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KSHSAA proposes delay for winter sports

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The 2020-21 winter sports season in Kansas could be delayed or reduced depending on the vote at the Nov. 24 Kansas State High School Activities Association Board of Directors meeting

During the KSHSAA Executive Board meeting Monday, the board reviewed data on the impact of COVID-19 on activity programs around the state due to the rising number of positive cases and impact on the health care system.

The board unanimously approved a proposal from the KSHSAA staff to suspend competitions until Jan. 15, 2021 and extend the winter moratorium. That proposal is now in front of the KSHSAA Board of Directors, who will vote on the issue at 1 p.m. on Nov. 24. The board of directors has members from every league across the state.

One of those board of directors, Paola High School principal Jeff Hines, was caught off-guard by the news.

“I consider myself pretty up to date when it comes to issues with KSHSAA, but I had no idea this was happening yesterday,” Hines said. “I was in an administrator meeting that started at 10 a.m. and at 10:01 I received an email from KSHSAA with the executive board agenda for a meeting that had already started. This is a pretty important issue and I wanted to speak at the board meeting, but was told I couldn’t because the meeting had already started.

“I asked someone at KSHSAA why the agenda was posted sooner, and they said it was posted last week. I have searched the internet and I couldn’t find it. I have no doubt that they did post somewhere, but they need to make it more accessible so there can be more discussion on the issue. I was surprised the issue came up.”

The proposal which will be put up for a vote is as follows:

· Delay competitions for all winter activities until Friday, January 15.

· Allow virtual competition only in Debate and Scholars Bowl.

· Winter activity practice may continue where appropriate to do so through December 22. All KSHSAA risk mitigation protocols strictly enforced.

· Extend Winter Moratorium. Dec. 23 – Jan. 3; practices to resume Jan. 4; restrictions eliminate contact between coach/athlete/school and no school facility use.

· Tentative resumption of competition on January 15.

· No fans for competition, January 15-28.

· Limited fans Jan. 29 through remainder of winter competitions.

· Mandatory universal masking with exception to athletes in competition and officials during live action.

· No invitational tournaments.

High School Competition Limits:

· Basketball maximum 13 games per team.

· Bowling maximum 8 days per team/individual.

· Swimming and Diving maximum 6 competitions per athlete.

· Wrestling maximum 12 events, 20 competition point max.

Middle School Restrictions:

· No competition in December, practice only.

· No competition Jan. 1 – Jan. 14

· No events with more than three schools participating.

· Strongly encourage skill development.

· Strongly encourage intramural play only.

· Limit two fans per player starting Jan. 15.

As far as how the board of directors will vote on the issue, Hines isn’t quite sure how it will go, but he doesn’t believe the executive board was trying to sneak the issue past anyone.

“You can have two thoughts on the issue,” Hines said. “One, all of the executive board members think delaying winter sports is a great idea. That is an option, I guess. Or two, all of the members thought this issue was too big for them to decide on and wanted to make sure to get input from all its members and allowing them to make that decision. I tend to think that is what they are doing here.

“Will there be some people that vote yes to delay sports? Yeah I think there will be, just because of the situation their districts are in, but I tend to think a majority of them will vote no. Just as far as how I will be voting, I will vote no because I think that each school board should be able to decide whether or not to have winter sports. They know their district better than anyone. That is what we did for the fall and I believe the same thing should happen here.”

Louisburg wrestling coach Bobby Bovaird understands the concern with the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the state, but he knows there will also be an impact on the student athletes if these activities are delayed.

“I totally understand why KSHSAA is considering taking action, but it worries me because a delay in starting competition could put us on the path to canceling the winter season altogether,” Bovaird said. “There have been wrestling tournaments happening across the nation since mid-July, and there have been very few cases traced back to the tournaments themselves. Coaches, wrestlers, officials, and tournament directors are taking precautions, and I hope that we’re able to continue doing what they’ve been doing. 

“I’m afraid that a reduction in the number of competitions allowed would only further harm the kids in the sport. I get it, though. Covid-19 is real and we’re constantly reacting to it and rethinking how we can best protect our kids’ health. While we may be protecting kids and their families from the potential of infection, we would also be taking away opportunities where kids can learn invaluable lessons and come together as a team to bond in ways that you can’t get through the classroom, and we would be doing some considerable harm to their mental health.”

KSHSAA’s decision to potentially delay winter sports came on the same day Gov. Laura Kelly issued a new executive order on face masks after Kansas reported more than 5,800 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

Since the news broke, Hines has been hearing from people all over the area, who are voicing their concerns.

“There are a lot of people who are worried that their kids’ season might not happen, and I get that, but I would say that people need to temper their venom at the state association,” Hines said. “I think it’s is great that people are contacting their board of directors and letting people know their feelings, and we want to hear from those who are concerned. At the end of the day, I believe they will do the right thing for these kids.”

As for Louisburg High School itself, administrators will be ready to implement any rules necessary as they hope the students get to play a full season.

“My reaction was to the kids and coaches it would affect who look forward to sports and saw their peers and themselves play in the fall with accommodations, only to be potentially denied their opportunity for a full season,” Louisburg activities director Michael Pickman said. “I understand the reasoning of the KSHSAA board, but I also understand the views of those who don’t want to see any changes. Luckily it is in the discussion phase and perhaps they will find a way for the kids to play while implementing some guidelines for keeping it safe, such as no fans.

“Whether Dec. 4 or Jan. 15 as proposed for starting competitions, we are still going to work to make it a safe environment for all and to limit risk. I am not in the medical field, so I won’t pretend to know if the delay will help lower the numbers. If it passes, then I hope that it does. Still, we won’t have a cure and will have the same need to implement safety protocol Jan. 15 as we would Dec. 4.

“I want our students to have the opportunity to play and play safely, so my main concern right now is that the policies the district and athletic department have put in place are well thought out and followed,” Pickman added. “I think if we commit to following safety practices, we can still slow the spread regardless of the results of next week’s discussion and decisions by the KSHSAA board.”

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Five Wildcats earn spots on all-league football team

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The Frontier League always provides difficult competition in football and the 2020 season continued that trend.

With all that, Louisburg was right in the thick of things. The Wildcats finished the regular season with a 4-3 record and finished in a tie for third in the league standings.

Now, five Wildcats are being rewarded for their efforts.

The All-Frontier League team was released last week and the Wildcats earned honors on both sides of the ball.

Senior Andy Hupp was named to the first team defense and was an honorable mention selection on offense. The opposite happened for senior Alec Younggren, who earned first team offense honors and was an honorable mention on defense.

Ben Wiedenmann, a senior running back, was named to the all-league second team. Fellow seniors Weston Guetterman and Konnor Vohs were selected as honorable mention defensive players.

“We did well as we could have hoped for,” Louisburg coach Robert Ebenstein said. “The Frontier League is always tough and this year was no different. We finished tied for 3rd in the league with Piper at 4-3, with Tonganoxie and Paola ahead of us.”

Hupp was one of the leaders of the Wildcat defense and made a lot of plays along the defensive line. He finished with a team-high 49 tackles on the season, including eight for a loss. Hupp also added two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Younggren, who missed the first part of the season with an injury, still recorded 23 tackles to earn honorable mention defensive line honors.

On offense, Younggren was a key fixture on the Wildcat offensive line that amassed more than 2,400 yards of total offense and 20 touchdowns. As for Hupp, he was an honorable mention all-purpose player as he saw time at fullback and some at quarterback.

“I was very glad to see the other coaches in the league notice the play of both Andy and Alec,” Ebenstein said. “They were both a major part of our game plans week in and week out on both sides of the ball.”

Wiedenmann had a memorable senior season running the ball for the Wildcats. He finished the season with 1,121 yards on the ground to go along with nine touchdowns on 7.2 yards a carry – numbers which helped him earn second team honors.

“Ben was third in the league in rushing if our league was set up to honor running back and quarterbacks separately,” Ebenstein said. “Unfortunately our league by-laws still combine ‘backs’ as quarterbacks and running backs. The league was full of great backs this year so a second team all-league honor is a great honor.”

Guetterman and Vohs both had strong seasons in the secondary for Louisburg to earn a spot on the honorable mention team.

Vohs finished with 39 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble to go along with 10 batted balls. Guetterman had 32 stops on the season with two interceptions, three tackles for loss a forced fumble and seven batted balls.

“I was glad to see all of their work pay off, and they both played their hearts out,” Ebenstein said. “Konnor unfortunately lost a tie breaker for the second team vote.  Again, our by-laws are in need of restructure, but both of them were without a doubt all league players in my opinion.”

