Vikes take on fresh Buhler

Winfield High School senior defensive back Audric Parker (25) puts a halt to an effort by Labette County running back Trent Brock late in the first quarter last Friday at Richard L. Jantz Stadium. Also converging on the play are WHS defensive linemen, senior Gabe Heger (10) and sophomore Kenneson Vaughn (74).

Winfield High School’s football coaching staff was relegated to viewing video from Buhler’s Week 1 loss to Goddard in preparation for tonight’s road game against the Crusaders.

That’s all the footage available.

Buhler’s game last weekend against Andover Central was canceled when athletes at Andover Central allegedly tested positive for COVID-19.

Buhler’s Week 1 setback, a 35-20 loss, was a battle of state powers between Class 5A and 4A schools.

“Buhler is Buhler,” WHS head coach Linn Hibbs said. “Goddard has a really good quarterback — they popped on film. Even though (Buhler) lost the game, Goddard has been playing at a high level the last couple of years.”

Goddard quarterback Kyle Semrad threw for 344 yards and five touchdowns against the Crusaders (0-1).

Bradley Neill returns at quarterback for Buhler, along with returning tailback Sam Elliot, who scored on a 23-yard touchdown run in Week 1.

“Coach (Steve) Warner does a fantastic job,” Hibbs said. “They’re old fashioned like here — they do what they want to do. It’s a challenge for us.”

The Vikings (1-1) are coming off a 14-12 home victory against Labette County in which the defense bent, but didn’t break.

Winfield stopped both 2-point attempts after Labette County scored.

“You look at total plays, we were around 40 and they were around 70,” Hibbs said. “I hate the phrase, ‘Bend but don’t break.’ We got soft on third and fourth down, especially in the red zone.”

The Cardinals piled up 199 rushing yards and outgained Winfield 286-154 in total yards.

“The thing we were most proud of is we were able to stop them defensively late in the game, and we ran the clock well down the stretch with the running game,” Hibbs said.

“They went for 2 both times, and we stopped them both times. To play on our feet and be ready and defend those plays, that’s a credit to our kids.”

The Vikings will be without backup linebacker and special teams junior Gavin Turner due to a shoulder injury.

“We made a lot of progress last week from Week 1 to Week 2. That’s our objective,” Hibbs said. “Really proud that our kids bounced back after Week 1. Our kids improved a lot. We’ve had a really good practice this week.”

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