The Fall Sports Season Grades Are In
November 16, 2023
Mike Motz, Sidney Sun-Telegraph
Now that the Fall Sports season has wrapped up, it's time for some grades on the area teams; who over-performed, who underperformed, and how the teams look for the future.
This week will focus on Football.
Sidney Football, 10-2 record - Grade: A
Head Coach Ryan Smith and his assistants did a great job with the Red Raiders this season. The Sidney team finally had an effective passing game which had been lacking in previous years, and it added just the right amount of a threat combined with the Red Raiders’ dominant rushing attack. The offensive line played tremendously all season long, with blocking schemes that were able to generate big rushing plays on a consistent basis. The defensive line was able to get penetration and tackles for loss on a consistent basis, while the backfield covered well and generated turnovers via interception. A flukey interception at the end of the Ogallala game prevented an undefeated regular season, and a suspiciously and strategically wetted-down field at Wahoo knocked Sidney out of the opportunity to play for a title. Although Sidney will lose offensive stars Isak Doty and Luke Holly, as well as standouts Landon Hanes, McGuire Rolls and Cole Hanley due to graduation, the Red Raiders have exceptional coaching and outstanding athletes that should keep them in contention for the near future.
Peetz Football, 7-3 record - Grade A
Coming off a 3-and-5 2022 campaign and with Dylon Rinaldo taking over head coaching duties from Scott Sorensen, it seemed that Peetz would struggle this year, and chances of a playoff run were slim. But the Bulldogs over-performed, starting with a shoutout win on the road against Kiowa, and building a 5-and-0 record until a one-point loss to Briggsdale. Sophomore Rhyder Bayne averaged nearly 100 yards rushing per game and senior Noah Naegele was a big target for the Bulldogs’ passing attack, reeling in 21 touchdown catches on the season. The defense was exceptional, intercepting 19 passes and recovering 20 fumbles on the season. Peetz will lose standouts Naegele, Chance Segelke, Aiden Hill, and Wyatt Talhelm to graduation, but their underclass athletes are talented and Rhyder Bayne’s speed and power will make it difficult for opponents to stop him. Look for the Bulldogs to build upon their success this season and return for a playoff run next year.
Potter-Dix Football, 9-1 record - Grade B
A 9-and-1 record and a playoff win would normally elevate a rating into the “A” category, but we expected more from the Coyotes than a second-round home field shutout to end their season. The Coyotes have fallen short of their potential the last three seasons, after going through a stretch of campaigns when the Coyotes seemed lucky to win any games. Head Coach Dale Frerichs and his assistants always have the Coyotes ready to go against their relatively-weak regular season opponents, but have struggled when stepping up past the first round of the playoffs. Their shutout loss against Parkview Christian at Combs Field two weeks ago was shocking, especially since the Patriots lost by 24 to Hay Springs in the second round of the playoffs, a team that Potter-Dix beat by 24 points early in the season. Hay Springs did not have some of their stars available for that early season matchup with the Coyotes, but watching the Hawks bully past the Patriots must not have sat well with the Coyotes. Potter-Dix will lose standouts Brayden Kasten, Caden McConnell and Jaxen Beuttenback to graduation, but have another solid core of athletes, led by sophomore Dylan Tabor, that should keep them dominant during the regular season. It’s just the playoffs, specifically the second round, that the Potter-Dix boys need to figure out.
Creek Valley, 0-8 record - Grade C-
With a new coaching staff and no senior players, the Storm were challenged to even be competitive this season, and the results were not surprising. Head Coach Desmond Doles and assistant Tucker Graeff did their best with their very young and inexperienced team, but the Storm were not competitive in any game they played this season. Their best offensive player, Zander Polk, only played in three games after suffering an injury. The good news is that he is only a sophomore, and will be back for the Storm for two more seasons. The Storm seemed overmatched in every contest this year, but the experience will build character and better play as seasons progress. From the sideline, it seemed that Doles and Graeff’s schemes were a bit too advanced for the players to handle at times, but expect the players to grow into their roles in the next few seasons and perform better. There will still be a talent deficit next year for Creek Valley, but the smart and positive messages from the coaches should enable the team to grab a few wins next year..
Leyton Football, 1-7 record--Grade D
After a 7-and-3 season and making the playoffs last season, the Warriors underperformed this season, only winning once against a winless Morrill team. Head Coach Glen Lipska lost a good amount of standouts to graduation, and had to make do with a very young team. Although seniors Trenton Rushman, Kaleb Borges and Jonathan Kruse played well enough, their efforts could not turn the fortunes of the team as a whole. The Warriors not only lost almost all of their games, they lost them by lopsided scores. Hopefully the experience of this season will lead to better play next year. The Warriors will have some good athletes returning next year, but will still be a young team overall. Expect a better performance overall, but a playoff run would be a bit of a stretch for next year's Warrior team.
Next Week: Volleyball, Cross Country and Golf