ALL-FRONTIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL

OFFENSE

First Team

BACKS – Jovanni Blackie, Paola, junior; Tyler Bowden, Tonganoxie, senior; Garrett Williams, Paola, senior

RECEIVER – Dallas Bond, Tonganoxie, senior; Silas Etter, Eudora, junior; Bo Robison, Paola, senior

LINE – Damarius Bassett, Paola, senior; Denver Gardner, Spring Hill, senior; Jerrod Lowe, Tonganoxie, senior; Carter Stanchfield, Paola, senior; Alec Younggren, Louisburg, senior

MULTIPURPOSE – Zach Knowlton, Spring Hill, junior

KICKER – Jackson McWilliams, Tonganoxie, freshman

Second Team

BACK – Brayden Beerbower, Eudora, junior; Blake Poje, Tonganoxie, senior; Ben Wiedenmann, Louisburg, senior

RECEIVER – Cortland Hervey, Bonner Springs, senior; Malakhi Kennon, Piper, senior; Cole Mahaffey, Baldwin, junior

LINE – Camden Beebe, Piper, sophomore; Travis Bohnenblust, Eudora, senior; Conner Bruch, Tonganoxie, junior; Toby Thomas, Baldwin, senior; Zak Van Diest, Eudora, senior

MULTIPURPOSE – Sam Kleidosty, Tonganoxie, junior

KICKER – Zane Busick, Piper, sophomore

Honorable Mention

BACK – Fletcher Aude, Paola, senior; Darius McNeal, Piper, senior; Draven Pipken, Spring Hill, sophomore; Zeke Reazin, Eudora, senior; Jayce Smith, Bonner Springs, junior

RECEIVER – JD Andrewski, Bonner Springs, junior; Lance Bassett, Piper, sophomore; Isaiah Coppage, Piper, sophomore; Teagan Troute, Baldwin, senior

LINE – Trey Bones, Ottawa, senior; Antonio Caballero, Bonner Springs, junior; Zane Clark, Bonner Springs, junior; Tony Cobbs, Piper, senior; Kaden Coons, Baldwin, senior; Tucker Isaacs, Tonganoxie, senior; Tyler Neis, Eudora, senior; Allen Peuser, Paola, senior; Cameron Rogers, Piper, sophomore; Kolton Scott, Baldwin, junior; Carson Stear, Spring Hill, junior; Tanner Thompson, Spring Hill, senior

MULTIPURPOSE – Andy Hupp, Louisburg, senior; Gavin Lang, Baldwin, senior; Cael Lynch, Eudora, senior; Cory Macon, Piper, senior; Brock Pitzer, Paola, senior

DEFENSE

First Team

LINE – Dallas Bond, Tonganoxie, senior; Jake Karr, Paola, senior; Andy Hupp, Louisburg, senior; Carter Stanchfield, Paola, senior

LINEBACKER – Adam Callahan, Baldwin, senior; Anthony Ferguson, Piper, senior; Cael Lynch, Eudora, senior; Branden Martin, Tonganoxie, senior

DEF BACK – Sam Kleidosty, Tonganoxie, junior; Zach Knowlton, Spring Hill, junior; Garrett Williams, Paola, senior

MULTIPURPOSE – Mitch Geiger, Tonganoxie, senior

PUNTER – Garrett Williams, Paola, senior

Second Team

LINE – Demarius Bassett, Paola, senior; Lance Bassett, Piper, sophomore; Nate Criqui, Eudora, senior; Tucker Isaacs, Tonganoxie, senior

LINEBACKER – Isaac Brackner, Paola, senior; Jake Hooker, Spring Hill, senior; Darius McNeal, Piper, senior; Chase Wilm, Spring Hill, senior

DEF BACK – Kale Hammerschmidt, Eudora, sophomore; Malakhi Kennon, Piper, senior; Heston Robbins, Tonganoxie, senior

MULTIPURPOSE – Will Schreiner, Eudora, senior

PUNTER – Reese Fogle, Ottawa, junior

Honorable Mention

LINE – Camden Beebe, Piper, sophomore; Conner Bruch, Tonganoxie, junior; Tony Cobbs, Piper, senior; Sam Darnell, Baldwin, sophomore; Jayden Flores, Bonner Springs, sophomore; Denver Gardner, Spring Hill, senior; Jerrod Lowe, Tonganoxie, senior; Cory Macon, Piper, senior; Daquon Rogers, Paola, senior; Toby Thomas, Baldwin, senior; Alec Younggren, Louisburg, senior

LINEBACKER – Jack Earlywine, Paola, senior; Amarian Graves, Bonner Springs, sophomore; Jaden Hamm, Eudora, sophomore; Gavin Lang, Baldwin, senior; Jerimiah Ledbetter, Bonner Springs, junior

DEF BACK – Weston Guetterman, Louisburg, senior; Divante Herrig-Brittian, Piper, junior; Dominque Herrig-Brittian, Piper, junior; Isaac Meyers, Paola, senior; Brock Pitzer, Paola, senior; Cody Powell, Spring Hill, senior; Tiernan Reed-Cox, Ottawa, junior; Konnor Vohs, Louisburg, senior; Carter Wylie, Bonner Springs

MULTIPURPOSE – Shane Doty, Baldwin, senior; Brandon Sander, Bonner Springs, senior; Brandon Snell, Piper, senior

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Melton excited for chance to play basketball at Benedictine

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Madilyn Melton recently signed her letter of intent to play basketball at Benedictine College next season. The Louisburg senior averaged more than 13 points a game a year ago.

Entering her final season on the Louisburg girls basketball team, Madilyn Melton was not ready to give up her love – not even close.

Melton has grown up around the game of basketball and been around several coaches that have helped her get better as she has gotten older. Next season, Melton will add another coach to that list and she hopes it will be her final one.

Earlier this fall, Melton made it official when she committed to play basketball at Benedictine College, an NAIA program in Atchison. It was an opportunity the Louisburg senior couldn’t pass up.

“When I found out that I was going to be able to play basketball at the next level it made me feel amazing,” Melton said. “I was so excited to know that I got into Benedictine because it’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to play basketball in college.”

Melton also has the opportunity to play under head coach Chad Folsom, who has been a fixture for the Raven women’s basketball program. Folsom is currently in his 19th season with the Ravens and recently recorded his 400th victory last season.

He has also led Benedictine to the NAIA National Championship Tournament the last four years and has earned a Sweet Sixteen appearance during that time. The Ravens are also a perennial contender in the Heart of America Conference.

Louisburg senior Madilyn Melton signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Benedictine College. Pictured with Madilyn are (in front, from left) her mom, Meghan, little brother, Adly, and her father, Andy; (back row) grandparents, Eddie and Vicki Surrett, brother, Jaymes, and sister, Zyleigh.

“It wasn’t too difficult to figure out where I wanted to go,” Melton said. “Benedictine was always on the top of my list when I visited for the first time. When I met Coach Folsom I felt like I’ve known him forever. He and the girls were so welcoming and kind. I felt like this was where I was meant to go.”

Melton was a second-team All-Frontier League player last season and led the Lady Cats in many different categories during their 8-13 season.

The Louisburg senior had a big year for the Lady Cats in 2019-20 at the forward spot as she led Louisburg in scoring at 13.3 points a game and finished with 7.1 rebounds a contest. She also averaged two steals and 1.3 blocks a game.

She is looking to translate that success to the collegiate level with the help of the Raven coaching staff.

“My favorite part of the program is their philosophy and how Coach Folsom describes the way he plays the game,” Melton said. “I love how Coach Folsom and the girls have built a family atmosphere.”

Along with being a part of the Raven program, Melton also chose Benedictine and how it fit her academically. Benedictine has a nursing program, which is her planned major, which works out when it comes to both balancing the academic and athletic world.

Melton is looking forward to getting on campus, following what she hopes will be successful senior season at Louisburg.

“Benedictine is a beautiful campus and I am excited to be a part of what they have to offer,” Melton said. “The people who gave their time to help me around campus were amazing and I can’t wait to meet more of the students and staff.”

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Wildcats take third at state; record best finish in school history

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The Louisburg soccer team gathers together to celebrate its third-place state finish Saturday following the Wildcats’ 3-0 victory over Rose Hill at Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita.

WICHITA – As the Louisburg players huddled around their state plaque, many of them looked at it in awe and wonder.

“Hey guys, we won this,” a player shouted.

The statement was obvious at the time, but nonetheless, their excitement was more than warranted.

For the first time in program history, the Louisburg boys soccer team brought home a plaque from the state final four as the Wildcats defeated Rose Hill, 3-0, on Saturday in the third place match of the Class 4-1A state tournament at Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita.

It was only the second time in school history that the Wildcats had it made it this far, with the other being in 2016, when they finished fourth.

“There are only six teams in the entire state that get to end their year with a win and we wanted to be one of those teams,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said. “We want to be able to hang up a banner on our field and we wanted a plaque so that no one can forget what these kids earned and what they did this season. I am so proud of all of them.”

It was a program defining moment for the Wildcats as they began the weekend searching for a state championship, but lost 2-0 to Bishop Miege on Friday in the semifinals. Still, recording the best finish in school history is nothing for someone to hang their head about, and the Wildcats came out Saturday wanting to make sure they brought some hardware home.

“It’s absolutely crazy to think about what we have accomplished this year, partly because I have only played soccer in high school,” senior captain Logan Faulkner said. “Bringing a state plaque back will just be a reminder of what we did and how we reached our goal.”

Louisburg’s Treston Carlson celebrates with Cade Gassman (26) following his goal late in the first half.

Louisburg (16-2) didn’t waste any time getting on the board against the Rockets as senior Treston Carlson scored on an assist from sophomore Cade Gassman to put the Wildcats up 1-0 just 10 minutes into the match.

