HESSTON — Just like last year, the Hesston Swathers enter the Class 3A football playoffs with a 6-3 record.
Now if the Swathers can only repeat their postseason run, which landed them in the 2016 state title game where they lost an instant classic to Rossville in overtime, 42-35.
The Swathers begin their 2017 playoff push on Tuesday when they host Hutchinson Trinity Catholic at 7 p.m.
First-year coach Tyson Bauerle believes last year’s magic carpet ride will serve the team well.
“I really think the run these guys had last year in the playoffs has been beneficial over the last couple of weeks,” Bauerle said. “We had an almost business-like mindset in districts. The upperclassmen know what needs to be done to be successful this time of year and we've gone out and taken care of business.”
The Swathers rocked Marion 45-24 last week to wrap up the district title. Their high-octane offense has been a constant this year behind the quarterback play of Cameron Cox, powerhouse running of Parker Roth and receiving of Reese Nebel. The defense has struggled mightily at times, but may be rounding into form.
Trinity is 6-3 on the season and provides some challenges both offensively and defensively.
“Hutch Trinity will run many of the same spread concepts we run,” Bauerle said. “They have an experienced quarterback who leads that offense very well. He is also very shifty in the backfield and can create a lot of extra opportunities with his quickness. They like to try to stretch the defense both horizontally and vertically. We'll need to be able to tackle well in space. They can run both a 3-4 look and a 4-3 look defensively. Over the last couple of years, they have had some very good and well-coached defensive linemen and linebackers.”
Trinity also has played Marion this year and lost 14-6 to the Warriors. The Celtics also lost to Ell-Saline (14-6) and Halstead (36-6). Hesston rolled past Halstead, 37-22.
The winner of Tuesday’s game most likely will play Conway Springs on Saturday. Conway Springs plays 1-8 Wichita Independent on Tuesday.