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Haven’s playoff run is the furthest in school history

Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 8:06 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - It’s been forty-four years for some, their entire lives since the Haven Wildcats won a playoff football game. Friday they’ll be competing in the 2A quarter finals versus Beloit.

Senior defensive and offensive lineman Hunter Barlow said, “Like everyone knows, we’ve been the bottom of the league. Everyone thinks we’re still bad so there’s not even pressure to come and show up to the games but we just bring it and that’s when we do good.”

Haven co-head coach Drew Thalmann said, “Since 76, yeah that we’ve won a playoff game. We have not ever made it this far in the post season so this is uncharted territory for us here.”

This is coach Drew Thalmann’s second year sharing the head coach position with Thomas Cooprider, both serving as offensive and defensive coordinators before.

Coach Cooprider said, “We had such good relationships with the guys as assistants and we felt like we could roll into that head coaching role and it would work pretty well for us.”

“The coaching and the players, we’re all starting to get a feel for everything now,” said senior quarterback, Darby Roper.

2012 was the last time the wildcats reached the playoffs but fell in the first round. Now players say there’s more excitement than pressure to keep winning.

“Oh it’s been awesome. Everyone knows you now and it’s just really cool,” said Rider. “We just love it. Because we haven’t ever been here before, so we just kind of take that and play for people like that when they community’s behind your back it just helps you.”

Barlow said, “There’s no pressure, we just show up and play our hardest and that’s probably why we win because we’ve got a lot of talent and we just play harder than the other team.”

Cooprider said, “Drew and I get messages all the time. we’re getting text messages, emails, Facebook messages all the time. ‘Congratulations, makes us proud to be from Haven. Proud of you guys,’ all those sorts of things. So it’s a big deal for the community.”

“It’s too bad that everybody can’t be at the games and support the guys the way that it normally would be but we know everybody’s there watching online. It’s still special,” said Thalmann.

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