By William

INMAN – With 17 returning starters the Inman High School football team looks toward success at district and state playoffs.

Led by Head Coach Lance Sawyer who begins his fifth season in charge of the Teutons, will look to improve on last season’s 6-5 overall record that concluded with a loss to Plainville in the State Class 1A Quarterfinals.

Nine starters return on offense for the Teutons, including junior Jace Doerksen a two-year starter at quarterback, Carter Brown a senior running back and kicker, senior tight end Mason Carter, senior wide receiver Derrick Johnson, junior running back Kendyn Blank, plus four offensive linemen like seniors Dairien Dawes and Cole Hase as well as juniors Grant Thimmesch and Christian Winsky.

On defense eight starters return including defensive backs Doerksen, Johnson and junior Kyler Konrade, defensive linemen Hase, Dawes and Thimmesch, plus linebackers Brown and senior Nate Shober, a three-year starter.

Regarding his seniors, Coach Sawyer had much to say, including, “Carter Brown had 112 tackles on defense and is a very tough downhill runner as well as a solid kicker that included a school record 42-yard field goal in the state quarterfinals. (Dairien) Dawes has tremendous footwork on both sides of the ball while (Cole) Hase has been a three-year starter and is an explosive hitter on both sides. Nate (Shober) is possible the smartest player on the team and has been a phenomenal linebacker who is also the captain of our defense. Derick (Johnson) was our all-league punter and is one of the top receivers in the league while being a tough cover for anybody in the state. Our final senior starter is Mason Carter and he begins his fourth season as our starter at tight end where he makes a tall target who is also a very good blocker inside while we hope to give him a bigger role in the passing game this season.”

The top underclassman is Doerksen and Coach Sawyer noted that, “Jace is an explosive athlete on both sides of the ball and we feel confident opening up the offense with him in his third year running the system, while Kyler (Konrade) is one of the top tacklers on the team and is extremely smart, tough, and physical player. Kendyn (Blank) was a strong complement to his all-state brother and now graduated Kolby Blank in 2019. He will take over the load in the backfield with his breakaway speed and his ability to make people miss in space. Winsky and Thimmesch are both junior on the line with Winsky having become a beast in the weight room where he will be the first Teuton athlete to make it to our 1,000 pound club which is the total lift of the bench, squat and clean.”

Many of these mentioned returning Teutons earned post-season honors including all-league honors for Doerksen, Brown, Dawes, Johnson, and Konrade while Doerksen, Brown, Dawes and Johnson each earned honorable mention all-state.

And the cupboard for newcomers is full of talent as the Teutons will also count on junior Dawson Mannebach, senior Thomas Evans plus sophomores Eli Brunk, Harrison Brunk and Eli Leck.

Coach Sawyer also pointed out that a trio of sophomore lineman, Garrett Froese, Zaden Johnson and Dominic Nuese-Rasmussen will become the next wave of solid front line players.


“We are excited to get back at it,” said Coach Sawyer as he began is overall reflection on the upcoming season. “Our guys have continued to dedicate themselves to the weight room and the growth has been outstanding and we are ready to see results again on the football field.”

When asked about his key to victories in 2020, Coach Sawyer replied, “We return a lot of starters so we will count on that experience paying dividends. We will need to be able to open up what we do on both offense and defense. We will need to stay healthy. Remember, our defense was so good last season and we hit harder than any other team, we will be able to win games based on our physicality on both sides of the ball. Our players will be fast and athletic plus strong.”

Coach Sawyer concluded his reflections by saying, “We had one of the better seasons Inman has seen in the past 25-years, so we plan to take a ton of confidence from last season. We also found what it takes to be successful while realizing how physical we need to be on both sides of the ball. We will need all that physical play and experience from the get go as our first game will be a tough one.”

The Teutons open their season on Friday, September 4 with a road trip to Hutchinson Trinity before getting a home opener with Ellinwood in week two.

2020 Schedule: September 4 – at Hutchinson Trinity; September 11 – host Ellinwood; September 18 – at Salina Sacred Heart; September 25 – at Oakley; October 2 – host Plainville; October 9 – at Ell Saline; October 16 – host Remington; October 23 – host Smith Center.

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