2023 Week 6 (Nebraska & Kansas)
Week 6 was looking to be a great weekend. I had the plans for anywhere from 3 to 5 games. But, I had settled on three. And then two, and then four, before passing Saturday night with just three games in Nebraska and Kansas.
I had planned for three games in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. But then I had found the option for two Saturday games in Colorado. Las Animas was hosting a game at 1pm, and McClave was hosting a game at 7pm. They weren’t too far apart. But getting there was a stretch. Since, I was going to be near Sharon Springs on Friday. So, I had given up hopes on that. And instead settled on Friday at Sharon Springs to see Wallace County v. St. Francis. And a Saturday afternoon game just west of there in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. Little did I know I had the schedule wrong.
Finding a Thursday game was either eastern Kansas, eastern Nebraska, or get a bit closer to Denver. Or… the only western Nebraska Thursday game. I was north of Hyannis and made the long drive south to town through the Sandhills.
Hyannis were hosting the lone Thursday game aside from a handful of All-Nations games. Which, I couldn’t get confirmation on if the games were being played. They were also in the afternoon. However, it was north of me. The closest being at St Francis Indian School or Lower Brule School near Fort Thompson on the Missouri River.
So, I got into Hyannis by 6pm. I had to wait for a train to pass as the small town has a fairly busy railroad passing by along the north side of Route 2. Which is a major east-west route through Nebraska’s interior. Where I-80 runs across the southern third (with US34 and US6 running even further south of there) and US20 runs along the northern edge. It’s a sparse route going through just a handful of towns from Alliance to Grand Island.
South Loup, the Bobcats, are a co-op between Arnold and Callaway. They’re the #1 team in Class D-2, the lowest 8-man classification in Nebraska. While Hyannis were unranked. Hyannis Area Schools covers all of Grant County, and it’s 611 residents, as well as a sporadic mix of land west of the county along Route 2.
The field sits on the north side of Route 2 on the east end of town. While the high school sits across the street on the south side. It sits down below the grade of the road. And sits east/west with some parking situated behind the home stands. Many do park around the field. And a small visitor stand is situated between the north sideline and the railroad tracks that run across the north of the property.
Surrounding the field is an old cinder track. With a concession stand and bathroom set seperately to the far west. The food was great. I hadn’t eaten since lunch. And there is nowhere in town. Nor was I going to have time. For $6, you got a Pulled Pork Meal. A pulled pork sandwich, a scoop of coleslaw and a bag of Doritos. Added a homemade cookie for $2 and a cold Gatorade for $2. Well worth the price.
In addition to the great food, Hyannis also gave a single page roster sheet/program when you arrived. There are no ticket booths. Instead, the ticket takers simple stand by the driveway and collect the fee for those in the car.
#35 – Hyannis v. South Loup
The game started quickly. I had taken a bit more time to eat my sandwich, and was in the endzone when South Loup broke away to score coming right at me. Which got a decent photo. As I was getting it situated, a kickoff return happened the other direction. And I didn’t get a good photo of anything. So, combined it all into one tweet.
From my article:
In Western Nebraska, on Thursday, the Hyannis Longhorns hosted the South Loup Bobcats. The festivities started with a dedication of the new scoreboard, funded by Box Butte General Hospital in a ceremonial check. The scoreboard was very nice and Hyannis looked to light it up.
Unfortunately, it was South Loup, the #1 team in Class D-2, that would be providing the electricity.
Cache Gracey would go 47 yards on a TD catch from Trey Connell. Connell’s two point conversion would be picked up on the ground. In response, Cash Davis would return the ensuing kickoff for the Hyannis Longhorns. The kick attempt would be unsuccessful. Giving the visiting South Loup Bobcats an early, 8-6 lead.
Grady Fecht would add to the scoring on a 65 yard TD run. While Cache Gracey would run in the conversion. Ethan Furne would extend the lead with a 4 yard TD run. Though the conversion attempt would be a short run. Conner Paulsen would punch in a run from two yards while Gracey would add two points on a reception.
Trey Connell would then take himself on a 16 yard TD run late in the first quarter. The conversion pass would be incomplete. Giving the visiting South Loup Bobcats a 36-6 lead after twelve minutes of football.
In the second frame, Trey Connell would add to the scoring with a 13 yard run up the middle. While his pass to Harper Johnson would net two points and a 44-6 lead not even 15 minutes into the game.
Dylan Pandorf would add a 13 yard run while a pass to Paxton Bierman would go for two. South Loup would hold a formidable 52-6 lead with 5:38 left in the half.
