The Hays High football team once again faces an opponent with more depth Friday when it travels to Wichita South for a game against the 4-0 Titans.
Wichita South is more than deep, however.
“They’re fast, they’re physical and they are big,” Rath said. “They’re just a really, really good football team.”
The same might not have been said about the Titan program in the past, but second-year coach Kevin Steiner has led quite the turnaround.
“The coach has brought tremendous discipline, and the kids have bought in,” Rath said. “I mean, they’re a big 6A high school.”
Wichita South uses its numbers to platoon running backs. In Week 3’s win over Wichita Southeast, the Titans had six different ball carriers combine for 59 runs, totaling 406 yards and four touchdowns.
The leader of the attack is 5-foot-11 quarterback Allen Bishop.
“Their quarterback is the leading rusher in the city league,” Rath said. “He’s a great athlete.”
When the Titans pass, they’ve got a group of speedy receivers that do well in traffic, Rath said. Last week, in a win over Wichita East, the Titans passed for 141 yards and two touchdowns while completing 72 percent of their attempts.
As it has been through the four previous weeks, the Indians best shot to win will come from prolonged scoring drives. Hunter Brown and Isaiah Blackmon have led the Indians’ ground attack and shown the ability to pick up chunks of yards with help from the offensive line.
“When we’ve not turned it over and we’ve ran the ball and sustained drives… You can keep yourself in the ballgame,” Rath said. “We have to do that.”
The schedule has not been friendly to a Hays High team that’s still adjusting to a new style of play and the loss of last year’s senior class. The three teams the Indians have lost to are a combined 10-2.
While it might have been hard to notice for a casual observer, Rath thought his team played its best in a 38-14 loss to Garden City in Week 3.
“I thought we played the best we’ve played all year last Friday, but we played the best football team we’ve played as well,” the coach said.
“We were outmanned. (I) never thought our kids quit battling.”
The persistence of the Indians appears to be the key to progress as the difficult schedule continues in Week 5. Just because the team is off to a 1-3 start, no drastic changes should be expected.
“We can’t scrap what we do,” Rath said. “I’ve done this long enough, I know you’ve got to do what you believe in and stay true to it and try to get better at what you do. So, that’s what’ we’re trying to do, just get better at what we do, and then hopefully we got more success out of this.”