Central Plains defense shines against Victoria

By  | 

CLAFLIN, Kan. Central Plains and Victoria are getting used to the 40-point marker. After a 48-22 season-opener in 2016, the Knights handed Central Plains a 34-8 loss in last year’s first game. Friday night, in a battle of two top-three 8-Man, Div. I teams, the Oilers got their revenge with a 32-8 win against Victoria.

“The whole game we brought it a lot more than we did last week,” said Oiler senior Alex Hickel. “We had our swagger back. It felt pretty good to hold them to eight points. They’re a good football team so that’s pretty hard to do.”

Central Plains scored the only two touchdowns in a cool and wet first half. Senior Myles Menges found a wide-open Jerred Bieberle for a 12-yard strike late in the first quarter. Late in the half, Menges used a 34-yard run to set up his own four-yard touchdown run. The Oilers led 12-0 at the break.

Both teams turned the ball over on downs to open the second half. On the third drive of the third quarter, Menges found Lawson Oeser over the top for a 35-yard touchdown pass.

The Knights answered right back with their only touchdown of the night, a pass play from senior Cooper Windholz to senior Caden Oberle. Beyond that, Victoria often faced third-and-long situations.

“We’re really happy with our defense,” said Central Plains coach Chris Steiner. “We got bit on a roll coverage thing. They gave us a run-read on that side and it’s not that kid’s fault. The corner comes up hard because he sees run and we didn’t roll our coverage over the top of it. That’s something we worked on all week and we’ll go back to the board on that.

“We would have liked to get after the quarterback a little more. Our pass rush wasn’t quite as good as I thought it was going to be, but we’re real happy keeping them to eight points because they’re a solid team. I thought our defense has played well the last two weeks.”

Oiler senior Alex Hickel played just one side of the ball in the first half. In his return to the backfield, he broke runs of 31 and 37 yards for a pair of insurance touchdowns in the second half.

“We were trying to limit Hickel a little tonight,” Steiner said. “He got a little banged up last week and this week in practice. It was nice to bring him in late after Lawson had taken some tough yards. We wish we had the stable we had last year with five running backs back there, but we’re happy having three guys we can rotate pretty solidly.”

Central Plains moves to 2-0 with a pair of solid wins in a tough Central Prairie League. Victoria, after a big win against ranked Otis-Bison (Div. II), falls to 1-1 overall.