High School Sports

Rockets face tough stretch

Last week, Rose Hill football coach Greg Slade did not see any player without pads.

Which means everyone was healthy.

"We had nobody over on the sideline," he said. "Not freshmen through seniors.

"That's nice."

Especially as Rose Hill heads into the toughest stretch of the season. The Rockets (4-0) play host to Andale (4-0) tonight.

They then play Wellington (2-2), Wichita Trinity (3-1), Andover Central (1-3) and Mulvane (3-1). In the same stretch in 2008, Rose Hill only beat Trinity.

"If we come out of it, and we're in the playoffs, we should be prepared," Slade said. "With a run of teams like this, it's staying healthy that's one of the keys. If we can stay healthy, I think we're going to be all right."

Rose Hill has handled opponents, winning by a combined score of 177-14 with three shutouts.

Andale's the toughest test yet, though. Ranked first in Class 4A, the Indians have won by a combined score of 154-37 with two shutouts, including wins over Winfield and Wellington.

"We are definitely looking forward to it," Slade said of playing Andale. "Anytime you have a chance to play the best, or one of the best teams in the state year in and year out, it gives you an opportunity to see what level you're at."

Andale had its first test last week when it beat Wellington 21-0.

"Anytime you play Wellington, you come away with a lot," Andale coach Gary O'Hair said. "There's so many little things that you find out you're doing wrong.... Looking at some of the mistakes we made against Wellington, you want it to improve against Rose Hill."

Close victories _ South has already equaled its number of wins (two) from last season. The Titans have done so thanks to a change in the mentality of the players, South coach Cory Brack said.

South won its second game last week, defeating East 13-7. On Sept. 11, the Titans claimed their first win by beating Southeast 16-13.

"They are believing in themselves, and more importantly in their teammates," Brack said. "Those two games are big for us, because in the past they would've given up if things aren't going their way in a game."

South plays host to Hays today and faces Heights before starting district play.

Believe or walk — There's a perception that Hutchinson can't be beat. And rightfully so.

The Salthawks have won five straight football titles, the first four in Class 6A and last season in Class 5A. This season they're 4-0, ranked No. 1 overall and have beaten teams by a combined 200-47.

Salina Central coach Mike Hall, whose team plays at Hutch tonight, knows all about it. His team does, too.

"I told them on Sunday, 'If you don't think we can beat them... walk out of the room,' " Hall said.

" (The Salthawks) are at the point in their program that they pride themselves on beating a team up and the other team laying down. Our kids aren't going to lay down. We'll fight to the end and try to put ourselves into a position to win."

Hutchinson's running game is its strong point — Deveon Dinwiddie has 621 rushing yards, Josh Smith 573, averaging 13.2 and 8.7 yards per carry.