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Harvey County Football Preview

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By Brad Hallier

Ad Astra Radio will preview area high school football teams, based on county, before the season opener Sept. 1. Here is the preview for Harvey County.

Previous previews:

Stafford County

Burrton Chargers

Coach: Terry Bruton, first season

Classification: Six player

District: 2

2022: 6-4

Postseason: Beat Southern Coffey County 73-24; lost to Wetmore 63-7

Best postseason finish: Semifinals, 1975, 1989, 1999, 2002, 2003

Key game: Oct. 20 vs. Altoona-Midway. This was a good game last year, with Burrton winning and getting a home playoff game, while Altoona-Midway had to go on the road, where the Jets lost a close one. This year’s game could have similar implications.

Top returning players: Noble Phillips, jr., RB; Jude Barnes, sr., WR; Levi Durner, sr.; Leyton Graves, jr. 

Outlook: Burrton was a wonderful surprise last season, winning six games, and scoring at least 73 points five times. They have a decent nucleus back too, but a late coaching change will make things interesting. Burrton has some tough teams in its district, including state champion Cunningham, as well as Natoma, but the rest of the district appears to be wide open again. If the Chargers can get some solid play in the trenches and adjust quickly to a new coach, there’s a good chance at another successful season.

Halstead Dragons

Coach: Derek Racette, second season (3-6)

Classification: 2A

District: 5

2022: 3-6

Postseason: Lost to Chaparral 35-14.

Best postseason finish: Semifinals, 1972, 1979, 1980, 2014, 2015

Key game: Sept. 30 at Hillsboro. A tough start to the district waits for Halstead with first Southeast of Saline and then Hillsboro. This one might better gauge how far Halstead has come and/or has to go. A Halstead win could put the Dragons in position for a home playoff game.

Top returning players: Braxton Creed, jr., Ath./DB; Tucker Divine, sr., Ath.; Connor Herman, jr., C/DL; Gage Meyer, jr., OG/LB/DE; Owen Farmer, sr., RB/DB; Kurt Faudell, jr., OG; Joey Millspaugh, jr., RB/DB; Aden Armstrong, sr., OT/DL; Kohen Corona, jr., WR; Brayden Logan, sr., LB; Keegan Kraus, jr., LB; Brady Hill, sr., DE/LB; Zantana Chavarin, sr., DT

Outlook: Derek Racette is setting a solid foundation. A young Halstead team took some lumps last year, but the Dragons return much, including eight all-conference players, six on defense. Chavarian was a beast last season, gathering 41 solo tackles out of 67 total, while Logan averaged nearly one tackle for loss a game. Millspaugh was a ball hawk, with three interceptions and forcing two fumbles. Racette talks with excitement about his second season, and understandably so. The Dragons have much back and have added some underclassmen depth. Can they take the next step and get a winning record and a home playoff game? That’s the next step.

Hesston Swathers

Coach: Tyson Bauerle, seventh season (35-24)

Classification: 3A

District: 6

2022: 6-4

Postseason: Beat Marysville 34-14; lost to Rock Creek 21-11

Best postseason finish: State champions, 1992

Top returning players: Aedan O’Halloran, sr., OG/DT; Josh Koehn, sr., C; Ethan Coutre, so., OG; Beau Warden, sr., TE/DL/P; Karter Gonzalez, jr., FB/LB; Jackson Fry, sr., WR/DB/KR; Blake Hansen, jr., DB.

Key game: Oct. 20 at Wichita Collegiate. One of the best teams in 3A last season, Collegiate edged Hesston, the key district game which won Collegiate the district title. This one should have a similar outcome. Winning this district also likely puts the winner opposite of Andale in the 3A West bracket.

Outlook: Hesston rebounded after a tough 4-5 season in 2021, winning a playoff game and battling a great Rock Creek team in the second round. While the Swathers return 11 starters, it’s still a fairly young team, as the senior class has just seven. But that doesn’t mean a step back for Hesston. This team is ready to take the next step, anchored by a strong and athletic offensive line, led by O’Halloran. The offensive backfield is a major question mark, but quarterback Reed Friesen could turn heads as a dual threat. If Hesston can develop a bit of depth, more wins – regular season and postseason – isn’t out of question.

Sedgwick Cardinals

Coach: Jeff Werner, 17th season (123-44)

Classification: 1A

District: 6

2021: 5-5

Postseason results: Beat Valley Heights 49-22; lost to Smith Center 28-0

Best postseason finish: Semifinals, 2021

Top returning players: Jeff Nold, sr., WR/LB; Sterling Lies, sr., WR/DB; Koen Werner, sr., OL/LB; Jackson Scarlett, sr., WR/DB; Corey Crumrine, sr., QB/DB; Cory Culp, jr., OL/DE; Dallas Lagree, jr., WR/DB; Xavier Hansen, sr., OL/DL; Cole McGinn, so., OL/DE; Noah Little, so., WR/DB; Austin Thieme, jr., OL/DE

Key game: Oct. 20 at Marion. The district came down to this game last year and could again this year. 

Outlook: Sedgwick had an odd season. 0-4 in non-district play, 4-0 in district play. The Cardinals then won a playoff game before seeing the season end against Smith Center. Sedgwick should be able to fling the ball well with Crumrine and all four starting WRs back, plus three starters on the line. A big test for Sedgwick will be nondistrict play, with the schedule brutal, including games vs. Inman, Trinity Catholic and Sterling. Even a split of the nondistrict games will be impressive. 

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