SPRING HILL — After scoring on their first possession of the game, the Spring Hill Bronco offense sputtered the remainder of the first half against the Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

The Broncos led 7-0 at the half at Spring Hill District Stadium on Friday, Oct. 30.

It did not take long for the Spring Hill offense to find its rhythm in the second half, scoring on four possessions in a row.

Spring Hill topped 400 yards of total offense in a 34-6 victory. The Broncos ran the ball for 258 yards and passed for 172 yards.

Spring Hill (4-3) will travel this week to play Mill Valley (6-2).

Quarterback Evan Letellier opened the scoring with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Jones. John Mitchell kicked the extra-point for a 7-0 lead with 7:33 left in the first quarter.

Spring Hill covered 62 yards on seven plays. It would be the only score of the first half.

The Broncos were held on their first possession of the third quarter. Spring Hill forced a three-and-out, getting the ball right back.

Zach Knowlton returned the punt 28 yards, taking the ball to the Spring Hill 48-yard line. Knowlton had a 27-yard run for a first down and goal from the 6-yard line.

Draven Pipken had a power run right up the middle of the defense for a 6-yard touchdown run, making it 13-0 with 6:45 remaining in the third quarter.

Shawnee Heights answered, returning the kickoff 88 yards for the touchdown.

Spring Hill would score on its next three possessions, four straight in the second half, and never looked back.

Knowlton had a 35-yard run on first down. Letellier completed an 18-yard pass to Knowlton to take the ball to the Shawnee Heights’ 28-yard line. Letellier kept the ball on the option, gaining 11 yards. Kameron Crotchett caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Letellier to increase the lead to 20-6.

Shawnee Heights moved the chains with a fake punt on fourth down. Denver Gardner broke through the line to put pressure on the Thunderbirds’ quarterback, and Crotchett was there for the sack.

Pipken capped a fourth-quarter drive with a 24-yard touchdown run, increasing the lead to 26-6.

Pipken punched another drive into the end zone with a 30-yard touchdown run, making the final 34-6.

Pipken ran the ball 18 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns.

Letellier ran the ball 11 times for 50 yards. He had 172 yards passing with one touchdown.

Knowlton ran the ball four times for 70 yards, including a touchdown run.

Daniel Mitchell had five catches. Jones had four receptions.

Spring Hill forced three turnovers. Jake Hooker recovered a fumble. Jordan Davis and Knowlton each had an interception.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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