Just minutes into last Friday night’s game against Central Lee, the Mid-Prairie offensive line plowed out the one yard needed for quarterback Collin Miller’s first touchdown …
Just minutes into last Friday night’s game against Central Lee, the Mid-Prairie offensive line plowed out the one yard needed for quarterback Collin Miller’s first touchdown of the night.
A couple of hours later, the line created the same space for one of its own, senior lineman Jack Zahradnek, who scored his first career touchdown on a 1-yard run with 5:59 left.
Those crushing plays helped lead the Golden Hawks to their second consecutive shutout win in district play, 51-0, setting up a showdown with Williamsburg this Friday, Sept. 30, in a game that will likely determine the Class 2A, District 6 title.
“It’s going to be great going into this next week,” Miller said. “I think we’ve prepared very well for it and it should be a good game.”
Williamsburg (5-0) is ranked No. 1 in Class 2A and has scored 120 points in its last two games. The Golden Hawks (4-1) have scored 107 points in their last two games.
“They’re elite,” Mid-Prairie head coach Pete Cavanagh said of the Raiders. “Like defensively, they’re just really good. It’s going to take our best effort and we know it’s going to be a tall task. But our kids are playing with confidence right now.”
There is no question about that confidence following dominating wins over Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont and Central Lee.
The Golden Hawks scored on their first five possessions in the first half against Central Lee and only a fumble in the midst of a pesky rain near the end of the second quarter stopped the Hawks from a sixth score.
Miller scored the first three TDs on quarterback keepers, following an offensive line that has helped deliver 13 rushing touchdowns and more than 400 rushing yards in the last two weeks.
“It’s great knowing that we have those guys up front every week,” Miller said. “They’re always a solid line, they never miss too many blocks or anything like that. It’s great having them up front to block for me.”
Miller only carried the ball four times. Senior running back Braden Hartley rushed for 103 yards and TD on 17 carries, pushing his total the last two weeks to 255 yards and 6 TDs.
Zahradnek had the first two carries of his high school career in the final quarter for 4 yards, the second time scoring a touchdown and producing a big roar from his teammates.
Between all of that, Lukin Rediger scored a touchdown, Dylan Henry had two interceptions, senior receiver had three pass receptions for 59 yards and Miller completed 6-of-8 passes for 111 yards and a 122.4 QB rating. That was topped by sophomore backup quarterback Brady Weber, who completed his one pass for 17 yards to Grady Miller and had a QB rating of a Tom Brady-like 156.3.
“I thought Collin had probably his best game of the year, just throwing and getting out of the pocket and doing what he needs to do,” Cavanagh said.
After Miller’s 1-yard keeper put the Golden Hawks in front 7-0 less than four minutes into the game, an interception by Henry set the Hawks up at the Central Lee 37-yard line for another quick scoring drive.
Rediger provide another defensive highlight with a blocked punt in the first minute of the second quarter, leading to an 8-yard scoring run by Hartley and a 28-0 Mid-Prairie lead with 11:10 still to play in the first half.
Miller returned a fumble 37 yards for a touchdown later in the quarter for a 35-0 lead. Henry’s second interception ended the first half and a safety in the early minutes of the third quarter delivered a 37-0 advantage.
By then, a running clock was going and thoughts were turning to this week’s district showdown. For the first time since 2018, the Golden Hawks will host Williamsburg.
“We’ve got to be ready. It’s going to be a fight, we know that,” said Brown, who missed last year’s game at Williamsburg due to an injury. “They’re a very talented team. We have to play our hearts out. Line’s got to block, quarterback has to play well, running back has to play well, receivers have to do well. Defense, it’s going to be big for us defensively, too. All the components have to come together and play clean football.”
Mid-Prairie has lost to Williamsburg eight straight times, but last year’s battle was won by just three points by the Raiders.
“We played them well,” Cavanagh said. “But it doesn’t mean much unless you win. We want to put our best foot forward and that’s what you’re looking to do, try to win the district.”