By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
RIVERTON, Kan. —
Galena’s secret to success wasn’t complicated.
Really, it wasn’t a secret at all. The Bulldogs were going to run the football, and they were going to keep running it until they were stopped.
They never were.
Galena’s three-headed monster of Trenton Little, Logan Johnson and Jacob Helton each rushed for more than 100 yards as the Bulldogs beat Riverton 42-12 Friday night to advance to the Class 3A playoffs.
Since St. Mary’s-Colgan (6-3) beat Southeast 40-24 in the district’s other game, Galena (6-3) will enter the playoffs as a runner-up. The Bulldogs will travel to face Caney Valley (7-1) on Tuesday. Colgan will be at home against Neodesha (7-2).
The Bulldogs’ ability to run the football against Riverton is a big reason they are in the playoffs.
“It’s something we had to get back to,” Galena coach Beau Sawrinski said. “ We had to get back to what we do, which is physical football. I just really felt like Trenton Little did a great job tonight. He ran the ball hard downhill like we’ve asked him to do. Logan Johnson and J.J. Helton also did an exceptional job. But the group I’m really proud of is our offensive line ... They all did a great job. It was a total team effort.”
Galena mixed up the running game all night, using Little inside and Johnson and Helton on the outside. Little ran for 167 yards and two touchdowns, while Johnson had 138 yards and two rushing touchdowns and Helton compiled 104 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs didn’t punt all night. The only times they had the ball and didn’t score were on two fumbles and when the clock ran out on the first half.
“Our line did a fantastic job,” Little said. “All five of them and our tight end Casey (Krei) were great. Everybody did their part.”
Galena’s running game seemed to get better as the game went on. Little rushed for 101 yards in the second half alone.
“We tried a couple of different things trying to find the right solution to stop the run, but we just weren’t able to do that tonight,” Riverton coach Derrick Rider said.
Galena led 14-6 midway through the second quarter and had a chance to go up two scores with a first-and goal from the 2. However, the ball was fumbled on the exchange from quarterback Kyler Cook to Little and Riverton’s Jake Neal recovered.
The Rams responded by taking the ball from their own 5-yard-line and driving for more than 6 minutes down to Galena’s 8. But Riverton senior Greyson Spriggs was stopped short on a fourth-and-3. So instead of a potential tie game at halftime, the momentum went back to the Bulldogs.
“It was huge,” Sawrinski said of the stop. “We really felt like we had the momentum. Then we had some adversity, but I credit our defense for battling back. I credit our kids for handling the adversity.”
The Bulldogs have now won two games in a row after dropping three straight.
“There’s no quit in these guys,” Sawrinski said. “We’ve tried to sell that to the kids over the years that they have a chance to win and a chance to be successful if they trust each other and believing in each other. I’m real proud of their efforts tonight.”
Riverton ended its season with a 5-4 record.