The Smoky Valley Vikings have shaken off a first-week loss to Hesston to play playoff-caliber football.
Since a 27-7 setback to the Swathers to open the season, the Vikings have put together back-to-back impressive victories over Sterling and Haven.
They hope to make it three in a row on Friday at Halstead.
Smoky Valley pulled out a pulsating 29-26 homecoming victory Friday over Haven when Cole Norberg scored with 23 seconds left in the game.
"Friday night was a great high school football game," Smoky Valley coach Chris Hattabaugh said. "Both teams fought their tails off. We were just fortunate enough to make the plays in the end to get the victory. Haven has a really nice team with great speed and a good scheme. We struggled slowing them down in the second half, but fortunately our offense was able to put some points on the board."
Norberg wound up rushing 36 times for 196 yards and three scores, while Aaron Taylor provided a nice complement with 98 yards on 16 carries and the other touchdown. They were just two of several players who performed admirably, according to Hattabaugh.
"Norberg had another great night," Hattabaugh said. "He carried the football 36 times, which is way more than we want him to carry it. He battled until the very end. Kirk Barnes played well defensively at outside linebacker. Stephen Klaassen is so good stopping the run and he got an interception on a batted ball. He is doing really well."
Halstead is 2-1, its only loss being a 42-14 verdict to Hesston. The Dragons put it all together last week with a 57-27 thrashing of Hillsboro.
"Halstead is a good football team," Hattabaugh said. "They run their scheme well. Blake Beckett at running back and at middle linebacker is very good. They also have a big fullback and big tight end. All three of those players complement their offense very well. We must play well to get the win."
• Hesston at Lyons – The Lions have scored only six points this season — on two field goals — which doesn't bode well when going up against the high-octane Swathers.
Hesston cruised to an easy victory last week over Sterling, as coach Clint Rider was able to look at many players after rolling to a 35-0 first-quarter lead.
"Last week was an opportunity for us to come out and not be focused having played two hard-fought rivalry games to start the season, but our guys didn't have a letdown," Rider said. "The punting unit only came on the field one time. Our defense and special teams were outstanding as well. We played very physical and our young players did a great job when they got the opportunity."
Even in limited time, a number of players had good games, according to Rider.
"Daniel Fulghum and Tyler McCartney both had big performances on offense," he said. "Daniel had three rushing TDs and I think that will give him a lot of confidence going forward. Tyler had three catches and two went for TDs, including the first play of the game. Defensively, Scott Duerksen had a good game at cornerback and also had an interception."
Rider hopes the Swathers can come out just as focused against Lyons.
"Lyons likes to spread the field, so we have to be ready for them to take shots down the field and make plays in space," Rider said. "Their quarterback is a shifty runner, so we will have to be disciplined in our assignments and be ready for the quarterback draw or designed quarterback run. Defensively, they run either a 3-5 or 4-4 with one high safety. They do a good job bringing pressure from a lot of different places. Luckily, we did get some game time against a 3-front last week against Sterling, so that has helped us in our preparation for this week."
• Hutchinson Trinity at Moundridge — The Wildcats missed a golden opportunity to grab their first win of the year last week, letting a 21-18 lead get away in a 34-21 loss to Bennington.
“We blocked better offensively as we never had to punt, but essentially turned the ball over five times,” said MHS coach Courtney Moddelmog, whose team is 0-3. “Our offensive line executed up front really well. I think we are starting to play more as a unit up front. Deshawn Pfeiff once again was all over the field. We really need to get everybody else playing with a motor like his.”
Moddelmog said linemen Caleb Frye and Bryant Olson turned in good games in the offensive line as Pfeiff (146 yards) and Joel Holloway (112) were both over 100 yards rushing.
Trinity is going to be the most formidable opponent on the Wildcats’ schedule. They have started 3-0 and looked impressive in doing it.
“Wow, they are by far the best team in our league,” Moddelmog said. “They will start all seniors both sides of the ball. They are more balanced this year as they can spread you out and pass or go to their power run game led by their fullback Elias Jasso-Cardenas. He is averaging close to 200 yards per game I believe. Defensively they are very solid, led by All-State linebacker Joey Hale (6-0, 225) and defensive tackle Pierce Billington (6-1, 250).”
• Little River at Udall — The Redskins play their second straight top-notch team as they put their 2-1 record on the line against the 3-0 Eagles.
Little River and Peabody traded bombs last week before the Warriors came away with a 22-12 victory.
Udall is coming off a 54-6 rout of Oxford. The Eagles were challenged the previous week, winning 14-12 over Caldwell and also have a 56-6 humbling of Norwich on the ledger.
“This week we play Udall for the first time, so we only know them from game film,” Little River coach Paul Dold said. “They are big up front and will stack the line of scrimmage on defense, which makes it tougher for us to run what we want.”
Dold said there were some bright spots last week even in defeat.
“Kyler Cox is playing very well for us at center,” Dold said. “He makes us so much better with his quickness and ability to block downfield. Chord Zeller and Colin January were standouts for us on the defensive side of the ball as they are both tough, solid players.”
The Redskins need to reboot Grant Harvey, who was held in check last week. He had 272 yards through two weeks, but was limited to just 32 last week on 11 totes. Little River needs to get its passing game going, though Zach Galyon has been a home-run hitter with 35 yards a catch.
• Canton-Galva at Word of Life Academy — The Eagles enter the land of the unknown.
Word of Life is 3-0, but little else is known about it as it doesn’t play the competition that the Eagles do.
“The Life-Academy is 3-0 and has an athletic quarterback that can run and throw,” C-G coach Jeff Savage said. “He is 6-1 and 195 pounds. They have several quick backs and receivers, one is averaging 11 yards per carry. We will have to do a much better job of tackling in space because they spread the field on offense.”
The Eagles enter 2-1 as they hammered winless Burrton last week.
“We cut way down on the metal errors last week,” Savage said. “Our offense was able to run the ball against a six-man line.”
Trey Moddlemog found enough holes to dash for 104 yards on 13 carries. The Eagles kept it on the ground for the most part as Travis Unruh put it in the air just a half-dozen times.
• Inman at Remington — The Teutons will be looking to get their offense kick-started as they have scored just one touchdown in each of their first three games.
Somebody is going to get their first win as both teams are 0-3. The Broncos certainly had to be encouraged last week as they played Marion tough before losing 28-16.
"They are big, their line averages 220 pounds," Inman coach Ed Ramsey said. "They also have three nice skill players."
The Teutons are coming off a loss to ranked Class 3A Trinity Catholic, maybe the best team they will play this year.
"Hutch Trinity is a very solid 3A team, well coached, and they have size, speed and athletes," Ramsey said.
Ramsey said Blayne Konrade had a good game in defeat as he showed good leadership.