Junction City did not get off to the start it had hoped for in their 35-17 home win over Haysville-Campus in the opening round of the Class 6A football playoffs.

On the first play of the game, the Blue Jays fumbled the ball which allowed Haysville to recover the ball at Junction City’s 21-yard line.

The Blue Jays defense came through in the red zone as they forced a fumble of their own to get the ball back at the 1-yard line.

Then, the Blue Jays got a big play to get on the board first as senior running Randall Banks came through on third down from the 1-yard line.

Banks bursted through a hole through up the middle and sprinted to the right side of the field and down the sideline until he got past midfield and then ran across the field following his blocks and breaking a few tackles, maneuvering his way to complete a 99-yard rushing touchdown.

Haysville Campus responded on its next possession by marching the ball to Junction City’s 25-yard line for a field goal to shorten the lead to 7-3.

The hosts extended its lead with a solid offensive possession, marching the ball to Haysville’s 20-yard line. Felton capped off the drive with a rush from the shotgun as he ran to the left side following his blocks for a touchdown to make it a 14-3 lead with 10:43 remaining in the second quarter.

Junction City added some more padding to its lead with their next offensive drive as the hosts got all the way to the 1-yard line and Felton capped the drive by powering through Haysville’s defensive line on a quarterback sneak for a 21-3 lead to head into halftime with.

Other than a fumble the hosts would like to forget, coach Randal Zimmerman was pleased with the offensive production.

“Outside of that very first snap of the game, we were pretty efficient offensively,” Zimmerman said.

Haysville Campus came out of halftime inspired, marching down the field all the way to the 1-yard line. The visitors were faced with a fourth down and decided to go for it and a quarterback sneak was successful.

The visitors made the extra point, but a false start penalty caused them to try it again from five yards further, and the snap was fumbled, and no kick came from the second attempt keeping the Junction City lead at 21-9.

Haysville forced Junction City into a three-and-out on the following possession and it appeared the visitors might be able to turn it into a close game as they got the ball at their 36-yard line. Haysville was able to get two first downs on the drive, but then the hosts sent a blitz on first down and Junction City’s defender had a free path to the quarterback leading to a hard hit that forced a fumble.

The ball rolled about 20 yards before the visitors were fortunate enough to recover it to face a 2nd and 35.

“(Defense) was (key in second half),” Zimmerman said. “And they have to be, every week. Against a flex-bone keyed team, it is really important (defenses) eyes are right. I am proud of our kids.”

That squandered Haysville’s hopes of getting back into the game as it was forced to punt on the drive and Junction City got a rushing touchdown from Felton to make it a 28-9 game.

Another rushing touchdown – except this one for about 20 yards – came from Banks for the Blue Jays to seal a victory with a 35-9 lead.

Haysville was able to get another touchdown on the board with 12 second remaining to get into double digits in scoring with 17 points.

The Blue Jays will host Lawrence Free State (7-2) for the regional round of the playoffs on Friday.

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