Red Raiders finish 2nd
Easton The Lansing Red Raiders opened and closed their season with losses to Horton, but the Parks and Recreation third- and fourth-grade football team was perfect during the two months sandwiched in between.
The Red Raiders played six games during that two-month span, and all were victories.
Coach Sean Sachen said his team made lots of progress during that time, and he said his players have plenty to be proud of - including its eventual runner-up finish in the Northeast Kansas Athletic Association Super Bowl Saturday night at Pleasant Ridge High School that Horton won, 8-0.
"We could see throughout the season that we were getting a lot better," he said. "Every game we got a lot better. We were better at tackling. We were better at blocking.
"We didn't get to see (Horton) since the first week, and obviously they've gotten a lot better too."
Horton beat Lansing in the season-opener, 12-6, on Sept. 8. In the six games that followed, opponents reached the endzone just twice.
"(Assistant coach) Mike Williams does a really good job with our kids on the defensive side," Sachen said. "We do a lot of drills, form tackling, fundamental stuff and pursuit drills. We did the fundamental stuff, and these kids really picked it up."
The Red Raiders rolled through their first two playoff games and earned a rematch with Horton in the Super Bowl.
Both teams' defenses were stellar during the first half. Horton mustered just 10 yards of offense and one first down before the break. Meanwhile, Lansing had two first downs and 50 yards of offense - most of it coming on a 48-yard reverse by Will Gauger-Kersten.
Horton only had one extensive drive all game, but it encompassed nearly 13 minutes overlapping the third and fourth quarters. The slow and steady 70-yard march was interrupted with a 43-yard pass play that set up a one-yard run for a touchdown.
Holton took its 8-0 lead with 3:58 left, and Lansing was unable to respond with a scoring drive of its own.
The Red Raiders finish their season with a 6-2 record and an awfully proud coach.
"They played their hearts out every single game," Sachen said. "To lose to the same team twice, and by a touchdown each game, that's pretty good."
Members of the second-place Red Raiders are Drew Sachen, Adin Hite, Josh Forest, Dalton Spears, Joseph Bowman, Hunter Couch, Joey Haller, Will Gauger-Kersten, Phillip Pavek, Tanner Williams, Quinton McQuillan, Garrett Rooker, William Wilk, Sam Twitchel, Brian Orkwis, Dawson Schroeder, Avery Barlett, Tyler Yea and Reece Fritz.