The Cimarron Bluejays got a historic, skid-breaking win Friday night, defeating the Ellsworth Bearcats 52-14. The win was not only the Cimarron’s eighth-consecutive win of the season but, more importantly, kept their season alive in Cimarron’s first playoff win in eight tries, dating back to 1998.
“I suppose maybe for the kids it's a big deal, maybe for the community, but for me, I don't get too worried about that kind of stuff,” Greg Koenig said.
His worry is the Bluejays’ next opponent, the Hoisington Cardinals who visit Cimarron at 7 p.m. Friday in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. The Bluejays (8-1) know the Cardinals quite well, as Hoisington has eliminated Cimarron from the state playoffs in three out of the last four postseason appearances — in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
“For us, It’s next opponent up,” Koenig said. “ I don't think there is any extra pressure on us. We try not to focus on things we can't control and we had no control of that streak. We are just trying to be the best that we can be.”
Koenig tells his players they can only control what’s on the field on Friday.
“Our guys are aware of Hoisington knocking us out of the playoffs in three of our last four years,” he said. “Most of the guys that played on those teams have graduated, so this is a new opportunity. So we’re just gonna worry about being the best version of us and give them our best shot.”
The Hoisington Cardinals enter the game on Friday with a 7-2 season record, and having defeated the Sterling Black Bears in their first playoff game, 38-13. The Cardinals’ two losses this season came against Pratt in the first game of the season, 34-0. The second loss came to the No.1-ranked team in 2A, the Phillipsburg Panthers, 51-21, in district play.
“Hoisington is a very well-coached team, and they have some outstanding athletes,” Koenig said. “They are big, strong, physical and they play hard. They run a flexbone offense, similar to what Lakin runs.”
That flexbone offense has been incredibly successful for the Cardinals, averaging 35.2 points per game. Its led by junior running back Wyatt Pedigo, who averages 205.3 yards on the ground per game, racking up 1,642 yards and 22 touchdowns for the season.
“We have to be, obviously, very efficient on offense and sound on defense,” Koenig said. “That also includes not hurting ourselves in the kicking game and turning the ball over or having penalties. We keep stressing to the players that we want to play to the best to our ability at this point.”