Recap by Emily Fey
The SME Lancers defeated the Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers 36-35 at the Shawnee Mission North Stadium on Nov. 4.
The Trailblazers came into the game with a 3-5 district record compared to East’s 8-0. However, the Trailblazers caught the East defense off guard when they scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game. The Trailblazers solidified their lead when defensive back Michael Kittleson picked off a pass and returned it for another touchdown early in the first quarter, making the score 0-14 Trailblazers
Both teams battled out until the end, with each team answering the other’s touchdowns. Near the end of the fourth quarter, the score was 28-35 Trailblazers.
“We knew Gardner was a good team and we knew that teams play harder in the playoffs,” sophomore defensive end PJ Spencer said. “Our team knew it was going to be a tough one.”
Junior Milton Braasch scored East’s final touchdown of the night with just 33 seconds left in the game. Still behind by one point, East head coach Dustin Delaney decided to go for the two-point conversion. Due to a penalty given to the Trailblazers just before the play, East’s distance to the end zone was just over one yard. Senior Luke Kaiser handed the ball off to Braasch, who snuck into the endzone, giving the Lancers a one point lead and a Regional Championship.
“It means a lot to me [that we get to play another game] because you never know when your last game or your last play will be,” senior quarterback Luke Kaiser said. “At this point, every team realizes that and I think our guys fought for each other to give us another opportunity.”
This exact game scenario happened two years ago when East played Olathe North to advance to the state championship game. East scored a last minute touchdown in overtime and went for the two point conversion, making the final score 36-35 East.
East advances on to the sectional round of the playoffs next week, where they will face Shawnee Mission North. When the two teams met earlier this season, East swept the Indians away with a 77-26 win.