By BRETT MARSHALL
It's a familiar path for Ulysses High School coach Jason Kenny and his Tigers (9-1) as they hit the road for their regional championship game on Saturday at 6 p.m. against Hesston (8-2).
Last year, the Tigers traveled east to meet up with the same Swathers team that will take the field on Saturday night. In that 2010 contest, Josh Jarnagin rushed for 215 yards and scored three touchdowns while quarterback Braden Langston threw three touchdown passes (143 yards) in a 47-21 win over the Swathers.
"Yep, we're going to the same place and sometimes it just works out that way," Kenny said. "Hesston's a good team, better than the one we played last year."
That is due in part to the Swathers' running back Kyle Perry, who has rushed for more than 1,300 yards, including a 200-plus yard game on Tuesday in a 19-16 victory at Concordia.
"He's got breakaway speed and has some power, too," Kenny said. "They're pretty balanced and their quarterback throws well. We'll have to play our best game of the season, but we're hoping for the same results."
Defensively, Kenny said he believed the Swathers are better than the 2010 team.
"They're just better across the board," Kenny said. "They've gotten better each week and are definitely better than a year ago."
The Tigers continue to utilize the big-play concept on offense, headed by Langston. His favorite targets are speedsters Tate Annis and Chase Newell, while Jarnagin and junior Armando Sandoval provide a strong outside/inside running attack.
"Certainly we're throwing the ball more than we have in the past," Kenny said. "I like the way the kids have been playing. They've worked hard to get here and they want to keep going."
Kenny said the travel to Hesston poses no issues for his players.
"We did it last year, we'll do much the same schedule this year," Kenny said. "The kids are excited and they understand the importance of taking care of things. With this schedule, you can't sleep in and it's tough on everyone. It's just bam-bam. But you show up and play, and I think the experience of doing this before helps us prepare."
A victory would move the Tigers into the quarterfinals on Nov. 11 and that game would return them to Ulysses to face the winner of the Rose Hill-Andale game.
See prep pairings, Scoreboard, Page B2.