Area preview: huge task for Little River

By Steve Sell
October 08, 2015

The Little River Redskins have won four games in a row.

But if they make it five, they’ll be the talk of Kansas.

The 4-1 Redskins are home on Friday to take on Central Plains, the No. 1-ranked team in 8-Man Division I.

The Oilers do have a blemish on their record, as they lost their season opener to the No. 1 team in 8-Man D-II, Victoria. But since then they have dropped the hammer on teams, including Canton-Galva 52-0 last week as that game ended at half, just as their game the week before against St. John did.

Little River is coming off a 36-20 success against Goessel, though coach Paul Dold wasn’t entirely enamored.

“We face our toughest test this week against the defending state champs in Central Plains after not playing our best football against Goessel,” Dold said. “Goessel was tough up front and defended the pass well and we played without much emotion.”

But Peyton Harvey did rush for 122 yards on 19 carries and scored twice as the sophomore continued his excellent season. Dold said Dusty Page and Jake Wright turned in solid games as well.

Elsewhere:

• Canton-Galva at Solomon — It does get easier for the Eagles this week after going up against Central Plains, but not by much.

The Gorillas are just a half-step behind the Oilers as they are 5-0, none of their games even close. A 26-point win over Ellinwood last week has been their closest game.

“Solomon is another great team,” C-G coach Dustin Patee said. “We cannot take the field the same way that we did against Central Plains or they will put 100 on us. If we can hide our coverage and get pressure, we can play with this team.”

Patee said a bright spot from the Central Plains game was the play of Hunter Pearson, as he led the team in tackles and was all over the field.

The Eagles, who had the bare minimum of eight players last week, will suit up 10 this week as Jonah Sargent and Clayton Sargent are expected to be back. 

• Hoisington at Smoky Valley — Hoisington represents the third highly regarded team on the Vikings’ schedule this year as the Cardinals are 5-0.

The Vikings come in having hammered Hillsboro last week to move their record to 2-3, two of the losses coming to state powerhouses Hesston and Halstead, a combined 9-1.

“We just continue to improve and get better,” first-year Viking coach Tim Lambert said.   “We have to learn to be consistent and play every play. We have to get better at improving in practice and I think we are getting better at both of those. We just want to continue to improve and play hard. We execute much better and have a better understanding of what we are trying to do both offensively and defensively.”

• Medicine Lodge at Moundridge — A 21-0 blanking of Inman last week may have been the firestarter for a potential big run for the Wildcats.

Moundridge excelled in all phases of the game to knock off its chief arch-rival, and now it tries to improve to 2-0 in district play against much-improved Medicine Lodge, which has scored 113 points the last two weeks and is 3-2 on the season.

“Medicine Lodge has won some games impressively and lost some games impressively so there is nothing to derive from looking at those scores,” Wildcat coach Matt Cole said. “We know they are well coached, have decent size up front and good skills players. I think they will want to throw more against us having watched our film of Inman, but we gave up half the yardage they got in the fourth quarter when we were in our prevent so, we welcome the ball in the air. Heck, two of the three things that can happen when the ball if flying is positive for the defense and our kids realize that. On defense we think they'll throw a 5-3 at us. but we'll see. I am a 5-3 guy typically, so if that is what we see I certainly am familiar and comfortable attacking that. But we will run our offense and try to be the ones who dictate the tempo, just like last week.

Cole can see the program starting to evolve.

“I think this team continues to just grow in their belief and grow closer as a team, including us coaches,” Cole said. “Anytime there is change there is an adjustment period and when the expectation is to win right away, at least that was my expectation on everyone, then it is added pressure. Our kids have handled that well, they are a close bunch, from our seniors to our freshmen and we truly are a family at this point. Really the sky is the limit for these kids now and in the future. I love coming in every day and coaching this group, they make what I do easier and more fun.”

• Pratt at Hesston – By far the toughest test for the Swathers since Week 2 when they lost for only the time this season to Halstead.

Pratt, under former Bethany head coach Jamie Cruce, matches the Swathers’ 4-1 record. The only loss came to undefeated Hoisington, 34-14. The Greenbacks are coming off back-to-back tough wins over Nickerson (27-20) and Kingman (23-19).

Hesston coach Clint Rider could not be reached at post time.

• Inman at Sacred Heart —Inman will be looking to rebound after the surprisingly lopsided 21-0 loss to previously winless Moundridge.

Both teams come in 1-4. The Knights’ win came against Minneapolis.

Inman coach Ed Ramsey was unable to be reached.


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