Pratt opens football season with two convincing wins

The Pratt High School football team opened their 2023 season with two dominant victories as several players stepped into big roles to provide leadership.

Leading the way in a Pratt victory over Larned 48-12 on September 1 was Greenback senior Noah Riley who had a monster day on the receiving side of the game. Riley caught two passes from senior quarterback Max Younie for a total of 155 yards. Both were touchdowns.

The Younie-Riley duo established themselves as an offensive threat early in the game, likely something Greenback fans will see more of as the year progresses.

Pratt junior Owen Schmidt made a pass completion for 20 yards as well.

The Greenbacks found frequent success in both running and passing the ball at the Larned contest.

Younie had a total of 11 carries for 200 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 18.2 yards per carry. Schmidt ran well with three carries for a total of 74 yards. Lastly, junior Blake Winsor had two carries for 21 yards, one of which being a touchdown. Propelled by their own offensive onslaught, the Greenbacks took an early lead, which they held until the end of the game.

On the defensive side of the ball, Winsor and junior Logan Copus led the way with 4 tackles a piece, and several other players amassed 2 and 3 tackles each. Junior Kollyn Strong had a nice night defensively, with 2.5 sacks for a total yard loss of 28. Younie and sophomore Josiah Schmidt added a fumble recovery each to the stat books.

The Greenbacks traveled to Hesston for a week 2 match up with the Swathers, one of their biggest CKL league rivals. Pratt defeated Hesston 54-13, led by Younie, who was quick to credit his teammates for their competitiveness on the field.

“I think we have done a good job of playing hard and playing as a team, not as individuals,” Younie said.

The Greenback senior, #24, opened the game with two quick touchdown runs in the first quarter. In the 2nd quarter, Younie threw a 10-yard touchdown to Riley, then capped off the first half with another touchdown run of his own, making the halftime score 32-7.

After Hesston scored a quick touchdown in the 3rd quarter, Younie and the Greenbacks responded with two more touchdown runs. Pratt freshman Kyler Barker ended the Greenbacks’ monster night on offense with one more touchdown run, making the final score 54-13.

Riley had some insight on the success the Greenbacks are exhibiting early in this 2023-24 campaign.

“Every play, almost everyone does a really good job of blocking, which is why our offense is so effective,” Riley said. “We need to get better at getting off the field on 3rd down. We are great in the first two downs, but sometimes we just can’t finish the defensive stop. We need to keep our foot on the pedal and get off the field with a stop.”

Riley who has now broken the PHS record for most receiving yards in one game with 155 said he has enjoyed how dominant the team has been so far.

“We always must look to be prepared for the tough games we have coming up,” he said.

After winning their first two road games, the Greenbacks will return to Zerger Field this Friday, September 15 in Pratt. Game time is 7 p.m.