Conway Springs, Sedgwick to battle for district title


By Travis Mounts

The regular football season comes down to one game for the Conway Springs Cardinals, who play this Friday at the Sedgwick Cardinals. On the line is the Class 1A District 4 title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Conway Springs stands 6-1 with a 5-0 district record. A single point in a 14-13 loss to open the season is the only thing separating Conway Springs from a perfect record. No win has been closer than 24 points. Five of the wins have been by 45 or more points, and Conway Springs recorded three shutouts.
Sedgwick is 7-0 and 4-0 in district games. They had to schedule an extra non-district game after Stanton County cancelled a game due to coronavirus precautions, and Independent had to forfeit its Week 2 game against Sedgwick because of injuries.
Conway Springs head coach Matt Biehler said the Cardinals continue to play well. There have been few hiccups so far in the adjustment to Class 1A.
“We’ll see it more next season with the travel,” he said. Other teams in the district have lost games due to the coronavirus, either on their teams or their opponents. “We’re fortunate we’ve played all our games. We’re just happy to be where we’re at.”
Conway Springs pounded visiting Stanton County 57-0 last Friday, putting up 51 points in the first half. The Cardinals led the Trojans 30-0 after one quarter.
Health Hilger ran for a pair of 6-yard touchdowns, and then the defense made it 16-0 on a Stanton County safety with 2:49 left in the first quarter. The Cardinals scored two more times before the quarter ended, first on a 23-yard pass from Hilger to Jonathan Wright and then on a Wright touchdown run of 7 yards.
Schulte added a pair of scoring runs in the second quarter, and Wright ran 51 yards for his second rushing touchdown and third overall touchdown of the game. Kutter Barnes of Conway Springs added a fourth-quarter score on a 10-yard run.
The defense overwhelmed Stanton County, allowing just 51 yards of total offense. The Cardinals recovered a fumble and forced an interception, and stopped the Trojans three times on fourth down. The Trojans were just 3-for-11 on third down.
The Cardinals gained 382 yards, with 359 rushing. They only attempted two passes. Wright led all players with 129 rushing yards, and Hilger added 86. Seven other Cardinals ran for positive yards.
Logan Warren led the defense with 8.5 tackles plus a sack. Wright had 7 tackles and an interception. Seventeen different Cardinals recorded tackles.
Sedgwick will bring the toughest challenge since the first game of the season. But the pressure is not too great, said Biehler. Both teams are assured of playoff spots.
“The neatest thing is, it doesn’t matter who gets the No. 1 or No. 2 seed. Some people don’t like a bye. But if you’re beat up, it’s good to have,” he said. “The last four to six teams standing will be very tough.”
Conway Springs is looking forward to Friday. Conway Springs has never played at Sedgwick, and Sedgwick last played at Conway Springs in 2001.
Friday’s game at Sedgwick kicks off at 7 p.m.