Canton-Galva’s football opponent this week has experienced some of the highest of highs and lowest of lows.
The Eagles host Solomon on Friday, a 2-3 team that has scored 116 points in its two wins and generously given up 188 points in its three losses.
The Eagles thus should expect a high-scoring game as they attempt to improve to 4-2 on the season.
“Solomon still has size, but it's taken time to learn the new system under their new coach (Justin Coup),” C-G coach Jeff Savage said. “They looked much better last week and are improving quickly, they have good talent and it will be size versus quickness.”
Solomon, which suffered heavy graduation losses after an 8-2 season, is coming off a 54-28 rout of Ellinwood. The Gorillas are expected to be wide open offensively, which means the Eagles have to prepare for anything.
The Eagles were routed 62-12 by Central Plains last week, but the Oilers have been doing that to everybody.
“Central Plains was very talented and athletic with tremendous team speed,” Savage said. “We did not play well and early in the game we did not move the ball on offense and gave up big plays on defense. Everything seemed to go against us and in the second quarter we played better, but it was way too late.”
The Eagles were missing standouts Kendrick Bandy and Brody Scott. Savage is hoping that one or both of them will be back this week.
Travis Unruh continues to be solid for the Eagles as he threw for 87 yards and rushed for 47 against an Oiler defense that barely has been dented this year.
• Smoky Valley at Hoisington — This is a huge game for the Vikings, who scraped by Hillsboro 21-20 last week.
“We played very flat in the first half,” Viking coach Chris Hattabaugh said. “We challenged them at halftime and they came out in the second half and played very well. Hillsboro played very hard and threw everything they could at us. I was very impressed with their effort.”
A couple of neophytes gave the Vikings a shot in the arm.
“Riley O'Dell, who is a freshman, had 16 tackles,” Hattabaugh said. “Kyle Anderson, another freshman, played both ways and did very well. Kyle made the stop on Hillsboro's 2- point attempt that allowed us to win the game.”
And, of course, Cole Norberg had his usual stellar game as he carried the load offensively last week and more responsibility will be on his shoulders since starting running back Aaron Taylor, who has been a nice complement, is out this week with an injury.
Hoisington will be a tough nut for the Vikings to crack.
“Hoisington is a big, physical team,” Hattabaugh said. “They have a 6-2, 290-pound nose guard that is very physical. He also plays right guard for them. Their running back is a load. We must match their physicality.”
• Hesston at Pratt — The 5-0 Swathers basically have played no-stress games all year, but they might have to ramp up the intensity this week.
Pratt, coached by former Bethany head coach Jamie Cruce, has been solid defensively, but may not have enough offense to stay with the Swathers.
“Pratt has switched to the flexbone offense and it suits them well,” Hesston coach Clint Rider said. “They don't have a lot of negative plays and execute well. This is a much-improved team from last season and even from the beginning of the year. Coach Cruce has done a great job. Defensively, they mix up their coverages and have shown mostly a 4-front defense, but I wouldn't be surprised if they mix it up against us and run some type of a 3-4 defense as they did last year. Their secondary is very athletic, so we will need to create positive plays in the running game.”
Hesston was pushed by Haven for a half last week, leading 35-21, but ran away from the Wildcats in the second half for a 56-21 win behind another big night by Grant Raleigh, who had nearly 500 yards of rushing and passing.
“We allowed some big plays from their offense and didn't do a good job getting off of the field on third down in the first half,” Rider said. “We stepped it up and pitched a shutout in the second half and I was proud of our ability to bounce back from some adversity. Offensively, we turned the ball over on downs inside their 10-yard line and had two fumbles in the first half, but never punted the entire night. We moved the ball well and our offensive line again had a great game for us. Credit to Haven's players with some big plays and executing well.”
Raleigh now has 983 yards and 13 TDs passing, while rushing for another 803 and 12 scores. Tyler McCartney has six TDs among his 15 catches, while Zach Esau is tops in receptions with 22.
• Little River at Central Plains — Nobody has stopped the runaway Oilers this season, as they have lambasted five teams by the point rule.
The 3-2 Redskins will give them their best shot.
“Central Plains presents a very tough challenge as they will field an athletic and fast team across the board,” Little River coach Paul Dold said. “Every position has a superior athlete and they are used to success. Coach (Chris) Steiner will have them pumped up to play with emotion and yet maintain discipline on defense. We will have to play lights-out great football to even stay close.”
The Redskins were lights-out themselves last week in a 54-6 ambush of Goessel. Grant Harvey, after being held in check the previous two games, romped to 169 yards and is averaging 117 on the year. Cordell Moore threw for 83 yards and pair of scores and has thrown for 306 yards for the season. Kyler Cox is tops in tackles with 38.
“Last week against Goessel we were able to get ahead of them early and move the ball very well with good starting field position,” Dold said. “Defensively we still have some issues with run support from the defensive backfield. Grant Harvey ran the ball very well at tailback and Kyler Cox played very well defensively after moving from corner to linebacker. Cordell Moore threw the ball with more confidence.”
• Moundridge at Medicine Lodge — The Wildcats must first overcome the length of the 118-mile trip, as they make their longest journey of the year.
It will be a matchup of 1-4 teams, but the Wildcats are 1-0 in district play after holding off arch-rival Inman 12-6 last week.
"I thought we competed hard and actually made plays when we needed them," Wildcat coach Courtney Moddelmog said. "We were able to get a goal-line stand as well as finding a way to get a 4th-and-5 to put the game away. We still need to be more consistent defensively with our assignments."
Medicine Lodge won its season opener 15-9 against Belle Plaine, but has since been blown out in each of its last four game by an average of 40 points.
"Medicine Lodge has some really nice skill guys," Moddelmog said. "They will mostly be in spread sets and they like to throw it, so we will need to get pressure on him to rush his decision making. He has two really nice receivers that they get the ball to in multiple ways. We will want to play ball control to keep them off the field."
The Wildcats’ ground game has picked it up the last couple of weeks as DeShawn Pfeiff and Joel Holloway lead the team with 341 and 334 yards, respectively. Passing has still been an issue as they have compiled just 170 yards among three quarterbacks.
Trenton Olson and Pfeiff had been far away the tackle leaders with 51 and 48, respectively.
"It is not the first time, but Trenton Olson stepped up once again last week with 18 tackles on defense from his defensive tackle spot, and his little brother (Bryant) had a really nice game at left tackle as we ran behind him and Caleb Frye most of the night along with Deshawn Pfieff lead blocking," Moddelmog said.
• Sacred Heart at Inman — It's been an uncharacteristic season for both teams.
The Teutons, coming off back-to-back 6-3 seasons, have dropped their first five games to open the year, including last week's 12-6 nailbiter to rival Moundridge. They have yet to score more than one touchdown in any game.
The Knights, a sparkling 8-2 last year, are just 1-4, the only win coming against Minneapolis, 13-12.
Inman coach Ed Ramsey could not be reached at the time of this posting.