Kpreps Helmet Stickers - Week 6

Artwork by Joe Wachter,
Oct 9, 2017

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Back to Kpreps this fall, our contributors will hand out helmet stickers to a team or individual that delivered the most important performance of the week in their opinion. Check back each Sunday to see that week’s helmet stickers, and follow @Kpreps on Twitter and Facebook to watch as the Kpreps helmet fills up with stickers as the season goes on.

Helmet sticker: Dighton (John Baetz – Kansas Pregame)

After an improbable run to the Eight-Man II title game in 2016, few expected the Hornets to produce a similar season this fall. The graduation of star players Dylan Foos, Tyler Lingg and Lake Lewis left the Hornets with serious questions at the skill positions entering the season and a roster of just 10 players provides no depth. But two-thirds of the way through the regular season the Hornets remain unbeaten at 6-0.

Dighton got its biggest win of the season Friday night with a 20-8 district victory over Sharon Springs-Wallace County. Quarterback Blair Hoffman threw two touchdown passes to David Cramer and one to Isaac Torson. The line, led by standout Logan Lingg, provided a physical presence up front.

As feel-good as the Hornets story is, the next two weeks on the road against ranked opponents Otis-Bison and Hodgeman County should provide the toughest tests of the season, and ultimately determine if Dighton is to make another improbable playoff run.

Helmet sticker:  Galena (Chet Kuplen -- Sports in Kansas)

Galena had never beaten Columbus since the Titans joined the CNC League, but that changed on Friday night at Abbey Field as the Bulldogs knocked off 4A-II No. 1 Columbus, 33-29. Galena had lost all five meetings from 2012-2016, but three of those losses were by six points or less. Last year the Titans won 36-35 over the Bulldogs.

We knew going into the year that we felt like this was the showdown that would ultimately decide the CNC League title and it looks like it will as Galena improved to 6-0 and 5-0 in the league with their win.

Quarterback J.C. Shelton is turning into one of the top junior playmakers in 3A this season. Shelton, in his first year as a starting quarterback, gets it done with his legs and his arm, then also added a punt return score for a touchdown on Friday. The Bulldog defense stepped up big in the fourth quarter stopping the Titans on the Galena 19-yard line on 4th-and-7 with a Drake Adams sack to give them the win.

Class 3A is a loaded classification this year as it always is with 64 teams. The Bulldogs are looking for a deep run in the playoffs as they open district play this Friday against Cherryvale. The deepest run Galena has ever made it in 3A was in 2009 when they reached the state semifinals. Rossville or Silver Lake has owned the east as one or the other has played in every single 3A state football title game as an east representative since 2002, with the exception of one year when Marysville topped Galena in the semifinal to reach the 2009 3A title game. The last CNC league school to play in a 3A football title game was Frontenac in 2000, now a 4A-II member. 

Can the 2017 Bulldogs make a deep playoff run? They have solid line play on both sides, a blue-collar mentality, and a rushing attack that primes them for November football. Congrats to Galena head coach Beau Sarwinski, a Columbus alum, on the 6-0 start with Friday’s big victory over his former high school.

Helmet sticker:  Satanta (Matt Gilmore -- Kpreps)

The Satanta Indians are off to an impressive 6-0 start and are eying a third playoff appearance in the past four seasons. Since making the switch to eight-man football in 2012, the Indians have posted a 30-23 record. Compare that to a 14-59 mark in the Indians’ final eight seasons in Class 2-1A, and you can see the momentum building in this program. 

Satanta’s six wins this season guarantees a winning season for the fourth consecutive year. The Indians posted a 7-3 record in 2014, their most wins in a season in at least the past 13 years. Satanta reached the playoffs that season ending a nine-year drought. Satanta also reached the playoffs in 2015 before missing out with a 5-4 record last fall. The Indian’s lone playoff win in school history came in a first-round game against Tribune back in 1997.

Expectations were relatively high entering this season considering the Indians returned seven starters on both sides of the ball. Junior Gabriel Salas has transitioned to running back after a standout sophomore year at quarterback. Salas passed for 892 yards and 14 touchdowns and added 1,247 rushing yards and 19 scores last fall. This season, he was averaging 12.6 yards per carry (718 yards, 8TDs) entering Friday night’s game against Kinsley. The Indians blasted Kinsley 56-14 in a game called in the first half due to weather.

Senior Ty Blair compliments Salas’ rushing efforts with 571 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns while averaging 11.4 yards per attempt. Sophomore Houston Friend has taken over at quarterback and passed for 348 yards and six touchdowns through five games. The defense has been solid in surrendering less than six points per game. Blair has been the team’s leading tackler along with classmate Willy Garcia.

While the Indians are one of four remaining unbeaten teams in Eight-Man, Division I, they still have plenty of work to do in order to qualify for the postseason. Satanta will travel to unbeaten and second-ranked Spearville this week. Spearville defeated the Indians 72-24 last season. After Spearville, the Indians will close the regular season with games against Ness City (3-3) and South Gray (5-1). Satanta will likely have to win two of the next three games in order to reach the postseason.

Helmet sticker: Victoria (Conor Nicholl – Kpreps)

For the second time in 2017, Victoria had a game rescheduled for Saturday. In its season opener, Victoria traveled to Central Plains and played part of the first quarter before a delay bumped it to Saturday. The Knights won, 34-8, versus the Oilers, then ranked No. 1 in 8-man I. Last week, Bennington drove more than 95 miles to Victoria on Friday. Shortly before the scheduled 7 p.m. start on Friday, the game was moved to 5 p.m. Saturday because of the weather.

Victoria regrouped and defeated Bennington, 48-14. Knight senior defensive end Lucas Taylor was born in Liberal, lived briefly in Kansas City and grew up in Colby. He went to TMP for two years before he transferred to Victoria. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Taylor has battled back issues during the last year and missed part of the Logan-Palco win the week prior because of the injury.

Taylor had a mammoth performance as a part of four sacks and another tackle for loss. Bennington held Victoria scoreless in the second half and closed to 30-14 and had the ball. Then, Taylor and junior Wyatt Dreiling broke through for a sack and safety with 4:31 left. After the ensuing free kick, senior Collin Kisner went 34 yards for the touchdown that effectively put the game out of reach.

The speedy Kisner isn’t 100 percent either but finished with 17 carries for 125 yards and three touchdowns with his breakaway burst, elusiveness and spin moves. Late in the first half, he intercepted a pass when Taylor broke through a double team and forced a poor throw.

Victoria, despite missing senior starting lineman Wyatt Engel to injury, still held Bennington standout J.J. Allen to 19 carries for 68 yards. Two weeks ago, the Knights limited L-P standout David Thompson to 23 carries for 94 yards. Allen was very impressed with the Knights’ defensive flow and aggression. Since the 2013 playoffs, Victoria is 6-0 in games that end Saturday.

Victoria will play at Osborne this week in a highly-anticipated contest that will likely decide the District 4 crown. Victoria (5-1) has already matched 2016’s win total and put itself in a position for a playoff berth because of its continued ability to refocus after delays and overcome injuries.

Helmet Stickers (2017 Season)

Week 1 – Burrton, Pittsburg, St. James Academy, Thomas More Prep, Wetmore

Week 2 – Ellsworth, Goddard, Hays, Maize South

Week 3 – Altoona-Midway, Lakin, St. Mary’s Colgan, Southern Cloud, Wellington

Week 4 – Colby, Concordia, Manhattan, Riley County

Week 5 – Bennington, Labette County, Osage City, Osborne


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