Republic County football breaks losing streak and becomes state ranked
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Republic County football ended a 26-game losing streak towards the end of last season.
This year they’re off to a 2-0 start and battling stronger competition making the jump up from 1A to 2A.
Senior o-lineman and defensive end Kameron Ines said, “It’s a very surreal feeling. Like just the mentality we have going into games. Like we always wanted to win but just knowing that we have the ability to do it, it’s crazy.”
Republic County football has struggled to win a game in years, 26 losses to be exact. But now the Buffs are 4-1 in their last five games and they attribute that to experienced senior leadership.
Republic County High School football coach Faron Kraft said, “A lot of them have been starting since they were sophomores and a couple of them have been starting since they were freshmen. They’ve been working very very hard in the weight room.”
Having an all-state running back like Jared Baxa helps to win games; 35 carries for almost 500 yards in two games.
Senior running back Jared Baxa said, “Freshman year it was tough because you know, 0-9. Sophomore year: 0-9. But we’ve been putting in hard work ever since freshmen year up to now and it’s finally paying off.”
Entering his third year as head coach at Republic County High School, players say Faron Kraft is the one who turned this program around.
“The main thing that he changed was our ability to believe in ourselves, like we’d always hang our heads if we made a mistake. We’ve ultimately cut that all out,” said Ines.
“Having a coach that believes in us and this coach we have now, he supports us and he believes in our winning,” said Baxa.
“The big thing was to try to get as many kids out as possible, numbers was a big thing,” said Kraft. “Making sure the kids believe that we believe in them and that the community believes in them and that they are good enough to achieve all of the goals that they want to achieve.”
Players say coach Kraft has given them more confidence and altered their mindset about working hard and changing the perception of Republic County football.
“In all my years of coaching, it’s probably one of the hardest working groups I’ve had in the weight room and I think that has a lot to do with it. They’re very motivated,” said Kraft.
“We’re way more dedicated,” said Ines. “I say we just work a lot harder than we ever have and we work well together.”
“It feels really good coming out in front of the home crowd knowing that we can put out the work out there and end up winning a game,” said Baxa. “We’d always have full crowds because they always knew we could win just like we’re doing now.”
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