In the waning moments of the first half, South Loup would fumble the ball while it was recovered by Hyannis in the endzone for a touchdown. Believed to be recovered by Rylee Anderson. The run by Connell was short. Thinly slicing the lead to 52-12 at the halfway point of game.
The second half was a brisk affair. As Conner Paulsen would go 47 yards on the ground to cap the scoring the visitors. A 58-12 lead with 3:54 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth, Beau Rice would scramble 49 yards down the right side for a touchdown. The kick would not be attempted on a bad snap. Giving Hyannis their final score of the night. After a few back-and-forth possessions, the clock would run out on the evening. South Loup winning, 58-18 in the sandhills of Nebraska.
I stayed the night just down the road from the field. In the morning, I stopped in at the little co-op gas station/convenience store and got something to drink. But passed on food, other than an ice cream snickers. Which was cheaper than a regular snickers.
I then headed further south down NE61 toward Ogallala. Which passes over the earthen Kingsley Dam north of town that holds up McConaughy Lake. I followed NE61 south of town to Grant, where it turns east, and then south to Imperial. Imperial is in Chase County, and I plan to see a game here sometime in the future. East of town it follows US6 until it turns south to go across the Enders Dam. It continues a nearly straight shot south to Benkelman. WHich is home to Dundy County-Stratton High School, and after briefly driving down US34 around a bypass of town, deposits you into Kansas. First time I was on the entirety of NE61 through the state.
In Kansas, the road turned into KS161 and ends in Bird City, which is home to Cheylin, a 6-man powerhouse in Cheyenne County, which is home to St. Francis to the west. It’s the furthest northwestern county in Kansas. After following US36 west, it’s KS27 south to Goodland.
I stopped briefly at the Walmart in town to pick up some supplies, and some food from the hot case while I was at it. It is a very small Walmart. But, didn’t take a lot of time. Because I had an afternoon game to get to.
While I had my Friday night pretty well decided, Weskan was hosting a game a mere 12 miles from Sharon Springs. At 2pm. It was just a matter of getting there quickly enough. I followed KS27 further south past I-70 to Sharon Springs. And then turned west along US40. I had been here before a couple times. There’s a diner at the corner of US40 and KS27. As well as a Travelodge and a Penny’s Diner But, I didn’t have time today.
Just 4.3 miles east of Colorado, sits the town of Weskan. Before the days of Interstates. US40 was a major thoroughfare heading west toward the Colorado front range. It continues west to Kit Carson, before turning northwest to Limon and follows the general path of I-70 to Denver. It also has a cutoff to Colorado Springs, which makes this a notable shortcut from I-70 in Oakley.
I got into town shortly after 1pm mountain time. The school sits on the south end of town, past a lattice of dirt streets in this heavily agricultural town. There’s not much for businesses along US40. I didn’t see if the diner was open. But the large grain elevator sits to the north of town across US40.
Again, the school had single page roster/programs for free for those attending. And the field sits north/south behind the south end of the school. They, like Hyannis, have a newer scoreboard. Though in the bright afternoon can be slightly difficult to see the LEDs. Also, I later learned, this was the first game with their new bleachers installed. Which was nice. They had flags situated along the upper railing, which gave a nice feel as they fluttered in the strong breeze on the open plains.
It was also homecoming, so before the game they were getting ready for a cavalcade of two vehicles to drive across the field taking the homecoming court with them. I got a gatorade from the small concessions trailer behind the north endzone next to the utility building that doubles as the lockers for the games.
#36 – Weskan v. Deer Trail
I had been told about Weskan but knew little about Deer Trail. I just knew they were a small town along I-70 in Eastern Colorado. A small town, but a large squad. Bigger than Weskan’s. But the game quickly showed that they were no match for Weskan.
From my article:
On Friday afternoon in Western Kansas, the Weskan Coyotes hosted the Deer Trail Eagles. Deer Trail are from Colorado and made the two hour drive east for a six-man football game. Weskan Field lacks lights, so the games are in the afternoon under the prairie sun.
It was also homecoming for the Coyotes. Under six-man rules, the game was played with the usual adjustments. Ten minute quarters. And 15 yards for a first down. Played on an 80×40 yard field. Also, unique to Kansas and Texas, there is the 45-rule. Anytime the scoring margin meets or exceeds 45 points after halftime, the game is over.
Weskan got things rolling quickly. With a 44 yard run by Trexton Allen. Though the kick was no good. Karsyn Wright would add a 5 yard run with a good two-point kick, to lead Deer Trail, 14-0 with 6:53 left in the first quarter.