Just a few moments later, Gassman was on the other end of a goal again, this time he assisted sophomore Colin McManigal who made it 2-0. Late in the first half, it was Gassman who was in front of the goal and just tapped it over the line to put the Wildcats up three and all but sealed the win.

“I felt like we played good as a team and it felt good to be up early in the game,” Carlson said. “After the first goal, everyone felt less nervous and we played harder. It means a lot to me that I was a part of the team that was the best in school history. I was so happy when we won against Rose Hill.”

Defensively, the Wildcats put together another strong performance as they completed their 11th shutout of the season.

Sophomore goalie Mack Newell leaps into the air for one of his three saves Saturday against Rose Hill.

The back line of Michael Seuferling, Toby Espina-Roca, Luke Faulkner, Ethan Showalter, along with midfielders Hunter Rogers, Haden Yeager and Isaac Guetterman made things difficult on the Rockets.

Rose Hill appeared it was going to get its first goal of the contest in the second half, but Showalter came through and knocked the ball off the line to preserve the shutout.

Goalies Mack Newell and Matthew Sword combined on the clean sheet, while Newell recorded three saves on the day.

“Rose Hill should have had one goal, but Showalter did an awesome job saving that one on the line and clearing it out,” Conley said. “It was a lot of fun to see the defense perform out there. The boys played well in the back and did their job.”

In all, the Wildcats had nine shots on goal, including three from Carlson, two from McManigal, two from Braden Yows, and one each from Ethan Ptacek and Gassman.

Senior Logan Faulkner rises up for a header Saturday against Rose Hill.

Then in the final 10 minutes, Conley played all of his seniors at the same time to give Carlson, Logan Faulkner, Luke Faulkner, Ethan Showalter, Haden Yeager, Dylan Armstrong, Caleb Shaughnessy, Weston Frank and Dacey Wieland an opportunity to go out in style.

It was a happy ending for Louisburg, following what was a disappointing loss to Bishop Miege in the state semifinals the day before.

The Wildcats put the pressure on early as Carlson and Gassman both had close shots on goal, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The match remained scoreless midway through the first half, but Miege crossed the ball across the field and scored on a goal outside the 18.

Then in the second half, Miege scored again, this time as a shot ricocheted off a Wildcat player and into the goal to help the Stags to the championship match, where they beat Wichita-Trinity, 3-1.

The Louisburg soccer team races onto the field immediately after its 3-0 win over Rose Hill in the state third place match.

“Miege shadowed Braden (Yows) and tried to take away the middle of the field,” Conley said. “The first five minutes we had two really good chances and we really needed one to go and it just never did. They got a good goal a little later and the second one was just unlucky, and that took the wind out of our sails. The last 20 minutes or so we were on them the whole time, we just couldn’t get a good look. That is why they are the 5-time defending state champion.”

The 2020 season will be one to remember in many ways for the Wildcat players. It was one that had to deal with COVID problems, including a two-week quarantine.

Then there were the good moments – and undefeated Frontier League title, a regional championship and a spot in the state final four. Saturday’s victory put an ending on a year the Wildcats were hoping for.

Members of the 2020 Louisburg soccer team are (front row, from left) manager Emma Christy, Ethan Ptacek, Gavin York, Toby Espina-Roca, Braden Yows, Treston Carlson, Logan Faulkner, Cade Gassman, Colin McManigal, Jaden Vohs, Owen Barber, manager Olivia Barber; (back row) assistant coach Bobby Bovaird, Ethan Showalter, Dylan Armstrong, Caleb Shaughnessy, Dacey Wieland, Hunter Rogers, Matthew Sword, Weston Frank, Mack Newell, Haden Yeager, Michael Seuferling, Luke Faulkner, Austin Jamison, Isaac Guetterman and head coach Kyle Conley.

“There was so much uncertainty,” Conley said. “You had to prep for the opponent, but you also had to worry about whether people were going to get COVID or not. The whole season was up in the air for a while and it was pretty stressful. The boys handled it well. We got quarantined, then we had to play four games in six days and we cleaned house. We almost didn’t give up a goal for a month and we just played really hard.

“The JV boys worked so hard and pressed us the whole time and made us get better. This is a program victory and not just for the 22 guys that are here. All those kids together made this happen, whether it was in the summer, preseason, tryouts, during the season – this is just a credit to all of them.”

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Wildcats down Baldwin to advance to state semis; sets up match with Bishop Miege

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The Louisburg boys soccer team celebrates its 3-0 win over Baldwin on Tuesday in the Class 4-1A state quarterfinal game.

For the first time since 2016, the Louisburg boys soccer team will be playing on the season’s final weekend.

Louisburg used a big second half to defeat Baldwin, 3-0, in the Class 4-1A state quarterfinals on Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium. That win propelled Louisburg to the state final four and are guaranteed a state placing come Saturday.

“They earned this,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said. “They work hard every practice, every game and every summer. They 100 percent earned this.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our group. They had a goal to go undefeated and go to state. We had one blemish. They are undefeated Frontier League champions, regional champions and now they are going to get a banner for going to state. It is up to them to see what we put on it.”

The win, which improved their record to 15-1 on the season, gave the Wildcats the No. 1 seed at the Class 4-1A state tournament and will face off with four-time defending state champion, Bishop Miege, at 4 p.m. on Friday in Wichita.

Still, getting to this point in the season wasn’t easy for the Wildcats and Baldwin made things difficult on Louisburg. It was the third time the two teams had squared off, with Louisburg winning the first one in overtime and won the second by a 2-0 result in Baldwin.

This match was scoreless at halftime, but the Wildcats got some good looks and started to convert on them in the second half. Sophomore Cade Gassman scored three times to record the hat trick in the second half and helped the Wildcats advance to the next round.

“We knew coming in that Baldwin was a tough opponent, but very beatable as we beat them twice in the regular season,” Gassman said. “The first half was back and forth, but when the second half started the opportunities came and I capitalized off their mistakes finding the back of the net.

“It means a lot to me and the team to make it to the final four, to see all that hard work in the off season pay off and reaching our goals that we made at the beginning of the season. It feels incredible.”

Louisburg sophomore Cade Gassman celebrates his first of three goals Tuesday in the second half against Baldwin.

Gassman scored his first goal with 33 minutes left in the match as he took a loose ball in the box and found the back of the net. Four minutes later, Gassman struck again as he took the ball down the right side and finished with a shot to the left corner.

Then, with seven minutes remaining, Gassman sealed the victory with his final goal and help send the Wildcats to the state final four.

In the first half, the Wildcats had their looks, but couldn’t find the back of the net. When they converted the first one in the second half, things started to change.

“It was a very competitive and intense game,” Louisburg junior captain Braden Yows said. “Both teams played hard in every position on the field. I think our depth wore them down in the second half, but they made us play for 80 minutes. It is always nice when you can play with a lead, and having one let us play with more confidence.”

Defense also provided the Wildcats with a spark as sophomore goalie Mack Newell earned another shutout and had seven saves on the night.

Louisburg also got strong play from its back line, especially junior Michael Seuferling, who caused Baldwin fits from his outside back position. Toby-Espina Roca, Luke Faulkner, Ethan Showalter, Hunter Rogers and Isaac Guetterman also made big plays throughout the night.

Junior Isaac Guetterman sends the ball up field during Tuesday’s state quarterfinal match.

“Michael Seuferling is the best outside back in the league,” Conley said. “No one goes at him because he is the best. If someone wants to go ahead and come at him, that is fine. That works out great for us.”

The Wildcats put 13 shots on goal against the Baldwin defense, including five from Yows, who also had an assist on one of Gassman’s goals. Gassman and Colin McManigal each had three shots, while Treston Carlson and Ethan Ptacek each had one.

Now, the Wildcats begin to prepare for their toughest test of the season – Bishop Miege. Louisburg will go up against the 4-time defending state champion at 4 p.m. Friday at Stryker Soccer Complex in Wichita.

“Obviously Miege is the gold standard having won four consecutive state championships, and nine overall,” Yows said. “We are going to have to come out and play with the same effort we have been playing with all season. There are four great teams down there who have had really good seasons. We just need to play unselfish soccer and convert our chances when we get them. We are all very excited and hope to do well, but of course the state title is our goal.”

Sophomore midfielder Ethan Ptacek races down the sideline against Baldwin on Tuesday.

It will also be a rematch of the state quarterfinal game a year ago, in which Stags defeated Louisburg, 3-0, and from that day the Wildcats set a goal to reach the state semifinals.

Now the objective is to win a state championship, and once again, the Wildcats will have to go through Bishop Miege to get there.

“The boys have been focused and prepared each and every day,” Conley said. “Everything we have gone through has prepared us for this moment. I am so honored to be able to coach these boys and watch them grow throughout the season. This is a special group.

“Miege is Miege. They are one of the best teams in 4A-1A every year regardless of what their record is. They are well coached and their history speaks for them. Bishop Miege has won 20 regionals titles, 6 of the last 8 state titles including the last 4 state titles in 4A-1A. Everyone knows how good they are and how rich their history is. This year’s team has two of the most dynamic forwards we will see and overall a team packed with speed and talent. They are organized and play soccer the way it’s meant to be played. This will be an incredible challenge for the boys and we are looking forward to it.”

