Game film doesn’t lie — especially when it’s depicting the play of two undefeated teams.
And coaches Chris Schmidt and Lance Sawyer of Olpe and Inman, respectively, know what they see on film.
“They’re impressive to watch on film,” said Sawyer in regard to Olpe.
On film, Inman has “got receivers who can go get a ball,” said Schmidt. “They got running backs. They got speed. The quarterback is a four-year starter … so they got a lot of weapons.”
The Olpe Eagles (12-0) play the Inman Teutons (12-0) for the 1A state championship Saturday at Lewis Field on the campus of Fort Hays State University. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.
The defending 1A champion Olpe meets a talented Inman team that lost in last year’s sub-state game.
“They had a good season last year,” Schmidt said. “Come up a game short. They got beat by Oakley in the sub-state, and they had a bunch of good kids coming back.”
Inman has a strong offense, but on the other side of the ball, “…most of those kids play defense too. Their line has two or three kids that we’ve heard several things about all year long,” Schmidt said. “They’re the real deal.”
And seemingly, the defense is where it starts for the Teutons. In particular, up front.
“Watching film, their run game is good,” Sawyer said. “And we’re going to have to stop the run. So that’s going to take our front three.”
That trio is junior Dominic Nurse-Rasmussen and seniors Dawson Mannebach and Grant Thimmesch. Sawyer said Mannebach is one of the best players in 1A.
“So those three are going to be vitally important to stopping the run and keeping their offensive line off our linebackers,” Sawyer said.
The Eagles’ run game is the team’s offensive centerpiece. Quarterback Damon Redeker is a baller and doesn’t have much difficulty taking the rock to the second level of the defense.
“They’re fast,” Sawyer said. “The biggest thing that shows up on film is their speed. I think that starts with the Redeker kid at quarterback. He’s excellent in the backfield.
Redeker has run for four touchdowns in the postseason and is capable of bursting through a gap or breaking it outside the numbers.
“We’re going to go into the game and approach it that we’re going to do what we have to do,” Schmidt said. “If we can run it, we’ll definitely want to run it. We’d like to mix it up inside, outside.”
Of course, the Eagles can bring it in the air too, as Redeker has thrown for five scores in playoff games.
“I think one of the underrated things of Olpe is how well they pass the ball,” Sawyer said. “I think the Redeker kid does a decent job hitting open guys and keeping plays alive.”
The Teutons can also take it the house. Their undefeated record wasn’t achieved by the defense alone.
Sawyer said senior quarterback Jace Doerksen — a four-year starter — is their best player and extremely adept at passing and running the ball.
In last week’s sub-state matchup against Sedgwick, Doerksen led a comeback by passing for 207 yards and two TDs. He also rushed for a touchdown.
As of last week, Doerksen has 1,491 yards passing for the season.
Sawyer added that effective offensive line play is crucial.
“Can we make some holes? Can we establish drives? We’re going to have to be fast,” he said. “We’re going to have to be solid on the frontline and then we need to get our run game … going early.”
Olpe’s preparation this week has basically consisted of running the Teutons’ plays and determining what Inman will do out of its formations.
For Inman, this week’s preparation is like every other one.
“We’re gonna pretty much prepare the same as we have,” Sawyer said. “We still got kids coming in to lift every single day this week. … We just got kids excited to play. They’re excited for just another week of practice. … I think our goal was to get to this game all along, and we’re not going to mix it up now.”
Keys to the game will be making appropriate adjustments, minimizing errors and avoiding turnovers.
“So we’ll get in the game and kind of see what we think can work,” Schmidt said. “If something’s not working, we’re going to try something else. … It’s going to be two very good teams playing against each other, and the team that probably executes and does the little fundamental things the best probably comes out the winner.”