Rossville looking for first ever state football title

Rossville looking for first ever state football title (photo: Shari Gentry)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Nov 27, 2014

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Rossville punched their ticket to the 3A state championship game for the first time in 22 years with a 21-14 victory over Silver Lake in the sub-state championship game last Friday. Entering last weeks game, Rossville was 0-8 against Silver Lake in the sub-state championship game dating back to 2002. It was the second time Rossville has defeated Silver Lake in the "War on 24" this season.

"It was a big time environment like every time we play them. I thought our kids made some plays and found a way to win," Derick Hammes, Rossville head coach said. 

Rossville is a known and well respected football program in the state of Kansas. They are consistently in the state playoffs, making the playoffs 25 times in the history of the program. The Bulldogs have never captured a state football title in the playoff era. Their 46 playoff wins are the most by a team in the state of Kansas without a state title. 

Rossville has been so close to a state title in the past. They lost 3-0 in the state title game back in 1992 to Hesston on a Swather field goal from Ryan Achilles. Their 1979 team allowed a state record three points all year, posting 11 consecutive shutouts, before falling 3-0 to Smith Center in the 1979 sub-state championship game. Maybe its been bad luck, maybe its been the pairing with state power Silver Lake, but the Bulldogs are hungry for a state title.

"We want a state title bad but its one thing to want something but you have to do it on the field," Hammes said. 

Rossville's opponent, Scott City, is no stranger to the title game. The Beavers won it all just two years ago over Silver Lake. Scott City has a 4-1 record in state title games. Rossville will have to be at it's best to defeat Scott City on Saturday.
"I can tell you from the film work we've done, they are very explosive. They have three to four athletes on their team that will be all-state in 3A. I was very impressed with them." Hammes said. 
Rossville has been led all season long by junior quarterback Tucker Horak. Horak has accounted for 48 touchdowns (passing, rushing) in 2014 with over 3,400 yards. Horak averages 13.9 yards per carry rushing. Senior Thatcher Horak has chipped in 981 yards rushing and leads the team in receiving with 531 yards. Nick Reesor leads the Rossville defense with 98 tackles on the season. The defensive unit has also picked off 15 passes in 2014. Junior Foreign exchange student from Germany, Paul Steinke, is also a weapon on the special teams for the Bulldogs. Steinke is a perfect 98-for-98 on PAT's in 2014, a state record, while going 2-for-2 on field goals. 
Scott City is led by senior quarterback Trey O'Neil who has 1,868 yards passing in 2014.Juniors Cooper Griffith and Wyatt Kropp each have over 1,000 yards of rushing and have combined for 35 rushing touchdowns in 2014. Senior receivers Brett Meyer (598 yards) and Sloan Baker (562 yards) are O'Neils favorite targets. The defense is led by Griffith's 152 stops, while Baker is second on the team with 100. 
Saturday's kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm at Hutchinson's Gowan's Stadium. Look for Rossville to make history as they go for their first ever state football title. Click here for interview w/ HC Derick Hammes.