ROSALIA — Flinthills kept its playoff hopes alive while doing some serious damage to the postseason chances for West Elk.
The Mustangs picked up their first win of the season, snapping an eight-game losing streak in a 40-28 Eight Man I-District 1 football contest last Friday.
Flinthills, which opened the season with six straight losses, improved to 1-6 overall and 1-3 in district play. The Mustangs earned their first win since beating the same West Elk team 42-28 a year earlier in Howard. FHS will close out the regular season on Friday with a trip to Oswego. The Indians dropped to 4-3 overall and 1-3 in district play following a 56-8 loss at Cedar Vale/Dexter last week.
As for West Elk, it lost for the fourth time in five games as it fell to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the district. The Patriots will host rival Sedan in a key district matchup Friday in Howard. The Blue Devils — 5-2 overall — have already locked up second place in the district with a 3-1 record following a 50-48 home win over Central-Burden.
Flinthills and West Elk head into the final week of the regular season with playoff spots on the line. Both teams are tied for fourth place in the district standings with Oswego. The winner of the Oswego/Flinthills game will clinch a playoff berth as the fourth place team in the district with a West Elk loss to Sedan.
However, if the Patriots beat the Blue Devils, a head-to-head tiebreaker would still go to the winner of the Oswego/Flinthills game based on their wins earlier this season against West Elk. The Patriots’ playoff hopes then hinge on the other game involving district champion Cedar Vale/Dexter at Central-Burden. West Elk would need a Central loss to CVD to force a three-way tie and a tiebreaker based on point differential. That would likely put West Elk into the postseason ahead of Flinthills or Oswego.
West Elk had an early 8-0 lead following a one-yard dive into the end zone by Rocky Hanks. But Flinthills answered with 24 unanswered points over the next three quarters, including touchdown runs of 62, 14 and eight yard by Levi Brown and a 23-yard scamper from Kedryn Morse.
Flinthills had a 24-8 edge early in the fourth quarter. The teams went back and forth that final quarter — the Patriots getting touchdown runs of 43, 24 and two yards by Nic Moreno and the Mustangs getting seven- and 31-yard scampers by Morse.
FHS finished with a 321-226 edge in total yards, racking up 306 yards on the ground in the process. Brown had a game-high 171 yards rushing on 22 carries, while Morse finished with eight attempts for 121 yards. Moreno led the way for the Patriots with 24 rushes for 209 yards.