No. 2 Rose Hill and No 3. Wichita-Trinity will play in the other semifinal game Friday. On Saturday, the third place game will take place at noon and the championship match will follow at 3 p.m.

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Wiedenmann’s big day not enough as Wildcats fall to St. James

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Louisburg senior running back Ben Wiedenmann carried the ball 34 times for 297 yards and two touchdowns, but the Wildcats saw their season come to a close with a 41-19 loss to St. James Academy.

One by one, the six seniors that suited up for Friday’s first round playoff game against St. James Academy came off the field and were congratulated by their coaches.

It was a bittersweet moment for the eight Louisburg seniors as they got a chance to complete their season, but it came to an end quicker than they would have hoped. The Wildcats didn’t go down without a fight and a couple late touchdowns, but fell to St. James 41-19 at Wildcat Stadium.

“St. James is a good team and they do a lot of things really well,” Louisburg coach Robert Ebenstein said. “Our kids played their heart out, but unfortunately we had the ball three times when it was still a game in third quarter and two of them ended in penalties. We just lacked the explosive touch on offense to make up for those.

“The effort was there, the passion was there and I am glad these kids got to experience their season. We have a great group of kids who are going to be leaving, but a lot of great kids coming up through the program.”

One of those seniors was Wildcat running back Ben Wiedenmann, who saved his best performance for last. Wiedenmann carried the Louisburg offense as he racked up 297 yards on 34 attempts and scored two touchdowns.

Wiedenmann and the Wildcat coaches were able to expose a weakness in the St. James defense. With the help of senior lineman Alec Younggren, and senior fullback Andy Hupp, Wiedenmann found some holes to run through.

“Ben ran hard, and honestly we put Younggren in the spot to be the key blocker, Hupp in the spot to be the key second blocker and Ben ran the ball hard,” Ebenstein said. “As coaches, we kind of thought they were weakest in A and B gaps and that is where we tried to focus. Ben had a great game and executed very well.”

St. James opened the game with a touchdown on its opening possession and the Wildcats had a tough time slowing down the Thunder offense as quarterback Dakota Burritt and running back La’James White accounted for more than 400 yards.

Louisburg linemen Nathan Vincent (left) and JR Rooney (right) open up some running room Friday against St. James.

Burritt threw his first of three touchdown passes to Jacob Boone to go up 7-0 in the first quarter, but the Wildcats didn’t take much time to answer.

Wiedenmann broke free for a 77-yard run that set himself up a 1-yard touchdown run. Louisburg went for 2 points, but the pass fell incomplete.

The Thunder would go on to score two more touchdowns in the first half and take a 20-6 halftime lead. Louisburg was still in the game, but its offense wasn’t able to get going and was hurt by penalties that allowed St. James to expand its lead even more.

Defensively, sophomore Jase Hovey led the Wildcats with seven stops on the night and also blocked an extra point on special teams. Senior Justin Collins and junior Aiden Barker both had six stops, while senior Weston Guetterman and Younggren had five. Guetterman also recorded an interception.

Guetterman, Younggren, Wiedenmann, Collins, Hupp, Konnor Vohs, Jay Scollin and Will Patterson all played their final game for the Wildcats, but Ebenstein was happy these seniors were able to have a season despite all the restrictions placed on them.

Louisburg senior Andy Hupp and the rest of the Wildcat team say ‘Thank You’ to the fans one final time.

“It has been crazy,” Ebenstein said. “I am so over COVID right now, but I am glad the kids got these opportunities. I feel bad these seniors had a season where there was less than 500 people in the stands and all the extra stuff that went with it. At the same time, they are going to grow up to be resilient men and fathers. They will be productive members of society, I have no doubt. It is all part of the process.”

LOU               6             0             0             13 – 19

SJA                 14           6             7             14 – 41

SCORING SUMMARY

First quarter

S: Jacob Boone 12 pass from Dakota Burritt (Joshua Kirby kick)

L: Ben Wiedenmann 1 run (pass failed)

S: La’James White 1 run (Kirby kick)

Second quarter

S: Tyler Claiborne 28 pass from Burritt (kick blocked)

Third quarter

S: White 4 run (Kirby kick)

Fourth quarter

S: Claiborne 2 pass from Burritt (Kirby kick)

L: Wiedenmann 21 run (Layne Ryals kick)

S: Tiave Watts 9 run (Kirby kick)

L: Kolby Kattau 9 run (run failed)

LOUISBURG STATISTICS

RUSHING – Ben Wiedenmann 34-297; Weston Guetterman 8-12; Kolby Kattau 2-8; Justin Collins 2-8; Andy Hupp 5-6.

TACKLES – Jase Hovey 7, Justin Collins 6, Aiden Barker 6, Weston Guetterman 5, Alec Younggren 5, Andy Hupp 4, Kolby Kattau 4, Konnor Vohs 3, Ben Wiedenmann 3, Isaiah Whitley 1, Tom Koontz 1, JR Rooney 1, Wyatt Holland 1, Declan Battle 1.

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Making HER-STORY: Lady Cats finish third at state

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Members of the Louisburg girls cross country team are (from left) Nova Ptacek, Claire Brown, Maddy Rhamy, Reese Johnson, Lola Edwards, Bree Gassman and Erin Apple.

WAMEGO – For 23 years, the Louisburg cross country program has been chasing a top three finish at the Class 4A meet.

The Wildcats have had several teams qualify, especially in the last few seasons, but have always come up short of their goal. Following Saturday’s race in Wamego, the Wildcats can finally stop running after it.

The Louisburg girls put together an historic performance at the Class 4A Kansas State Cross Country Championships at Wamego Country Club. The Lady Cats earned a state plaque with a third place finish as they surpassed Buhler by eight points to record the school’s first top three state finish.

Junior Reese Johnson, sophomores Claire Brown, Bree Gassman and Nova Ptacek, along with freshmen Lola Edwards, Maddy Rhamy and Erin Apple, will all go down in school history as they became the first Wildcat team to bring home state hardware.

“It means the world to me to be a part of the first team ever to place at state,” Rhamy said. “Coming into the state meet, I was just hoping our team would be in the top half, so you could imagine my excitement when our team placed third. I didn’t even know we made school history until our coaches told us.”

Rhamy was one of two freshmen who earned top 10 finishes individually, along with Edwards. Rhamy finished eighth overall in 20 minutes and 58 seconds, while Edwards was right behind her in 10th in 21:02.

Louisburg freshman Maddy Rhamy finishes eighth overall at the Class 4A state meet in Wamego.

Junior Reese Johnson also garnered a state medal as she was 15th in 21:28 to help the Lady Cats to an historic performance.

“It meant so much to me that we got third as a team,” Johnson said. “Honestly it was the best feeling ever, and I’m so proud of everyone, especially our freshman. They really stepped up and got us there. I was very surprised that we got third, and when I heard, I was ecstatic.”

It was a proud moment for many in the Louisburg program, and included in that is John Reece. The longtime Wildcat head coach was all smiles following his team’s performance.

“It is 23 years the making,” coach Reece said. “You always have the plans and goals to get to state and then you get a group to go to state and do something great. This year was one of those. With the Frontier League as tough as it is, and then getting third there, put it in our heads that maybe we could do this. They all went out and ran their races, and that just shows their grit and determination and who they are.”

“They went out and did what they needed to do individually. That is hard to do at a state competition. Your adrenaline gets pumping, sometimes you go out too fast and they didn’t do that. They were very composed throughout the race. Maddy, Lola and Reese just kept moving through the field, and I think after the first mile they were like in 20 or 25th place. As the race played out, they were able to move up because they ran their race. It is just incredible.”

Freshman Lola Edwards took 10th at the 4A state meet as she was one of three Lady Cats to earn medals.

It was an also an all-Frontier League finish as the top three Class 4A teams were all league members. Baldwin won the state title with 39 points, Eudora was second with 60 and Louisburg was third with 100 points.

They were the teams that battled each other all season and that competition helped the Wildcats throughout the year. It certainly helped the two Louisburg freshmen as they made statements in their inaugural state race.

Rhamy surpassed her teammate Edwards late in the race to take the top spot on the Wildcat team for the first time all season.

“I am very happy about how I ran at the state meet,” Rhamy said. “I was ready to run my heart out, and I was so happy to place in the top ten. I know I will never forget the moment when I crossed the finish line and saw my place. I wanted to do the best I could for the last meet of the season, and I think I did just that.”

Edwards ran a strong race from the beginning as she was in fifth place at one point and was able to secure her first state medal.

“Overall I felt that I gave my all on Saturday’s race,” Edwards said. “Unfortunately I was gone from training the previous week, but I wasn’t going to let that change the way I prepared for the big race. My goal was to finish in the top ten, and I was so happy to reach that goal when I crossed the finish line. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again next year.”

Junior Reese Johnson makes her way up a hill Saturday at Wamego Country Club.

As for Johnson, the Louisburg junior was coming off an injury herself. She missed three meets late in the season, but was able to come back at regionals.

It was that hard work that propelled her to her second state medal after finishing in the top 10 two years ago as a freshman.

