Seniors and community leads Olpe back to State Championship game

Olpe Eagle #14 Damon Redeker takes off on a quarterback run in the third quarter.  The Olpe...
Olpe Eagle #14 Damon Redeker takes off on a quarterback run in the third quarter. The Olpe Eagles defeated the Oakley Plainsmen by a score of 14 to 0 to win the KSHSAA Class 1A State Championship football game held at Lewis Field Stadium on the campus of Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas on November 28, 2020. (Photo: Joey Bahr, Bahr | (Photo: Joey Bahr, www.joeybahr.)
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 11:13 PM CST
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OLPE, Kan. (WIBW) - They’re back.

“Been our goal since day one.” Damon Redeker, Olpe senior quarterback, said.

In the state title game.

“Means another week of getting to spend time with these kids.” Chris Schmidt, Olpe head football coach, said.

Just like a season ago.

“We’re all pumped and excited,” Derek Hoelting, Olpe senior running back, said. “Ready to go.”

Olpe will kick off in the 1A state championship game for the second consecutive year.

“It’s in our blood I think to know how to play and what to play and I think it’s just a lot of confidence for us,” Redeker said. “So I think our team is pretty deep and I think we have the capabilities that can make it to the state championship.”

The reigning state champion eagles came into the season with a huge target on their back. That made the team work harder.

“We knew coming into this season that we would probably have the X on our backs,” Hoelting said. “We all kind of rose up to that challenge. Said this is a challenge. We’re going to get everybody’s best games. So, lets go make the most of it.”

“I think we just had the mindset to bring us back,” Ted Skalsky, Olpe senior middle linebacker, said. “So we could push to get to that spot where we had last year. So we could have that feeling we can hopefully win the state title that year.”

Olpe ripped through the competition going undefeated. A strong senior core led the way.

“Well, we lean on our seniors,” Schmidt said. “We’ve got a big group of senior kids that have been through it the last couple of years. A big part of it. Really they’ve had the mindset from the very beginning that this is a new year. You know, everybody else has kind of piggy backed off them.”

And behind all great football teams is a community that brings unwavering support.

“We really do play for our community a lot,” Hoelting said. “It means a lot to me as a player to see everybody come out and support us like that. Because it just makes you play with a lot more enthusiasm and adrenaline and you’re like “hey, there’s people here to watch us. Let’s go put on a show.”

Inman stands between the Eagles and a repeat. Time to go to work.

“There’s no I in team,” Redeker said. “So, I think our team will come out there and not put it on themselves, but on each other and we’ll come out and hopefully win.”

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