Area preview: Vikes, Swathers to square off

By Steve Sell
September 29, 2016

For the Smoky Valley Vikings, they just want to keep doing what they’ve been doing.

What that’s been is winning.

After a season-opening loss to Halstead, the Vikings have reeled off three impressive wins in a row.

But their recent success will be put to the acid test on Friday when they travel to Hesston to take on a Swather team that Viking coach Tim Lambert knows can bust loose at anytime despite an unexpected 1-3 start.

Hesston has lost only five games in the last three years and has been close in all of its defeats.  

“They are a very good team. Their record isn’t indicative of how good they are,” Lambert said. “They have great speed. They have lost to three very good teams with a combined record of 11-1. We are excited to play them and it should be a great test for our program.”

The Vikings won all of two games last year and exceeded that with a rout of Hillsboro last week.

“We are playing well right now,” Lambert said. “We have not turned the ball over on offense and are playing solid defense.”

The Vikings had an offensive avalanche last week, piling up 498 yards. Backs Kyle Anderson and Riley Odell, along with quarterback Brett Heitschmidt, all went over 100 yards rushing. 

The Smoky Valley defense was solid as well, giving up just 202 yards of total offense.

Hesston is hoping its schedule will prepare it well. It has lost to Garden Plain, Halstead and Nickerson, all by single digits.

The Swathers can light it up behind quarterback Zach Esau, with top receivers being Zach Vogt and Cameron Cox. Parker Roth is a hard-charging running back.


• Inman at Medicine Lodge — The district schedule gets under way for the Teutons and coach Lance Sawyer couldn’t be any happier.

His team is 0-4, but now it’s in a five-team district where only one of the teams has won a game, that being Sedgwick.

Medicine Lodge has had some good moments despite being winless.

“Medicine Lodge will again be big up front” Sawyer said. “They run a variety of different offensive schemes and have changed their defense the past few games.  They play a really tough schedule. We need to win Friday. We will take district play one game at a time. Every week will be a must win.”

One pressing question was answered last week when sophomore Payton Froese stepped in and threw for 197 yards as he replaced injured starter Keaton Case, out of the year with a broken leg.

“Payton Froese played really well in his first game under center,” Sawyer said. “He showed that he is capable to taking over the quarterback spot for the rest of the season.”

Sawyer believes his team will be just fine as the first four games were like a preseason.

“Our team's best games are yet to come. We are continually getting better and are looking forward to district play,” he said.

• Goessel at Little River — The Redskins’ game could very well determine the runner-up team from their district as Central Plains is virtually conceded the top spot.

The 1-3 Redskins are coming off a 50-0 loss to Solomon and Little River coach Paul Dold said to put it on him.

“I called a very poor game against a big, fast and strong Solomon team,” he said. “Our players started the game well and played the first quarter pretty tough and then poor play-calling let the game get out of hand from that point on.”

The district schedule is a chance for new beginnings, Dold said.

“We have underachieved during the first half of the season and must gain some momentum against a very good Goessel team to start district play at our homecoming,” Dold said. “Goessel has had a lot of success playing a 3-2 defense and a well-balanced offense. Central Plains and Goessel look to be the district teams with the best chance at playoffs.”

• Canton-Galva at Central Plains — Can’t be scared.

That’s the point Eagle coach Dustin Patee is trying to emphasize to his team as it plays the powerful Oilers.

“Central Plains is an awesome team, any one player can go off each week,” Patee said. “They do pass more than in years past. Our district, minus Central Plains, is fairly close. We are at the bottom, but are not far off second place and a playoff berth.”

The Eagles showed some bright spots last week in a 60-28 loss to Wakefield. Dylan Wood was over 100 yards rushing and also caught passes totaling more than 100. Jonah Sargent and Hunter Pearson had 13 tackles apiece.

“Our team’s ability to out-hit others is obvious, we are also finishing stronger,” Patee said. “We have to start limiting turnovers and executing more consistently.”

• Remington at Moundridge — For the first time this year, the Wildcats are probably a favorite.

Both teams are 0-4, but the Wildcats have been much more competitive in their games than Remington.The Broncos have given up at least 48 points in every game but one.

While MHS is winless, first-year coach Jeremiah Meeks sees signs of his team about to break out.

"I think we are progressing along very well," he said. "Our offense is finding its legs finally and developing a solid running game. Finding out what our strengths were took a while, but we are utilizing them well now. Our defense has been the key to our season so far, take away last week and they have played awesome all year. I like where we are at heading into districts, the kids are excited about beginning district play and looking for our first win."

The Broncos won't be afraid to open it up.

"They will throw the ball around a lot on offense, they run a lot of zone read," Meeks said. "They will load the box on defense playing a five-man front most of the time, with a Cover 3 over top. They have a really good fullback and their quarterback has great touch on the ball."