Wamego wins 2nd straight NCKL title

By Nicolas Wahl

WAMEGO — Quarterback Kyler Alderson did a little bit of everything in leading his high-flying Red Raiders (6-0) to their second consecutive NCKL title with a 42-0 blowout win over Clay Center (4-2) Friday night.

After clinching the league crown on the road last season, the Red Raiders were able to celebrate at home this time around.

“That was great to do it in front of our home crowd,” Wamego head coach Dale Burkholder said. “It was a big crowd here tonight and this city is pretty excited about winning league championships. So that’s pretty neat.”

The win was especially sweet for a senior class playing their last league game.

“It’s great,” senior linebacker Logan Stoddard said. “We clinched at Clay Center last year. We had a blast, partying on their field, but this year, to do it at home, it means so much more as a senior. It means the world.”

Alderson led a high-flying Wamego attack that diced up the Clay Center defense for 398 total yards. The junior quarterback finished 20-of-39 through the air while connecting with nine different Red Raider receivers for 221 yards and two touchdowns. He also led all rushers with nine carries for 68 yards and another two touchdowns on the ground.

“I got a lot of bullets,” Burkholder said. “Kyler’s an excellent quarterback, and he can dish it out to a lot of people. We’re getting healthy and we’re going to need it because we’re going up against the monsters next Friday up at Holton.”

Alderson was quick to credit a receiving corps that had the Clay Center secondary chasing sideline-to-sideline against the Red Raider spread all night long.

“Our receivers, they’re just good,” Alderson said. “They go get the ball. They catch with contact. They can do whatever, I just have to get them the ball.”

As good as the offense was, the Wamego defense was perhaps more impressive. They held Clay Center’s triple-option offense to just five first downs and 77 yards of total offense in the game while turning over the Tigers four times.

“The defense got back to their old ways,” Burkholder said. “It looked like the defense we had at the start of the season. We’re shutting people down. I think they had less than 100 yards. So that’s big.”

Junior defensive back Trey Cohorst had two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery to lead the Wamego defensive effort.

The win, as mentioned by Burkholder, sets up a mammoth match-up at Class 4A No. 1 Holton next week, a team that beat the Red Raiders 51-12 a season ago.

“It’s a monster,” Burkholder said. “Our kids, the Raiders won’t back down. We got a new attitude this year. When we’re heading to Holton, I guarantee you, those kids on that bus, will be excited about playing Holton.”

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