PERRY — After punching their ticket to the Class 3A championship game for the second straight year, Perry-Lecompton’s players remained on the field to savor the moment.
And none of the Kaws had more to celebrate than senior Parker Stone after Friday’s 22-9 win over Big Seven League rival Holton.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder had missed Perry-Lecompton’s previous two playoff games while in coronavirus-related quarantine, but returned just in time to play a major role as the Kaws improved to 11-1 and earned a berth in next Saturday’s 3A title game against Andale at Hutchinson.
"It was very frustrating,’’ Stone said about being sidelined. "When I found out, I shed a tear, but I knew these guys were going to get it done and I was going to come back and play another game tonight.’’
Stone made the most of that opportunity, catching eight passes for 109 yards, including a 27-yard second-quarter touchdown reception from senior Thad Metcalfe that put the Kaws ahead to stay.
"My energy level was high,’’ Stone said. "I thought I was going to be out of shape a little bit, but my adrenaline was so high I was fine the whole night.’’
Normally a run-first team, Perry-Lecompton went to the air more Friday, with Metcalfe going 16 of 20 through the air for 187 yards.
"It was very fun,’’ Stone said. "We trust Thad, too. He’s getting more comfortable at quarterback and me and Dawson (Williams), we’re going to make plays every time we get the ball.’’
Metcalfe, who added 110 rushing yards and two TDs to his big passing night, said the Kaws were just trying to take advantage of what Holton’s defense was giving them.
"They put us in a position where they filled the box and said, ’Go out and throw the ball if you can beat us that way,’ and that’s what we did,’’ Metcalfe said. "Our receivers went out and made plays. It was amazing.’’
Perry-Lecompton led 8-3 at the half, answering a Holton field goal with an 11-play, 73-yard scoring drive.
Holton got on the scoreboard with a 25-yard field goal from sophomore Matt Lierz with 7:18 left in the first half after the Wildcats drove from their 4-yard line to the Perry-Lecompton 6 before Holton was forced to settle for a field goal after a costly holding penalty.
Perry-Lecompton answered with a clutch drive of its own, converting three third-down plays, including the TD pass from Metcalfe to senior Parker Stone at the 2:14 mark of the second quarter. Metcalfe then found senior Dawson Williams for a 2-point conversion to give the Kaws their 5-point halftime lead.
The Kaws added two more touchdowns in the second half, with huge stops from the Perry-Lecompton defense setting up both scores.
The first stop came on back-to-back third- and fourth-down plays with Holton needing less than a yard for a first down from its own 22-yard line.
The Kaws held the Wildcats to no gain both plays to take over the ball just outside the red zone and Metcalfe hit Stone for a 20-yard gain to set up a 4-yard Metcalfe TD run. Metcalfe added a 2-point conversion run to put Perry-Lecompton in front 16-3 with 5:42 left in the third quarter.
Perry-Lecompton also took advantage of a short field to score its final touchdown, taking over at the Holton 41-yard line after the Kaws stopped the Wildcats on a fourth-and-1 play.
"Tremendous,’’ Kaws coach Mike Paramore said of the defensive stands. "We got the stops and were able to take advantage.
"Coach (Jared) Swafford does a great job with our defense. He doesn’t get near enough credit. He puts the game plan together and I’ve got total trust in what he does and our defense has continued to play well and I’m nothing but proud of their effort and how they go about their business.’’
The Kaws needed 10 plays to reach the end zone, with Metcalfe scoring on a 2-yard run (pass failed) to give Perry-Lecompton a 22-3 advantage with 5:57 remaining.
Holton scored its only touchdown of the night with 2:59 left on a 4-yard run from senior Canon Karn (kick failed) that capped a 10-play, 74-yard drive.
Karn finished with 112 rushing yards on 19 carries for 9-2 Holton, which suffered both its losses against Perry-Lecompton.
Perry-Lecompton will be facing Andale in the state final for the second straight year, with the defending champions advancing with a 49-0 win over Wichita Collegiate.
Andale took a 35-7 win over the Kaws in the 2019 title game.
PERRY-LECOMPTON 22, HOLTON 9
Holton — Lierz 25-yard FG
Perry-Lecompton — Stone 27 pass from Metcalfe (D. Williams pass from Metcalfe)
Perry-Lecompton — Metcalfe 4 run (Metcalfe run)
Perry-Lecompton — Metcalfe 2 run (pass failed)
Holton — Carn 4 run (kick failed)
Rushing — Holton: Carn 19-112, Tannahill 14-58, Hundley 8-13, Boswell 1-6, Purcell 3-(minus)-3. Perry-Lecompton: Metcalfe 23-110, Rush 5-15, Hess 1-(minus)-6, Team 1-0.
Passing — Holton: Purcell 2-3-0, 36 yards; Lierz 1-1-0, 28. Perry-Lecompton: Metcalfe 16-20-0, 187.
Receiving — Holton: Holaday 2-56, Tannahill 1-8. Perry-Lecompton: Stone 8-109, Rush 3-31, D. Williams 3-19, Hess 1-14, Payne 1-14.
Punting — Holton: Zeller 3-36.3. Perry-Lecompton: Stone 2-35.5.