The Humboldt Cubs won a tough battle 24-22 over Rossville to earn a spot in the class 2A Kansas state playoffs for the first time in school history. A game in which seemed they never had control of until the final minutes. But they just kept fighting and were determined to make Cub football history. It took the entire team to overcome some early mistakes made on both sides of the ball. Nobody outside of Humboldt has really even given them the credit they deserve. Sure some publications will put out an article saying what they have just accomplished but then the next week pick them to lose because of their supposedly weak schedule. Not this guy! Yes this is my hometown team and I have had the pleasure watching them in all but two games this season. This team is destined to do special things. This Cubs team can compete and maybe even win a state title. But to do that they will face a 9-2 Riley County team that might of just pulled off the biggest upset in the state a week ago.
The Riley County Falcons were down 13 points to previously undefeated Silver Lake with less than two minutes to go last Friday in the sectional round. A couple of touchdown passes and an onside kick later and the Falcons forced an overtime game . With a big defensive stop with Silver Lake having the ball first set up a score and Riley County would advance to a home sub state match up against another undefeated squad , the Humboldt Cubs. They were defeated earlier in the season by Silver Lake 31-12 and to Southeast Saline 21-23. The Falcons have matched up with both of those teams once again during the playoff run and were able to revenge those losses. Riley County is one of three Mid East league teams to advance to the final 8 in the Kansas 2A playoffs.
Both teams have played two home playoff games . So that means , in this round the furthest west team is the host. Humboldt will travel three hours to take on the Falcons at 7 o’clock Friday with an opportunity to play in the state championship game on the line.
Riley County brings a power running game that us folks in Southeast Kansas have not seen before , at least in class 2A. The Falcons offensive line is HUGE and plays with a get the heck out of our way attitude. They will run power dives either with the quarterback or tailback out of the shotgun with everyone in tight. As soon as you start run blitzing the middle they will hit you with a counter off tackle play . And when you finally realize the didn’t run up the middle the back is long gone. Quarterback Garrett Harmison can also throw with the best of them. He comes in completing 128 for 215 passing attempts for 1,798 yards and 23 touchdown passes with nine interceptions. Tailback Mikey Waggoner has rushed for 1,020 yards on 172 carries and 17 touchdowns. Riley County has three players with over 25 receptions on the season.
Humboldt will have to play really tough on both the offensive and defensive interiors. The outside linebackers will have to play their best game . From the looks of tape I have watched Riley County waits for the defense to make a mistake and then they can beat teams on the ground or through the air. All eleven men on defense will need to stick to their defensive assignment and play it great. The Cub offense will do what they always do by pounding the football with the run game with different runners attacking with good blocking . The offensive line aren’t the only ones blocking well this season. Friday night just watch the wide receivers block . They have had a lot to do with some of the big run plays Cub fans have witnessed this season. A couple things I know for sure for Friday night and that is coach Wyrick and company will have the young men ready to battle and compete. And that the Humboldt Cub crowd will make the drive and stand behind this team.
I don’t know if senior David Watts or Tucker Hurst have any interest from area colleges or not . We talk about senior Dagen Goodner and junior Conor Haviland week in and week out . And rightfully so but Watts and Hurst are two of the top defensive players I have seen . Not just this season but in the last couple of seasons. Believe me when I say they are just as big of a reason the Cubs are still playing this late in November.
In the other Sub state match up 9-2 Hoisington will travel to #1 ranked 11-0 Phillipsburg. Hoisington shut out Hutchinson Trinity 30-0 last week and Phillipsburg defeated Conway Springs 25-24. In class 3A Galena will travel to Sabetha . Class 1A Pittsburg Colgan will go to Olpe to try advance to back to back state title games.