By GENE SCHINZEL
Special to The Telegram
BUHLER - Matching Buhler score for score isn't an easy thing to do.
Hugoton found that out during its second round Class 4A playoff game here Saturday night against the No. 2-ranked Crusaders.
Buhler scored on its first nine possessions as it pulled away late in the first half and cruised to a 64-26 win over the previously unbeaten Eagles.
"We couldn't keep pace," Hugoton coach Clint Merritt said. "They're a very good football team. It's a combination of size and speed. We couldn't get them stopped."
Hugoton was within 22-14 late in the first half, but Buhler seized control thanks to creating a couple of turnovers.
Buhler scored with 2:44 left in the half on an 18-yard pass from Jake Reffner to Dylan Partridge. That capped an 11-play, 68-yard drive.
On Hugoton's next play from scrimmage, Buhler recovered a fumble and scored on the ensuing play when Reffner hit J.P. Lohrentz in the left corner of end zone. That touchdown came at the 2:27 mark.
Hugoton then drove to midfield before Lohrentz intercepted a Zach Dunlap pass. Reffner completed 5 of 8 passes after the interception and scored on a 3-yard run with four seconds left.
All of a sudden, Buhler took a 43-14 lead to the locker room.
"We needed a momentum booster somewhere," Reffner said. "They're a great team, they run the ball hard. (But) when we scored after the fumble and interception, that kind of finished them off."
Buhler accomplished a milestone Saturday — its 10th win set a school record for single-season victories. The Crusaders try to add to that total on Friday against Rose Hill.
Buhler 64, Hugoton 26
Score by quarter
Hugoton 7 7 6 6 -- 26
Buhler 15 28 21 0 -- 64
B — Brad Wimer 42 pass from Jake Reffner (Reffner run)
H — Caleb Gifford 1 run (Hiram Urbiquez kick)
B — Jorden Oden 52 run (Ross Heide kick)
B — Reffner 21 run (Heide kick)
H — Colton Ghumm 34 pass from Zach Dunlap (Urbiquez kick)
B — Dylan Partridge 18 pass from Reffner (Heide kick)
B — Lohrentz 26 pass from Reffner (Heide kick)
B — Reffner 3 run (Heide kick)
H — Gifford 1 run (kick failed)
B — Reffner 47 run (Heide kick)
B — Oden 3 run (Heide kick)
B — Jordan Stiles 3 run (Heide kick)
H — Gifford 5 run (pat failed)
First downs 27 24
Rushing yardage 346 351
Passes 3-7-2 9-14-0
Passing yardage 72 169
Total plays 72 58
Total offense 418 520
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-30 5-40
Time of possession 24:34 23:26
Punts - average 1-34.0 0-0.0
Rushing — Hugoton: Martin 22-155, Gifford 30-148, Dunlap 12-43. Buhler 21-184, Reffner 11-122, Heide 4-23, Stiles 4-18, Shantz 1-2, Habluetzel 3-2.
Passing — Hugoton: Dunlap 3-7-72-2. Buhler: Reffner 9-14-169-0.
Receiving — Hugoton: Ghumm 2-58, Reed 1-14. Buhler: Lohrentz 4-66, Wimer 2-53, Oden 1-24, Partridge 1-18, Story 1-8,