Pratt is 4-0 this season, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A-II and has outscored opponents 204-62, but coach Jamie Cruce isn’t letting his team take anything for granted yet.
Last season the Greenbacks also started fast, compiling a 4-1 record before losing their last four games — three by a touchdown or less — to finish with a losing record.
Pratt has a pair of undefeated teams coming up next on its schedule, as the Greenbacks will host Hoisington (4-0, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A) this Friday and then host Halstead next Friday.
“You want the kids to get used to that big-game feel, where every game you play is a big one and everyone has you circled on their schedule,” Cruce said. “We’ve had early-season success before and we’ve lost some really close, tough games in the second half. So we’re trying to stay humble.”
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Cruce introduced the flexbone offense three years ago and Pratt has had success with it since. This year’s version is the most potent yet with Travis Theis (617 rushing yards, seven touchdowns) serving as the workhorse in the fullback position, Hunter Kaufman (565 total yards, 12 touchdowns) serving as the big-play threat, and quarterback Landen Studer making the decisions.
Senior tackles Traik Peltier and Bryce Stegman, along with junior center Justin Lamatsch, have controlled the point of attack for Pratt this season, according to Cruce.
“A win would give us a lot more confidence, especially heading into those big games,” Cruce said. “I think our kids have been excited about this game since we beat Nickerson, but at the same time our coaching staff has done a good job keeping these kids level-headed. We’re staying focused on that big picture of winning our district and making the playoffs.”