Wellington’s 3-0 start has come thanks to some big plays.
“We’ve gotten our fair share of breaks, and we’ve made some big breaks that we didn’t do a very good job of last year,” said Wellington second-year coach Tyler Ryan, whose team was 2-7 in 2012.
“We’ve been able to get by on that. We’re excited about a 3-0 start, and we can feel a sense of confidence.”
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
One of the biggest plays came on Sept. 20, when Wellington quarterback/defensive back Trevor Nance intercepted an Augusta pass and ran it back 103 yards for a the touchdown.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a 103-yard pick-six in my years of coaching,” Ryan said. “Against Goddard (on Sept. 6) we got some balls that our receiver, Colin Reichenberger, made great plays on and they ended up being big plays for us.”
Wellington plays host to Collegiate (1-2) on Friday and will have to have more than big plays to beat the Spartans, whose two losses are to Andale and Buhler, both ranked in Class 4A.
“We have to do a better job of tackling in space,” Ryan said. “We struggled against Augusta, and they scrambled around and made some plays. We have to make those tackles, especially against Collegiate, which will go five-wide on you almost half the game.”
Hesston senior Ryan Schadler had 1,332 rushing yards as a junior, yet Swathers coach Clint Rider said he’s even better now.
“His vision has gotten a lot better,” said Rider, whose team is 3-0. “He had good vision last year, but his ability to set up his blockers has improved a little bit. He’s a little more patient wih the blocks to let the running lanes open up.”
Schadler has 636 rushing yards with a 17.2 yards per carry average.
The trust that the offensive line will make its their blocks is crucial for a running back.
“Especially for young runners, you see that they are too impatient and don’t allow blockers to get in the correct places,” Rider said. “It’s allowing the play to develop, letting the blockers get the angles to set those up.
“ Ryan has done a good job of showing that trust in his teammates. His offensive line has done an outstanding job this year.”
Hesston, which returned offensive line starters Devon Wengert, Christian Graber and Chase Brown, has had such success in its running game the past two weeks that the Swathers haven’t had many opportunities to throw the ball.
Schadler, (5-10, 175 pounds) ran for 322 yards in a win over Haven on Sept. 20, rushing for five touchdowns and catching another.
“He’s a little stronger than he was last year, too,” Rider said. “ His hang clean has gone up quite a bit. He’s hang cleaning (lifting) about 330 pounds and his squat is over 425. He’s worked extremely hard, and a little bit of that power has let him extend some runs.”
SOUTH'S AWAY GAME -- AT HOME
East will play host to South on Friday, but the game will be at Carpenter Stadium — which is at South.
This is what can happen when there are only three public high schools — Heights, Northwest and South — with football stadiums.
While each team has at least four home games, East has five this season and its “home” stadium is South.
So it’s hosting South. South will also be a visitor at home against Southeast in two weeks, at South.