By CONOR NICHOLL
OTIS — Coach Travis Starr has collected a 42-27 record and a 2010 8-Man, Division II state runner-up berth in his seven-year tenure with the Otis-Bison High School football team. However, Starr had never seen his team start like it did Tuesday against Moscow.
Otis-Bison scored on its first two offensive plays on runs of 65 and 46 yards from junior running back Dylan Wissman. Then, senior Matt Crotinger returned an interception 36 yards for another score. On the Cougars' third offensive series, senior Patrick Piper scored on the fourth play of the drive on a 37-yard run. Otis-Bison led 28-0 with 6:08 left in the first quarter.
The early flurry led to a 68-20 Cougar victory in their first-round game. The game was called at halftime because of the 45-point mercy rule.
"I was glad to see it," Starr said. "I think our kids come out ready to play tonight. I think playoffs are meaning something to these guys."
The Cougars used a 36-0 first-quarter lead over Moscow (8-2) to improve to 9-1 while winning a first-round home playoff game for the third straight year.
"We talk about trying to match the intensity each and every week, and so forth," Moscow coach Travis Johnson said. "I think we came out, and we were a little too over intense, and we just played outside of ourselves.
"We made a few mistakes, and we got down on ourselves, and we couldn't recover."
Wissman finished with a career-high 319 yards and five touchdowns on 16 carries. Defensively, Otis-Bison held Moscow, the highest scoring team in Kansas with 638 points, to its second-lowest point total of the year.
"I knew our defense and I knew we were going to be able to stop them," Wissman said. "I knew our offense was going to start rolling, and we were going to put points up, but I didn't think it was going to happen that fast."
Wissman, who entered the game with 997 total yards and 21 scores this season, normally shares carries with Piper. However, the Cougars saw openings with Wissman throughout the night and gave him the ball on all but 11 offensive snaps.
"Their defense gave us a lot of looks my way," Wissman said. "You don't want to go to one person, but what's open is what you have got to do."
On the game's first play, Wissman ran inside, bounced out to the left and raced 65 yards for the score, the longest running play of the season for the Cougars. After Moscow had a turnover on downs, Wissman scored again on a similar play.
"We ran the same play a couple of times over and over," junior lineman Sam Higgason said. "It was working to go inside, so we just kept hammering it in, and it was resulting in touchdowns."
On Moscow's third play, senior quarterback Breck Roop ran more than 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage before firing a pass down the left sideline — right to Crotinger, the first of two interceptions for the senior in the game. Crotinger weaved his way down the sideline for the score.
"I had to watch the player I was guarding, and since I also had to read the quarterback's eyes, it was pretty hard staying with the (receiver) and also trying to spy at the same time," Crotinger said.
Moscow went three-and-out and Piper responded with his 37-yard touchdown, his first of two scores. Wissman capped the first quarter with a 50-yard run.
"We knew going into the game that he was a heck of a player," Johnson said. "That was our No. 1 goal. We had to try to stop him, we had to try to wrap him up.
"We knew that if you hit him, he was going to try to spin. We saw it on tape — the same thing happened tonight."
Moscow, led by senior wingback Osvaldo Granillo (12 carries for 113 yards, two catches for 55 yards, two touchdowns) scored three times in the second quarter.
But the Wildcats could never draw closer than 30 points.
Otis-Bison will travel to Victoria (6-4) in the second round on Saturday.
"That's a good way to set the tone and start the playoffs," Starr said.
Otis-Bison 68, Moscow 20
Moscow (8-2) 0 20 x x -- 20
Otis-Bison (9-1) 36 32 x x -- 68
Otis-Bison — Wissman 65 run (run failed)
Otis-Bison — Wissman 46 run (Wissman run)
Otis-Bison — Crotinger 36 interception return (run failed)
Otis-Bison — Piper 37 run (Keller run)
Otis-Bison — Wissman 50 run (Piper run)
Moscow — Roop 2 run (pass failed)
Otis-Bison — Wissman 22 run (Piper run)
Moscow — Granillo 59 run (Granillo run)
Otis-Bison — Wissman 47 run (Piper run)
Moscow — Granillo 48 pass from Roop (run failed)
Otis-Bison — Piper 1 run (Keller run)
Otis-Bison — Crotinger 30 pass from Keller (Piper run)
First downs 9 15
Rushes-yards 26-157 25-367
Passing 5-12-2 1-2-0
Passing yards 64 30
Total plays-yards 38-221 27-397
Punts-avg. 2-46.5 0-0.0
Penalties-yds 5-60 2-15
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-1
RUSHING — Moscow: Granillo 12-113, Manriquez 6-28, Roop 8-16; Otis-Bison: Wissman 16-319, Piper 6-55, Keller 3-(-7).
PASSING — Moscow: Roop 5-12-2-64; Otis-Bison: Keller 1-2-0-30.
RECEIVING — Moscow: Granillo 2-55, Miller 3-9; Otis-Bison: Crotinger 1-30.