SEDAN — Since making the move to eight-man football about a decade ago, the Sedan Blue Devils had chalked up a lot of wins. Yet, during that stretch, they had been unable to push their way into the postseason.

That all changed a year ago when SHS earned its first playoff berth since 2009. The Blue Devils were the Eight Man I-District 1 champions, earning a home playoff game. Although their season came to an end with a first-round loss to Argonia/Attica, they had plenty of positives come out of their 7-2 campaign.

“I was extremely happy with the way our season went,” said Mick Holt, who enters his 10th season as Sedan head coach. “Going in, I knew we had the talent to win our district but was unsure of how the young men would respond when faced with adversity. They showed that they were fighters and didn’t quit. Four times they had to come from behind to win. I was very proud of how they kept competing.”

Despite losing some key figures from last year’s district champion squad, the Blue Devils have reason to believe they will be one of the top teams in the South Central Border League … and potentially earn a second straight trip to the postseason.

Sedan has a total of 27 players on this year’s squad, including 10 returning starters. The Blue Devils are led on offense by All-SCBL First Team selection Tayte Halderman  a senior quarterback who carried the ball for 1,066 yards and 17 touchdowns while also completing 23-of-53 passes for 426 yards and four more scores last season.

Joining Halderman will be sophomore running back Dameion Hatten, junior tight end Eli Campbell, and senior linemen Stephen Hambleton and Nile Osburn.

That same group will lead the defensive unit. Halderman was an All-SCBL First Team selection on defense at outside linebacker, finishing last season with 57 tackles and two interceptions. Hatten and Campbell will both return at safety positions, while Hambleton and Osburn are back on the line at nose guard and tackle, respectively.

A year ago, the Blue Devils opened the season with four straight wins, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory at St. Paul to open things up. This time around, the Indians will come to Sedan for the season opener on Sept. 6. That will be the first of back-to-back home games to start the season for SHS, including a Sept. 13 matchup with SCBL foe Oxford. The pre-district slate comes to a close with a trip to Marmaton Valley on Sept. 20.

Sedan won District 1 a year ago by claiming victory in four of those five games. The district slate opens on Sept. 27 at home against Oswego. SHS will also be at home against Flinthills on Oct. 11 and Central of Burden on Oct. 18. The two road games in district play will be at Cedar Vale/Dexter on Oct. 4 and at rival West Elk to close out the regular season on Oct. 25. CVD was the lone team to beat the Blue Devils during district play a year ago.

“Our team goal has finally changed,” Holt said. “In the past, we’ve wanted to reach the playoffs. This year, our goal is to defend our district championship. Our ultimate goal is to advance past the first round of the playoffs. In order to do that, it would be much easier if we could win our district or at least finish runner-up in order to host a first-round game.”