FLUSH — Rock Creek’s high-powered offense, with senior quarterback Charlie Killingsworth at the controls, was a powerful threat all season. But not Friday night. Other than two big plays, the Mustangs couldn’t muster much offense.
Turnovers hurt, too.
It added up to a 35-22 home loss to Perry-Lecompton in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Rock Creek knew it had its hands full coming into the game.
“Perry is a great team — they are ranked No. 3 in the state for a reason,” Rock Creek head coach Shane Sieben said. “We knew it was a tough draw coming in. We were not going to sit and cry about it. We knew we needed to find a way to win, and we didn’t do it. A lot of that goes to them up front. Their front (defensive) four was getting pressure on us and we needed to protect Charlie more. We just didn’t give (Charlie) enough time.”
Killingsworth usually makes plays with his strong arm, but Friday, he tossed interceptions when it mattered, preventing Rock Creek (5-3) from mounting a second-half comeback to keep its season alive.
It took six offensive drives for a team to get on the scoreboard. Perry-Lecompton struck first. The Kaws (8-1) took a risk and kept its offense on the field on fourth down. Its quarterback scrambled to his left and found a receiver in the back-left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
“I love our guys, and we are going to give them the opportunity to compete and have a chance to make play,” Perry-Lecompton head coach Mike Paramore said. “We believe in them. It just felt like it was a good shot (to take). If (we didn’t convert), we were still going to have good field position to get a stop (on defense) and get (the ball) back.”
Paramore said the opening touchdown was critical.
“Any time you get started and get points on the board and draw first blood, it gives you a little more confidence,” Paramore said.
Rock Creek responded as Killingsworth connected with wide receiver Brooks Whaley in double coverage near the 10-yard line, and Whaley was able to shake off a few tackles to complete a 58-yard touchdown to level the game at 7-7.
On Perry-Lecompton’s next possession, the Kaws were just behind midfield when running back Rush Reichen found a hole and ran through Rock Creek’s defense for a touchdown to take the lead back; a missed extra point kept the game at 13-7.
On the Kaws’ next offensive possession, Reichen found a crease near the sideline and sped down the field for a 78-yard touchdown to create some breathing room with a 21-7 advantage.
“All our guys compete,” Paramore said. “You never know who is going to be the performer on the night. The next guy is going to continue to step up.”
The Mustangs needed some energy. And with an explosive offense — one big offensive play is all it takes. That happened on the following possession. Killingsworth found wide receiver Gorski Kael open for a 75-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-14.
That was the last touchdown the Mustangs managed until late in the fourth quarter. The Kaws slowed down the Mustangs, and Killingsworth threw two interceptions.
“Our guys had a good scheme,” Paramore said. “(Rock Creek) has guys who are explosive when the ball is in their hand. Our guys did a great job of making plays and getting stops.”
In the second half, the Kaws had no problem scoring. They controlled the line of scrimmage and marched down the field with a mix of passing and running to score two touchdowns.