“I think I ran alright for being out for a few weeks,” Johnson said. “It definitely could have been better, but it is what it is and I’m very proud. Getting to where I was this year means a lot to me after having an off year last year. It meant a lot to get that state medal and it was one of the best days of my life. Nothing can beat that feeling.”

The rest of the Lady Cats also ran strong races as Brown finished 49th overall in 22:57 and Gassman was 57th in 23:25. Apple took 67th in 23:42 and Ptacek was 77th in 24:33.

It was also an historic day for the Louisburg boys as the Wildcats competed in their first ever state race as a team.

The Louisburg boys cross country team gets out to a good start in its first-ever state race as a team.

Although, the Wildcats didn’t earn a spot on the medal stand, they were still able to put together a memorable season. Senior Carson Houchen led Louisburg in 33rd place with a time of 18:12.

Junior Ryan Rogers was 46th in 18:29 and senior Cade Holtzen was 56th in 18:46. Juniors Hayden Ross (19:09) and Caden Bradshaw (19:16) took 66th and 72nd, respectively.

Sophomore Leo Martin was 81st in 19:39 and sophomore Trent Allen was 90th in 20:26.

“I went back and looked at the boys times, and they are going to see a huge improvement from the first time that we ran here,” coach Reese said. “Qualifying for state was really the goal. That is not to say that we didn’t come here to run our best, but getting to state was just icing on the cake for those boys and it completed our season.

“The boys did what they did all year long, which is they ran their races. I thought Carson had a fantastic race, and while he may have not run his best time, you don’t usually run your best on a tough course like this one. Everyone supported each other, day in and day out, and that was pretty awesome to see.”

Now both teams will begin training for what they hope could be another historic season in the fall of 2021.

“I am very excited for next season considering we’ll be returning our whole team, and I think we can be even better next year,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to another top 3 finish next year and can’t wait to get back on the cross country grind.”

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Week 9 Athlete of the Week: Maddy Rhamy

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Here is the Louisburg Sports Zone Athlete of the Week for week nine of the fall sports season, sponsored by Edward Jones-Craig Holtzen.

MADDY RHAMY, FRESHMAN, CROSS COUNTRY

Louisburg freshman Maddy Rhamy saved one of her best performances for last. Rhamy helped the Lady Cat cross country team to a third-place finish at the Class 4A state meet Saturday in Wamego and made school history as they became the first time to place at state.

In doing so, Rhamy earned a state medal as she led Louisburg with an eighth-place finish with a time of 20 minutes and 58 seconds. She was one of three Lady Cats to medal, along with fellow freshman Lola Edwards and Reese Johnson.

The athlete of the week award is announced every Wednesday morning during the fall season and the winner is selected by Louisburg Sports Zone with the help of nominations from coaches.

Previous winners:

Week 1: Weston Guetterman

Week 2: Lola Edwards

Week 3: Logan Faulkner

Week 4: Rinny McMullen

Week 5: Carson Houchen

Week 6: Cade Gassman

Week 7: Alyse Moore

Week 8: Braden Yows

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REGIONAL CHAMPS: Wildcats edge Ottawa to move on to state quarters

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The Louisburg soccer team was all smiles Thursday after the Wildcats won the Class 4-1A regional title following a 1-0 victory over Ottawa.

Last week’s regional championship has become a common occurrence for the Louisburg boys soccer team.

For the fourth time in the last five years, the Wildcats captured a regional title following a 1-0 victory over Ottawa at Wildcat Stadium. It has been a dominating two years for Louisburg as the Wildcats have put together a combined record of 31-3-1 and are currently 14-1 on the season.

With all that, the celebration was a little muted from the Wildcat sideline. They are more than happy to advance, but they know there is a lot of work to be done to get to where they want to go – a state championship.

Even with all those great numbers, this group has never advanced to the state final four and they will get that opportunity at 5 p.m. tonight when it hosts Baldwin at Wildcat Stadium.

“To win back-to-back regional titles is amazing and exciting,” senior captain Logan Faulkner said. “But I am super excited for this game coming up. This is the game that can get us to the state final four and I feel our team is good enough to beat them if we play our game and each player does their job.”

Immediately following their win at Ottawa on Thursday, every player realized they were able to get a win without playing their best match and they know it will have to change if they want to advance past Baldwin.

“I had two kids tell me that is the worse game we have played all year and they know they have to get better,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said. “Sometimes you have win an ugly game and that is what the kids did. They kept grinding and they kept fighting. They played hard and I am really happy for them to be able to move on. These boys deserve it”

Hunter Rogers heads the ball in for the game’s only goal Thursday against Ottawa.

Louisburg got out to a quick start and scored the game’s lone goal just minutes into the match. Braden Yows sent a corner kick into the box, and found the head of junior Hunter Rogers, who knocked it past the Ottawa keeper.

Opportunities continued to pile up for the Wildcats throughout the contest as Louisburg had several shots from Yows, Cade Gassman, Treston Carlson, Colin McManigal, Faulkner and Gavin York. They were either turned away by the Cyclone goalie or said just wide of the goal.

“No one ever said it would be easy,” Conley said. “Both teams played with a massive amount of energy and heart. Ottawa played very determined soccer and we had a lot of chances, but struggled to finish and frustration started to set in. As it happens in playoffs, when you let a team stick around and they start believing, anything can happen.

“I am happy how the boys held their ground and how we dominated the game. It was also frustrating when our opponents park the bus in front of their goal playing a 5-4-1 formation, but it’s part of it and we need to do a better job of executing and finishing. This time of year though, a win is a win. Hats off to Ottawa for how determined they played.”

Centerback Luke Faulkner heads the ball away from an Ottawa player last Thursdsay.

Ottawa made a couple of attempts to tie the match in the final few minutes as the Cyclones put pressure on the Wildcat back line, but they held strong, including a couple saves from goalie Mack Newell. Outside back Michael Seuferling was also a factor in making things difficult for Ottawa.

“We have given up like nine goals in the 14 games we have played and we have nine shutouts,” Conley said of his defense. “We have a pretty stout group back there. They bent a little bit, but they didn’t break. Ottawa put on a lot of pressure there toward the end and I think they only had one or two shots on goal. They did a good job standing them up or forcing bad shots.”

Now, the Wildcats have their eyes set on Baldwin as they will try to beat the Bulldogs for the first time this season. Louisburg defeated Baldwin 1-0 in overtime early in the year and the Wildcats put together a 2-0 win in Baldwin.

Goalie Mack Newell punches the ball away to deny an Ottawa scoring opportunity.

Win or lose, Louisburg has already put together a memorable season – one that they didn’t think might happen with all the uncertainty of the spread of COVID-19.

“We just step to the next thing,” Conley said. “To be honest, nobody knew what was going to happen with this COVID thing. You see football teams and others getting shut down around the state due to COVID, and it is frustrating because you don’t know. You can be as prepped as you want to be for your opponent, but you also have to prep against a virus you can’t see and don’t know when it is going to come. Still, I am happy for the boys and we are looking forward to the challenge of making it even further.”

Wildcats roll Chanute to advance to regional semis

To get to the regional championship, Louisburg had to first get past Chanute last Thursday at Wildcat Stadium and the Wildcats had no issues in a 9-0 win.

The Wildcats scored five times in the first half and never looked back.

Senior Treston Carlson, junior Jaden Vohs and sophomore Cade Gassman each scored two goals for Louisburg, while Colin McManigal and Braden Yows also found the back of the net.

Logan Faulkner (13) battles a Chanute player for the ball last Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium.

Goalies Mack Newell and Matthew Sword combined for the shutout.

“I felt the boys did a great job of spreading the field out and making Chanute move defensively,” Conley said. “We had plenty of runs down the side and also cut them down the middle. Other than the first 5-10 minutes, we absolutely dominated the game. We did a nice job of finding our marks and taking them away. I did feel that we needed to play with more energy than we did in the first half and the boys really responded in the second half and showed some passion.” 

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Lady Cats left in all on the floor in loss to eventual state champ

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Louisburg senior Carleigh Pritchard records a kill past a pair of Bishop Miege blockers during the Class 4A sub-state semifinal match at Eudora High School.

EUDORA – The 2020 season brought its fair share of challenges for the Louisburg volleyball team and did so before the season even got underway.

Every team was forced to deal with the COVID-19 precautions and had the idea that its season could end prematurely. Injuries then prevented the Lady Cats from playing with their full complement of players for most of the season.

“We battled more adversities this season than any other season over the past 15 years,” Louisburg coach Jessica Compliment said. “Between the challenges of COVID and our injuries, we battled each day on court and in the gym and grew as a team – probably the most that I’ve ever seen a team do. Many of the players stepped up this season and filled roles they had never played before.”

Louisburg put together a 21-win regular season and had its eyes on another state tournament appearance. The Lady Cats had another obstacle to face to get there – Bishop Miege.

The Lady Cats, who were ranked No. 4 in the state going into the Oct. 24 sub-state tournament, faced Bishop Miege, the No. 3 team in 4A, in the first round of sub-state for the second year in a row.

It may have been just the sub-state semifinals, but the two teams played to a state championship level. In the end, however, Miege had the answer as it defeated Louisburg 27-25 and 25-20 to end the Lady Cats’ season with a 21-10 record.

