By Mark Schremmer, for Kpreps.com
Posted: September 13, 2012 - 10:28 PM
No one can question Buhler’s strength of schedule.
Class 4A’s second-ranked Crusaders opened the season with a 26-21 victory against 4A defending state champion Rose Hill and followed it with a 28-21 win against a Wichita Collegiate team that enters Week 3 ranked fifth in the classification.
Now, Buhler faces 4A’s third-ranked Mulvane Wildcats for the Kpreps.com Statewide Game of the Week. The Crusaders will follow that by traveling to face a McPherson that that was ranked to open the season.
“Our first four games are brutal,” Buhler head coach Steve Warner said. “It doesn’t get any tougher than that for us.”
The Crusaders have won half the battle, rallying for victories against Rose Hill and Wichita Collegiate. Buhler trailed the Spartans 21-7 at halftime last week.
“In both games, we faced adversity and were able to respond to adversity,” Warner said. “We responded well. That’s a good sign.”
However, Buhler’s toughest test thus far may come Friday against Mulvane.
The Wildcats are 2-0 after beating Chanute 30-9 and Augusta68-21.
Mulvane is led by senior quarterback Ty Redington, who has passed for 406 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the first two weeks. Redington also serves as Mulvane’s kicker, making a 28-yard field goal against Chanute.
“He had a tremendous year as a junior, and he’s having a great year this year,” Warner said. “He’s running the ball more this year. The whole offense revolves around him. He creates a lot of problems.”
Buhler defeated Mulvane 31-21 last season but will have to deal with Wildcat running back Michael Mason this year. Mason has rushed for309 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 11.4 yards per carry.
“He’s very strong, physical and fast,” Warner said. “Between him and Ty, they have two good threats to run the ball.”
The Crusaders have a pretty good threat in the run game themselves. Buhler running back Riley Allen has rushed for 474 yards and six touchdowns in the first two games.
Keeping the ball on the ground and the chains moving will be key for Buhler against Mulvane. The Crusaders will need to hold on to the ball against a Wildcats team that has forced three turnovers in their first two games.
“We need to have long sustained drives,” Warner said. “On defense, we need to make them drive down the field. We can’t allow any big plays.”