With a heart like that, how does a football team start the season 0-6? With a heart like that, how do you NOT win some of those games? With a heart like that—we’re not just talking players here but all of the coaches as well—isn’t it time your fortunes changed?
The Larned Indians’ football season has bounced from one disastrous injury to another, beginning before the season even started! Two potential starters who were counted on for big roles have not played a down of football. Each week another starter was tabled until, for one recent game, 9 athletes who would’ve or could’ve started, were on the sidelines. The Indian sideline looks like a battle scene out of the Revolutionary War!
Still, head coach Tad Remy and his staff of Michael Hensley, Tim Coles, Rustyn Kerbs, Cody Coleman and Israel Hagerman want no talk about the hand that has been dealt them. They teach that you’ve got to play what you’ve got even if this team has more patches than a Michelin tire! They keep talking about the “heart of this team”. The “passion” that they continue to carry to practices. How many of you remember going to a practice AFTER losing a game? Not the most inspiring thing out there but this group of athletes has been able to stay focused, stay enthused and keep working, hoping, that the next game is the one where it all comes together! Credit them. Credit their coaches.
It’s not that 0-6 starts are foreign to Larned football. During the four-year reign of Al Troyer, from 2008 through 2011, the Indians actually had three 0-9 seasons. Even A.B. Stokes, who is credited with turning around the Larned program, beginning in 2012, suffered a similar start in 2016. We’re not here to account for 0-6 starts but, rather, to comment on what appears to be an unusual attitude, an unusual effort, by coaches and players alike, to NOT let the big reason, injuries, be the “devil in the details”.
The old country singer and sausage salesman, Jimmy Dean, had probably the best thing to say about these kinds of situations when he opined, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” It would be my observation that this Larned football team, these Larned football coaches, have “adjusted their sails to reach their desired destination!”
BARTON COUNTY BUSTING IT
Barton County’s four high school football teams are a combined 18-6, led by the Oilers of Central Plains with an unblemished 6-0. It is an enviable record that would be among the best in the state. Playoff excitement is legitimately pulsating in Great Bend, Hoisington, Ellinwood and Central Plains. While this might be a new feeling in Ellinwood (3-3), it is old hat in the other communities. Ellinwood hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2004. Great Bend should move to 5-2 this week with a win at Liberal. The Black Panthers simply have to much offense for the Redskins. The Panthers right now are jockeying for the best seeding in their 5A District.
Hoisington (5-1) has a monster game at Phillipsburg (6-0) this week with the winner getting the top seed in that district though both teams will move on in the playoffs. This one rates a tossup as both Cardinal coach Zach Baird and Phillipsburg boss, veteran J.B. Covington, match wits as veteran playoff coaches. Four-year starter Trey Sides at quarterback gives Phillipsburg the edge.
Central Plains is again on a roll that in previous years has ended with playoff losses to Spearville, including a last-play-of-the-game-loss last year at Spearville. Oilers should end that hex this year.
Playoff Central. That’s Barton County. Lots of talent. Lots of great coaches. Take time to enjoy! You’ve got a lot of great choices right here in Barton County!
Buddy Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.