There was a time when the Little River-Canton-Galva football rivalry was one of the best in the area.
Both teams were powerhouses in the early 1980s as their battles — as well as those with now-defunct Marquette — made for the stuff of legends.
A lot has changed since then, but there’s always something special when the Redskins and Eagles meet, which they do on Friday in Canton.
Little River is 4-2 on the season, while the depleted Eagles are 1-5. However, records go out the window.
The Redskins are coming off a lopsided loss to No. 1-ranked Central Plains, but coach Paul Dold learned a lot about his team in the 62-16 defeat.
“We played a very tough, experienced Central Plains team and we learned a lot about our team,” Dold said. “I am proud that our players never quit and we were able to move the ball at times and score a couple touchdowns against a physical defense.”
Dold said Clay Zeller had an outstanding game on defense.
“Clay Zeller at a cornerback was great for us making tackles all over the field, especially when our defensive discipline broke down,” Dold said. “Garrett Williams came in at noseguard in the second half and helped us do a better job against the run. It is some consolation that we forced Central Plains to resort to some trick plays and that we were just a couple missed opportunities from taking them to a complete game. I hope this is a defining moment for our team and that we take advantage of this opportunity to learn from a defending state champion team.”
Dold is taking nothing for granted this week even though the Eagles would seem to be a polar-opposite team.
“Canton-Galva has struggled to this point in the season, but they have some tough kids that will play hard,” Dold said. “There is uncertainty about the defensive scheme they will employ, which makes preparation more difficult.”
Canton-Galva is coming off back-to-back games against two of the best teams in 8-Man, Central Plains and then Solomon last week.
Coach Dustin Patee is looking forward to the Eagles taking on a team not ranked in the Top 5.
“Little River is exactly what we could have been this year, if the kids would have bought into the program,” Patee said. “They match up across the board almost identical to us, except they attack relentlessly. If we decide to show up and play football, it will be a good game.”
Patee said the Eagles have only nine players available this week, which again makes things difficult in terms of depth.
• Remington at Moundridge — For the first time this year, Moundridge is home for back-to-back games.
The Wildcats outlasted Medicine Lodge 21-20 last week to move to 2-0 in district play. Remington is not on the district schedule, but this could be a good tuneup going into next week’s huge game at Sacred Heart.
“Last Friday was a great win for our program and put us in good shape in district play,” said MHS coach Matt Cole, whose team is 2-4 overall.
It’s been a struggle for the Broncos, but Cole said his team is approaching it as if it’s all on the line.
“We expect Remington to come in and play us as if they are undefeated and will play them the same way,” Cole said. “We know they are way better than their record indicates. That said, winning or losing this game in no way affects our one team goal, a state championship but, we know winning is contagious and we'd like it to become an epidemic at Moundridge.”
Several players were stellar last week, including Joel Holloway at running back, Anthony Otte at quarterback and Trenton Olson as the defensive anchor with 20 tackles.
• Sedgwick at Inman — It’s been a tough go recently for the Teutons, who have slid to 1-5 on the year.
Sedgwick could very well be the team to beat in the district.
Inman coach Ed Ramsey was not available for this week’s briefing.
• Smoky Valley at Nickerson — The Vikings will face a Panther team that has rebounded greatly in the first season of the Mike Vernon era. The former Inman head coach has Nickerson playing hard in every game.
Smoky Valley has been hit with some key injuries in the backfield, which will cause some new faces in new places.
Coach Tim Lambert did not reply for this week’s briefing.
• Hesston at Hillsboro — It should be a walkover for the Swathers, who are 5-1 and take a lot of momentum into district play after last week’s 14-7 win over Pratt.
Hillsboro has not won a game this season.
Hesston coach Clint Rider was not available this week for comment.