Holton Wildcats hunt for their first state title since 2012

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 11:31 PM CST
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HOLTON, Kan. (WIBW) - The Wildcats have their eyes on the prize and are looking to secure their first state title since 2012.

“That first loss we had (Nemaha Central) in the beginning of the season leveled us out and we just built from there on up and haven’t stopped and we’re getting ready this week and we’re going to play out hearts out,” Running back Jayden Fletcher said.

Holton has appeared in seven title games, nine all together, after they split with Jackson Heights.

But the opponent they have is a monster in 12-0 Andale, looking for their 51st straight win and fourth consecutive championship.

“We’ve played them three times, all here and all wins so we feel comfortable playing them and they run a similar offense and they’re similar to us,” Head coach Brooks Barta said. “I think it’s unique for both teams to actually have to play against somebody that plays the same way that they do.”

“We’re treating it like a 0-0 matchup like we’ve never played or seen them before,” Quarterback Matthew Lierz said. “We have a game plan that the coach has and we think we’re a fairly decent matchup with them and I think we’ll be alright.”

“They run to the ball really well. I think that’s something we’ve been doing really well too lately. We have to fight for every yard that we can get,” Lierz added.

The Wildcats have enjoyed a lot of success themselves this season being 11-1 along with having a five headed monster at running back.

“Coach has a great game plan for us and we just got to stick to it. They’re going to have big plays. They’re going to stop us, we’re going to stop them, it’s going to be a dog fight but our coach has a great game plan for us and stick with that and we’re going to do out best,” Fletcher said.

“We’re fortunate to have the number of skilled kids that we do and we don’t know which guy it’s going to be but we hope a couple of guys step forward and put up some yards for us,” Barta said.”

Barta told 13 Sports in the beginning of the season that his team lacked leadership last season after falling in Sub-State, but he says that has vastly improved this season.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress over the last seven or eight weeks in terms of leadership and understanding what we need to do as a team and that’s the reason we’re in the state championship,” Barta said.

That leadership comes from Lierz who is one of many seniors on the team and he’s seen that growth within his teammates.

“Over the summer and practices this year we got a lot of guys in our senior class that have stepped up and that’s developed this team to what it is now,” Lierz said.

Since it’s the 10 year anniversay of Holton winning their last state title, Fletcher remembers that title team quite well.

“Since I was young, I looked up to all the high schoolers that won it in 2012 and I just wanted to be like them and play on the state field and in front of the big crowd and it’s just a dream come true really,” Fletcher said.

Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. at Hutchinson Community College.