Canton-Galva football coach Dustin Patee can relate to what McPherson High has gone through the first two weeks.
Patee’s Eagles, like the Bullpups, opened with two losses at home. But they were also two of the toughest games on the schedule not named Central Plains.
The Eagles will finally take on a team closer to their own ilk on Friday when they head to Peabody for their first road trip of the year.
The teams can compare scores as Peabody opened its season with a 58-8 loss to Rural Vista, but showed some promise last week in a 22-12 loss to Wakefield. C-G lost 42-0 to Rural Vista.
“Peabody is big up front and fast in the backfield,” Patee said. “They have execution problems as well, which has hurt them in Weeks 1 and 2. They will spread us out and run to the edge and on defense go 3-3 or maybe a 4-2 and look to stop our run.”
Patee said Dylan Wood has been a standout during the Eagles’ first two games.
“Dylan Wood is playing really well on defense and special teams,” Patee said. “We are trying to do more to get him the ball offensively, but our young line is struggling to keep him upright. Hunter Pearson, as always, is performing well and never leaving the field, as a 220-plus player, is impressive.”
Patee said the Eagles will be as healthy as they’ve been all year. He added Friday’s outcome could come down to focus and execution.
• Smoky Valley at Haven — The 1-1 Vikings will be favored to make it two in a row against Haven, which has had defensive problems.
The Wildcats have given up 106 points in losses to Nickerson and Pratt.
Smoky Valley, meanwhile, is trying to build on last week’s big comeback win over Larned as it scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull out a 19-12 victory. It was a monster game for Kyle Anderson, who rushed for 134 yards on 20 carries and scored all three touchdowns. Riley Odell had 60 yards on 15 carries and was all over the field defensively with 12 tackles.
“We played much better last week against a very good Larned team,” Smoky Valley coach Tim Lambert said. “We did improve in every aspect of the game. Our offensive line played extremely better. We still need to play with more confidence and be more physical.”
The Vikings will see a different looks this week.
“We play Haven and they run the single-wing, which is tough to defend,” Lambert said. “The are getting better at it and we will need to play well.”
• Little River at Wakefield — Also trying to improve to 2-1 is Little River, coming off an impressive 44-12 rout of Bennington.
Like Little River, Wakefield is 1-1. It defeated Peabody 22-12 last week after losing 38-24 to Goessel in Week 1.
“We played better against Bennington, but we still had defensive letdowns at critical times,” Little River coach Paul Dold said. “We need to continue to improve our defensive intensity and team tackling. Jake Wright played very well at an end on both sides of the ball and Brady Stephenson caught the ball very well. Clay Zeller and Peyton Harvey continue to anchor the offense and defense.”
Dold said his team has to be ready physically this week.
“They have played smashmouth football in their first two games,” Dold said of the Bombers. “They will play the same 3-2 defense we will and if we don't stop fullback dive and quarterback runs, it will be a long night.”
• Larned at Hesston — At long last, the Hesston Swathers make their home debut.
The Swathers, who had lost only five games in the last three years, have started 0-2, but both games were titanic struggles against highly touted teams and both have been by a touchdown or less.
The Swathers certainly have been putting up enough points to win, but are looking to tighten up their defense.
Larned comes in having lost 19-12 to Smoky Valley after having led 12-6 going into the fourth quarter.
• Ell-Saline at Moundridge — The Wildcats are 0-2 and face yet another tough team in Ell-Saline.
This traditionally has been an emotional game. Both teams possess a lot of quality athletes.
Ell-Saline is 1-1 so far, losing to Sedgwick by a field goal in its opener before putting the hurt on Remington, 55-24.
The Wildcat defense played outstanding last week in a 14-6 loss to Trinity. The offense will be looking to catch up as the 'Cats have just one score on the season.
• Sterling at Inman — The Teutons certainly have been scoring enough to win — 27 points a game— but the defense has been rather porous by giving up 46.
Keaton Case has been outstanding for the Teutons as he's been a big playmaker.
Sterling breezed to a 60-13 rout of Remington in Week 1, but suffered a heart-breaking 35-34 loss last week to Sedgwick, which is considered to be the team to beat in the Teutons' district.