Caldwell Bluejays era ends in Victoria; Caldwell will merge with South Haven next season

Greg Williams
Wellington Daily News
Caldwell football playing for the signal from referee

VICTORIA, Kansas - In a highly anticipated matchup between Caldwell and Victoria, it came down to the final drive of the game to determine who's moving onto sectionals.

The Bluejays had a chance to win the game, but they couldn't put together a game-winning drive against the Knights. Thus ending their season and an era of the Caldwell Bluejays after 81 years.

Both teams were coming into the game averaging a combined 100.5 points per game, and their offenses didn't disappoint.

Victoria got the scoring started right away. After they a few plays, they ended up finding the endzone with a 31-yard touchdown 

It didn't take long for Caldwell to answer. On their first play quarterback, Keiondre Smith found Wrangler Jesina for a 74-yard touchdown.

Smith had his best day as a passer with 312 yards and four touchdowns. However, he never got going on the ground with 83 yards and one touchdown on 27 attempts. 

Caldwell ended up having two receivers with over 100 yards. Dawson Birstor had seven receptions for 128 and two touchdowns, then Jesina finished with 113 yards on three receptions.

Running back Brody Perkins had 88 yards rushing and two touchdowns, then contributed with one reception that went for a 63-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Caldwell trailed by 22 points at one point, but the Blue Jays responded by scoring 22 unanswered points with a touchdown before halftime, then two touchdowns after halftime.

Victoria would later regain a two-possession lead with two rushing touchdowns from running back Carson Werth.

Werth led the way for the Knights with 181 rushing yards and four total touchdowns on 24 rushing attempts.

Caldwell would make it a six-point ball game midway through the fourth quarter, but the Bluejays defense secured another opportunity for the offense after giving the offense the ball back.

Victoria forced a turnover on downs to end the game, the season, and an era in Caldwell.

The Bluejays finished their season with an 8-2 record. This would be Caldwell's final season - at least for a while - as it will merge with South Haven next season to become the Southern Sumner County team. 

Victoria will host Dighton in the sectional round.

Greg Williams has been the reporter for the Wellington Daily News and Butler County Times-Gazette since May 2021. You can reach him at GWilliams@gannett.com or on Twitter at @GregWilliams28.