Cougars eye semifinal berth
BY JIM MISUNAS
OTIS — The margin for error is slim for Otis-Bison, down to 10 healthy football players entering Friday’s 8-Man Division 2 quarterfinal showdown against Ingalls (7-2). TE Clade Anderson is sidelined for the season and RB Blake Bahr sat out last week.
But a rugged Central Prairie League games against state-ranked Central Plains and Victoria has the No. 3 state-ranked Cougars well prepared.
“When we play the best teams in our league, it shows where you need improvement and where your weaknesses are,” said Otis-Bison coach Travis Starr. “Friday night is where we catch up with the speed of the game. We’ll be ready to play four quarters because we’re well prepared. It always comes down to blocking and tackling.”
QB Anton Foust (966 yards, 18 TDs) keyed the offense in a 60-26 playoff win over Sylvan-Lucas with 290 yards, four touchdowns rushing and two TDs passing. Foust (710 yards, 15 TDs) and Bahr (998 yards, 19 TDs) lead an offense averaging 256 yards rushing and 71 yards passing. WR Maitland Wiltse (385, 10 TDs) is the top receiver. Kaden Schwartz averages seven tackles.
Foust is a reliable runner and adept passer who converts big plays.
“Anton runs option, but he’s a good runner inside,” Starr said. “When teams load the box, we’ll get guys in space and throw the football. We feature good athletes. We’ve performed a lot better up front, where our running game starts.”
The Cougars start QB-DE Anton Foust, RB-S Blake Bahr, RB-LB Daniel Scott, C-NG Landon Hoopingarner, LG Hunter Mitchell, RG-DE Luke Higgason, TE-DB Maitland Wiltse, LB Seth Hoopingarner, LB Bevan Gradig, NG Kaden Schwartz.
Ingalls RB Mikel Osborne (1,132 yards, 16 TDs) and QB Timothy Gillen (530 yards, 2 TDs; 376 yards, 2 TDs) key an offense averaging 205 yards rushing from a wing-T look and 80 yards passing per game. WR Easton Irsik (487 yards, 11 TDs) and WR Joe Clark (227 yards) lead the passing game.
Osborne rushed for 260 yards and three touchdowns in a 50-32 victory over Pretty Prairie. Irsik had three touchdown catches for 104 yards. The Bulldogs rushed for 422 yards and passed for 116 yards. Irsik caught a pair of touchdown passes from Gillen and one from wide receiver Tate Davis on a pitchout and pass.
“Ingalls has a senior tailback and a fast receiver in Irsik,” Starr said. “They’ll run a quarterback run game from the shotgun and use motion with their wingback.”
W— St. John 58-0
W— Ellinwood 56-0
L—Central Plains 12-36
W—Wallace Co. 70-24
W— Greeley Co. 50-0
W— Dighton 54-8
W— Triplains 64-0
W—Hodgeman Co. 58-26
L—South Gray 26-48
L—South Central 6-53
W—Kiowa Co. 68-34
W—Moscow 1-0 (forfeit)
W—Pretty Prairie 50-32