Area football: Big test for Little River

By Steve Sell
September 18, 2014

It’s measuring stick time for the Little River football team.

The Redskins have strolled to easy wins over Rural Vista and Centre, but will face a complete 180 in competition on Friday when they travel to Peabody.

The 2-0 Warriors are coming off a 56-20 win over Canton-Galva and possess a lot of size and speed.

“Peabody will be very tough,” Little River coach Paul Dold said. “They have a large senior class and the quarterback, Braxton Kyle, throws well, but is more dangerous running the ball.  They are good in a double-tight end I formation and will spread the field with a number of sets.  A tough opponent to play and prepare for.”

The Warriors have plenty to prepare for, too. Little River's Grant Harvey has run like the wind with 272 yards on 21 carries, more than 10 yards a pop. He’s also reached the end zone six times. The team did suffer a blow, though, when his tag-team partner at running back, Laramie Peters, was lost for the year with a shoulder injury.

Centre was supposed to push Little River some last week, but it was all over early.

“We knew we had to stop Centre's sweep and if we could do that, they would be forced to try out other parts of the offense,” Dold said. “Our defensive ends, Chord Zeller and Logan Hodgson, played very well and shut down the sweep before they could get headed upfield.”    


• Burrton at Canton-Galva •

It’s homecoming for the Eagles, who hope to bounce back from last week’s 56-20 loss to Peabody, a game they actually led 20-18 and trailed only 24-20 at the half.

“We had way too many mental mistakes,” said C-G coach Jeff Savage, whose team is trying to move to 2-1. “Peabody was more physical, quicker, and athletic and we needed to play error-free football.  The three turnovers in the second half killed us as well."

Savage was pleased with the first-half play, but the depth-shy Eagles started to run out of gas in the second half as the Warriors’ speed eventually wore them down. Trey Moddelmog had a nice game on the ground with 84 yards on 13 carries and Travis Unruh again threw the ball well, with Tanner Klingensmith his top target.

The Eagles suffered a blow when two-way starter Austin Morgan suffered a concussion and will miss the game.

Burrton may be the perfect team for the Eagles to have scheduled for homecoming. The Chargers are 0-2 and have been generous defensively, giving up 112 points so far.

• Haven at Smoky Valley • 

The Vikings unleashed some fury last week against Sterling with a 48-16 rout after losing their opener to Hesston.

Quarterback Cole Norberg must have thought he was running against air, blistering the Sterling defense for 319 yards and six scores. Because the ground game was so solid, he threw it only five times.

“We did what we needed to do to get the win,” Viking coach Chris Hattabaugh said. “Our kids played a very solid, well-executed game. Our defense was very good and our offense moved it very well. Sterling did some things on defense that we haven't seen before, so our kids had to make some adjustments and they handled those fine. Our defense created a couple of turnovers and was very stout against the run. It was also nice to get some young kids in the game in the fourth quarter.”

Hattabaugh said it would easy to single out Norberg, but he had plenty of help.

“Obviously Cole had a great night,” Hattabaugh said. “Our offensive line is a bright group and they blocked well all night. Defensively, our seniors all played well. Benton VanDerWege defended four passes and also intercepted one. He was really stout at cornerback. Greg Elvin is very consistent at inside linebacker and Kirk Barnes is a very impressive outside linebacker.

Haven is 1-1 on the year as it followed up a 22-14 loss to Haven with an impressive 41-12 domination of Hillsboro.

“Haven has a nice team,” Hattabaugh said. “The (Tim) Hendrixson kid at quarterback is really good. They also have a speedy tailback. Defensively they are very similar to Sterling in their scheme so we should be prepared.”

• Sterling at Hesston •

If you go by comparative scores, it could be a long night for the Black Bears.

Sterling is coming off a 48-16 trip to the woodshed by Smoky Valley, which had lost to the Swathers 27-7 in the first week.

Hesston had no letdown last week with a solid 42-14 domination of Halstead in the H-battle.

“We played exceptionally well in all facets of the game,” Swather coach Clint Rider said.  “Defensively we did a good job containing their explosive players, giving the offense a short field  and forcing turnovers. Our special teams forced a turnover as well on the opening kickoff. Offensively, executed very well. The offensive line played as complete of a game as you could ask for.”

There were many standouts on the night.

“Tyler McCartney, for the second week in a row, had an outstanding game defensively,” Rider said. “Brad Simpson and Braden Weber both also had good games defensively. Offensively, we had four receivers catch touchdowns and our running back, Daniel Fulghum, ran in his first TD of the year as well. A very well-rounded performance by all of our players.”

Quarterback Grant Raleigh has been terrific through two weeks, running for 261 yards and three scores, while throwing for 350 yards and four scores.

Rider said the Swathers won’t be taking Sterling lightly.

“Sterling is a team that is improving each week,” Rider said. “They do a good job containing the edge defensively and spread the ball around on offense. This is a team that we cannot overlook and need to do a good job preparing for in practice this week.”

• Moundridge at Bennington •

It’s the first road game for the Wildcats, who take an 0-2 record to Bennington, one the early surprises of the year.

The Bulldogs are 2-0, having nipped Remington by a point and then outlasting Inman 20-6 last week after scoring twice in the fourth quarter.

“Bennington is much improved from last year and are 2-0,” Wildcat coach Courtney Moddelmog said. “They have a really nice lineman in Bryce Griffin at 6-0 and 240 pounds. Its offense is led by quarterback Kyle Kieborz. He throws it well and looks to spread it around.”

The Wildcats were a 40-19 loser to Ell-Saline last week.

“We executed better as the game went on, but we have to get off to much better starts,” Moddelmog said. “We need to establish the run game early so we can improve our field position.  We made less errors than last week, but we still have a ways to go.”

Even in defeat, Moddelmog saw some bright spots.

“Deshawn Pfeiff was his usual solid tackler on defense,” he said. “We also had a couple of freshmen step in for injured starters that showed they had prepared themselves to be ready when their numbers were called. Mason Dyck and Damian Calderon both filled in at defensive backs spots and played solid for the most part.”

• Trinity Catholic at Inman •

The Teutons have a tall order as Hutchinson Trinity is a perennial 3A power, while Inman is looking for its first win after two games in which it has scored only a touchdown in each.

The Teutons were right there with Bennington last week, only to give up a pair of fourth-quarter scores in a 22-6 loss.

"We did not play four quarters of football. We did go in at half with a 6-0 lead, but too many letdowns in the second half," Inman coach Ed Ramsey said. "No one really caught my eye, thinking more team here, we need to tackle better as a team, and we need to be more physical as a team."

Trinity is 2-0 with convincing wins over Trinity and Sedgwick. The Celtics are averaging just under 35 points a game.

"A very physical team, they run an Oregon type no-huddle offense," said Ramsey, noting the Celtics are ranked No. 10 in 3A, while the Teutons are a 2A school.