Lancers primed for their toughest test yet

Crest will take its most successful football team in years to Hanover Friday for their state quarterfinal matchup. Hanover's Wildcats are perennially among the top eight-man teams in the state.



November 12, 2020 - 9:09 AM

Crest High's Jacquez Coleman, left, hands off to Stratton McGhee in Friday's game against Hartford. Also in on the play is Crest's Holden Barker. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

COLONY — Crest High’s Lancers have passed each test before them so far in 2020.

But their first 10 wins of the season are simply a prologue to what lies ahead Friday.

Crest will be on the road to take on the state’s second-ranked Hanover Wildcats in the Sectional Round of the Kansas postseason playoffs.

“They’re by far the best team we’re gonna see thus far,” Lancer head coach Nick McAnulty said Wednesday. 

Hanover is the closest thing the state has to a football dynasty in the eight-man ranks. The Wildcats have advanced to the state semifinals a mind-boggling 12 times in the past 13 years, including nine state championship appearances and titles in 2008, ’09, ’16, ’17 and ’18.

And, in a bit of redemption, Hanover crushed Axtell last week, the same squad that beat the Wildcats in the state semifinal round in 2019.

So, yeah, they’re good.

Stylistically, Hanover mirrors Crest in many ways.

Both teams are known for their speed instead of their size, utilizing quick-strike offensive attacks.

The Wildcats aren’t exceptionally big, but they’re quick, and physical, McAnulty noted.

And like Crest, Hanover has won its first eight games this season with relative ease, allowing no opponent within 20 points. (The Lancers have beaten each of its opponents by 30 points this year.)

“They’re the kind of team that if you make any kind of mistake, they take advantage,” McAnulty said. “Teams have turnovers, and they score immediately. Keying the Wildcats is senior tailback extraordinaire Colin Jueneman, who earned all-state honors as a junior, and is coming off a four-touchdown week in Hanover’s quarterfinal win over Axtell.

His statistics may look rather pedestrian at first glance — 477 yards rushing and 303 receiving – but that only tells a smidgen of the story. Because of Hanover’s well-stocked supply of runners and receivers, the 6-2, 180-pound Jueneman has rushed the ball only 32 times on the year, and caught 21 passes.

Of those 53 touches, he’s scored 15 touchdowns.

“We’re going to have to play our best, most technically sound game of the season,” McAnulty said. “We can’t have breakdowns.”