The Hesston Swathers came out smoking.
The Swathers jumped on Central Kansas League rival Smoky Valley for five first-half touchdowns on Friday and then put it on cruise control in the second half for a 35-0 victory in the season opener for both teams.
Zach Esau threw three touchdown passes, all to different receivers — Reese Nebel, Tanner Bachman and Jonathan Weber. Alex Hostetler and Parker Roth added rushing touchdowns.
Hesston scored twice in the first quarter and then punched a hole in the game with 21 second-quarter points.
Esau, taking over for All-Stater Grant Raleigh, was an efficient 8 of 12 for 93 yards. He also rushed 14 times for 54 yards to lead the Swather ground attack. Hostetler added 44 yards.
Scott Duerksen had three catches for Hesston.
The other big story was the Hesston defense, as it stifled the Vikings to just 62 yards on 41 plays. Smoky Valley could rush for just 49 yards and throw for only 13.
Hesston goes to Halstead on Friday, while Smoky Valley makes its home debut against Sterling.
• Ell-Saline 41, Inman 21 •
The Teutons were coming off a 1-8 season, while Ell-Saline was the Class 2-1A runner-up.
It appears Inman has closed the gap.
The Teutons led 7-0 after a quarter and were down only 14-7 at the half. The Cardinals then took control in the third quarter, but Inman did get as close as 28-21 before Ell-Saline came up with the game’s final two touchdowns.
Keaton Case ran for a touchdown and threw for another to spark the Inman offense. Lucas Barlow caught the scoring pass and Kyler Blank added a rushing touchdown.
The Teutons go to Bennington on Friday.
• Marion 24, Moundridge 14 •
The Wildcats were down 16-0 at the half, but outscored the state-ranked Warriors 14-8 in the second half.
The loss spoiled the debut of MHS' Matt Cole as head coach, but he said his team played hard and executed much better in the second half.
Kyle Stucky rushed for two touchdowns for Moundridge. The Wildcats had a late drive that came up just short.
The Wildcats play Friday at Ell-Saline.
• Central Christian 22, Canton-Galva 18 •
The Eagles, down 16-0 at the half, rallied to take an 18-16 lead, only to surrender a touchdown in the closing moments as the Cougars spoiled the debut of new C-G coach Dustin Patee.
Travis Unruh was terrific in defeat with 149 yards rushing on 25 carries. He had two scores while Caleb Sovde, who added 40 yards, notched the other.
Patee said once the team made some adjustments at halftime, it played much better in the second half. He lauded the play of sophomore Dylan Wood, who had an excellent night.
C-G goes to Peabody on Friday.
• Rural Vista 46, Little River 0 •
The Heat returned most of its team from last year while it was practically a brand-new lineup for the Redskins.
Rural Vista jumped out with 20 first-quarter points and led 34-0 at the half. It closed out the game in the third quarter.
The Heat totaled 338 yards on just 38 plays. Little River was held to 50 yards on 32 plays, 48 of that coming on the ground.
Little River goes on the road Friday to play Centre.