Allen would add two more scores. A 26 yard catch and run. Followed by a 31 yard catch and run. Ivan Moruno would convert both two point kicks, to give the hosts a 30-0 lead with 1:22 left in the first quarter.
Karsyn Wright would pick up a fumble and return 30 yards for a score. Moruno converting another kick. Weskan would lead, 38-0 just 9:06 into the game.
In the second quarter, Judah Crow would get going on a 4 yard run. While Brennan Aldridge would catch the one-point pass attempt to extend the lead to the crucial 45-0 scoreline.
Wright would return to the endzone on a 75 yard touchdown run after a Deer Trail possession ended. While the kick would be no good.
Deer Trail would finally crack the scoreboard, with a 36 yard TD pass to Jayden Mingee. The two point kick was converted by Elvin Castro. Saving the Eagles from the sudden finish at halftime. Momentarily.
Judah Crow would score from 2 yards out while Moruno would tack on the two point kick. Giving Weskan a comfortable, and formidable, 59-8 lead with just 26 seconds left before the halftime break.
The Deer Trail offense would move quickly down the field. Setting up a final play with one second left from the five-yard line. Jayden Mingee would take a quick pass and run to the left side for the touchdown. But on the game-saving kick attempt, Austin Smith would rush into the backfield, and blocked the kick to solidify the 59-14 victory. Narrowly matching the 45-point margin rule.
After the game, it was a quick drive east, back to Sharon Springs. Being only 12 miles apart. There was a nice welcome sign for the town well west of Sharon Springs. But, with no real place to pull over and I had my camera put away, I didn’t stop to get the photo or try to nab it while passing by. I got into town by 4pm local. Which gave me two hours to kill before kickoff. I intended to be at the school by 5pm. I was going to eat at The Farmhouse restaurant at the corner of US40 and KS27. But, I wasn’t really hungry at the time. So, I sat in the air conditioning and just did some checking on my Saturday game.
And that’s when I realized I didn’t have a Saturday game.
There were options. The primary one I had considered was a long drive west to Las Animas for a 1pm game. And then to McClave for a 7pm game. The two towns were just 24 miles apart. However, that was a two hour drive west and south to Las Animas. And I’d have to be right back in Kansas. So, I had found a single game in Cheyenne Wells. Or so I thought.
Cheyenne Wells’s schedule was tough to narrow down. But, I had looked up Kit Carson, their opponent. And their schedule shows a Saturday 2pm game. And I didn’t think much of it. It’s only 35 miles from Sharon Springs. A 2pm game. A quick simple drive west and then back east. With the whole evening open.
And then I saw that there already was a final score. No, the game wasn’t played at Cheyenne Wells. Kit Carson had actually hosted the game at 2pm. I had seen Kit Carson host Cheraw before. And saw Cheyenne Wells at Eads. But, the schedule I was looking at was from 2022. And I had missed where it said 2022-2023 at the top. As Kit Carson hadn’t updated the school’s site since last season.
There was one other option. Genoa-Hugo was hosting Otis at 2pm. But, it was over 90 minutes from Sharon Springs. Doing all this, I passed the opportunity to eat at The Farmhouse. And instead, just went over to the stadium. Figuring I could probably get something there.
The stadium sits just south of US40 in the northwest corner of town. The school itself sits at the corner of US40 and KS27. Prominently positioned for those passing through town. The field is shrouded by trees, though. To the north and the west. There’s a practice field immediately behind the school with a running track. And the Wildcats Stadium is located further west. There’s ample parking between the trees and the home stands on the north side of the field. As well as perimeter parking around the east and south sides.
The field sits east/west, so the sun may be an issue with a 6pm MDT/7pm CDT start time. However, the treeline provides a nice break from the sun much earlier than most places.
I got a roster sheet from the ticket taker collecting money from the north entrance facing the Dollar General. And then checked out the small concrete and block stadium. And then to the restrooms and to get something to eat.
The concession stand operates as a cafeteria. You pass through asking for your food, and then pay at the small table setup south of the concession building.
Got a very good cheeseburger and a Gatorade. Spent $8.50 total. It was worth it.
After that, I went over to the field and started getting ready for the game.
Now, the high school is Wallace County High School. The scoreboard clearly shows Wallace County Wildcats. However, the game program and many other things show Sharon Springs Wildcats. I don’t know too much of the history, but my guess would be a consolidation or renaming had taken place. And the town and school still use the old name. Or, it’s a vestige of a bygone era when many school football teams just went by their towns name. Similar to Ellwood City in PA actually being Lincoln High School.