“The girls were disappointed by the loss,” Compliment said. “None of us were ready to see the season come to an end. Miege played really well. It is hard to beat a team that makes very few errors. I thought we played very well too. We left it all out there on the court, and it was one of our best matches this season.”

Both sets went back-and-forth and neither team could pull away from the other.

The Stags jumped out to an early 9-6 advantage, but was able to rally and take a 13-12 advantage after kills from Alyse Moore, Rinny McMullen and Allie Kennedy. Juniors Chase Kallevig and Davis Guetterman each had an ace during that run.

Louisburg junior Davis Guetterman sets up a teammate against Bishop Miege.

It was tight the rest of the way, but the Lady Cats had match point following a block from Kennedy and a kill from senior Carleigh Pritchard to go up 25-24. Miege, however, would go on to take the final three points and win the set.

“We’ll never know what could have happened if we had won that first set,” Compliment said. “Volleyball is very much a game of momentum, and losing such a close first set does sting a little. We knew we’d have to come back out and start the second set strong if we wanted a chance to win that one and force a third set. Unfortunately, Miege never let up.”

The second set actually started well as Louisburg jumped out to a 5-2 lead and led 13-12 following a kill and an ace from Moore. Kennedy and Pritchard each registered kills to stay up 15-14, but the Stags went on an 8-2 run that the Lady Cats couldn’t recover from.

Bishop Miege would go on to win the state championship over Andale last Friday in Hutchinson.

Louisburg played one of its best matches of the season defensively as the Lady Cats were constantly digging balls out of the net and diving on the floor to keep volleys alive. It was what they needed to do to stay with a powerful attacking Miege squad.

Junior Rinny McMullen dives on the floor to keep the ball in play during the sub-state semifinals.

Kallevig led Louisburg with eight digs on the day, while Guetterman finished with seven. Moore also added five digs and three blocks. Kennedy led Louisburg with five blocks, while McMullen, Guetterman and Pritchard had two each.

“Over the past few weeks, we talked about how important it was to go all out defensively and to not let a ball fall to the ground untouched,” Compliment said. “The girls really embraced that challenge of leaving no ball untouched. Going up against a team that is very aggressive offensively, we knew we would need to step our defense up. I thought the players at the net did a great job of putting up some good blocks or at least getting a touch on the ball which helped slow it down.”

Offensively, the Lady Cats also played well as Guetterman led the Louisburg offensive with 10 assists and also had four aces in the two sets. McMullen added seven assists and three kills, while Pritchard had a team-high six kills and Kennedy finished with five.

The Lady Cats celebrate a big play against Bishop Miege at Eudora High School.

Despite the early ending, the Lady Cats had a successful season and one that brought many good memories along the way.

“We had a mixture of returning starters and players who had never suited up varsity before,” Compliment said. “The way the players grew individually and as a team was amazing to watch. I was very proud of how this team handled everything this season. I’ve never had a season where the line-up changed every week. But due to injuries, we had a different line up almost weekly. They never skipped a beat though.”

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Wildcats fall to Frontier League champ – and rival – Paola

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A host of Louisburg defenders try to bring down Paola quarterback Garrett Williams last Friday during the Wildcats’ final regular season game at Paola.

It was a result that no one on the Louisburg sideline was hoping for – nor expecting.

The Wildcats traveled to Paola last Friday in hopes of knocking off the No. 1 team in the state, and rival, Paola. No matter the records, it has historically been a competitive game – and for a little while – it was looking like it was going to be a defensive battle.

In the final three quarters, Paola quickly dashed any of hopes of the Wildcats pulling off the upset. The Panthers scored 49 straight points to open the game and handed Louisburg a 49-7 defeat. Paola also clinched the Frontier League title in the process.

Penalties cost the Wildcats (4-4) in several of their drives as they were flagged eight times for 60 yards and Louisburg had a tough time slowing down the Paola rushing attack.

“To be honest, there were no specific problems other than the ones we created for ourselves,” Louisburg coach Robert Ebenstein said. “Penalties killed us. We have to be better and that falls directly on my shoulders to get us prepared and able to use good technique. We also did a poor job on the attention to detail aspects of the game. We played with poor technique and attention to detail. When you play a very good team with that type of mental approach you lose by a lot, and that is exactly what happened.”

The Panthers (8-0) amassed more than 400 yards of total offense and 394 of those yards came on the ground – many of which were courtesy of running back Jovanni Blackie and quarterback Garrett Williams.

Blackie rushed for 204 yards to go along with three touchdowns, while Williams carried the ball 14 times for 142 yards and two scores.

It was a close game in the first quarter as the Wildcats trailed just 6-0 heading into the second period. Louisburg forced a fumble on Paola’s opening possession, but mistakes and penalties stalled many of the Wildcats’ offensive drives and were unable to find the endzone.

“I was proud of our fight in the first 18 minutes of the game, for sure,” Ebenstein said. “Then we got down by 14 and had trouble on a kick return and had some poor field position and our focus went away. The first quarter our energy was high, but the execution was still poor. We had way too many penalties to take advantage of what opportunities we had. Playing behind the sticks is never easy.”

Louisburg quarterback Weston Guetterman hands the ball off to Justin Colllins, while Ben Wiedenmann looks to block against Paola last Friday.

Paola would score two touchdown in each of the next three quarters to pull away from the Wildcats.

Senior running back Ben Wiedenmann prevented the shutout when he broke free for a 69-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats their lone score of the game. He led Louisburg with six carries for 90 yards, while quarterback Weston Guetterman had 64 yards on 16 carries.

Defensively, Guetterman led Louisburg with eight tackles on the night, while seniors Konnor Vohs and Andy Hupp each added seven stops. Senior Justin Collins also forced a fumble for Louisburg.

The Wildcats will get a fresh start to their season as they are the No. 8 seed in the Class 4A playoffs and will host No. 9 St. James Academy (3-4) at 7 p.m. this Friday. The winner of that game will play the winner between No. 1 Paola and No. 16 Ottawa next week.

“St. James is a very solid team and their only losses have come to the other big private schools in the metro (St. Thomas Aquinas, Rockhurst, Miege), and 6A powerhouse Blue Valley,” Ebenstein said. “This is the first year for them being back down in 4A, so we will have our work cut out for us. If we focus on what we can control, we have a very good chance of beating any team in 4A.” 

PAO               6             15           14           14 – 49

LOU               0             0             0             7 – 7

SCORING SUMMARY

First quarter

P: Jovanni Blackie 5 run (kick failed)

Second quarter

P: Blackie 4 run (Brock Pitzer pass from Garrett Williams)

P: Garrett Williams 1 run (Ian Heid kick)

Third quarter

P: Fletcher Aude 2 run (Heid kick)

P: Blackie 37 run (Heid kick)

Fourth quarter

P: Williams 3 run (Heid kick)

P: Aude 1 run (Heid kick)

L: Ben Wiedenmann 69 run (Layne Ryals kick)

LOUISBURG STATISTICS

RUSHING – Ben Wiedenmann 6-90; Weston Guetterman 16-64; Justin Collins 7-37; Andy Hupp 7-14; Konnor Vohs 1-6

PASSING – Guetterman 2-12-22

RECEIVING – Vohs 2-22

TACKLES – Weston Guetterman 8, Konnor Vohs 7, Andy Hupp 7, Justin Collins 4, Kolby Kattau 4, Ben Wiedenmann 3, Jase Hovey 2, Aiden Barker 2, Alec Younggren 2, JR Rooney 2, Jay Scollin 1

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TWICE AS NICE: Wildcats qualify both cross country teams for state

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Members of the Louisburg state qualifying cross country teams are (front row, from left) Bree Gassman, Claire Brown, Nova Ptacek, Reese Johnson, Lola Edwards, Erin Apple, Maddy Rhamy and Alexis French; (back row) assistant coach Shelby Marten, Braden Branine, Trent Allen, Caden Bradshaw, Ryan Rogers, Hayden Ross, Carson Houchen, Cade Holtzen, Leo Martin, head coach John Reece and assistant coach Erin Davis.

BALDWIN CITY – For the last four seasons, the Louisburg cross country team has seen its program grow over that time and history has been made on several occasions and 2020 has been no different.

For the first time in school history, both the boys and girls cross country teams will be heading to the Class 4A state meet together as both teams finished third Saturday at the Class 4A regional meet in Baldwin City. In relation to that, the boys team qualified for the first time ever and head coach John Reece will have a full roster for Saturday’s state meet in Wamego.

“Coming into the meet on paper, both teams were sitting in fourth,” Reese said. “We just had to come out here and do what we have done all year long. The boys especially ran together and ran hard. I think they all PR’d and I think that just shows the team effort that goes into it. For the first time making it for the boys team is awesome and we have two great seniors leading the way and it is an awesome group of kids.

“As for the girls, there wasn’t a senior on the squad, and with that in mind, makes it a lot of fun to see what they can accomplish. They were in the same position, and with Reese (Johnson) coming back from injury to do what she had to do, was great to see. It really was a great day.”

