De Soto football loses season opener to Holton

Jordan Wolf, Staff Reporter

The De Soto High School Wildcats football team traveled to Holton on Friday, Aug. 31, and lost to the Holton Wildcats for the season opener.

Holton, who is ranked No. 1 in the Kansas 4A division by kansasprepfootball.com, begins the season 1-0 against De Soto.

De Soto head coach Tom Byers said the following about the challenges of the game.

“They’re [Holton] just a tremendous team physically. They had some big, physical kids on both sides of the football, offense and defense. I think that the physicality was pretty much the difference of the game.”

The game was 13-0 with 14 seconds left in the first half, until Holton scored and made it 21-0.

 “They just wore us down in the second half, scoring right before halftime. Them going up 21-0 pretty much took all the energy out of us, and they just physically pounded the ball at us,” Byers explained.

Byers went on to say that he still liked that the players played hard against a state-championship caliber team. He also explained his expectations for the game with the following comment.

“That’s always our short-term goal, to win the first game of the season. But at the same time, win, lose or draw, it’s now a great opportunity for us to evaluate where we are and keep improving.”

Byers is glad that the game was not affected by the rainstorm that hit De Soto on Friday night. The possibility of the storm helped factor into the decision for the team to travel to the game via charter bus.

“[The trip to Holton] wasn’t all that far,” Byers said. “The reason for the charter bus is that it was 100 plus degrees all summer long, and in my 19 years of experience coaching football at the high school level, when you travel the first game of the season you’re either going to get a massive thunderstorm (which we drove out of) or it’s going to be 100 degrees on Aug. 31. So to keep us safe and have a little bit more comfortable ride and to stay hydrated and so it’s not a steamed-up sauna or in a thunderstorm.”

In order for the team to improve for their next game, Byers feels “we need to tackle better” and “we need to get better at blocking”.

The Wildcats will host the Ottawa Cyclones on Sept. 7 for their first home game of the season.