By CONOR NICHOLL Cnicholl1@gmail.com for Sports in Kansas
Lakin posted its second straight 8-2 season last fall with 10 seniors on a 32-player roster. The group included lineman Hadley Panzer, a Kansas State signing and the first Shrine Bowl selction in school history. Panzer was a two-time first team all-state pick.
As well, running back Kayden Christiansen cleared 2,050 rushing yards in his career, including more than 1,000 as a junior and exceeded 750 as a senior. Christiansen signed with Bethel College. They helped Lakin earn Round of 16 playoff appearances in both seasons, the best finish for the school since ’01. Lakin won a postseason game each year after two previously. It marked the school’s most victories since 8-2 in ’04.
Lakin graduated more than 55 percent of its rushing yards and receptions. Christiansen was by far the team’s leading tackler. Other key seniors included Jaylyn Hash and Erick Moreno. Coach Chris Bamberger, who won titles as a player at Jetmore and as a head coach at Ness City, entered this year 30-19 at Lakin. He was 2-7, 5-5, 7-3, 8-2, and 8-2.
Even with the significant graduation losses, Bamberger has guided Lakin to a solid 2-2 start in 2020. On Friday, the Broncs defeated Ellis, 18-12, in its Homecoming game in the Class 2A, District 7 opener. It marked the first contest versus Ellis in at least 25 years, according to the Kansas Football History database. In a close district, Lakin took a big step to another winning season, top-four district finish and playoff berth.
TMP, Cimarron and Lakin are all 1-0 in district, while Ellis, Syracuse, and Southwestern Heights are 0-1. TMP (3-1) has its best start since ’11, Syracuse its best since ’99 and Cimarron beat Scott City in non-district for the first time since the ‘40s.
Against Ellis, junior Servando Gonzalez scored on runs from one and 29 yards for a 12-0 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, Gonzalez completed a two-yard TD pass to Conner Hudson for an 18-0 advantage. Ellis scored twice, but Gonzalez sealed the win with an interception in the end zone. Gonzalez is easily the team’s most experienced returning skill player after he passed for 430 yards and rushed for more than 470 in ’19. Gonzalez has started since he was a freshman.
Lakin is quietly experienced on the offensive line. This winter, MaxPreps had a survey of hundreds of coaches to find the states’ most overlooked players. Two from Kansas were named: quarterback Cory Macon and Aller. Macon transferred from K.C. Washington to K.C. Piper for this fall. The survey ran April 23.
The 5-foot-8, 200-pound Aller played on both sides and first team all-league. He has started three years. Lakin line coach Wyatt Jiru has coached Aller and noted in the report that he is “an extremely hard worker.” Aller squats 500, bench presses 290 and cleans 290.
“His biggest attribute is his quickness on the snap and pad level at the level of scrimmage,” the report wrote.
Additionally, 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior Tanner Hattabaugh, a two-year starter for Elkhart, transferred to Lakin when his dad, Chris, became the high school principal. Junior Omar Gonzalez (5-10, 215) and senior Domanick Miller (6-0, 230) are also returning starters. Senior running back/linebacker Hunter Davis was the Hi-Plains League basketball player of the year in the winter.
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