• MHS TO SCRIMMAGE SATURDAY MORNING — I, for one, can’t wait until Saturday morning’s McPherson High football scrimmage at McPherson Stadium.
Fans interested should be at the stadium about 8:30 as third-year MHS coach Jace Pavlovich will get a chance to evaluate his team for about a 90-minute scrimmage.
I will be particularly glued to the quarterback battle between Drew Labertew and Kyler Hoppes. The positive for Pavlovich is that he can’t go wrong with whomever he chooses to lead the team as both have the potential to be highly capable. Labertew is the bigger of the two and probably the better runner, while Hoppes throws the ball well.
I’ll also be looking at how the offensive line is developing. Pavlovich must replace his entire starting blocks of granite. No matter how outstanding MHS’ running backs are — and he has several to choose from — they have to have holes to run through.
I have no worries about the defense. It’s almost the same unit as last year and there’s no denying their talent. MHS shut down nearly every team last year, especially the last eight games of the regular season.
Take it in Saturday. I’m going to.
• BAUERLE EXCITED AT HESSTON — Tyson Bauerle has to feel like a kid in a candy store.
The new Hesston High football coach takes over for Clint Rider, who left him well-stocked for the upcoming season.
The Swathers started last year 1-3, but then won nine in a row before losing in the Class 3A state title game to Rossville in an epic overtime clash.
Hesston must replace the “Zach Attack” of Shrine Bowl quarterback Zach Esau and receiver Zach Vogt, among others. But there’s still plenty of terrific talent on hand.
“We've had a good start to the season. We feel like we've tested our guys pretty well in some adverse situations already and they've responded well,” said Bauerle, who comes to Hesston from Sterling High. “I think as practices continue into the first game, we'll see more guys step up in some key roles that need to be filled on the edge on offense and at linebacker and defensive back. We're looking forward to Week 2 and seeing how some of the question marks begin to shape up. Competition on offense has been at a high level.”
Replacing Esau is a priority, but last year’s outstanding sophomore receiver Cameron Cox is shifting over and he’s a quality athlete. Parker Roth will be one of the state’s best running backs and I predict a 1,500-yard season for him. He’s that rare combination of power and speed.
Bauerle has a squad of 44 with amazing consistency — 11 seniors, 10 juniors, 10 sophomores and 13 freshmen.
Hesston will open the year ranked No. 2 by at least one poll.
• HOPPES LEADING EAGLES — Shelby Hoppes is the new head football coach at Canton-Galva and the numbers are slowly on the uptick.
After a couple of years of numbers in the low teens, Hoppes reports that he has 21 candidates for playing time.
“Practice is going well, lots of teaching with the new system and short turnaround time we have,” Hoppes said. “Kids are giving great effort.”
Hoppes is a former Eagle who dearly wants to restore the C-G pride. It’s been a tough couple of years with just three wins total. A lack of depth has been the culprit as the team has had few subs. He’s hoping this year’s team can be the start of a turnaround.
• MOUNDRIDGE TOUGH IN THE TRENCHES — Being an old offensive linemen himself, Jeremiah Meeks has to like what he sees from his Moundridge football team as he begins his second year.
“My offensive line has been clicking really well early, which is good to see,” said Meeks, a one-time McPherson College assistant coach. “A couple of my sophomores are progressing along nicely.”
Meeks said during the summer he thought the offensive line might be the strength of the team as there’s good size and strength. That’s good news for the running game as he has a couple of backs capable of putting up some big yards.
Meeks won’t have a lot of depth this year as he’s hoping for about 26 players when everybody is healthy. The Wildcats were 3-7 last year, but did make the playoffs.
• VIKINGS SHOULD BE POTENT — Third-year football coach Tim Lambert, who has turned things around in Lindsborg in a short time, has 48 players he’s working with.
After going 2-7 in Lambert’s first year, the Vikings were 8-3 last year and won a first-round playoff game before being ousted by eventual 4A D-II champion Pratt in the second round.
Lambert reports that his team is progressing nicely and there’s been no real surprises. The Vikings were junior-dominated last year, so this is the season they could make a deep postseason run.
I’ll have updates from Inman and Little River when I can reach coaches Lance Sawyer and Chad Lafferty.