CIK Season Preview: Canton-Galva embraces target on their backs
"We're everybody's Super Bowl"
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - As is normally the case with championship teams, the following season you just want to look forward and not get caught up in the past.
With Canton-Galva, that’s a tough ask seeing how they won the state championship in 2019. Down 36-0, the Eagles scored 66 unanswered points for a 30 point win, the first title in school history.
“That group of seniors and that team, that’s something that they’ll never forget for the rest of their lives,” said head coach Shelby Hoppes. “It’s a pretty cool deal.”
The win capped an unbeaten season for the Eagles where they were ranked at or near the top of the CIK Rankings all season long. Even with that, they know this year will be different, with the target to knock them off even larger.
“We’re pretty confident, but yet our coach made us realize that we aren’t the team that we were last year, we’re gonna have to work 10 times harder,” said junior Tyson Struber. “We’re everybody’s Super Bowl and everybody’s gonna be looking at our schedule knowing when they’re gonna play us.”
The biggest change from last year’s team will be under center, losing quarterback Landon Everett to graduation. Taking his place will be sophomore Garrett Maltbie.
Alongside Maltbie will be two of the top players in all of 8-Man in Struber and Brayden Collins.
Collins enters his senior campaign coming off a year where he ran for more than 1,300 yards, scoring twice in the state championship game. At the Sharp Performance combine, he ran a 4,57 40 yard dash, earning an offer to play at Hutch.
“We might see a few things a little bit different but for the most part we’re gonna stick to what we’re good at,” said Collins. “We still got a lot of weapons across the field, so I think we’ll be good.”
Also returning is Struber, who Catch it Kansas picked as the number two wide receiver to watch entering the year. He posted a 1,000 yard season as a freshman and nearly hit 900 yards through the air despite missing four games in 2019.
Also a standout defensive back with 17 career interceptions, Struber picked up offers from both Kansas and Kansas State over the summer.
“It’s been special to go tell him, knock on his door and tell him hey you got an offer from KU, hey you got an offer from K-State,” said Hoppes.
“It’s been a dream and I’ve always had that thought in the back of my head that ‘oh am I gonna get offered, am I gonna noticed,’ and just to finally [receive offers] made me have a form of relief but yet made me realize I gotta work 10 times harder now that I have those,” added Struber.
The Eagles will lose half of their starters on each side of the ball, but with the above along with all-state linebacker Brandon Huff back, the Eagles figure to be competing for a second straight title in 2020. They open their defense September 4th against Goessel.
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