FLUSH — Rock Creek’s playoff hopes evaporated in 14 seconds on Friday night.
On a fourth-down play, with the Mustangs needing to get 6 yards to the Riley County 2-yard line, Rock Creek quarterback Dylan Meyer was stopped at the 3.
On the next play, Riley County quarterback Bryce Chavis took off for a 97-yard touchdown run.
Rock Creek coach Mike Beam said it was the turning point in a game his team lost 41-0 on Thursday at home. The win made the Falcons (5-4) district champions.
A big part of that was the night Chavis had, has he finished with 312 yards on just 18 carries. The senior, also known for his strong arm, didn’t throw a single pass all night.
“We didn’t get it in right there off the bat, that was kind of the turning point,” Beam said. “You hate to say that on the first drive, but it felt that way. Bryce is very good and we don’t have anybody that can match up with that. Most people don’t.”
It was that kind of night for the Mustangs (5-4), as Riley County never had a scoring drive longer than five plays.
Ian Eastes broke off a 29-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter, and Chavis scored on a pair of 2-yard runs in the second quarter. Eastes had a 20-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Chavis added a 17-yard run to initiate a running clock for the remainder of the game.
Eastes had 107 on 14 rushes.
Riley County coach Steve Wagner said the Falcons seemed to run the ball about as well as a team could.
“It seemed like we controlled things up front and then we have playmakers in Bryce and Ian, who is running the ball well now,” he said. “We wanted to be able to throw the ball, I thought we’d have to throw the ball, but we did a good job running it.”
Rock Creek tried to throw the ball Thursday, but the Falcons’ defense made that tough to accomplish. Mustangs’ quarterback Brett Hammett was slammed around when he tried to throw the ball, and threw it up for grabs deep in Falcons’ territory, only to see it picked off by Sawyer Havenstein.
Late in the first half, the Mustangs looked to gain a little momentum before halftime, but Hammett was picked off by Hunter Loewen. In the third quarter, Rock Creek running back Tyler Dillon had a trick-play shovel pass caught by Riley County’s Jake Brazzle.
Wagner was happy with the way the defense played.
“It’s nice defensively because at times this year we have struggled on that side of the ball,” he said. “It’s rewarding that the defense played a big role tonight. Our defense has been a work in progress and if it keeps getting better, that makes us a great football team.”
Rock Creek had just 69 rushing yards and 55 passing yards in the first half, and didn’t look primed to move the ball until its final drive of the game — late in the fourth quarter with nothing to slow the running clock.
Beam said he thought his team would be able to move the ball in chunks, but the Falcons’ speed proved to be too much to handle.
“They were a lot better than we were — they beat us,” he said. “They were faster, stronger, they were just better. I felt like our guys came out and played hard, they were just a lot better team than us.”
The Falcons will host a first-round playoff game Tuesday in Riley, playing Sabetha for the second straight season.
Wagner said his team is familiar with the matchup ahead of it.
“They know us, we know them,” he said. “We know they’re extremely well coached, they’re going to run veer, and they definitely will be a challenge for us.”