Countdown to Kickoff: Buhler
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Buhler Crusaders have been a force to be reckoned with in class 4A for what feels like forever. For nearly the last two decades under head coach Steve Warner, the Crusaders have continually found themselves in or near the state tournament and almost always posting winning records. In fact, they’ve only posted one .500 or worse record since 2005.
Buhler lost one of its best classes in recent history with the class of 2022 graduating. Players such as RB Sam Elliot, QB Bradley Neill and DE Bo Van Bruggen will not be a part of this year’s team, but they are far from down for the count. Players and coaches both believe this team can continue the winning ways, even with a new look.
“We’ve been successful, been to the state championship, a runner-up and had several 10 win seasons. We want to continue that and that’s kind of the norm and the kids know it,” said head coach Steve Warren. “They work hard in the summer and work hard in practice. They know what it takes to win and that’s what they want.”
“It’s a standard alright. This year we’re hoping to go one further and get to state,” said Gavin Patton, senior RB. “Last year’s senior class was really amazing. It was a good class, lots of talented athletes. We’re trying to live up to that too and be great athletes as well.”
This year’s team brings back some postseason honorees, a junior quarterback (the younger brother of last season’s quarterback) in Jeffrey Neill and some seniors that will likely lay a big role on both sides of the ball in Matthew Eddy and Gavin Patton.
The Crusaders two losses last season were both courtesy of the Andover Central Jaguars (week two and sub-state championship). This year the two will face off even earlier, opening their season with the matchup. After having their season ended by the Jaguars last year, this team said they’re hungry for revenge right out the gate.
“Oh yeah, I’ve been looking forward to it since the day we lost,” said Matthew Eddy senior WR/LB. “Been working for it.”
“When you lose to them the last game of the year, you definitely think about it the entire off-season,” said Warner. “They’re on our mind. They’ve got a great program and a great coach and a great staff. We respect the heck out of them, but we want to rise to the top and be the best.”
The game between our #7 ranked Jaguars and #8 Crusaders will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday night at Buhler.
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