On Friday night, the Hoisington High School football team will host Larned in the final Mid-Central Activities Association football game of the season.
Hoisington (3-2) is coming off of a victory against MCAA foe Thomas More Prep-Marian in Hays 44-23.
Larned (0-5) will be rebounding from its closest game this season, losing to Cimarron 46-40.
The Cardinals offense was able to right the ship against the Monarchs last week, fumbling the ball once, but recovering it to avoid any turnovers.
It was a quick turnaround for an offense that turned the ball over 10 times in a two-week period.
“That was a focus in our practices last week,” Hoisington head coach Jason Ingram said. “That has been our focus for a couple of weeks now. We have to win the turnover game.”
Running back Hagan Hanzlick has been the workhorse for the Cardinals, rushing for 771 yards and six touchdowns this season. He has been such a workhorse, having carried the ball 39 times last week, that Ingram said that he hopes to pass more to give him a rest.
“He is our go-to guy,” Ingram said. “He carried the ball 39 times last week, which is really too much. We hope to have a more balanced attack on Friday. We want to start developing our passing game a little more.
“It’s not only to keep Hagan from getting bounced around so much, but it also helps keep the defense honest.”
Hoisington will look to their 6-foot-5 quarterback Derrick Kaiser, who has completed 32 of 83 passes for 409 yards and seven touchdowns. He has also thrown five interceptions.
The Cardinals leading receiver is Cody Stetler, a 6-8 tight end who has 128 yards and three touchdowns this season.
How does Larned defend that kind of size?
“Well, we’re trying to grow,” Indians head coach Al Troyer said of what he wanted to work on in practice. “We have to cover a 6-5 quarterback and a 6-8 tight end. Seriously, we’re just going to keep doing what we do.
“They’re going to run their power offense at us, and then throw the ball over the top. We just have to play disciplined football and try to stop their running game.”
Larned has found success passing the ball with sophomore quarterback Easton Palmer under center.
Palmer completed 17 of 30 passes (56.6 percent) for 199 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions last week.
Brendon Lewis has been Palmer’s most consistent receiver, with 348 yards and five touchdowns this season, including 93 yards against Cimarron and 100 yards against Beloit in Week 4.
Chad Wallace leads the Indians with 463 rushing yards and seven TDs, rushing for 94 yards last week.
Brady Keith, who started the season at quarterback, has been moved to a slot back position to make room for Palmer. Troyer said that the move has been beneficial for the team.
“Now we’ve got a good passer and a lot of speed in the slot position,” Troyer said. “It’s really nice to have his speed out there.”
It was the Indians speed that Ingram said his scout team has been working on in practice to simulate.
“We have been trying to just prepare for their speed,” Ingram said. “They have some quick backs. We’ve been trying to get our scout team to play at that level of speed to prepare us for Friday.
“We are trying to counter their speed with good technique on defense. That’s what we’ve been focusing on.”
Central Plains (4-1)
at Peabody-Burns (2-3)
Central Plains is on a roll after a Week 2 hiccup against Otis-Bison.
The Oilers have gotten a massive amount of production out of Benn Kirmer, who rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns against Canton-Galva last week.
Peabody-Burns is led by quarterback Matt Heibert, who has completed 28 of 68 passes (41.2 percent) for 497 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.
The Warriors have a two-headed rushing attack with Austin Savage, who has rushed for 362 yards and four touchdowns, and Hunter Pickens, who has rushed for 293 yards and five TDs.
at Macksville (5-0)
Seth Filbert continues to lead Macksville, completing 63 of 95 passes (66.3 percent) for 1,091 yards, 15 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Filbert has also rushed for 233 yards and six TDs.
Adam Oak leads the Mustangs with 363 rushing yards and five touchdowns, including two scores against Pretty Prairie last week. He is also the leading receiver with 602 yards and nine touchdowns.
Behind him is Tanner Tranbarger, who has 412 yards and five scores.
at Cunningham (1-4)
Otis-Bison quarterback Trevor Keller has completed 36 of 55 passes for 512 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.
Dylan Wissman leads the Cougars 492 yards and seven touchdowns. Patrick Piper adds 439 yards and eight touchdowns.
Cunningham, which is coming off of its first win of the season last week against Stafford, averages only 17.2 points per game compared to Otis-Bison’s 49.6.
The Wildcats have allowed 56 points per game and the Cougars have allowed 20 points per game.
St. John (4-1)
at South Central (1-4)
St. John opened up the field last week.
Passing the ball for 160 yards and three touchdowns, quarterback Kinser Crissman completed 5 of 8 passes and threw one interception.
Patrick Prescott, who is usually a hard-nosed rushing threat, had 67 receiving yards and 64 rushing yards.
Wide receiver Zuriel Reyes led the team with 99 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown pass from Crissman.
South Central is led by quarterback Clay Jarnagin, who has completed 22 of 40 passes for 285 yards and one touchdown. He also leads with 304 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Stetsen Underwood has also filled in as quarterback, completing 14 of 31 passes for 243 yards and three TDs. He has 198 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground.
Sunrise Christian Academy (4-2)
at Ellinwood (1-4)
Ellinwood has spiraled into a three-game losing streak since its Week 2 victory over Larned.
The Eagles were shut down by Ell-Saline last week, but Ellinwood was able to get 205 yards of total offense.
Marcus Brown led the Eagles with 77 rushing yards.
Sunrise Christian Academy is led by quarterback Zach Howell, who is coming off of a big win over Horton in which he completed 41 of 55 passes for 565 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception.
Stafford (1-4) at Bucklin (0-4)
Tristin Paulsen remains Stafford’s leading rusher, averaging 95.2 yards per game with 476 yards this season.
Behind him is Ethan Johnson, who has rushed for 273 yards. Johnson led the Trojans with 99 yards last week.
Bucklin has played only four games this season with an open date in Week 3.
The Red Aces average 10 points per game, including a 74-24 loss to Chase last week.
Bucklin has allowed 64.5 points per game.