T-shirts reading “Whatever it takes” were worn by Hoehne fans throughout football-crazed campus 10 miles east of Trinidad as fans packed Jasper Butero Stadium for the 1-A 8-Man quarterfinals against Sedgwick County last Saturday afternoon. Some fans even went as far as to wear face and hair paint matching the black and red uniforms worn by their beloved Farmers. The saying on the shirts, along with a unified dream of making it back to the state championship for the first time since 2012 had been the Farmers’ motivation all season long.
For Hoehne, the dream will have to wait until next year as the No. 1 team in the land crushed any ambitions of the Farmers claiming their third state title in six years with a very hard fought 52-21 victory over the Southern Conference champs. The 11-0 Cougars will now move on to face No. 4 ranked Sargent Farmers (10-1) next Saturday in the state semi finals.
Even while trailing for most of the contest, the Farmers had their chances, keeping the game to within one possession all the way through the third period before big offensive plays and a stifling Sedgwick County defense thwarted any Hoehne comeback; thus eliminating the Farmers in the second round of the playoffs for the second straight season.
“We played this game the same as always,” Farmers head coach Gabe Dasko stated. “We played tough. They just brought it more than we did. They have athletes at five positions and when you have that much firepower, it’s hard to contain.”
The Cougars struck first blood on their very first offensive play from scrimmage early in the first quarter when quarterback Trey Walter took an option keeper up the middle untouched for 88-yards and a 6-0 lead. The Farmers remained un phased, however and went right back to their game plan of methodical drives and clock management.
The Farmers’ game plan worked to perfection as they drove down the field on their next possession and took the lead capping a 7:00, 70-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass from senior Tyson Montoya to sophomore Kyle Kreutzer. The two teams exchanged one more score a piece in the quarter before heading into halftime with a 22-15 Sedgwick County lead.
The one possession lead at halftime was the closest the Cougars had seen all season long and the Farmers had the Cougars on the ropes. They couldn’t keep the momentum going in the second half as they were outscored 30-6. The lone Hoehne touchdown came on a one-yard run from Hunter Robins with 3:30 left in the third quarter that made the score 30-21. It was Robins’ second score on the afternoon.
Despite the lack of point production, the Farmers offense was pretty productive as they ended the day with 369 yards of total offense that included 255 on the ground from the three-headed monster of Jacob Yates, Jared Smith and Hunter Robins. Tyson Montoya also added 114 yards and one score through the air. The defense, however, gave up over 400 yards of offense and was torched on big scoring plays of 88, 71, 49 and 52 yards.
In an interview with ColoradoPreps.com, Sedgwick County head coach Chris Michel said the game was one of the toughest more physical games his team had played all year.
“Hoehne did a great job at running the ball on us. We had to allow our defense to make some big stops in the game and they did the job. The Farmers do a good job at running the ball. They were getting three and four yards at a time on us and we finally stepped up and got some big stops late in the game. You get this deep in the playoffs and it’s good to get tested by a great team like Hoehne and still come out on top,” Michel said.
“We drove the ball pretty well on offense and kept to the game plan pretty good, they were just so explosive on offense,” said Dasko. “They scored off two big passes and one big run in the first half because we didn’t play our positions defensively. I told them at halftime we couldn’t afford to miss our assignments on defense, but Sedgwick County is really disciplined and they made us pay. You can’t afford to sit there and match them point for point.”
The Farmers will finish the season an overall record of 8-3 for the second consecutive year. They claimed the Southern Conference for the fifth time in six years with an undefeated league record. They will lose four seniors due to graduation but will return a very experienced group of sophomores and juniors to help build around for the future.
The seniors will be sadly missed however, as they represented the last of a legacy that won two state titles in three years. The 30-7 record they accumulated in their four-year career will have them go down as one of the winningest classes in Farmer history.
For the Farmers’ fearless leader, saying goodbye to the class he started his career with was a bittersweet thing, but said that the kids next year were going to have some big shoes to fill. “It was an honor to be able to coach them, and I thank them for all the memories. They are great kids and they’re going to leave some awful big shoes to fill,” he said.