BUHLER — Time of possession can be a deceiving statistic, and that was the case in Buhler’s 45-14 win over the Concordia Panthers in a Class 4A regional matchup Saturday afternoon.
Concordia ran 62 offensive plays to just 31 for Buhler, and controlled the ball for more than 30 of the 48 minutes.
Buhler had six touchdown drives of four plays or less, and averaged less than a minute on each in advancing the third round of the playoffs.
Concordia finishes the season at 8-3.
Buhler, also 8-3, will play Mulvane (10-1) in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Mulvane shut out Maize South, 7-0.
Heading into the game, the Panthers knew they would need to slow down Buhler runningback Riley Allen, and not give up big plays.
Concordia struggled in both areas.
Allen, who had over 1,800 rushing heading into the game, carried the ball just 11 times but finished with 168 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught a pass for 50 yards and a score.
Buhler, which finished with 452 yards of offense, had six plays of over 30 yards and averaged better than 14 yards per play.
“We hadn’t played a team of that caliber since week one. That kid (Allen) is fast, and we hadn’t seen that. There is no way you can simulate that in practice,” Concordia coach Tim Lambert said, “They were good. They didn’t just have the one kid with speed. They are a solid football team.”
Buhler went 64 yards in just four plays, and needed just 43 seconds to score on the first possession of the game.
Allen had a 38-yard run to give the Crusaders a first and goal on the Concordia 1-yard line, and scored one play later.
Trailing 7-0, the Panthers went three and out on its initial possession, and had to punt.
Buhler got the ball back on its own 35.
The Crusaders overcame a block in the back penalty when Allen took a screen pass from Luke Berblinger and raced 50 yards for a touchdown with 7:47 to play in the first quarter.
Following another Concordia punt, the Crusaders needed just two plays and 48 seconds to score again.
Berblinger, who was five of eight for 215 yards and two touchdowns, hooked up with Joe Schmidt on a 73-yard scoring pass.
Concordia, down 21-0, ran 11 plays on its next offensive possession, but was unable to convert on a fourth down and one.
Buhler went 57 yards in four plays, and Allen scored on a 39-yard scamper to extend the lead to 28-0.
Concordia, running 13 plays, controlled the ball for more than 5:30, but was again stopped when Trevor Nordell was thrown for a 2-yard loss on a fourth and two.
“We were able to grind out some first downs. It would have been difficult to win that game, but if we could have slowed them down at all it wouldn’t have gotten out of hand,” Lambert said.
Buhler got inside the Panther 10-yard line, but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Will Perry, and led 31-0 at halftime.
Concordia crossed midfield just one time in the first half.
Buhler forced a Concordia punt to start the second half, and got the ball back on the Panther 37-yard line.
Allen needed just one play to score, and it was a 38-0 game.
Concordia would punt again, and Allen ripped off a 40-yard touchdown run.
The Panthers put together a 13-play, 78-yard scoring drive.
Trevor Nordell scored on a 1-yard run with 9:02 to play in the game.
Nordell carried 26 times for 109 yards in the game.
Shea Crum had four carries for 38 yards on the drive.
Concordia would add a late touchdown on a 56-yard run by Nick Thomas.
“I thought that quite of few of them kept playing hard,” Lambert said, “We were working even at the end.”
Crum ran in the two-point conversion to make it 45-14.
Thomas finished with 100 yards on 10 carries.
Concordia had 285 yards of offense, 269 rushing.
Nathan Gieber completed two of six passes for 16 yards.
Allen was the only Buhler player with more than 22 yards rushing.
Schmidt had two catches for 127 yards.
“Not making any excuses, but for the size of school we are, the number of kids we have who are capable of playing at the varsity level, we performed pretty well,” Lambert said, “We got about as much out of our ability as we could.”