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Sandhills/Thedford Knights head to Lincoln to play for D2 Football Championship

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 2:33 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - For the second year in a row, the Sandhills/Thedford Knights are headed back to the State Championship. Last year, due to COVID-19 policies, the game wasn’t able to be played where it normally is held in Memorial Stadium. But this year, the Knights have managed to find their way back to the championship game and will get their chance to take the field at Memorial Stadium. Sandhills/Thedford will face off against a 12-0 Kenesaw team.

This week at practice Head Coach Josh Deines said he is trying to keep things as normal as possible for the team, as if they were preparing for any other game this season.

“We just worked on ourselves the last couple days and starting today we’re just gonna prep for Kenesaw just like we would for EPPJ (Elgin Public/ Pope John) or anybody else that we’ve seen up to this point. Kinda keep to our same schedule and our routine and just try and make it as normal as we can,” says Deines.

Coach Deines is looking to his senior leaders to use their experience from last year to help guide the younger players who might not have the same level of experience in these high pressure games.

“Ya know like Kyle Cox the freshman for us he’s gonna be starting on defense for us I’m sure he’ll be a little excited and nervous all at the same time and I just ya know with Reece and Dane and those kids that play a lot I just hope that their calmness that they bring will just help him and the rest of those kids in the game,” Deines said.

This week at practice the Knights will have some specific Blue Devils in mind while they are preparing for Monday’s game. Those players are Tyson Denkert, Eli Jensen and Trey Kennedy.

“The Denkert kid is going to be the number one. He’s back to back 2,000 yard rusher ya know he’s over 5,000 yards on his career so he’s priority number one for us. Like I said we’ve got to limit his explosive plays. The Eli Jensen kid upfront on the offensive and defensive line, he’s a really good lineman I feel like he kinda sets the tone upfront. And I believe the Kennedy kid at running back he’s got over 900 yards rushing as well so he’s had a really good year,” Deines said.

Coach Deines’ message to his team this week at practice and before they take the field on Monday is to soak it up, take it in and bring home the state title.

“Don’t let the big moment get too big. I feel like when they walk in the stadium, we’ll walk in the stadium right before, or right at the end of the game before us and I just kinda told them to soak it all in and take a couple moments and look around and enjoy the moment and once we start getting ready for the game and everything like that just try to switch and get ready for a game,” Deines said.

The Sandhill/Thedford Knights will play in at the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium Monday. Nov. 22 at 2:45 for the state championship against the Kenesaw Blue Devils.

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