For the boys, getting to state has been a goal for several years, especially for seniors Carson Houchen and Cade Holtzen. Along with Ryan Rogers, Caden Bradshaw, Hayden Ross, Leo Martin and Trent Allen, the Wildcats will step on the Class 4A state course for the first time as a unit.

All seven runners earned personal best times at the Baldwin Golf Course, which led to them earning 91 points and the third place finish. It helps fill a void that, to this point, had been empty.

“It meant the world for our team to earn a trip to state,” Houchen said. “Our goal all four years I’ve been in cross country has been to earn a team spot at state. A joke on the boys team the past three years has been that we would always be in the girls’ shadow because they pretty consistently go to state as a team, so it feels really good to be on the same level as them.

Senior Carson Houchen leads a group of runners up a hill during Saturday’s regional race in Baldwin City.

“Our goal this whole year has been to put a name on the only blank state board in the gym. We knew it would be close with Baldwin, but they were running on their home course and we knew we had to race our best to keep up with them. As soon as we finished the race, and I saw how everyone had done, there was no doubt in my mind that we’d made it to state.”

Bishop Miege won the regional crown with 22 points, Eudora was second with 57 and Louisburg had 91 to take third. The Wildcats beat Baldwin by 11 points to earn that state trip.

The Louisburg girls also performed well in their third place finish as they took third with 68 points, and were just six points behind second place Eudora as they qualified for state for the fourth straight season. Baldwin won the regional crown with 31 points.

Louisburg got a pair of strong performances from freshmen Lola Edwards and Maddy Rhamy. Edwards took third overall in 19 minutes and 49 seconds, just 10 seconds off Trinity Moore’s school record set a year ago, and has the second fastest time in school history.

Freshman Lola Edwards (left) gains on a Baldwin runner Saturday during the Class 4A regional race.

“When I found out both teams were going to state, I was at a loss for words,” Edwards said. “State has been a goal, not just for myself, but the team as well the entire season. To accomplish that goal has been a great achievement. Going to state is a big deal, especially as a freshman, but I am going to treat it like any other race and run to compete. I am blessed to have this opportunity and to be sharing it with such amazing teammates.”

As for Rhamy, she was fourth in 20:29 and it vaulted her to fourth on the school leaderboard with a new personal best time.

“I am so excited to be able to go to state as a team,” Rhamy said. “I have really bonded with my teammates this year and I can’t wait to run at state with them. I think that it’s amazing that I get the opportunity to compete at state as a freshman.”

However, it might not have been possible without the help of Reese Johnson. The Louisburg junior has been out the last two weeks with an injury and Saturday was her first competition back.

Johnson gutted out the race to take 14th in 21:09 and helped the Lady Cats secure a spot in the state meet.

“She had to come out and run her race and do well and she did that,” coach Reece said. “In no way would I expect a PR from her because she hasn’t run for two weeks, but she did what she had to do. She got tight and her legs got kind of heavy there toward the end, but she is a tough kid and she finished it and that is what we needed out of her to accomplish what we did.”

Freshman Maddy Rhamy sprints to the finish line on Saturday in Baldwin.

Freshman Erin Apple also made school history as she set a new personal record time of 21:50 in 23rd, which is the seventh fastest in school history. Sophomore Claire Brown was right behind her in 24th in 21:52.

Sophomore Bree Gassman was 28th in 22:12 and sophomore Nova Ptacek finished 46th in 23:47.

Houchen put together the best race of his career to help lead the Louisburg boys as he finished 10th overall in 17:45, which is good for the seventh-fastest time in school history.

“Carson ran a fantastic time,” Reece said. “What these boys have done all year is that they run their race and this was a prime example of that. Carson and some of the other boys were at 15th or 20th place through that first mile, but since they were running their races, they just moved through the field. It was just one at a time. Considering this could have been their last race for some of them, they definitely ran their best of the season.”

Rogers and Holtzen each recorded top 20 finishes for Louisburg. Rogers ran an 18:28 to finish in 16th, while Holtzen ran an 18:45 to take 20th overall.

Ross (18:46) and Bradshaw (18:47) finished close behind as they took 22nd and 23rd, respectively, while Martin was 25th in 18:54. Allen took 40th in 19:47 to round out the Wildcat lineup.

Senior Cade Holtzen rounds a turn to stay ahead of a Tonganoxie runner. Holtzen took 20th overall.

For Holtzen, the opportunity to go to state his senior year was the perfect way to end what was already a successful senior season.

“To make it to state my senior year meant everything in cross country,” Holtzen said. “Carson and I have been talking about making state since freshman year and to have that come to fruition as a senior is something I will never forget. We knew that we were on the bubble of third and fourth, but once I crossed the finish line and saw Caden and Ross right behind me, I had a feeling that we were going to state.”

Now, the Wildcats will prepare for the final race of their 2020 campaign. Louisburg will take part in the Class 4A state meet Saturday at the Wamego Country Club. The boys will run at 9:30 a.m. and the girls will follow at 10:05 a.m.

“I think both teams are going to run well,” Reece said. “A lot of the runners have been on the course the last couple of years now, so they are familiar with it. As far as the girls go, Maddy is the only one that hasn’t run on it, but she is such a great runner that she will just hop in with her teammates and she will be fine. I think if we can go down there and be top half with both teams, I would be thrilled with how the season ended.”

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Week 8 Athlete of the Week: Braden Yows

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Here is the Louisburg Sports Zone Athlete of the Week for week eight of the fall sports season, sponsored by Edward Jones-Craig Holtzen.

BRADEN YOWS, JUNIOR, BOYS SOCCER

Louisburg’s Braden Yows has facilitated a lot of the Wildcat offense this season for the boys soccer team and that continued last Thursday. Yows, a junior midfielder and team captain, finished the game with a team-high two assists and also had a goal in the Wildcats’ 6-0 win over Piper.

The victory gave the Wildcats their second consecutive Frontier League title. Yows leads Louisburg with 15 assists on the season and he also has six goals.

The athlete of the week award is announced every Wednesday morning during the fall season and the winner is selected by Louisburg Sports Zone with the help of nominations from coaches.

Previous winners:

Week 1: Weston Guetterman

Week 2: Lola Edwards

Week 3: Logan Faulkner

Week 4: Rinny McMullen

Week 5: Carson Houchen

Week 6: Cade Gassman

Week 7: Alyse Moore

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Wildcats secure back-to-back league titles with win over Piper

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The Louisburg boys soccer team celebrated its second consecutive Frontier League title following their 6-0 win over Piper last Thursday.

In a year that has been hard on so many, the Louisburg boys soccer team wanted to make sure to enjoy every moment that came its way.

One of those was on full display Thursday at the Wildcat Sports Complex. Not only did the Wildcats defeat Piper, 6-0, in their final regular season match of the season, but they also secured their second straight Frontier League championship with an undefeated league record.

That league title is just one of several special moments the Wildcats hope to celebrate this season.

“This is fantastic for the team, the school and the community,” Louisburg junior captain Braden Yows said. “It’s a testament to the hard work the coaches and players have put in every day to get better. Coach (Kyle) Conley and coach (Bobby) Bovaird, along with coach (Michael) Pickman previously, have done a great job in building this program.”

It has been a season that has had its trying times. Games have been cancelled, the entire Wildcat team was quarantined for nearly two weeks and they have faced numerous obstacles throughout the year.

Still, the Wildcats have persevered and put together a 12-1 record as they head into the postseason.

“Being back-to-back league champs, and champs 3 of the last 4 years is pretty impressive,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said. “This group stepped in two years ago when we were 6-11, and it was a frustrating time. A bunch of freshmen and a couple sophomores stepped in and absolutely took over the league and this year it was the same thing. We just stepped on it and went.

“These boys never gave up. They never wavered and the never stopped. They just kept playing for each other. It was great to see these boys come together. With COVID we can’t have a lot of chemistry like we usually do, but I thought they did a good job of keeping it together in a year that is so crazy.”

In its final regular season contest of the season, the Wildcat put together one of their best offensive showings of the season as six different players scored goals for Louisburg, while goalies Mack Newell and Matthew Sword combined for the shutout.

Yows, who led Louisburg with two assists on the night, opened the scoring in the first half on penalty kick after sophomore Gavin York was fouled in the box.

Senior Treston Carlson and junior Jaden Vohs added scores of their own, then late in the first half, York found the back of the net to make it 4-0 at halftime.

Sophomore Cade Gassman puts a shot on goal Thursday during the first half of the Wildcats’ win over Piper.

Just minutes into the second half, senior Logan Faulkner put the Wildcats up by five after his goal and sophomore Colin McManigal sealed the win with a score later on in the half.

“It was nice to see a bunch of guys get involved,” Conley said. “Piper gave us a bunch of different looks. When they pinched middle, we attacked the outside. When they flattened out, then we would come down the middle. The boys did a good job of seeing that and taking what they gave us. We did a lot of work with that at practice. It was good to see them execute and put one to sleep quick and do our job.

“I’m just really proud of how the kids worked and how hard they played. At the same time, this is over now. We are focused on the playoffs and no it is lose or go home time. We have to make sure we are prepped and ready to go.”

The postseason begins today for Louisburg as the No. 1 seed Wildcats host No. 4 Chanute in the regional semifinals at 5 p.m. Should the Wildcats advance, they will host the regional championship on Thursday.

