Tuesday, 22 September 2020
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Twin Valley League Football Preview
By Jonny Kane
Copyright: MSC Sports

10 of the last 12 years at least one Twin Valley League has claimed a state championship in football and last year the streak continued with the Centralia Panthers capturing the Class 1A State Championship. The TVL didn’t disappoint again last year with competition at a high caliber on a weekly basis throughout the season. Year in and year out the Twin Valley League produces some of the top teams at both the 8-man levels along with teams in Class 1A. Heading into 2020 there seems to be much more parity in the league heading into the season which should once again show why the Twin Valley League is one of the best in the state of Kansas!

CENTRALIA was dominant from start to finish last season and after a season opening loss to Rossville the Panthers ran the table all the way to a 1A State Championship! The Centralia defense was dominant all season long recording four shutouts on the year, while allowing just 10 points per game in the playoffs. Nobody expected Centralia to make it to the title game let alone win it, which made the celebration that much better. But, one of the best players in TVL history in Kamble Haverkamp has since graduated leaving big shoes to fill for Coach Glatczak heading into 2020.

VALLEY HEIGHTS had another solid season in 2019 posting a 7-3 record to finish second in the Twin Valley League. After falling in the second round of the postseason to Jackson Heights in an OT thriller, the team is looking for redemption. Despite losing Cole Coggins, who was the team’s leading rusher over the last three years the Mustangs still return a ton of experience with high hopes. Eight starters on offense and nine starters on defense are back, so this is a very experienced group that Head Coach Tony Trimble believes could be a special group.

TROY started last year 2-1, but then lost their final six games as injuries piled up and the schedule got really tough, including playing three teams that won a state championship and another that advanced to sub-state. Coach Derek Jasper enters year number eight at his alma-mater with his biggest rebuilding project yet as only three starters return on both sides of the football. The Trojans also have a new defensive coordinator and despite some speedy play-makers, they need to improve on the line and be able to run the ball effectively to see improved success with a lighter schedule in 2020.



Hanover entered last season with a ton of question marks but answered those quickly jumping out to a 5-0 start right out of the gates before suffering a week six loss to Axtell which ended Hanover’s 43-game win streak. Still from there the Wildcats ran the table and finished in a tie for first in the TVL and cruised through the playoffs before running into the Eagles for a second time. Under Head Coach Matt Heuer, who heads into his 16th season at the helm, the Wildcats head into 2020 with once again high hopes of competing for a league championship and even a state title. 

Clifton-Clyde has continued its upward trajectory under head coach Russ Steinbrock, boasting a 9-1 record last season and winning their second straight district title. Heading into 2020 it is a team that has high expectations once again after returning seven starts on both sides of the ball. Coach Steinbrock says the team has made some of the best strides in the weight room he has seen from a team in his coaching career. The team is also expecting the talent from its sophomore class, plus some new players added to the fold will be able to contribute right away

Frankfort had another season to remember in 2019 as the Wildcats won eight games and produced the program’s best record in school history finishing 8-2. The Wildcats only two losses were to Hanover including a 4-point loss in the second round of the playoffs while picking up a dramatic win over Axtell on the game’s final play to earn a 3-way tie for the Twin Valley League 8-man title. Still, despite the departure of a strong senior class Frankfort and head coach Nick Anderson enter 2020 with high expectations with seven guys back with starting experience leaving plenty of optimism once again.

Axtell reached the 8-man DII State Championship a season ago before falling to Osborn in the title game 34-26. The Eagles dealt with plenty of adversity throughout the season but still won 11 games and even ended Hanover’s 43-game win streak with a freshman quarterback under center. The Eagles tied for first place in the Twin Valley League and would have won the league outright if it were not for falling to Frankfort 24-20 on the final play of the game. Coach Eric Detweiler now enters his eighth season at the helm with a few question marks, but still plenty of playmakers and seasoned veterans back with high expectations of making another deep playoff run in 2020.

Doniphan West was a triple overtime loss to Onaga away from a winning season and making the playoffs.  Still, a 4-5 record was a step forward for Coach Perry Smith in his first year with the Mustangs. Now, the team that has only had a couple seniors the last two years on the roster, is ready to make a big jump, led by a strong, talented and experienced junior class, D-West has the pieces to put together a great season and make a post-season push. Despite only having about 16 athletes out again and needing to stay healthy, this team competed with everyone on their schedule in 2019 and should do it again as a sleeper threat in 2020.    

Blue Valley took a huge step back last season finishing the year 1-7 which came just one year after exploding for five wins. Low numbers once again haunted the Rams who were shutout twice with the only win coming in a 70-24 beat down of Wetmore in week three. Blue Valley failed to score double digits in five of their eight games meaning that in 2020 the focus will be on putting the ball into the end zone. Coach Matt Schreiber enters his 16th season with several question marks but still high hopes with a new group and new districts giving the Rams plenty to look forward to heading into the year.  

Wetmore is set to enter 2020 with seven starters back on each side of the ball and nine letter winners returning. A team that was able to compete for more in games last season is looking to improve from the two wins from last season and look to continue to improve in the win column. Coach Rick Schnacker enters his sixth season with a young core but high hopes after bringing back so much from a team that saw plenty of improvement a year ago.

Onaga saw their win total improve from three to five last season posting their first winning record since 2014, including their first as 8-man, and making the playoffs as well. The Buffaloes were led by a strong senior class that included their workhorse running back in Ethan Powell. However, the team still returns a lot, including three starters on offense and four starters on defense leaving third year head coach Ben Kolterman with plenty to be excited for heading into 2020.

Washington County continued to see improvements a year ago winning four games to end the year with a record of 4-5 in just their second season at the 8-man level. The season could not have started any better for the Tigers who won four of their first five games before dropping their final four contests. The defense was the biggest problem for Washington County a year ago allowing over 40 points per game including over 45 points in each of the final four games of the season. Head Coach Doug Thompson now enters 2020 with several question marks after the graduation of a strong senior class a year ago.

Linn unfortunately at the time of our printing of this magazine was not scheduled to have a team this season due to low numbers.

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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