By PAT SANGIMINO
Special to The Telegram
HESSTON — There was a moment late in the first quarter Saturday when Hesston running back Lucas Petrocci ran a sweep toward his sideline to the left.
He got all the yardage he could — which wasn't much — before heading to the sideline. And just before he got there, he was pushed hard by a Ulysses player and was sent flying into the Swathers' water dispenser.
It was not a penalty. Just good hard-nosed football — and it sent a message.
From that moment on, the Tigers dominated. They went on to beat Hesston, 47-21, in a Class 4A playoff game that sent Ulysses into next Saturday's 5 p.m. quarterfinal round at Holton, a 21-8 winner over Andale.
That game will feature a rematch of the 2005 state title game, when Holton won in triple-overtime, 28-27.
"We know that's a great program," said Ulysses coach Jason Kenny of Holton. "We look forward to playing them again."
This game featured a Ulysses team that did everything well.
It moved the ball in huge chunks on the ground with running back Josh Jarnagin.
Its passing attack, led by quarterback Braden Langston, was efficient. And its defense was simply tenacious.
"We play smash-mouth football," said Jarnagin, who rushed for 223 yards, caught two touchdown passes for 41 yards and got into the end zone a total of five times on the night. "That's what we're taught to do. We come up and hit 'em in the mouth. That's Ulysses football."
Ulysses football was too much for Hesston on Saturday. The Swathers scored on their first possession of the night but then allowed the Tigers score the next 40 points. The 40-point run coincided with Ulysses stepping up the intensity level.
"We knew they were physical," said Hesston coach Marc Marinelli. "I don't think it was their physicality that hurt us tonight as much as it was their tempo. They play so fast."
For a smash-mouth team, the Tigers sure do get to the line of scrimmage quickly. That point was illustrated from the outset when Ulysses drove 93 yards on 10 plays and scored on a 4-yard run by Jarnagin.
That drive took less than four minutes.
Hesston tied the score on Petrocci's 2-yard run, which capped a lengthy 69-yard drive.
That's when Langston took over. The 5-foot-10 junior capped three of the next four drives with touchdown passes — two to Jarnagin and another to Andy Simpson — that helped the Tigers open a 27-7 lead at the intermission.
Kenny said the 27-yard touchdown pass to Jarnagin with 14 seconds left in the half was a big play.
By the numbers
Ulysses 14 13 20 0 -- 47
Hesston 7 0 0 14 -- 21
U-Jarnagin 4 run (Sanchez kick), 8:06
H-Petrocci 2 run (Roth kick), 3:49
U-Jarnagin 14 pass from Langston (Sanchez kick), 1:18
U-Simpson 30 pass from Langston (Sanchez kick), 2:11
U-Jarnagin 27 pass from Langston (bad snap), :14
U-Jarnagin 1 run (pass failed), 4:45
U-Sandoval 2 run (Sanchez kick), 3:12
U-Jarnagin 36 run (Sanchez kick), 2:20
H-Roth 8 pass from Pauls (Roth kick), 9:38
H-Petrocci 4 run (Roth kick), 6:22
First downs 19 16
Rushing yards 334 108
Passing yards 135 212
Passes 7-10-0 17-25-3
Penalties-Yards 10-80 5-43
Punts-Avg. 1-49.0 3-22.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Rushing — Ulysses, Jarnagin 22-223, Sandoval 9-88, Langston 4-(-9), Degollado 1-2, Morales 5-14, Rodriguez 4-3, Mills 2-13. Hesston, Petrocci 23-77, Duran 3-17, Pauls 4-14.
Passing — Ulysses, Langston 7-10-0--135. Hesston, Pauls 17-24-3--188; Petrocci 1-1-0--24.
Receiving — Ulysses, Zirkle 2-48, Jarnagin 2-41, Simpson 3-46. Hesston, Ferguson 1-15, Voth-Gaeddert 1-5, Roth 8-108, Weaver 4-35, Jensen
3-38, Petrocci 2-2, Jenkins 1-8.