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Game of the Week: No. 1 Ness City continues to improve

Published on -9/13/2012, 1:52 PM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

and NICK McQUEEN

sports@dailynews.net

Throughout the season, members of the Ness City High School football team have one thing on their minds -- just improve from week to week.

It might be a little hard to top what the Eagles, ranked No. 1 in Eight-Man Division I in the statewide media poll, have done thus far.

After a 54-8 win against Kinsley, and a 58-8 win against perennial power Macksville, a healthier-than-2011 Ness City squad hosts Victoria in Friday's 7 p.m. contest.

"(We focus) every week on improvement," Ness City third-year coach Chris Bamberger said. "If we improve from one week to the other, I think that's the biggest thing. Right now, I would have to say we have made some improvements."

On paper, the favored Eagles might not have a problem with a depleted Knights' squad that will likely be without starting running back Dalton Dreiling. The Knights (1-1), though, are a traditional contender.

The Knights and Eagles have split the last two meetings with Bamberger at the helm in Ness City.

"Any time you have a quality program come in such as Victoria, it's a great challenge," Bamberger said. "... It's a great challenge, and a great motivator."

The Eagles used a similar philosophy in last Friday's rout of Macksville, a club that ended a shorthanded Eagle team's run last season, 42-40, in the first round of the playoffs.

"It's always good to get one of those (wins)," Bamberger said. "And, it felt good to get that one."

Neither of the first two games have made it into the fourth quarter with the season opener against Kinsley over in the third via the mercy rule, and the Macksville win over at halftime.

The Eagles have split up the offensive workload. Feature senior backs Dalton Gantz and Garrett Flax have combined for 375 rushing yards and seven TDs to lead the way, while senior quarterback Koltyn Ratliff has added 99 yards on 14 carries with four scores.

"We've been playing sports forever with each other. When you start young, we all just kind of grow into each other and we know how we all play, and that helps once you get to high school," Ratliff said.

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