Tuesday, 25 January 2022
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Axtell Wins First Title Since 1993 as They Cap Off Perfect 13-0 Season
By Brandon Tadtman

The Axtell Eagles won the 8-Man Division-II State Championship on Saturday in Newton 44-18 over the Wheatland/Grinnell Thunderhawks.

It’s the Eagles second State Title in school history. The last title was 1993 when they finished that season a perfect 13-0. Axtell’s team in 2021 capped off their Championship with a 13-0 record as well.

The game on Saturday was a rematch from the season opener on September 3rd as Axtell opened their run with a 62-16 win over the Thunderhawks.

Axtell has won the last three meetings between the two since the beginning of last season.

Axtell began the game by winning the coin toss and electing to receive the opening kickoff. The Eagles opened the game with a touchdown drive capped off by an 8-yard run from quarterback Isaac Detweiler.

Wheatland/Grinnell’s first possession ended in an interception which was then followed by an Axtell fumble within the span of a couple of minutes.

The Thunderhawks would capitalize off the Eagles turnover as they scored on a 1-yard touchdown run from Isaac Mendez. They would miss the two-point conversion which made the score 8-6 Axtell late in the first quarter.

That touchdown was followed by an Axtell punt and another Wheatland/Grinnell interception, and they went to the second quarter with Axtell holding the two-point lead.

It took 31 seconds into the second quarter for Axtell to add another touchdown as Detweiler tallied another from six yards out giving the Eagles a 14-6 lead.

Wheatland/Grinnell came right back and got back within 14-12 with a Trey Vincent 11-yard touchdown pass to his brother Jett Vincent.

Once again, the Eagles responded with a solid drive capped off by another Detweiler touchdown run, this one from 18 yards out to give Axtell the 20-12 lead heading into halftime.

The Eagles had the perfect start to the second half as they forced Wheatland/Grinnell into a quick three and out and responded with a Detweiler 29-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Schmelzle to extend the lead out to 28-12 midway thru the third quarter.

The Thunderhawks followed that with another interception which was followed by a turnover on downs from Axtell. Wheatland/Grinnell would add one more score early in the fourth quarter with a Mendez 28 yard run to get within 28-18.

The rest of the game saw two more Axtell touchdowns and two more Wheatland/Grinnell interceptions. Detweiler connected with Eli Broxterman on a huge 61-yard touchdown pass which gave the Eagles and 18-point lead and then would add one more with a Detweiler one-yard run.

The Eagles defense forced five interceptions from Thunderhawks quarterback Trey Vincent. Detweiler finished the game with 33 carries for 143 yards and four touchdowns while adding 266 passing yards and two more scores.

Detweiler finished the 2021 season with 63 total touchdowns to just two interceptions and could very well be the player of the year in 8-Man Division-II.

Schmelzle and Broxterman each finished with 116 receiving yards and a touchdown each.

Wheatland/Grinnell was led by Mendez who finished with 124 rushing yards and two scores. Jett Vincent had seven receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles will more than likely be the top ranked team in the state entering 2022 with the majority contributors being underclassmen.

Wheatland/Grinnell finished their season runner-up with an 11-2 record.  

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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