Lance Sawyer has hardly seen anything like it.
His Inman Teuton football team has been besieged by injuries, but none more damaging than a broken leg suffered last week by standout quarterback Keaton Case.
Case had successful surgery this past weekend, but his football season is over.
The Teutons were in their game with Sterling last week, down just 20-18, but the injury to Case was a blow they could never recover from in what turned out to be a 41-18 loss.
The Teutons will try to forge on this week when they play at Ell-Saline, which is coming off a 38-12 victory over Moundridge.
“I thought we played really well up until the injury,” Sawyer said. “Case looked really good through three quarters. He had accounted for over 200 yards passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Our defense as a whole was as good as we have been all year. We were physical up front and were tackling well. We were moving the ball well and were controlling them on the defensive side. We let down after the injury, but have moved on this week.”
Injuries have been the name of the game for the Teutons, who seemed to be hexed.
“We have been decimated by injuries all season long,” Sawyer said. “However, we are starting to get some players back. Peyton Froese will be back this week which will help our QB situation. We will get Jack Doerkson back as well. Despite all the injuries our kids are continuing to improve.”
Moundridge pushed Ell-Saline last week until the Cardinals somewhat inflated the final margin with a big fourth quarter.
“Ell-Saline is a big, physical team,” Sawyer said. “Their fullback Jake Funk runs extremely hard and is tough to stop up the middle. Nick Davenport is a big, physical quarterback who runs the option well. He is able to throw the ball so it makes the play action effective.”
• Hillsboro at Smoky Valley — The Vikings will try to surpass last year’s victory total as they ran their record to 2-1 last week with a 28-12 victory over Haven behind a huge 239-yard rushing game by Kyle Anderson.
“We played well against an improving Haven team,” said Smoky Valley coach Tim Lambert, whose team was just 2-7 last year. “I think we are continuing to get better. Our offensive line continues to play well, Alex Goodwin, Skyler DeMott, Ethan Wampler, Allan Wampler and Bret Sauvage.”
Hillsboro was 0-9 last year, but has shown improvement this season.
“Hillsboro creates another challenge for us,” Lambert said. “They have some really good skill people that have good speed, so we will have to be really good in the secondary this week. Their QB is a good thrower and scrambles well when pressured.”
• Solomon at Little River — The Redskins are coming off a disappointing 48-36 loss to Wakefield and it doesn’t get any easier this week with physical Solomon.
“Against Wakefield we were either rolling very well on offense and defense or the wheels were falling off the cart left and right,” Little River coach Paul Dold said. “Going into the fourth quarter with a lead and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory made for a tough night.”
Solomon is coming off a 10-2 season as it went deep into the playoffs. While it did lose some great players, it’s still formidable. The Gorillas are 2-1 and averaging more than 50 points a game.
“Solomon has a couple of very tough running backs and a front six defensively that are aggressive,” Dold said. “We are going to have to radically improve our blocking if we have any hope of moving the ball.”
• Wakefield at Canton-Galva — Little River’s opponent from last week is Canton-Galva’s opponent this week.
The 0-3 Eagles are still in search of that first win after playing Peabody tough last week before bowing, 26-8.
“Our performance was a tale of two teams, our defense executed almost flawlessly, while our offense did not execute well at all,” C-G coach Dustin Patee said. “The one thing I tell our boys is that that game shows us that we are heading in the right direction. Despite struggling offensively, we never gave up and continued to fight defensively. This kept us in the game.”
There were several bright spots, Patee said.
“Beck Hartman, on both sides of the ball, gave great effort,” Patee said. “Hunter Pearson did another great job running to the ball and did a lot better offensively. Freshmen linebacker Nick Pearson and defensive back Landon Everett gave us huge plays defensively.”
Wakefield outscored Little River 48-36 and put up some big yards.
“Wakefield is big and plays like it,” Patee said. “They will run nothing tricky, but are hard to stop at the point of attack due to their size. I'm hoping we can scheme on defense to slow them down and execute better on offense.”
• Moundridge at Sterling — Moundridge coach Jeremiah Meeks might want to pick Inman coach Lance Sawyer’s brain again as the teams swap opponents for the second time this season.
Sterling was involved in a real battle with Inman, leading by just two, when Teuton quarterback Keaton Case went out with a broken leg. The Black Bears jumped on the deflated Teutons for 21 points to close out the game.
Moundridge is coming off a 38-12 loss to Ell-Saline. The ‘Cats were down only 26-12 going into the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals had only a 272-237 edge in total offense, but they took advantage of Moundridge’s mistakes for the somewhat deceiving victory.
• Hesston at Nickerson — The Swathers are on the road for the third time in four games against Nickerson, which has made strides under former Inman coach Mike Vernon.
The Panthers improved to 4-6 last year in Vernon's first season and made the playoffs after winning just one game total in 2013 and 2014.
After starting with routs of Haven and Lyons, the Panthers landed with a thud with a 55-26 last week to Pratt.
Hesston has been just the opposite, starting 0-2 before righting things last week with a 41-13 rout of Larned.
The Swathers certainly are putting up a lot of yards. Quarterback Zach Esau has thrown for 665 yards and seven TDs. Parker Roth has rushed for 250 yards, while sophomore Cameron Cox has been a revelation with 17 catches for 282 yards.