HESSTON — It’s down to crunch time for the Hesston Swathers.
The Swathers have a huge road game on Friday as they travel to Chapman that will greatly shape the district standings.
Smoky Valley leads the way at 3-0 and a plus 50 in point differential. Chapman, Halstead and Hesston are all 2-1, with Chapman a plus 33, Halstead a plus 26 and Hesston a plus 16.
But the Swathers are coming. They routed Rock Creek 54-30 last week and have back-to-back 500-yard games, which coincided with a return of health for Parker Roth and Cameron Cox.
Roth rumbled for 314 yards and 5 TDs last week and Cox accounted for 200 yards of total offense.
“Friday was a little bit of a ‘grind-it-out’ type of victory for us,” Hesston coach Tyson Bauerle said. “I know most probably wouldn't consider a 54-point outing by your offense a grind, but we were our own worst enemy at times. Early in the game we had some penalties and miscues that kept some points off the board. However, other times we looked very physical and very fast.”
The Hesston defense, despite giving up 30 points, showed improvement. Bauerle noted the Mustangs’ final points came late in garbage time.
“Take away two big plays and we shut them out defensively,” he said. “They had one big run play in the first quarter and later a throwback pass in the second half. Other than that, our defense was solid taking them out of what they wanted to do offensively.”
Chapman won its first five games before losing 30-22 last week to Smoky Valley.
“Chapman runs the flexbone and they run it right at you,” Bauerle said. “Our tackling against the dive and option will be a major factor. Their runningback (Dalton Harvey) and quarterback (Izek Jackson) run their system very efficiently. It will be a big week for the standings in our district. The Top 4 teams have separated from the other two teams and we each play each other.”
• District Standings •
1. Smoky Valley, 3-0 (plus 50)
2. Chapman, 2-1 (plus 33)
3. Halstead, 2-1 (plus 26)
4. Hesston, 2-1 (plus 16)
5. Clay Center, 0-3 (minus 62)
6. Rock Creek, 0-3 (minus 63)