Lyndon Tigers claim 8-man state football championship in winter blowout – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Lyndon Tigers claim 8-man state football championship in winter blowout

The Lyndon Tigers blew into Newton like a blizzard on Nov. 25, 2023, but drifted out of town as the 2023 Kansas 8-Man Division 1 Football State Champions. The Lyndon High School team claimed the championship from the Wichita County Indians, of Leoti, with a score of 34-6 in the snowy Saturday morning game.

The state championship win was the first Lyndon had claimed in the history of its football program. Lyndon Head Coach Michael Massey led the team to the title with a season record of 13-0, in the school’s second year of 8-man football. Wichita County finished the season at 12-1.

Massey said the title win was solely due to the team’s determination.

“As a coach it is a great feeling to have a group set out to reach a goal and have them accomplish it,” Massey said. “This group is a very unselfish group. They are a true team and they don’t care who gets the credit. They play for each other and all they want to do is win.”

The coach said the team’s seven seniors made up the core of the team, and were starters in their last high school football game. “We had some younger players that filled in and played significant time also,” he said.

Though the game had been postponed from the day before due to inclement weather, it snowed the entire game Saturday. Snow had started to fall during warm ups and by the time the game was over there was 4-5 inches of snow on the ground.

“The snow did affect our play calling some,” Coach Massey said. “We weren’t able to open up the offense and throw as much as we had planned to.”

Lyndon’s seniors dominated the title match with their running game. Tiger’s quarterback, senior Tanner Heckel, ran for 4 touchdowns, and tallied 251 rushing yards in 29 carries, one a long 51-yard run. Senior linebacker Jalen Massey ran in the Tiger’s other touchdown, and totaled up 39 rushing yards and 12 carries. Heckel and Casten Wirth, senior tight end, each added a two-point conversions to Lyndon’s final score. Wirth made two pass receptions in the game, one 17 yards.

Lyndon’s defense team also did its part to shut down Wichita County, last year’s 8-man Division 1 champs, keeping the Indians to one touchdown before the half, and scoreless for the remainder of the game. Indians senior linebacker Wyatt Gardner ran for Wichita County’s only touchdown.

“Our defense was outstanding and took Wichita County out of everything they wanted to do,” Massey said. “Coach [Toby] Baker had the guys well prepared for everything they were going to see.”

The seniors team racked up the defensive stats in the scorebox with 51 solo and 95 total tackles. Solo tackles tallied included J. Massey with 7; Heckel, 7; Ethan Ramey, 7; Wirth, 7; Daxten Miller, 2, Kaedin Massey, 5; Caleb Anschutz, 6; sophomore James Marcotte added 6 tackles, and junior Elijah Feltner was credited with an assist. Wirth made the Tigers’ only sack, handing the Indians a six-yard loss.

With seven retiring seniors, Lyndon will begin next football season as defending state title champions with an all new starting lineup, but first-year coach Massey said the team will be ready.

“We graduate a very successful senior class that will get a lot of state honors,” Massey said. “[But] our younger kids were able to practice and learn from them this year so I look forward to the younger guys showing what they have next year.”

“This state championship means a lot to our football program and the community,” Massey said. “These guys have put in years of work and sacrifice to achieve this goal and it isn’t to be taken lightly. I am extremely proud of each and everyone of them. Whether they played in the varsity games or were on the JV or scout team. They showed up everyday to work hard and be great teammates.”

Lyndon’s roster for the championship game included 26 team members (listed by number): 1, Koby Isch; 2, Lucas Griffin; 3, Jalen Massey; 4, Tanner Heckel; 5, James Marcotte; 6, Keifer Haney; 9, Josh Vignery; 10, Ethen Ramey; 11, Casten Wirth; 14, Daxten Miller; 15, Elijah Feltner; 23, Carson Horne; 24, Zach Criqui; 25, Landon Walker; 40, Jaxson Mylnar; 50, Ethan Findlay; 50, Anthony Haux; 54, James Chauncey; 56, Kyler Moon; 60, Aidon Walker; 61, Simon Wolzen; 62, Chase Miller; 65, Jordan Meyer; 75, Kaedin Massey; 77, Caleb Anschutz; 78, Dimitri Zapata. Head coach was Michael Massey; assistant coach Toby Baker; statistician Scott Jones.

2023 Kansas 8-Man Division 1 Football State Champions, Lyndon Tigers, Lyndon High School, Lyndon, Kan.

2023 Kansas 8-Man Division 1 Football State Champions, Lyndon Tigers, Lyndon High School, Lyndon, Kan. Courtesy photo.

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