NORTON — A late safety was the difference in Friday’s clash between Smith Center and Norton.
With the game tied at 14 with 5:18 left, an errant Smith Center snap for a punt went through the back of the end zone for what turned out to be the deciding two points.
Norton quarterback Jonah Ruder scored the game’s first two touchdowns on runs of 13 and 2 yards.
Smith Center’s Griffin Kugler had touchdown receptions of 30 and 25 yards from Nathan Jaeger.
The Bluejays were Class 2A runners-up last year while the Redmen were runner-up in Class 1A after winning state titles in 2017 and 2018.
ELLIS 32, RUSSELL 0 — At Ellis, Railers’ quarterback Tegan Cain threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns and the Ellis defense pitched a shutout.
Sam Honas, Mason Gottschalk and Daniel Eck each caught a touchdown pass from Cain. Konnor Pfeifer ran for 87 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown while Cain added 51 yards on four carries with a TD on the ground.
Gottschalk led Ellis with 14 tackles while Pfeifer had 12 stops and Toby Woodworth had 10.
VICTORIA 42, LA CROSSE 14 — At Victoria, the Knights rolled up 434 yards offense, dealing the Leopards a lop-sided defeat in their first game at the Eight Man ranks.
Victoria quarterback Grant Schoenrock ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and completed 7 of 9 nine passes for 107 yards. Carson Werth rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. Jayvon Pruitt added 72 yards on the ground on nine carries with two TDs.
La Crosse quarterback Colby Stull completed 7 of 9 passes for 180 yards with two touchdowns.
THUNDER RIDGE 20, STOCKTON 14 — At Kensington, the Thunder Ridge Longhorns outlasted Stockton in two overtimes.
Quarterback Dylan Bice threw for 101 yards and two touchdowns while Jacob Barnes had 97 yards rushing with a score for the Longhorns.
PLAINVILLE 14, PHILLIPSBURG 13 — At Phillipsburg, Plainville’s Kyle Werner rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries to help the Cardinals pull out a one-point squeaker over Phillipsburg in coach Kendall Fiscus’ debut as head coach of the Panthers.
HILL CITY 45, OSBORNE 26 — At Osborne, Hill City knocked off the defending Eight Man Division II champion Bulldogs, snapping Osborne’s 13-game win streak. The Ringnecks led 25-12 at the break and stayed in control in the second half.
LOGAN/PALCO 32. LAKESIDE 28 — At Logan, Micah Thompson rushed for 107 yards and quarterback Dylan Van Laeys rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another to help Logan/Palco pull out the win.
CHEYLIN 61, GOLDEN PLAINS 6 — Colton McCarty threw for 302 yards and six touchdowns to help fuel the rout for Cheylin.
Tyler Zabatka had 205 yards receiving and four touchdowns. McCarty also rushed for 118 yards and three touchdowns on six carries.
Friday's Area Scores
Axtell 58, Wheatland-Grinnell 18
Cheylin 61, Golden Plains 6
Colby 35, Hugoton 6
Dighton 38, Wallace County 18
Ellis 32, Russell 0
Goodland 43, Liberal 32
Hill City 45, Osborne 26
Logan/Palco 32, Lakeside 28
Ness City 46, Macksville 0
Northern Valley 67, Greeley County 18
Norton 16, Smith Center 14
Oakley 25, Hays-TMP-Marian 13
Plainville 14, Phillipsburg 13
Quinter 34, Rawlins County 32
St. Francis 48, Oberlin-Decatur 0
Thunder Ridge 20, Stockton 14
Triplains-Brewster 72, Otis-Bison 24
Victoria 42, La Crosse 14
Wichita County 54, Hoxie 20
Hays 19, Goddard-Eisenhower 10