Our High School Football Preview Tour continues to roll on.
The Rocking M Media sports staff is previewing the 2019 season, venturing to different parts of central Kansas.
The latest stop was in Lindsborg, home to the Smoky Valley Vikings.
Since the arrival of head coach Tim Lambert, Smoky Valley has consistently improved. In 2015, Lambert’s Vikings finished 2-7. A year later, SV recorded a playoff win, improving the record to 8-3. In 2017, Smoky Valley went 9-2, followed by a 10-1 campaign a year ago.
Smoky Valley has won a playoff game for three consecutive seasons, although the Vikes fell to Pratt in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
Just three senior starters return for the Vikings, who have a challenging path ahead to continue the path of improvement. Offensive lineman Dax Hopp is the lone returning starter on the offensive side. He serves as a two-way player, joining safety Andrew Peters and linebacker Raliegh Wilson on defense.
Coach Lambert loves to run the ball, but has a gigantic void to fill that was once held by the three-headed rushing monster of Lane Schrag, Timmy Lambert and Cort Elliott. Lambert and Elliott were both 1,000-yard rushers while Schrag nearly reached 800. Lambert is now running track & field at Kansas State. Elliott joins his older brother, Beck, at Kansas Wesleyan for football.
There’s a bit of uncertainty in the air, but the Vikings have a group of juniors and underclassmen to lean on. The opportunities are there for players that waited their turn.
Smoky Valley travels to Larned to open the season on Friday, September 6. Catch every game on 95.5 The Rock.
2019 schedule for Smoky Valley Vikings (all kickoff times slated for 7 pm; listen on 95.5 The Rock):
Aug. 30 – Preseason jamboree with Ell-Saline, Minneapolis and Southeast of Saline
Sept. 6 – at Larned
Sept. 13 – Haven
Sept. 20 – Nickerson
Sept. 27 – at Hesston*
Oct. 4 – Clay Center*
Oct. 11 – at Chapman*
Oct. 18 – at Halstead*
Oct. 25 – Rock Creek*
Nov. 1 – PLAYOFFS
*3A District 5 Game
Day 1: Abilene Cowboys
Day 1: Ellsworth Bearcats
Day 2: Southeast of Saline Trojans
Day 3: Minneapolis Lions
Day 4: Sacred Heart Knights
Day 5: on Wednesday: Ell-Saline Cardinals & Solomon Gorillas
Day 6 on Thursday: Salina South Cougars & Bennington Bulldogs
Day 7 on Friday: Salina Central Mustangs