Hayden Oviatt too much for Augusta Orioles in playoff loss to Wamego Red Raiders

Brett Esch
Special to Butler County Times-Gazette
Sophomore quarterback Gavin Kiser gets under center against the Wamego Red Raiders on Friday, Nov. 5 in Wamego, Kansas.

WAMEGO, Kansas – When sixth-seeded Augusta squared off with second-seeded Wamego on Friday night at Wamego Sports Complex in the second round of the KSHSAA football 4A West playoffs, there were plenty of differences of note between the two squads.

However, one distinction stood out from the rest and was noticeable throughout the night: Wamego had Hayden Oviatt at quarterback. Augusta did not.

Oviatt, a junior, accounted for all five of the Red Raiders’ touchdowns, running for three and throwing for two more. This performance surely wasn’t a surprise to the Wamego faithful, as the passer has eclipsed 1,000 yards both passing and rushing in back-to-back seasons now.

But for Orioles head coach Jason Filbeck, the cause of Wamego’s big offensive night has more to do with his own team, which racked up 37 yards in penalties — including two crucial facemask calls on third-and-long situations.

“We didn't play very well,” Filbeck said. “We had mental mistakes, like jumping offsides. Penalties also killed us. Right after halftime we get a three-and-out, but get called for a face mask. It was the story of most high school teams: Penalties and turnovers.”

To open the game, Wamego (9-1) and Augusta (6-4) traded possessions with both sides feeling each other out. The Orioles went three-and-out and turned the ball over on downs on their first two drives, while Wamego ended both ensuing drives with punts.

On Augusta’s final possession of the first quarter, quarterback Gavin Kiser threw an interception that gave the Red Raiders another shot at striking first — and this time, they took advantage.

The scoring got started with 9:15 on the clock in the second quarter, when Oviatt ran to pay dirt from two yards out on his 11th carry of the contest. Following another turnover on downs by the Orioles, Wamego extended its lead to 14-0 with a 15-yard touchdown run by Oviatt.

Augusta was able to respond when do-it-all running back Sebastian Flower scored on a 19-yard scamper. With 1:10 left in the first half, the Orioles had cut their deficit to seven.

What the Orioles didn’t realize is that they’d left just enough time for Oviatt to drive his offense down the field and connect with wide receiver Ledjor Rowden for a 22-yard strike to put the Red Raiders’ lead back to 14 with 33 seconds left in the first half.

From there, it was all Wamego.

Augusta — after likely feeling the momentum slipping — attempted an onside kick to begin the second half, which set up Wamego with excellent field position at its own 45.

With the help of two facemask penalties (as Filbeck alluded to) on the Orioles, Oviatt was able to tally his third rushing touchdown of the night, another from 15 yards out to make it 27-7 with just over eight minutes left in the third quarter.

Augusta followed this up by turning the ball over on downs on two consecutive drives, and at the end of the third quarter, Wamego retained its 20-point advantage.

To start the fourth quarter, Oviatt decided to tack on one last score for good measure by finding wide receiver Hagan Johnson alone in the back corner of the end zone from 23 yards out to extend the Red Raiders' lead to 34-7.

The Wamego defense then followed its offense's lead, forcing Kiser to toss his second interception of the night. With the Red Raiders' backups in, they ran out the clock and clinched a showdown with Andover Central in the third round of the 4A West playoffs.

“Once you get behind on the scoreboard when you're a flexbone team, you don't usually throw it as your first option,” Filbeck said. “They could tee off on us and that makes pass protection hard — when they know you're throwing it. In the second half, it just got away from us.”

Despite Friday’s result, Filbeck is proud of the way his team fought.

“I love this team," Filbeck said. "Our league projected us to be second-to-last. … The kids bought into the culture. We don't have any superstars. Everybody just did their job and we were greater than the sum of our parts. I'm extremely blessed to coach this special group.”

The Orioles end the season with an overall record of 6-4.

Wamego 34, Augusta 7

AUG — 0;7;0;0 — 7

WAM — 0;21;6;7 — 34

Scoring

W — H. Oviatt 2 yd run (XP good); 0-7

W — H. Oviatt 15 yd run (XP good); 0-14

A — S. Flower 19 yd run (XP good); 7-14

W — H. Oviatt 22 yd pass to L. Rowden (XP good); 7-21

W — H. Oviatt 15 yd run (XP failed); 7-27

W — H. Oviatt 23 yd pass to H. Johnson (XP good); 7-34

Team stats

AUG; WAM

Rushing-yards: 42-164; 36-239

Passing yards: 117; 126

C-A-I: 9-19-2; 7-12-0

pen-yds: 6-37; 7-42

RUSHING — AUG: Barnett 12-48, Williams 9-42, Flower 5-29, Kiser 11-28, McDaniel 1-7, Blackwell 2-3, Cottam 1-3, Price 1-2; WAM: Oviatt 19-175, Phillimore 8-39, Couture 9-25.

PASSING — AUG: Kiser 9-19-2, 117 yds; WAM: Oviatt 6-11-0, 116 yds, Donahue 1-2-0, 10 yds.

RECEIVING — AUG: Flower 3-56, Blackwell 1-37, McDaniel 2-20, Barnett 1-4, Williams 1-3; WAM: Rowden 2-63, Johnson 1-23, Jager 1-17, Donahue 1-14, Couture 1-10, Phillimore 1-(-1).