BURLINGAME – With the semi-final game on the line and being played on the road in the cold, Little River’s Braxton Lafferty put the team on his shoulders and led the Redskins to a 48-0 shutout victory over host Burlingame on Friday to advance to the 8-Man Division I state title game for the third season in a row.
The victory was the eleventh in a row for the second-ranked Little River since their opening game loss to Canton/Galva, giving them an 11-1 mark going into the state championship battle on Saturday, November 26 with top ranked and unbeaten at 12-0, Leoti/Wichita County. The Leoti/Wichita County Indians made the title game by hammering eighth-ranked Hill City 76-30 on Friday.
While Lafferty helped the Little River offense roll up 348 yards on 47 plays on offense, it was equaled out for credit in the victory by the Redskin defense which helped hold the Bearcats to a minimal 55 yards on 54 snaps of the ball, including a paltry four yards on 31 attempts to run the ball.
The stout Redskin defense kept Burlingame passing attack to completing just nine-of-twenty pass attempts while the smothering defense caused a pair of fumbles, accounted for nine quarterback sacks and made ten tackles that resulted in a loss of yardage.
“I felt our defense was solid from the D-line to the back end,” pointed out Little River head coach Kevin Ayers. “The front five did a great job of getting pressure and our defensive backs played well in coverage. Once we established a lead and forced them into must pass situations, Coach Lafferty dialed up some great pressure call to get to their quarterback.”
Senior Braxton Lafferty took over the game early, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter on runs of 37 and 46 yards to give the Redskins an early 16-0 lead.
Little River increased their lead to 36-0 by the halftime break after Lafferty connected with Andrew Smith on a 20-yard pass and catch score to be followed by short touchdown runs of one and two yards by Rylan Konen and Lafferty.
In the second half, Lafferty scored his fourth and fifth touchdowns in the game on a 59-yard run in the third quarter and a 42-yard jaunt in the fourth, giving Little River their final 48-0, shutout win.
For the game, Lafferty only needed to complete two-of-five passes for 42 yards as he was unstoppable running the ball, picking up a whopping 13.2 yards on each of his 18 carries for a total of 238 yards. Lafferty accounted for 280 of Little River’s 348 yards in offense and had a hand on six of the teams seven scoring plays.
Concluding his post-game reflections by discussing the offense, coach Ayers added, “With Toby Jesseph, our anchor of the offensive line out due to injury, I was super proud of the guys that filled in. A rotation of Grant Stephens and Braden Young allowed us to still do the things on offense that we like to do.”
On the defensive side of the game, Lafferty was again the team leader by recording 12 tackles of which eight were solo stops and one went for a loss of yardage. Grant Stephens was a monster on defense, getting in on 11 tackles with nine of those being solo stops to go with four quarterback sacks and four stops for a loss of yardage. Andrew Smith earned credit for nine stops with four being solo to go with a pair of sacks. Both Lafferty and Rylan Konen secured recoveries on a pair of Burlingame fumbles.
LITTLE RIVER REDSKINS at Burlingame
SCORING: LITTLE RIVER 16-20-6-6=48; Burlingame 0-0-0-0=0.
LITTLE RIVER: Braxton Lafferty scored on a 37-yard run (2-Point Conversion was Good) 8-0
LITTLE RIVER: Braxton Lafferty scored on a 46-yard run (2-Point Conversion was Good) 16-0
LITTLE RIVER: Andrew Smith scored on a 20-yard pass play from Braxton Lafferty (2-Point Conversion Failed) 22-0
LITTLE RIVER: Rylan Konen scored on a 1-yard run (2-Point Conversion was Good) 30-0
LITTLE RIVER: Braxton Lafferty scored on a 2-yard run (2-Point Conversion Failed) 36-0
LITTLE RIVER: Braxton Lafferty scored on a 59-yard run (2-Point Conversion Failed) 42-0
LITTLE RIVER: Braxton Lafferty scored on a 42-yard run (Kick Failed) 48-0
LITTLE RIVER: 1st Downs – 13; Total Offense – 47 for 348; Passing – 3/8 for 55, 1 score, 1 interception; Rushing – 33 for 293; Fumbles – 1/1; Penalties – 9/85.
Burlingame: 1st Downs – 5; Total Offense – 54 for 55; Passing – 9/20 for 51; Rushing – 31 for 4; Fumbles – 2/2; Penalties – 1/5.
LITTLE RIVER INDIVIDUAL STATS:
Passing: Braxton Lafferty – 2/5 for 42, 1 score, 1 interception; Rylan Konen – 1/3 for 13.
Rushing: Braxton Lafferty – 18 for 238, 5 scores; Grant Stephens – 5 for 24; Braden Young – 5 for 24; Rylan Konen – 5 for 7, 1 score.
Receiving: Braden Young – 1 for 22; Andres Smith – 1 for 20, 1 score; Chris Norez – 1 for 13.
Defense: Braxton Lafferty – 12, 8 solo, 1 for loss, 1 fumble recovery; Grant Stephens – 11, 9 solo, 4 sacks, 4 for loss; Andrew Smith – 9, 4 solo, 2 sacks, 2 for loss; Braden Young – 7, 5 solo; Ruxton Birdsong – 6, 4 solo, 1 sack, 1 for loss; Rylan Konen – 5, 3 solo, 1 fumble recovery; Kyler Bergkamp – 4, 2 solo, 1 sack, 1 for loss; Carter Stansbury – 3, 2 solo, 1 sack, 1 for loss; Kayston Cox – 2, 1 solo.
(The Staff covering McPherson County Activities can be reached by email at email@example.com)