Trojans face must-win situation in hopes of breaking playoff drought
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Oct. 13, 2005 - CUMBY - The Cumby Trojans have set one goal with four games remaining in the regular season - break a 26-year drought from the Class A playoffs.

"We got four games that are must-win games for us to make the playoffs and we know that we can't lose any of them," said Cumby head coach Kent Hawthorne. 

"Our kids know that there is no tomorrow and we have to play one game at a time and if we lose, we will finish the season but we will know that our playoff chances are over."

The quest for the playoffs begins Friday night at Melissa (4-3, 1-2) during homecoming for the Cardinals with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. 

Hawthorne said the Trojans are focused and excited for this game and will spoil another homecoming contest this season as Melissa is a 13-point favorite by the Harris Ratings Poll. 

"We are going to finish their season Friday night and we are going to beat them even though we are their homecoming. We are going to spoil it, and they can get their basketballs out right now," the coach said.

Hawthorne said Kaleb Kaetterhenry, who played quarterback last year for the Cardinals during a 27-14 loss to Cumby in Cumby, has made the switch to wide receiver and freshman quarterback Zack Williams is under center.

"They have a good quarterback, and he has done wonderful things over there for them," Hawthorne said. "Kaetterhenry is moving to wide receiver and they have a good running back and some good lineman and they play hard."

With the Cardinals having their first year of University Interscholastic League football last season, the team is young under coach Rick Gagarin but the respect is definitely there, according to Hawthorne.

"They are all juniors, sophomores and one freshman and they fly around to the ball and have no respect for their bodies," he said. "I got respect for this team, but I got no fear with this team because we know that we can beat them."

With the loss of Nathan Dunnihoo at the fullback position, the Trojans (4-2, 0-2) return receiver Steven Boss to the lineup after a bruised collar bone sat him out of action.

"We got Steven back this week after having a collar bone injury, and we lost his little brother for a week or two after twisting his ankle Monday in practice, and so Miles Parker will go to fullback and we should be fine," the coach said.

With games against Melissa, Detroit, Boles and Rivercrest still on the schedule for the Trojans, a 4-0 finish would put the Trojans in great shape for a playoff push with an 8-2 record and 4-2 finish in District 17-A.

Hawthorne said currently the district race is wide open and having a head-to-head advantage with Boles or Rivercrest would be big when those games arrive on the schedule.

"We know that it is anybody's race right now and with Melissa beating Celeste that really helped us because if it went head-to-head with Celeste, we would be out of the playoffs," he said.

"We know that Celeste is probably not going to win out and if we do, then it ends up head-to-head with a Boles or Rivercrest and then we hope to have it mean something when it comes to those games."

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