The Rocking M Media High School Football Tour previews area teams as they prepare for the upcoming high school football season.
Next up: Sacred Heart.
Coming in to year two of the Garrett Galanski era for Sacred Heart, the Knights appear to have real momentum coming in to 2018.
Sacred Heart has seen its win total decrease in each of the last four seasons since posting an eight win season in 2013. The Knights’ wins have mostly decreased with each year with four wins in 2014. The Knights increased a tad in 2015 with five. However since that point, Sacred Heart has dropped to three wins in 2016 and winning just two games last season.
Still, Sacred Heart sees 2018 as an opportunity to bounce back and potentially make a run in the state playoffs.
The Knights have plenty coming back. They have 38 players on the roster and start the season with seven starters returning on offense and eight on defense. Some of their top returners include quarterback, David Anderson; as well as two-way stars Ben Del Real, Charlie Skidmore, Trace Leners and Anders Mikkelson. Sacred Heart has also added to their roster with some new faces who will play a big role.
In Sacred Heart’s 2-7 season from a year ago, the Knights dropped several close games that had they gone the other way, Sacred Heart might have had a completely different outlook on their year. In 2017, Sacred Heart led Beloit all first half before allowing a last minute TD before halftime, when the Trojans used that momentum to shut out the Knights in the second half. Sacred Heart then followed with a back-and-forth classic with rival, Southeast of Saline. The Knights led late in the game, however, they weren’t able to hold on losing 44-41. Against North Central Activities Association 2017 league champ, Ellsworth, the Knights trailed to start but had a massive rally come up just short losing by 11 points after a late Ellsworth score. Finally, the Knights still had hopes at making the class 2A/1A state playoffs and looked like they might pull it off leading Ell-Saline by 14 points at halftime. All to watch the Cardinals score 21-unanswered points, as well as another late TD to win the game for Ell-Saline.
Sacred Heart will look to learn from all of their close losses a year ago to try to make their mark in the newly re-formed class 1A in KSHSAA. Galanski says that a key focus this year for the Knights will be limiting costly mistakes: poor-timed penalties and turnovers played a crucial role in their struggles in 2017.
The Knights will have a different looking schedule in 2018. They will start the season hosting arch-rival Southeast of Saline, following that game up with league foes Minneapolis and Ellsworth. Sacred Heart then faces Hillsboro–a one win team from a year ago–and La Crosse, who will struggle to field more than 25 players on the team. Even with the schedule changes, Sacred Heart fields a brutal district with Republic County, Ell-Saline and defending state champions, Smith Center.
The 2018 season kicks off for Sacred Heart on Aug. 31 with Southeast of Saline at the Graves Family Sports Complex in Salina. Once again, all Sacred Heart games can be heard live on Rocking M Media station, FM 104.9, KSAL-FM.
2018 Sacred Heart Knights’ Football Schedule (Class 1A, District 5):
Aug. 31 – Southeast of Saline
Sept. 7 – @ Minneapolis
Sept. 14 – Ellsworth
Sept. 21 – @ Hillsboro
Sept. 28 – La Crosse
Oct. 5 – @ Smith Center (District)
Oct. 12 [email protected] Ell-Saline (District)
Oct. 19 – Republic County (District)
Oct. 26 – TBD (Cross-District Game)
*NOTE: All Knights games can be heard LIVE on FM 104.9 with Jeremy Bohn and Clarke Sanders*
Listen to the head coach of Knights, Garrett Galanski here: