Game of the Week: Sophomores steps up for Knights
Published on -10/4/2012, 10:26 AM
By CONOR NICHOLL
VICTORIA -- Victoria High School football coach Doug Oberle has won 60 games in six and a half seasons with the Knights. He hasn't seen a sophomore end like Victoria's Noah Dreiling in his coaching tenure. The Kansas eight-man ranks haven't seen one either this year.
The surprising Dreiling has emerged as a big play threat for the Knights, long known for their physical running game. Dreiling, also a starter at linebacker, has caught 17 passes for 347 yards and six TDs as Victoria has started 3-2 overall, 1-0 in Eight-Man, Division II, District 7 play. The Knights travel to district foe and No. 5-ranked Otis-Bison (4-1, 1-0) on Friday.
"I don't know if I have had a sophomore who catches the ball with his hands as well as Noah does," Oberle said. "We have had some really good athletes, and Noah has got a ways to go to become that good of an athlete, but as pure-passing catching ability, he has done a really good job."
The soft-spoken Dreiling ranks sixth among Kansas eight-man players in receiving yards and is tied for sixth in receiving TDs, according to maxpreps.com. Dreiling is easily first among sophomores. No other sophomore has more than 199 receiving yards or three scores. Dreiling and first-year junior quarterback Sam Ottley have helped the Knights tally 33.6 points a contest against the classification's fourth hardest schedule (preppowerindex.com).
"I enjoy it," Dreiling said. "If I am open, he usually gets it to me. That's pretty nice."
Victoria has missed senior running back Dalton Dreiling (1,830-plus career rushing yards) nearly all season because of a knee injury. Still, the victories haven't dropped off. Noah Dreiling has helped fill in at linebacker where Dalton Dreiling had started the two previous years and has recorded 48 tackles.
"First, second game, felt pretty comfortable," Noah Dreiling said of linebacker. "Played there all through middle school."
Last year, Victoria had Division II's second most difficult schedule and averaged 32.7 points a contest. Ottley has completed 26 of 58 passes for 432 yards with seven TDs and rushed for 451 yards and eight scores on 80 carries. Sophomore Bryan Dome and junior Clayton Roth have stepped up in the backfield, especially in last week's victory against Sylvan-Lucas.
"The two running backs ran extremely hard, which we hadn't necessarily seen all year," Oberle said. "That's a comfort level, knowing where the hole is, knowing where we are blocking it."
Dreiling, a reserve who was mainly used on special teams in 2011, has shown consistency all season with at least one TD catch in four of five contests.
"Noah just goes and gets the ball," Oberle said. "At the end of the day, we throw the ball up and Noah goes up and gets it. He actually had a couple of drops last week and you could literally hear the crowd kind of groan. They didn't know how to react to it, because everything we have thrown to him, he has caught."
That includes five scores of at least 14 yards and four of at least 30, part of the Knights' big plays. Dome has TD rushes of 53, 61 and 70 yards, while Ottley has scores of 23 and 44 on the ground and a 40-yard pass to junior Tanner Hobbs.
"It's been a huge momentum builder for us through the whole game, and it just helps the team out a whole lot," junior lineman Nathan Kuhn said of the big plays.
Dreiling's first score came on a 27-yard play in a Week 1 victory against Macksville.
"It was supposed to be a slant, but I saw him on the inside, so I just cut it off straight and went into the end zone," Dreiling said.
The following week, Dreiling had scores of 53 and 68 scores in a loss to St. John. Against Central Plains, Dreiling hauled in scores of five and 14 yards before he collected a 30-yard TD last week.
"He has gotten better with his route-running," Oberle said. "His hands are exceptional. He is a good leaper. He has got a good frame. When the ball is up in the air, he goes up and gets it. It's been a pleasant surprise."