SMITHVILLE — The numbers are gaudy. Especially considering the opponent.
The Smithville Warriors ran wild in a district opening round contest Friday, Nov. 1. Fifty-eight offensive plays. Five-hundred and ninety-eight total yards. And 447 rushing yards.
Twin brothers Spencer and Isaac Miller and Hayden Sigg all rushed for more than 100 yards apiece as third-seeded Smithville defeated No. 6 Kearney for a second straight week on its home field, this time for a 60-45 victory in the opening round of the Class 4 District 8 tournament.
“This was pretty sweet,” senior quarterback Spencer Miller said. “I was not expecting 60, but it was pretty special. It doesn’t happen a lot. The team did a great job, the offensive line did a great job blocking their hearts out. It was an overall good team win.”
The loss meant an abrupt end to Kearney’s season. The Bulldogs finished the season 5-5.
“We just couldn’t get off the field defensively,” Kearney coach Josh Gray said. “It definitely wasn’t an effort deal. Our guys fought and they battled, but unfortunately we came up short.”
The Warriors (9-1) have now beaten Kearney in four straight tries and they’ll travel next week to No. 2 Platte County (7-3), 36-13 winners over Winnetonka, for a district semifinal contest.
It’s a rematch of last season’s district title game, one that Smithville came out victorious. Platte County, meanwhile, is responsible for Smithville’s lone loss this season, a 15-0 defeat on Oct. 4 in Platte City.
“Last time we played Platte County we had a bad game as a team,” Spencer Miller said, “and it was still a 15-point game. So as long as we continue that momentum, we should have a pretty good shot.”
Spencer Miller led the Warriors in rushing with 177 yards and three touchdowns on 20 attempts. Senior running back Isaac Miller carried it 16 times for 152 yards and two scores, while sophomore Hayden Sigg tallied 109 yards and one touchdown on 10 rushes.
“Our guys up front were getting it done,” Smithville coach Jason Ambroson said. “And then Spencer, Isaac, and Sigg were making big plays in the running game. They’re dynamic kids. When the guys up front are rolling and moving it really helps us.”
Spencer Miller also threw for three touchdowns and 151 yards, completing 8 of his 11 attempts. George Fisher, Rhett Foster and Jerrin Clark each hauled in touchdown passes.
The Warriors had a big first half, scoring on all five of their offensive possessions. Isaac Miller’s 2-yard touchdown run capped Smithville’s opening drive that came after the Warriors recovered a squib kick from Fisher to open the contest.
The Warriors scored twice more in the first quarter to the Bulldogs’ one score, coming off of one of Garrett Laughlin’s three touchdowns.
Smithville built a 34-7 lead with touchdown runs from the Miller twins. Ian Acosta registered a short touchdown run before Spencer Miller connected with Foster on a 20-yard passing play for an eventual 40-15 halftime advantage. Sigg opened the Warriors’ lead to 46-15 with a 73-yard touchdown run in the opening minute of the second half.
The Bulldogs, however, went on to outscore the home side 30-14 the rest of the way, igniting some energy out of the Kearney faithful.
“Tonight our guys showed a lot of grit and a lot of character,” Gray said. “I’m proud of this team and how far they’ve come, and, even though it wasn’t what we wanted, I’m dang proud of the finish and the efforts they gave at the end of the game tonight.”
Laughlin, a senior, finished with 147 yards on 18 carries in his final game as a Bulldog. Senior Jacob Stevens, who was out the previous week due to injury, caught two passes for 26 yards and successfully hauled in a pair of two-point conversion passes in his final prep game.
Kearney sophomore quarterback Ian Acosta scored three touchdowns on the ground and ran for 82 yards on 13 attempts.
Acosta was 5-of-17 passing for 82 yards with an interception, which was caught by Warriors defensive back Cody Simoncic — his fifth pick in the last three weeks.
Smithville’s district semifinal appearance at Platte County is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8. The winner will face the Lincoln College Prep-Excelsior Springs winner for a district title.