SPEARVILLE — There were no road woes for the Hoxie High School football team.
After the Indians played their first two playoff games on their home field, they faced a tough test at perennial power Spearville on Friday night in the Eight Man Division I sub-state round.
But the Indians showed they were up to the test with a 44-20 victory to reach next weekend's title game in Newton against St. Paul.
Hoxie head coach Lance Baar said it was a big win for his team against a tough Spearville team. The win improved the Indians to 11-1 this year.
“It’s huge,” Baar said. “We knew it was gonna be a tough task, and these guys just got it done. We played disciplined defense and just pounded the ball.”
Entering the game, Spearville coach Matt Fowler had pointed out how much bigger the Indians were, and Baar said that was big for the Indians.
“We watched film (of Spearville) against Central Plains, another big team, and saw how Spearville really flew around,” Baar said. “(They were) very aggressive. I mean undersized, but very, very aggressive. I told our guys, ‘It’s not going to be easy. We may have ‘em in size, but we’re gonna have to bring it every single play,’ and they did. They did a great job.”
Fowler praised Hoxie for playing a “tremendous game.”
He also said the Indians’ size definitely wore on his team. The team also lost senior Waylon Strecker to an injury early in the game, something Fowler said hurt the Royal Lancers on both sides of the ball.
The Lancers also had a number of dropped passes in the game, including one of their early drives that ended with a turnover-on-downs after consecutive drops on third and fourth downs.
“You’ll only get so many opportunities in a game like this, and you’ve gotta make the most of ‘em,” Fowler said. “Those times when you fail to make a big play, they definitely hurt you. You’ve gotta be able to come away with more of those.”
It was an emotional night for the Royal Lancers, in part because it was the final game for a senior class which had done well for Spearville. Before Friday night, the group of Royal Lancers playing as seniors had never lost a game on their home field.
“I’m just extremely proud of these young men and the effort that they gave each and every day, the seniors especially,” Fowler said.
Last year, the team lost 14 seniors, which caused some to question how the team would do this year, Fowler said.
“We answered the bell every time,” he said. “I don’t know that I could say I’ve ever been any more proud of a football team than I have been of this one. They just continually answered the bell, and they fought to the final whistle every single game they ever played in.”
The legacy those seniors leave, Fowler said, goes beyond the walls of the football stadium.
“Their legacy and what they leave behind, not just winning football games a lot but the impact they’ve had on this community and school will be felt for a long long time,” Fowler said.