Area roundup: Little River eyes playoff berth

By Steve Sell
October 19, 2017

Little River can wrap up a postseason football playoff berth on Friday if it can avenge last year's loss to Ellinwood.

The Redskins will be on the road in an attempt to improve to 6-2 overall. They are tied with Goessel for second place in the district behind Central Plains, but own the tiebreaker with the Bluebirds.

It's been a struggle for Ellinwood, which has endured some off-the-field problems and is just 1-6 on the season. But Little River coach Chad Lafferty said his team won't look past the Eagles after last year's 56-36 loss that still stings.

"Ellinwood is a very good team with some pretty big guys up front," Lafferty said. "Their running back is very fast and we will have to make sure we get him going side to side instead of downhill or he will have some big gains. They run a lot of different offensive sets and we will have to be ready to defend each of those sets. Defensively they mix it up and will bring blitzes from different places on the field. Our offensive line will have to be aware and keep their eyes up to see those blitzes coming."

The Redskins are coming off a 62-14 rout of Canton-Galva to basically eliminate C-G from the postseason.

"I thought for the most part our team played pretty well," Lafferty said. "Defensively we had a breakdown on a kickoff and a couple of balls that we should have knocked down instead of going for the interception, but for the most part we were sound defensively. Offensively we were able to move the ball, but we definitely still have work to do."

The Little River defense was able to keep C-G's big-play attack held in check.

"I thought defensively our personnel did a good job of keying their reads and making sure their responsibility on defense was taken care of," Lafferty said. "Each person on our defense has a job to do and I think we are getting better at realizing that and trusting our teammates to do their job."

• Canton-Galva at Goessel — Postseason is most likely out of play for both teams, but Canton-Galva has plenty to play for.

The Eagles, with wins in their final two games, can finish with a winning record after struggling mightily the last two years.

Canton-Galva is coming off a 62-14 loss to Little River that, despite the score, wasn’t indicative of the Eagles’ effort in the eyes of coach Shelby Hoppes.

“My staff and I were very proud of the boys and their performance Friday against Little River,” Hoppes said. “We finally came out and played with urgency and emotion. Our young guys are starting to figure out what it takes to prepare and compete week in and week out at the varsity level and that is a positive looking at the future of the program.”

Hoppes was pleased with his defense, again the score notwithstanding.

“Our defensive unit played very well Friday,” he said. “They came up with multiple stops early in the game and gave us a chance to build a lead, which we didn't take advantage of from an offensive perspective. In the second quarter they were given very short fields to try and defend because of turnovers and penalties, and continued to play physical and gave great effort.”

C-G won last year’s meeting with the Bluebirds in a 40-32 shootout and Friday could be similar as there figures to be a lot of points score.

“Goessel has some big-play potential on offense,” Hoppes said. “We gave up some big plays last week and will need to eliminate those this week. We need to come out with the same passion as we did against Little River, play physical and execute to give ourselves an opportunity to get to 4-4 on the year.”

Goessel is 2-5, but one of those wins was a forfeit as St. John didn't have enough players last week.

• Southeast of Saline at Hesston — The road warriors are back home as Hesston has spent the last three weeks living on a bus.

Hesston is coming off an impressive win over Hillsboro in which the Swathers piled up huge yards.

"Winning 41-6 was really a tale of two halves for us," said Hesston coach Tyson Bauerle, whose team is now 4-3 overall and 1-0 in the district. "We led 13-6 at halftime but outgained Hillsboro by quite a bit. We were our own worst enemy with penalties and turnovers. That's been our case with the last few games. We are the only team that can beat us. We do that with penalties and turnovers. The second half was much better in regards to finishing drives. We had the energy we expected in the second half and pulled away."

  The Swathers had nearly 600 yards, including 188 on the ground by Parker Roth and 168 by Cameron Cox.

Southeast lost to Marion in its district opener 64-36 in a crazy offensive game and is 3-4 on the season.

"Southeast of Saline is a very good team with explosive potential on offense," Bauerle said. "Their quarterback is a tough dual-threat quarterback that we'll have to contain. They lost a couple close games early in the season and could very well be sitting at 5-2 right now." 

Southeast played the Swathers tough last year, losing only 34-26.

• Chapman at Smoky Valley — The Vikes can clinch a playoff spot with a win.

Smoky Valley has been motoring right along since a loss to Larned in Week 2. In fact, they've hardly had a close game and last week dismantled normally competitive Rock Creek, 36-0.

"We played very well at times, with some mental lapses in between," Viking coach Tim Lambert said.

Chapman is just 1-6, but Lambert treats each game as a challenge. The Irish didn't put up much of a challenge, though, last week in being routed by Clay Center, which is 5-2 overall and the game next week on the Tigers' home field with the Vikings should most likely be for the district title.

• Medicine Lodge at Moundridge — The Wildcats are probably glad the game is home since the trip to Medicine Lodge is quite lengthy.

With a win, the Wildcats qualify for postseason play. They are 2-1 in the district and their final game is a non-district encounter.

Moundridge lost 41-7 to Sedgwick last week, but lost more than that. Standout quarterback Mason Dyck will be out for the season with a broken arm.

"The kids battled hard and fought the entire game, Mason getting hurt killed us," Wildcat coach Jeremiah Meeks said. "The O-line played well and we ran the ball effectively, we just couldn't get much going in the passing game. The defense battled, but they were on the field too long." 

Medicine Lodge is 1-1 in the district, the win coming against Inman. The Chiefs lost 58-7 to Sedgwick and stepped out of district last week to lose a 34-26 decision to Christ Prep Academy, which plays Inman this week.

"They will spread it around and they have a really good wide receiver they will try to get the ball to," Meeks said.

The Wildcats were a 35-0 winner in last year's matchup. 

• Inman at Christ Prep Academy — This will game will be on Saturday in Olathe.

It probably represents the last chance for the Teutons to win as they will be a decided underdog in their finale against Sedgwick.

The Teutons put up a terrific fight last week in losing to Remington 21-14, leading 14-7 at one point.

Inman coach Lance Sawyer was not available for comment.