a 6-4 mark, 5-2 in Centennial League play.
“I think the boys played really hard,” Milleson said. “I thought Andrew Wendling and Connor Hoyt, Beau and Cade Kohlmeier and Riley Wagner and the boys up front did a lot of really good things. It’s hard when you lose 31-0 on your final game. It’s a tough night.”