I am still a sleepy lad. I wanted to doze off so bad on the trip to Smith Center, and when I got to the stadium parking lot, I fell asleep in my car for a good 40 minutes.
Now it’s less than an hour to kickoff between Smith Center and Republic County. I’ve seen this before. Twice. And I don’t think the third time is going to be much different.
Okay, there are two differences between the games I witnessed between the two schools in 2011 and 2012 and this year’s game.
First, it’s earlier in the season. Smith Center and Republic County ended up playing its final regular season games against one another from 2010 through 2013. They were placed in the same district by the Kansas State HIgh School Activities Association for the 2014 and 2015 seasons last October, but since Phillipsburg moved into the district and moved down from 3A to 2-1A, it was agreed the Panthers and Redmen would face each other in the finale, since both are in the Mid-Continent League and only 30 miles apart.
Second, Republic County has a win on its record. The Buffaloes lost 33 consecutive games from week five of 2010 through the first week of this season, ending the long skein by defeating Russell 34-21 in week two. Unfortunately, the Buffaloes have reverted to form, losing 27-0 to Ellsworth and 70-6 to Beloit in the last two weeks.
Could it be worse than 55-8, 55-8, 45-14 and 64-0, the scores of the last four years? Maybe. Smith Center is seething after losing 32-0 at Norton a week ago. It’s homecoming for the Redmen. And since this is a district game, the Redmen know they can’t afford a slip-up against a team it is clearly superior to.