So, for twitter, I used Sharon Springs Wallace County to catch anyone searching for either label. As well as Kpreps.com who list the school as Sharon Springs-Wallace Co.
This was my first time seeing them. Though the St. Francis Indians I had seen before. In 2020, I had seen them play host to the Bucklin Aces on a Saturday afternoon. St. Francis is from Cheyenne County, the furthest northwestern county in the state.
#37 – Wallace County v. St. Francis
This was a one-sided game. But not for the lack of effort. St. Francis held firm on two fourth down attempts. But a 4th and 2 of their own ended in disaster when a fumble at the line-of-scrimmage was returned for a touchdown. The first touchdown. And put a dent in the Sainty Indians’ efforts to pull the upset.
After that, a nice drive to the redzone ended on a 4th down sack. And the Wildcats of Wallace County–or Sharon Springs–would pull away. Turning a closely contested game into a rout.
From my article:
On Friday night near the western fringe of Kansas, the St. Francis Indians traveled south to Sharon Springs to take on the host Wallace County Wildcats on a warm night on the prairie.
In 8-Man Division II, St. Francis came in winless on the field, while the Wildcats hailing from Sharon Springs came in with a 2-2 record. Winning two decidedly and losing two in close affairs. One by two points, another in overtime.
Early on, it was a defensive struggle. St. Francis recorded two fourth down stops early in the game. But a 4th and 2 attempt of their own ended in disaster. A fumble at the line of scrimmage was picked up by Tahryan Appelhans and returned about 30 yards for a score. A two point run failed to convert. And the Wildcats had a quick 6-0 lead.
But St. Francis kept grinding. A long drive would lead to a goal to go situation for the Sainty Indians, and they’d fail to convert following a sack on fourth and goal from the 14. The Wildcats would score on a 21 yard catch by Appelhans, giving the hosts a 12-0 lead with 2:28 left in the first half.
But they weren’t done just yet. After regaining possession, Tyler Korbe would take a 15 yard pass in for a touchdown. And Wallace County would tack on the two-point play. Giving them a comfortable, and imposing, 20-0 lead with 1:01 left in the first half.
St. Francis would hang tight, but couldn’t muster any points through the third frame. Neither did Wallace County score any. In the fourth, Kemper Benisch would go 5 yards for a score, to extend the lead, 26-0.
The snowball just started rolling. Tyler Korbe would get another score, on a 55 yard run with another incomplete pass on the conversion. But with 8:48 left in the game, the 45-point mercy rule started to loom in the distance.
Tyler Korbe would run right up to the line. Securing a 38-0 lead with a 6-yard touchdown run. With 5:24 left just a single score stood between an early finish and a full 48 minute game.
With the competitive portion of the game over, the final five-plus minutes wound off without a score. Giving St. Francis a minor victory of avoiding an early finish. But Wallace County still securing a comfortable and commanding, 38-0 win at home.
I had been bitten by so many mosquitos through the game that I was happy to be off the field. I stopped in at the convenience store at the corner and bought a premade roast beef sandwich and something to drink. It was a little pricy, but I had passed up a second burger at the game as the line was long at halftime and I didn’t want to miss any game action.
I made up for my gameday eats the next day with a late night Ribeye.
Overall, this is one part of the country that I’ve enjoyed seeing games the most. It’s just the lack of Thursday and Saturday games that make much of Kansas tough to flesh out.
Colorado has so many Saturday games that it seems improbable that just to the east, there’s hardly any. That Saturday game in St. Francis was such a shock when I attended it years ago.
Because most of the costs of this weekend were work related, the only specific costs for Week 6 are counted if they were strictly football related. Of which, there was $58. Entirely for food. I spent $26 at Walmart, $8 at Sharon Springs, and $14 at the gas station for the hoagie and something to drink. Yes, it was pricy. On Thursday, the only cost was the $10 meal at the stadium in Hyannis. Not counting, as well, the steak on Saturday when I finally had a chance to eat late at night since I devoted the day to work rather than football.
Total driving miles, though, was 793. To get to Hyannis, and then to Weskan and double-back to Sharon Springs. It was a very busy weekend. And I can’t really count just ‘football miles’ as it was just total miles, odometer starting to ending.
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
43 New Teams
15 New Stadiums
1,536 different teams
483 different stadiums
1,411 total games
I think I’ll head west and do some Colorado games. But not sure on the schedule. There’s not many for Thursday except the Denver area. And a few outliers.
For photos from this game, and others this weekend, click HERE.
For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/