Kearney High School beats Hillsboro R-3 68-28 to take 2023 state title
Kearney, Mo., December 4, 2023: Kearney High School’s football team finished the job.
Logan Minnick came to KHS pledging to lead the Bulldogs back to a state football championship when he took the head coaching position in 2022. His team entered this season with the motto, “#FINISH.”
The Bulldogs accomplished that mission in front of a huge crowd of supporters with a beautifully balanced approach on offense and defense during the 2023 Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 4 Championship game against Hillsboro R-3 School District on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the University of Missouri’s Memorial Stadium in Columbia. KHS finished with a 68-28 win and the state crown.
KHS found the endzone 10 times on 279 rushing yards and 229 passing. Quarterback Casey Rooney was a commodore on the field, with four passing touchdowns and no sacks. His top targets were Manny Linthacum with 96 receiving yards and two TDs on five catches, Cohen Jacobs with 47 yards and one TD on one catch and Bryce Page with 45 yards and one TD on two catches.
Cameron Emmons and Casey Rooney dominated the ground game, with 96 and 91 yards apiece. Cameron Emmons got four TDs. Corbin Emmons earned 60 rushing yards on seven carries.
The Bulldogs’ defense was just as dominant throughout the midday game. They demonstrated remarkable resistance in the red zone, shutting down Hillsboro on multiple drives. The defense was led by Theo Grace, who had three solo tackles and six assists. Grant Noland got five solo tackles and three assists. Jackson Helberg earned three solo tackles and five assists.
This marks the first state football title for KHS since 2015. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 13-2 record. Their only losses were early in the season against conference powerhouses Platte County R-3 and Smithville. KHS later defeated Smithville during a postseason rematch.
Kearney School District students and staff members will celebrate the KHS football team and coaches during a State Championship Victory Tour of Schools from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7. They will also be honored by the Board of Education this winter.