August 3, 2010
Yes, Buhler lost to Andale in 2009 again, but consider the accomplishments: Buhler reached double digits in the win column for the first time in school history (11); they reached sub-state for only the second time (1990, 2009); though they ended the decade with a significant losing record (35-55), they have reeled off four consecutive winning seasons under coach Steve Warner.
Though their district is weakened in the absence of Andale, Buhler will be tested early, starting the season against Rose Hill and Wellington. Jordan Oden, Jake Reffner, Roman Davidson, Brad Wimer and their 6,247 combined yards of offense graduated, adding to the Crusaders’ challenge in 2010. Tanner Fisher, who stepped in at running back for the injured Jordan Oden (whose quest for 3,000 yards ended at sectionals against Rose Hill due to injury at sub-state against Topeka Hayden), averaged 7.7 yards per carry on 45 rushing attempts in 2009.
Haven and Nickerson have combined for eight one-win or winless seasons in the past five. Pratt, thrilled that their schedule is no longer a tour of western Kansas, has an almost entirely new schedule, retaining only Kingman from 2009. A member of the new Central Kansas League while adding Mulvane and Rose Hill to their slate, they’re certainly favored in district play to earn one of the playoff spots alongside Buhler, against whom they earned their last playoff win (2005). –Tom Witherspoon
Advancing: Buhler, Pratt