The Hoxie Indians beat the Spearville Royal Lancers 44-20 Friday night, ending the Lancers’ season.
The Lancers finished the year 11-1 overall.
Hoxie moves on to the State championship game next week in Newton, Kansas, where they’ll face 11-1 St. Paul High School which also won Friday night.
Indians head coach Lance Baar said it was a big win for his team against a tough Spearville team.
“It’s huge,” Baar said. “We knew it was gonna be a tough task and these guys just got it done. We played disciplined defense and just pounded the ball.”
Entering the game, Spearville head coach Matt Fowler had pointed out how much bigger the Indians were, and Baar said that was big for the Indians.
“We watched film (of Spearville) against Central Plains, another big team and saw how Spearville really flew around. (They were) very aggressive. I mean undersized, but very very aggressive. I told our guys ‘It’s not going to be easy. We may have ‘em in size but we’re gonna have to bring it every single play and they did, they did a great job.”
Fowler praised Hoxie for playing a “tremendous game,” one that was physical and played with a lot of heart.
He also said the Indians’ size definitely wore on the team. The team also lost senior Waylon Strecker to an injury early in the game, something Fowler said hurt the Royal Lancers on both sides of the ball.
The Lancers also had a number of dropped passes in the game, including one of their early drives in the game that ended with a turnover-on-downs after consecutive drops on third and fourth downs.
“You’ll only get so many opportunities in a game like this and you’ve gotta make the most of ‘em,” Fowler said. “Those times when you fail to make a big play, they definitely hurt ya. You’ve gotta be able to come away with more of those.”
It was an emotional night for the Royal Lancers, in part because it was the final game for a senior class which had done well for Spearville football. Before Friday night, the group of Royal Lancers playing as seniors had never lost a game on their home field.
“I’m just extremely proud of these young men and the effort that they gave each and every day, the senior especially,” Fowler said.
Last year, the team lost 14 seniors, which caused some to question how the team would do this year Fowler said.
“We answered the bell every time,” Fowler said. “I don’t know that I could say I’ve ever been any more proud of a football team than I have been of this one. They just continually answered the bell and they fought to the final whistle every single game they ever played in.”
The legacy those seniors leave, Fowler said, goes beyond the walls of the football stadium.
“Their legacy and what they leave behind, not just winning football games a lot but the impact they’ve had on this community and school will be felt for a long long time,” Fowler said.