After four weeks of tuneups, the West Elk Patriots begin their quest for a district championship on Friday as they entertain Southern Coffey County in the Eight Man I-District 1 opener at Pat Simmons Stadium in Howard.

The Patriots are currently 4-0 on the season after posting a 52-6 South Central Border League victory over Central of Burden last week. In that contest, WEHS trailed 6-0 in the early moments of the contest but ran off 52 unanswered points to roll to their fourth straight win. West Elk has outscored its opponents 202-12 so far this season.

“Right now, we just need to stay consistent with our approach,” said WEHS coach Chris Haag, whose squad has now won 39 of its last 43 regular-season games dating back to the end of the 2012 campaign. “The last two weeks, we haven’t started out the way we’ve wanted to. When it comes to district play, each possession and each snap becomes that much more important. It’s that time of the year. If we don’t perform well, then we could be in a battle each week.”

The Patriots have reached the playoffs three of the past four years and seven times under Haag, who is currently in his 17th season on the West Elk sideline.

WEHS’ search for a district championship starts at home with a matchup against Southern Coffey County. The Titans are currently 2-2 overall following a 52-6 win at Hartford last week. SCC has faced a challenging schedule, suffering shutout losses to Burlingame (57-0) and Hanover (50-0). The team’s other victory came in week two at Waverly (24-18).

“They have a new coach this season and have played a murderous schedule,” Haag said. “Last year, they had some decent football players. We’re going to have to do everything in our power not to let them get a jump start on us.”

The teams opened up district play a year ago as well, with the Patriots capturing a 64-8 victory at Southern Coffey County. West Elk went on to finish as the district runner-up behind St. Paul.

(Photo credit to Lynne Miller)