Larned and Hoisington kickoff their season Friday evening and the Cardinals would like nothing more than to return the favor of a 21-20 double overtime loss to the Indians in 2014’s opener at Larned. Hoisington used the sting of that loss to propel them on to an eight-game winning streak and finished the 2014 slate with a 9-2 season record including a 4-1 mark in league competition.
Cardinal junior Hunter Hanzlick amassed 1381 yards off of 186 carries and 21 touchdowns to lead the offense for Hoisington in 2014. The Cardinals will look to senior Steffan Dolecheck as their go to receiver. Dolechek posted five receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown in 2014.
Landon Urban, Dolechek, Hanzlick and Jonathan Ball will pace the Hoisington defense in 2015. Urban nailed down 60 tackles as a sophomore while Hanzlick and Ball posted 52 tackles each in 2014.
For the Indians the victory over the Cardinals was short lived as Larned fell in a 14-7 decision to LaCrosse the next week then dropped a 3-0 outing to Kingman in a game that was lost on a fourth quarter field goal. Larned posted a three-game victory streak with wins against Nickerson, Lyons and Haven before losing their final three regular season games to Holcomb, Hugoton and Pratt to finish at 4-5 and 0-3.
Senior quarterback Evan Skelton will lead the offense and will have plenty of protection up front from senior linemen Marcus Allen and Luke Anderson and junior De’Shaun Clark. Senior Landon Erway will see action at running back and a starting position at linebacker for the Indians while fellow senior wide receiver Isaiah Perez will play a favorite target for Skelton in the Larned passing game.
Other area competition:
Central Plains (13-0, 5-0) @ Victoria (12-1, 5-0)
A clash of 8-man powerhouses will see the Division I defending state champ Oilers in a rematch at defending Division II state champ Victoria.
Both teams lose just two players from their 2014 championship campaigns and are both favorites to defend their titles.
In 2014’s opener, Central Plains delivered a 42-24 punching of the Knights handing Victoria their only loss of the season. The Knights would then go on a 12 game winning streak ending in a 52-8 state championship victory over Argonia-Attica. The Oilers pitched a perfect 13-0 season record ending with a 42-30 win over Hanover for the 2014 state title.
Ellinwood (3-6, 2-5) @ St. John (1-8, 1-5)
The Eagles enter 2015 with new leadership in first year head coach Jason Duvall. Ellinwood will try to rebound from a 3-6 slate in 2014 in their first season of 8-man competition.
The Eagles opened the season last year with a 40-20 victory over St. John then dropped two games to defending Division II state champ Victoria (62-8) and Kinsley (40-34). The Eagles final two victories came against winless Macksville (56-6) and a 22-20 edging of Goessel.
Meanwhile the Tigers will attempt to recover from a 1-8 run in 2014. St. John upended Macksville in a 46-0 shutout in the third to last game of the season.
The Tigers dropped their final two contests to Kiowa County (48-24) and Pratt-Skyline (48-0).
Macksville (0-9, 0-5) @ Otis-Bison (4-5, 3-2)
Following a three-game skid to end the 2014 season, Otis-Bison will hit the ground running in 2015. The Cougars will return seven starters on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Otis-Bison opened last season with a 56-6 win against Macksville. The Cougars would then go on to defeat St. John in a narrow 46-44 victory. Following a 72-22 loss to Ness City the Cougars reached triple digits in a 104-70 win over Kinsley. Otis-Bison’s final victory game in a 56-8 routing of Natoma before dropping games to Beloit St. John’s-Tipton (46-28), Northern Valley (76-26) and Victoria (50-0).
Macksville will look to snap a 14-game losing streak against the Cougars Friday night. The Mustangs last victory came in a 58-6 win at St. John in 2013. Macksville posted a 1-8 record that season.
Stafford (8-2, 4-1) @ Pretty Prairie (5-4, 3-2)
The Trojans will focus on building on an impressive 8-2 mark from last season. Stafford picked up wins over their first eight opponents.
Stafford dropped a 52-6 decision to Minneola before falling in the first round of the playoffs to Ingalls, 56-6.
The Trojans escaped with a 34-26 season opening victory at Pretty Prairie last year and will host the Bulldogs in 2015.
Pretty Prairie ended their season with a pair of close wins against South Barber (50-48) and South Haven (28-26).