Junior Hunter Rogers celebrates with Gavin York (19) after York scored late in the first half against Piper.

“We are very excited to compete for another regional championship and we have a goal of getting to state and to win a championship for the school,” Yows said. “We are going to face some quality teams that are well-coached, so it’s important for us to be focused and to play with effort and passion.”

The path to get to that state final four will go through Louisburg should the Wildcats advance to the state tournament next week in Wichita.

“We have earned the right to be able to host every postseason game until the final four if we can keep winning and we are pretty dang good at home,” Conley said. “We control our own destiny, and the boys wanted that and they got it.”

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Lady Cats prepare for postseason after win over Piper in finale

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Louisburg senior Alyse Moore sends a shot passed the outstretched arms of a Piper blocker Tuesday during the Lady Cats’ 3-0 win over the Pirates.

The match was more of a formality, really.

Louisburg hosted Piper in its final regular season match of the season, and win or lose, the Lady Cats would still be the No. 1 seed at this Saturday’s sub-state tournament. Still, Louisburg wanted to head into postseason play with some momentum.

Mission accomplished.

The Lady Cats (21-9) took care of business as they defeated the Pirate, 25-23, 25-12 and 25-16 and did so with their full complement of players – something that has been a rarity during the 2020 season.

Louisburg has had to deal with injuries at different points and very rarely has it played with all their pieces in place. Still, the Wildcats are healthy now and are ready to roll into the season.

“I am just really glad we made it all the way this far into the season,” Louisburg coach Jessica Compliment said. “This was supposed to be our Senior Night and we moved it all the way up to the first game because we didn’t know if this night would actually happen. I am happy that we are to the point where we are still playing and we’ve had the season go as smoothly as it has. It was good to finish the regular season out with a win.”

It didn’t start out as easy as the final score indicated as Louisburg was down to Piper, 15-8, in the first set. The Lady Cats persevered as they rallied to take the set, 25-23 and took all the momentum away from the Pirates.

“What we said in the timeout was that we were all playing really tight and nervous, instead of just relaxing, taking deep breaths and playing our game,” Compliment said. “We did a better job in the second and third set of just playing more loose and aggressive, both defensively and offensively.”

Even though all the Lady Cats haven’t played together as a complete unit much this year, they looked strong against Piper. Senior Carleigh Pritchard has made her way back from injury and recorded 11 kills on the night.

Senior Carleigh Pritchard rises up for a kill Tuesday against Piper.

Setter Davis Guetterman also went back to playing all six rotations and led Louisburg with 24 assists and also had 10 kills, three digs and three aces. The team’s other setter, Rinny McMullen, led Louisburg with 13 kills on the night and recorded 11 digs, seven assists and three aces.

Louisburg also played strong defensively as junior Chase Kallevig recorded a team-high 14 digs and senior Alyse Moore was also in double figures with 10. Moore also finished with six kills and an ace.

“Alyse really made some great plays in the back row and there were a couple of times where I didn’t know how she got a touch on that ball,” Compliment said. “Chase also does a good job with her defense on the left side. It just fun to see just the way they have evolved, especially Alyse with how she has stepped up in the last week and a half.

“With Carleigh back, and having Davis play all the way around again, it was nice to see the leadership and intensity that both of those girls bring to the court. Davis and Rinny do such a great job of bringing that calming effect out on the players and they are great leaders. Then with Carleigh back out there, she has a way a bringing everyone’s level of game back up as well.”

Louisburg senior Madi Quinn digs up a ball during Tuesday’s win over Piper.

Now postseason play begins as Louisburg will be the No. 1 seed Saturday at the Eudora sub-state and will play the winner of the play-in game between Tonganoxie and Bishop Miege at 2 p.m. If Louisburg advances, it will play the winner between Baldwin and Eudora.

Miege is considered a favorite to advance past Tonganoxie as the Stags and Louisburg are the No. 3 and No. 4 ranked teams in Class 4A, respectively. Both teams are in the same sub-state and would play in the first round, just like a year ago when the Lady Cats knocked off Miege at the Atchison sub-state.

Louisburg and Bishop Miege faced each other in early October at the Ottawa Invitational and the Stags defeated the Lady Cats, 2-0. Still it was a match that didn’t have the complete cast of Lady Cat players.

“We knew going in that we were probably going to see Miege, we just didn’t know if it would be in the first round or later,” Compliment said. “Miege will have to win the play-in game first, but we know we can play with them and we showed that last year at sub-state. We were a different team than when we saw Miege early in the year. It is going to be a good challenge, but the girls know that they can do it.”

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Wildcats pick up easy homecoming win over Ottawa

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Louisburg’s (from left) Jay Scollin, Konnor Vohs (11) and Aiden Barker (54) celebrate JR Rooney’s touchdown in the third quarter of Friday’s 35-7 win over Ottawa.

From the start, it was obvious it was going to be Louisburg’s night.

Louisburg, which celebrated fall homecoming Friday against Ottawa, had everything go its way in its final regular season home contest. Whether it was a score on their opening possession, a touchdown by two different linemen, or an impressive defensive performance, the Wildcats made for a memorable homecoming night.

The Wildcats scored 35 unanswered points to start the game and never looked back in a 35-7 victory at Wildcat Stadium. The win improved Louisburg’s record to 4-3 on the season as it gets ready for its final regular season contest.

“It was a good win for sure, especially with it being homecoming week, not having school Monday and coming off a loss,” Louisburg coach Robert Ebenstein said. “We put a week’s worth of practice together and we came out and did what we anticipated and hoped we could do. It was good to see them execute.”

Louisburg had it going from their opening drive as quarterback Weston Guetterman broke free for a 27-yard run to put the Wildcats up 6-0 in the opening quarter.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats all but put the game away as they scored three touchdowns. Justin Collins and Ben Wiedenmann recorded back-to-back 25-yard runs to begin the quarter and then Wiedenmann ended the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run. Guetterman ran in the 2-point conversion to put Louisburg up 14-0.

On the Wildcats’ next possession, Wiedenmann answered the bell again as he broke free for a 59-yard touchdown. For the game, Wiedenmann carried the ball just seven times, but had 112 yards to go with his two touchdowns.

It was the defense’s turn to find the endzone as junior lineman Aiden Barker picked off an Ottawa pass and ran it back for a 20-yard touchdown to put Louisburg up 28-0 after a Layne Ryals extra point.

The lineman touchdowns continued in the second half. Louisburg had the ball on the 2-yard line, but Guetterman fumbled the snap that went into the endzone and center JR Rooney jumped on the ball for the touchdown and a 35-0 Louisburg advantage.

“I wanted to yell at JR because I thought the snap was his fault that we fumbled it, but Weston took the blame for it, so he gets to be happy with his touchdown,” Ebenstein said.

Sophomore Jase Hovey picks off an Ottawa pass last Friday during the Wildcats’ 35-7 win.

Louisburg’s defense caused Ottawa problems most of the night as the Wildcats held the Cyclones to just 69 yards of total offense, most of which came in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore safety Jase Hovey had a big game as he recorded one of three Louisburg interceptions on the night, along with a sack, a forced fumble and two tackles for a loss.

Barker and Wiedenmann accounted for the other two interceptions, while Barker also added a sack to his stat line.

“They were playing with a lot of energy and were really flying around out there and hitting people,” Ebenstein said. “The air was brisk out there, it is mid-October and it is time to fly around and it was good to see them have fun out there.”

Louisburg will wind down its regular season this Friday when it travels to Paola for their annual rivalry showdown. It will be a difficult test for the Wildcats as Paola is currently ranked in the top two in many of the Class 4A rankings.

“Paola and Louisburg is old school,” Ebenstein said. “It really doesn’t matter what the records are. Both schools have had good teams over the years and it seems like we have gone back and forth as far as wins go the last few times. It will be a lot of fun and I am excited for the kids to get that game.”

LOU               6             22           7             0 – 35

OTT               0             0             0             7 – 7

SCORING SUMMARY

First quarter

L: Weston Guetterman 27 run (kick failed)

Second quarter

L: Ben Wiedenmann 8 run (Guetterman run)

L: Wiedenmann 59 run (Layne Ryals kick)

L: Aiden Barker 20 interception return (Ryals kick)

Third quarter

L: JR Rooney 0 fumble recovery (Ryals kick)

Fourth quarter

O: Wyatt Sink 2 run (Reese Fogle kick)

LOUISBURG STATISTICS

RUSHING – Ben Wiedenmann 7-112; Weston Guetterman 11-98; Justin Collins 3-26; Andy Hupp 2-10; Carson Wade 2-5.

PASSING – Riley Van Eaton 1-2-6

RECEIVING – Mason Dobbins 1-6

TACKLES – Ben Wiedenmann 3, Andy Hupp 3, Nathan Vincent 3, Carson Wade 2, Jase Hovey 2, Layne Ryals 2, Aiden Barker 2, Alec Younggren 2, JR Rooney 2, Isaiah Whitley 1, Konnor Vohs 1, Kaven Bartlett 1, Tom Koontz 1, Dominic Owens 1, Jay Scollin 1.

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