Many football pundits might have thought the Dighton 2017 season would be one of rebuilding, and they might have been right.
But Hornets head coach Ken Simon prefers to see it as a re-loading of sorts.
Well, consider it to be a success through six weeks of the season.
The latest success came Friday night in Dighton, where the Hornets methodically dispatched one of their strongest opponents — the Wallace County Wildcats — 20-8 to remain perfect at 6-0.
It’s pretty impressive considering the Hornets graduated most of their offensive firepower and key linemen, after reaching the 8-Man Division II state championship game in 2016.
“It was a tough night, and we just went out and played physical football,” Dighton coach Ken Simon said. “That’s what Wallace County does, and we knew it was gonna be a tough game. They’re the best 1-5 team I’ve seen. They’re well-coached, disciplined and are tough to play.”
On this night, it was quarterback Blair Hoffman who came up big, throwing three touchdown passes, including two to David Cramer and one to Isaac Torson.
With threatening weather all over western Kansas, the game was only three minutes old when lightning forced a 45-minute delay, with the Hornets inside the Wildcat 10-yard line.
When the game resumed, the Hornets didn’t score. But eventually after forcing Wallace County into a 3-and-out, they were able to get their first score of the night.
That one came as Hoffman hooked up with Cramer on passes of 9 and 3 yards in the first two periods, and then hit Torson on an 11-yard TD strike in the third, increasing a 14-0 halftime advantage to 20-0 through three quarters.
The first TD strike to Cramer came on an audible called by Hoffman at the line of scrimmage.
“He made some good calls, and some really good throws,” Simon said of Hoffman. “David made a couple of really good catches, too.”
Simon had high praise for his team’s defensive performance as well.
“We played some good defense, got some good field position, and was able to do just enough,” Simon said.
It’s been a storybook season again for the Hornets, with Simon only having 10 players on the roster.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this group,” Simon said. “They’ve played really well, and we’ve stayed healthy. They’re a great group of kids.”
Wallace County finally cracked the Dighton defense with Luke Johnson’s 1-yard run in the fourth, and tacked on a 2-point conversion pass, but the Wildcats couldn’t put together a rally to overcome the early deficit.
The victory improved the Hornets to 2-0 in district play and sets up two big road tests, first against Otis-Bison and then at Hodgeman County.