TOPEKA — After losing a first-round playoff matchup with Garden City last year, Washburn Rural got its revenge Friday night thanks to quarterback Jordan White and a series of takeaways on defense.
A tie game was broken open by a pair of Preston Williams touchdown catches, and the Buffaloes answered with a pair of interceptions, giving the Junior Blues a 21-7 halftime lead that held up for the final score.
Rural (7-2) avoided a three-and-out on its opening possession with a 53-yard pass to Cortez Sanders that put the Blues in the red zone. White finished the drive off with a 6-yard keeper less than two minutes into the game.
Garden City (2-7) converted a pair of fourth-down conversions on its opening drive, but a third attempt resulted in a sack by Kort Mattison. The Buffaloes evened the score on their next possession, with a short Reece Morss touchdown set up by a Carlos Acosta 37-yard run down the sideline.
For the rest of the half, Rural kept scoring, while Garden City’s offense was hamstrung by turnovers. Looking to respond to a 4-yard Williams touchdown, Acosta’s first pick went to Shawn Marquis with 2:05 left in the half.
White threw a 65-yard pass to Williams to make it 21-7, then helped the offense’s cause with a pick with 51 seconds left that secured a 14-point halftime lead.
The Buffaloes were able to move the ball, picking up several fourth-down conversions to stay alive, but after a punt to start the second half, each of their following drives ended on turnovers on downs.