Tough tests for Hesston, Little River

By Steve Sell
November 07, 2014

No football team has played the Hesston Swathers within single digits this season, but that could change Saturday night.

The Swathers will go into a veritable lions den when they travel to Wichita Collegiate for the 7 p.m. Class 3A regional championship game.

The 10-0 Swathers certainly should have their hands full with the longtime power Spartans, who are 9-1 and gave No. 1 (4A Division II) Andale its only close game of the year.

Both teams were pushed on Tuesday, Hesston pulling away from Trinity Catholic for a 42-28 victory, while Collegiate outscored perennial power Conway Springs, 56-34.

For the Swathers, it’s all about offense. Grant Raleigh is a virtual cinch for All-State quarterback as he has rushed for 1,616 yards and passed for 1,835. He’s accounted for 51 touchdowns.

He has a fleet of receivers to throw to, including Tyler McCartney, Scott Duerksen and Zach Esau.

The Swathers’ defense figures to be put to the test like no other time this year. The Spartans are led by Rose Hill transfer Austin Waddell at quarterback, while Jacque Williams will be the most dynamic running back Hesston has defended all year as he has scored 28 touchdowns.

The winner of this game is matched against the winner of current 10-0 teams Norton and Scott Community. Next week’s sectional game will be played on Friday.

• Ness City at Little River — Because of the long trip for Ness City, the game is being played at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Little River is 7-3 and coming off a 62-14 punishment of Pratt Skyline. Ness City, 8-2, eased by Oberlin 36-32 last week.

The Redskins will rely on their dynamic running duo of Grant Harvey and Laramie Peters, who were unstoppable Tuesday as they combined for eight touchdowns.

Ness City has the pedigree, having won the state championship two years ago.

The winner of this game plays the winner of Central Plains-Spearville next Friday. The Redskins already have lost to Central Plains this season.

• Note — Smoky Valley plays tonight at Andale in the Class 4A Division II playoffs. The game was previewed in an earlier post. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.