In recent years the Little River Redskins have been one of the dominant teams in 8-Man football in the state of Kansas. Coming into this season, the Redskins had a very impressive 42-8 won loss mark since 2018 highlighted by a State Championship in the 2020 season. They nearly defended their crown a year ago winning their first 15 games before falling to Meade by a score of 22-14 to finish as the 8-Man Division I runner-up in 2021.
So, the Ell-Saline Cardinals knew they had their work cut out for them Thursday night and the Cards were able to hang with the Redskins in the first half. Ell-Saline only trailed 14-8 after the first 24 minutes, but the wheels fell off in the third quarter and the Cards lost by 32 points.
Little River senior running back Braxton Lafferty opened the scoring with a 41 yard touchdown gallop with just under two minutes to go in the first quarter. Ell-Saline would answer with senior QB Kade Wilson hitting junior wideout Hunter Holmgrem with a TD pass that covered 17 yards and tying the score at 8-8. Little River would take the lead for good with just over three minutes to go in the first half when senior quarterback Rylan Konen punched it in from the 2 yard line. That score was set up by a 51 yard punt return from senior Braden Young.
Little River would dominate the game after the intermission. Young scored on a 3 yard TD run with 8:41 left in the third quarter. The ensuing drive by the Cardinals lasted all of one play with Wilson hitting sophomore receiver Melvin Lutes on a 29-yard pass play for Ell-Saline’s last score of the game at the 8:22 mark of quarter number 3. The Redskins scored twice more in the stanza with a 3 yard run by senior Grant Stephens and a 34 yard run by Lafferty. Little River led after 3, 38-14.
But Little River wasn’t done. Konen snuck the pigskin in from the 1 yard line with 6:22 to go in the contest making the final score 46-14.
Following a short week of practice due to the game being moved to Thursday, Ell-Saline will have a long week to prepare for Bennington who comes calling to Brookville next Friday.
With the loss, Ell-Saline falls to 2-1 and Little River improves to 2-1. Bennington is 2-0 going into action on Friday.