Countdown to Kickoff: Southeast of Saline Trojans

Southeast of Saline beat Cheney during a 3A state quarterfinal contest Friday, November 12
Southeast of Saline beat Cheney during a 3A state quarterfinal contest Friday, November 12(Selena Favela)
Published: Aug. 20, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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GYPSUM, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Southeast of Saline Trojans have been a mainstay in the playoffs under head coach Mitch Gebhardt, advancing in 10 of his 13 seasons leading the program.

The Trojans are coming off an 11-1 year that ended with a loss in the 3A semifinals to eventual champion Andale. They make the move to 2A for the 2022 season and are a favorite to be a representative in the state title game thanks to the group of returning seniors, led by seniors Luke and Jake Gebhardt, the twin sons of the head coach.

“It’s like any normal head coach, honestly,” said Luke, who threw for 31 touchdowns and ran for 11 more as a junior. “We don’t talk at home about football, just try to keep it at the practice field and game field. It’s pretty cool to have him as a coach and a dad.”

“You know, it’s really pretty neat. We’ve really tried to separate what we do on the football field and at home,” Mitch Gebhardt said. “Sure, we talk about football and things like that when it’s not football time, but we really try to separate that and it’s been good. I feel like all of us enjoy it.”

A third son is also on the team this year as Grady Gebhardt joins the team for his freshman year.

Luke proved to be one of the state’s best quarterbacks in 2021, completing better than 67% of his passes for nearly 2,400 yards with an additional 569 yards rushing. Jake was his top target, catching 38 passes for 596 yards and six TDs.

Luke was also an all-state defensive back with 33 tackles, an interceptions and a fumble recovery. Jake was all-league on both sides of the ball, as well.

The Trojans welcome back seven offensive starters, including all-league receiver and defensive back Michael Murray and slot back and linebacker Landon Allen. But they must replace four offensive linemen.

“Hopefully we just bring some scrappiness and toughness to the team,” Murray said. “That’s what we did last year, just bring that all back. That’s all that matters in the game.

Five starters are back on defense as the team tries to add to the state championship banner hanging from 2005.