INMAN — Moundridge vs. Inman.
We can leave it right there. Nothing more needs to be said.
Not only is it the annual football clambake between the teams Friday night in Inman, it’s the start of district play for both schools.
“There is nothing like a good old-fashion rivalry,” said Inman coach Ed Ramsey, who is looking for his first win over the Wildcats in his second attempt.
“I think if people want to see what Kansas small-school football is all about, Inman is the place to be Friday night and we know our fans, the best in Kansas, will be there supporting like they have all year,” said Moundridge coach Matt Cole, who’s experiencing his first “best rivalry West of the Mississippi.” “Hey, it's Friday night lights. What could be better than this?”
Forget the records. Inman is 1-3, having recorded its first win of the season last week against Remington. Moundridge is 0-4, but was right there at the end of three of its games and could easily be 3-1.
“Despite what the scoreboard and record may show, we are making progress as a football team and program,” Cole said. “While we would have liked to have won every game, and certainly could just as easily be sitting here at 3-1 right now, it is the district games that decide the playoffs, so we are excited about getting district play started. Losing last week was tough because once again we know we should have won the game and missed a few chances to do so. However, we got into the red zone more times that we have previously and now just need to learn to capitalize once we get in there.”
“We played well last week and got our first win,” Ramsey said. “Keaton Case and Kyler Blank both rushed over 100 yards. But Moundridge is big and physical, their front four could give us problems.”
Cole is well aware the Teutons also could be much better than their record indicates.
“Inman has a pretty complete team with good skills, speed and some nice bigs up front,” he said. “They play pretty solid, mistake-free football and are very well coached. As has been the case all year, we need to play our best football and keep from hurting ourselves and I think we will match up pretty good. We do appreciate the significance of the history of this game and rivalry and will endeavor to do our part, butwe are seeking our first win and to go 1-0 in our district and that is what is really driving us this week.”
• Central Plains at Canton-Galva — As of this morning, the game was still on. However, due to some injury problems that have thinned the Eagles’ roster, a final decision has not been made at this time.
The Eagles are 1-3 on the year while Central Plains is the No. 1-ranked team in the state. C-G was down to just one sub after last week’s game.
• Smoky Valley at Hillsboro — The Vikings have a great chance for their second victory this week against a young, winless Hillsboro team.
If you need a comparable score to get an idea, Smoky Valley routed Haven 40-20, while Sterling lost 22-14 to the Wildcats.
“It is a game we can win if we do things well,” Viking coach Tim Lambert said. “We must get better. They have some very good players with some speed. They are young just like us. It should be a good game.”
• Little River at Goessel — The Redskins are seeking their fourth win in a row even though it’s supposed to be a rebuilding year.
They reached the zenith of their season last week with a victory over a solid Udall team.
“We played very well and were helped by some injury issues on the Udall sideline,” Little River coach Paul Dold said. “Our offensive line played very well and the middle of our defense was able to limit their quarterback scrambling just enough for the victory. Dusty Page played very well at center and our defensive backfield of Levi Swenson, Peyton Harvey and Clay Zeller limited their passing game despite our intentional lack of pass rush to protect against quarterback scramble.”
Goessel represents another winnable game.
“This week we play a much-improved Goessel team with some size up front and quickness in the backfield for a tough start to district play,” Dold said. “We will have to avoid a letdown after our emotional win.”
The Bluebirds are 2-2, though they lost to a Peabody team the Redskins defeated. They have won their last two over Centre and Sylvan Lucas.
• Hesston at Haven — All signs point toward another Swather win as they attempt to improve to 4-1.
The Wildcats have really been struggling, including being routed by Smoky Valley for the Vikings’ only win to date.
“Haven has a couple of explosive players in Jeff Hendrixson and Mark Carney,” Hesston coach Clint Rider said. “We will have to do a great job tackling in space. They are a well-coached team that always has a solid game plan. Defensively, they like to bring some exotic blitzes to get pressure on the quarterback. Our pass protection and blitz pickup will be crucial in giving the quarterback time to go through his progression. It will also be key for the quarterback to know that his internal clock might have to tick a bit faster.”
The Swathers didn’t get a full game in last week against Lyons as it was halted. Hesston was leading 21-3 when the game was called due to rain and lightning.
“They were excited about the opportunity to play in conditions that you love to play in when you're a kid,” Rider said. “It became more of a smashmouth game plan than we had intended, and again our players adjusted very well. With the game ending as a 21-3 second-quarter win, it's frustrating that Mother Nature couldn't give us a window to get the game played.”
Even in the short time, the Swathers had some good performances.
“Garrett Roth graded out on defense with numbers that would resemble a great full game and he did that in a half,” Rider said. “He was in the backfield all night. He also stripped and recovered a fumble on the same play and ran it down inside the 10-yard line. That's the second time he has been able to scoop up a loose football and has gotten closer each time. Hopefully, one of these days we can get him into the end zone. Zach Esau had three rushing touchdowns on offense. Conditions weren't great to throw the football effectively, but Zach made some really nice reads and good decisions. Parker Roth also ran the football hard and grind out positive plays to keep drives moving.”