Hesston eyes district title on Thursday

By Steve Sell
October 28, 2015

The Hesston Swathers will be opening Class 3A football playoff action on Tuesday.

They just don’t know where yet.

They will know after Thursday when they host Southeast of Saline in what is the district championship game.

Both teams are 2-0 in district play with wins over Hillsboro and Council Grove, and they are each 7-1 overall. Hesston’s only loss came to Halstead, while Southeast lost to Chapman,

Neither team had much trouble in those district games. Hesston routed Hillsboro 56-14 and then blanked Council Grove 27-0 last week. Southeast of Saline also had a couple of basic walkovers, 46-8 against Council Grove and 49-7 versus Hillsboro.

Hesston coach Clint Rider was unavailable for this week's briefing.

Elsewhere in the area, the other schools also close out on Thursday, except for Smoky Valley as it plays on Friday.

• Inman at Medicine Lodge — A year ago, the Teutons avoided a winless season with a 48-8 demolition of Medicine Lodge.

However, the Chiefs are much better this year. They played Moundridge within 21-20, while the Teutons were blanked by the Wildcats, 21-0.

Inman is coming off a non-district loss to once-beaten Troy.

“I thought we did some nice things, we moved the ball, scored a few points, but we still need to become better tacklers defensively,” Inman coach Ed Ramsey said. “Keaton Case and Kyler Blank ran the ball very well.”

The Teutons need to tighten up defensively if they’re to win their second game of the season as they are 1-7.

“They run a power football game,” Ramsey said. “If we could step up our defense, we could possibly have a chance to win.”

• Sedgwick at Moundridge — The Wildcats are looking to end Matt Cole’s first season on a positive note and a win over the powerhouse Cardinals would be the high point of the season.

“We will keep doing what we've done all year, focus on the one team that matters to us, Moundridge,” Cole said. “Most of the things that have hurt us this year have been self-inflicted, including the seven turnovers Friday night. We cannot control what anyone else does, but we can keep getting better every week and I know we'll keep believing, so that will be our focus.”

It’s Senior Night for Moundridge, which saw its playoff hopes basically end with a loss to Sacred Heart.

“We have seven great seniors we look forward to honoring Thursday night,” Cole said. “It will not be easy to say good-bye to my first group of seniors, they have meant so much to the turnaround we are creating. I hope when they look back at this season they realize we may not have reached our goal but, they were all key components to the success we did have this year and cornerstones for the foundation we have built for the future.”

• Solomon at Little River — The Redskins might be catching Solomon at the right time.

The Gorillas were in a titanic struggle last week with No. 1-ranked Central Plains and wound up being blown out for their first loss of the season.

Little River, 5-3, is assured of a winning regular season, which is quite a story in that it basically returned only one starter. The Redskins are coming off a 40-24 loss to Ellinwood despite good games from Clay Zeller (9 of 19 for 125 yards) and Levi Swenson (95 yards rushing, 48 receiving).

“We made too many mistakes against an older, bigger Ellinwood team allowing big scoring plays particularly on passes,” Little River coach Paul Dold said. “We had to resort to throwing the ball to gain yards and Clay Zeller again did a great job of avoiding sacks and finding open receivers.  Levi Swenson ran the ball well and had a couple beautiful blocks in the game.”

Dold knows this week is a tall order to fill.

“We will have to be almost perfect on both sides of the ball to stay in the game,” he said.

• Ellinwood at Canton-Galva — After forfeiting to Goessel due to a lack of players last week, the Eagles expect to be on the field this week as nine players reportedly are available.

The Eagles are 1-7 on the year while Ellinwood just knocked off Little River last week.

“Ellinwood is very talented and has been for a while,” C-G coach Dustin Patee said. “Now with (coach Jason) Duvall taking over, they are getting disciplined.  This is a scary thing. They are a very solid team and their record (5-3) shows it. We must want to run through contact this game and use physicality to slow their athleticism down.”

• Smoky Valley at Chapman — The winner of this game avoids the district basement and both teams know their seasons are over after Friday.

Smoky Valley lost to Wamego last week 18-14 after leading much of the game. The Vikings are 2-6 on the year.

"Last week was a tough loss for us," Smoky Valley coach Tim Lambert said. "We were so close and ended up just short. We had a great effort from our kids, but in the end we just made enough mistakes to keep us from winning."

Allan Wampler had a good game for the Vikings with 83 yards rushing, while the defensive side was led by Riley Odell with 10 tackles.

Chapman was crushed last week by Nickerson, 47-0. The Fighting Irish, like Smoky Valley, have had trouble scoring points this season and are 3-5 on the year.

"Chapman is similar to us in record, but they are much bigger than we are so we will have to play extremely hard and mistake-free to give us a chance to win," Lambert said.