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Cardinals eye rematch with Norton
spt_hg_Hoisington's head coach Zach Baird addresses his team.jpg
Hoisington's head coach Zach Baird addresses his some of his players during the Cardinal's playoff game against Southeast of Saline. The Hoisington Cardinals defeated the Trojans, who eliminated Hoisington in last year’s 2A football playoffs. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

HOISINGTON — Hoisington's football team (11-0) checked off payback No. 1 against Southeast of Saline last week with a 49-42 quarterfinal playoff victory.

Payback No. 2 is Friday night against Norton (11-0). Norton edged Hoisington 10-8 to qualify for the 2A state championship game on an icy field in 2019. Norton’s Luke Wahlmeier kicked a game-winning 32-yard field goal after the Bluejays converted four first downs on their final drive.

Hoisington (11-0) visits Norton (11-0) Friday for a berth in the 2A state championship game. Local radio will be provided by 100.7-FM (KHOK). Video will be aired on Facebook Live (Bluejay athletics) and the NFHS Network (Norton High School).

The Cardinals average 288 yards rushing and 112 yards passing. The Bluejays average 186 yards passing and 174 yards passing.

"Norton's offensive and defensive lines set the tone," said Hoisington coach Zach Baird. "Norton's defense is centered around their front five. They pressure the quarterback and their defensive ends keep plays inside. They play a lower-scoring game."

Quarterback Tony Moore has thrown for 1,240 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s rushed for 666 yards with eight scores.  Fullback Teron Kraft averages 120 yards rushing with 1,109 yards and 12 touchdowns. Wingback Mason Alderdice has 557 yards rushing and 11 scores.

"We'll have to play our best football game of the year, which you'd expect.," Baird said. "We need to establish our run game and spread the football round. We've got as many offensive weapons as we've ever had. Our sophomore receivers Carson Mason and Mason Martin have played phenomenal." 

Norton quarterback Eli Jones (6-2, 205) has passed for 2,031 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 791 yards and 18 scores. Tyce Melvin has 756 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Tight end Roman Hauser (6-4, 230) has 647 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Center Connor Schoenberger (6-7, 375) anchors the offensive line. 

The Cardinals' defense will focus on Jones, who accounted for 259 of Norton's 295 yards last week.

"They're a balanced offense with a good quarterback and weapons on the perimeter," Baird said. "Norton's quarterback runs north/south with designed runs. We've got to play better pass defense this week. Last week was a learning experience." 

Hoisington finished as 2A state runner-up in 2020 and has reached the semifinals for the fifth time losing to Hesston (2016), Phillipsburg (2018) and Norton (2019). 

"It's a long road to the semifinals and it takes hard work," Baird said. "We're thankful for our opportunity. It comes down to making plays."


ELLSWORTH – Norton quarterback Eli Jones scored two rushing touchdowns and completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Roman Hauser in a 20-6 quarterfinal football victory over Ellsworth. The Bluejays (11-0) scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes. Tight end Hauser (6-4, 230) had 11 catches for 121 yards. 

Norton 0 6 0  14 – 20

Ellsworth 0 0 0  – 6

N–Eli Jones 1 run (run fails); N–Jones 1 run (Roman Hauser pass from Jones); N–Hauser 35 pass from Jones (run fails); E–Loden West 35 pass from Will Cravens (pass fails)

RUSHING—N—38-105; Jones 22-69; Logan Pfannenstiel 12-27; Brennan Pfannenstiel 3-8; Melvin 1-1.

PASSING—N—Jones 16-19-0, 190.

RECEIVING—N—Roman Hauser 11-121; Tyce Melvin 4-53; B. Pfannenstiel 1-16.

HOISINGTON (12-0)—Hesston 39-7; Halstead 38-14; Lyons 60-0; SW Heights 63-6; Pratt 27-19; Lakin 63-15; Larned 34-6; Cimarron 67-20; Phillipsburg 46-8; Beloit 35-6; SE Saline 49-42; Norton 30-21; Nemaha Central

NORTON (11-1)—Plainville 37-18; Smith Center 12-8; Oakley 49-7; Phillipsburg 14-6; Goodland 41-6; Beloit 26-0; Hays TMP 28-6; Russell 20-9; Cimarron 64-34; Hays TMP 18-6; Ellsworth 20-6; Hoisington 21-30

CARDINAL OFFENSE—2 WR Mason Martin; WB 4 Mason Alderdice; FB 5 Teron Kraft; WB 8 Ian Smith; QB 11 Tony Moore; 30 TE Gage Britt; 60 LG Exavier Chambers; 69 C Caleb Birzer; 72 LT Brayden Stevenson; 76 RG Caiden Hoffman; RT Colin Mater 

CARDINAL DEFENSE—2 CB Mason Martin; 4 CB Mason Alderdice; 5 MLB Teron Kraft; 6 S Jason Robinson; 8 MLB Ian Smith; 17 S Carson Mason/11 S Tony Moore; OLB 20 Taylen Morales; OLB 30 Gage Britt; 69 DE Caleb Birzer; 72 DE Brayden Stevenson; NG 76 Caiden Hoffman 

NORTON OFFENSE—1 WR Tyce Melvin; 10 QB Eli Jones; 17 TE Roman Hauser; 21 WR Bodie Pfannenstiel; 32 TB Logan Pfannenstiel; 35 FB Brennen Pfannenstiel; 55 LT Traven Enfield; 57 RT Colton Stover; 60 RG Corbin Puga; 69 LG Brody Mullins; 70 C Connor Schoenberger

NORTON DEFENSE—1 CB Tyce Melvin; 3 CB Jatin Weigel; 6 S Dominic Vahling; 10 MLB Eli Jones; 17 RE Roman Hauser; 21 OLB Bodie Pfannenstiel; 35 MLB Brennen Pfannenstiel; 55 LE Traven Enfield; 57 RT Colton Stover; 60 LT Corbin Puga; 69 NG Brody Mullins

NEMAHA CENTRAL OFFENSE—3 TB Cooper Kramer; 4 WR Sam Nordhus; 6 QB Carter Hajek; 12 WR Aidan Broxterman; 20 WR Jack Macke; 21 WB Caleb Strathman; 54 C Josh Gonzalez; 56 RG Abram Heim; 66 RT Reese Garity; RG Holden Bass; 76 LT Abe Hilbert

NEMAHA CENTRAL DEFENSE—3 OLB Cooper Kramer; 4 MLB Sam Nordhus; 6 S Carter Hajek; 12 S Aidan Broxterman; 20 LE Jack Macke; 21 CB Caleb Strathman; 34 OLB Carter Sudbeck; 54 RE Josh Gonzalez; 56 MLB Abram Heim; 75 LT Holden Bass; 76 RT Abe Hilbert

NEMAHA CENTRAL Holton 31-6; Royal Valley 62-0; Perry 26-0; Horton 69-0; Jefferson West 46-0; Minneapolis 24-0; Riley County 30-0; Sabetha 28-0; Pleasant Ridge 48-0; Riley County 55-13; Osage City 53-27; Sabetha 17-7; Hoisington


PASSING—Carter Hajek 62-98-4, 858, 10 TDs (78 ypg)

RUSHING—231 ypg; Carter Hajek 260-1,936, 37 TDs; Caleb Strathman 17-192, 3 TDs; Cooper Kramer 27-136, 3 TDs; Jonah Deters 23-143, 3 TDs  

RECEIVING—Caleb Strathman 23-339, 4 TDs; Carter Rottinghaus 12-190, 2 TDs; Sam Nordhus 9-158, 2 TDs; Aidan Broxterman 11-128, 2 TDs.