Ending a season without making the playoffs is never easy on a team.
It certainly isn’t when a team finishes with its best win percentage in at least 10 years.
Such was the fate of the Satanta Indians in 2017.
According to records on KPreps.com, they went 7-2 last season, winning 77.7 percent of their games. It a higher win-percentage to finish a season than any time as far back as 2008, including 2014, when the team won 70 percent of its games finishing 7-3, the second best season win-wise in that span.
The team missed out on the playoffs despite beating South Gray 46-36 in week nine last season. Ultimately the playoff spot they could have taken went to Ness City, which beat Satanta 80-50 the week before.
Multiple issues played a part as well. Eligibility of some players was one of them. Some calls against Ness City went against them as well, head coach Justin Helton said, and some of those changed the tide of the momentum in that game significantly, specifically after two key players were thrown out, one for a chip-block which referees later apologized for because the penalty should not have been called.
Still, the Indians finished strong by beating a South Gray team that also finished 7-2 and missed the state playoffs for the same reason as Satanta, point-differential tiebreaker, according to Kpreps.com.
“They were really good last year,” Helton said. “That game should have decided who went to the playoffs for us and them. They kind of knew it too, and we kind of knew it, but we had to rise up and finish strong and the kids did a great job of doing that.”
The 2017 Indians team had nine seniors, leaving them with some definite holes to fill.
“We’ve got some key players (returning) but man my offensive line that’s been there for two and a half, three years are mostly gone,” Helton said.
Defensively, the team will probably need some work, Helton said.
“I had five seniors that spent a lot of time on that defense rotating in and out that really improved our record last year,” Helton said.
The offensive and defensive lines were the key spots affected by graduation, Helton said. The defensive secondary is largely unchanged.
“It was my defensive ends that I lost,” Helton said. “I had four guys that shared time there that all had pretty much the same stats except for the one kid that had 17 sacks. That’s gonna be hard to replace, is the pressure on the quarterback.”
The Indians start the 2018 season on the road against Spearville at 7 p.m. Aug. 31. A week later, they open their home play with a game against South Gray at 7 p.m. Sept. 7.