Savage Heat gridders ready for action
September 3, 2020
The numbers game is something the Hot Springs Savage Heat football team is used to playing.
When they have suitable numbers, veteran coaches Jim Lawson and Andrew Leichtnam have proven than they can guide Hot Springs 6-Man teams to great things, like to State championship titles in 2012 and 2016 and to the playoffs (and usually deep into the playoffs) every other year the Heat have been a 6-Man entity.
The Brandon Knudsen-led Heat of 2019 were no exception to that formula of success, going unbeaten through much of the season before falling to Westby-Grenora in the playoff quarterfinals.
And don’t look now, but the always powerful Savage Heat look like they are loaded up for another playoff run this fall. If COVID-19 allows that to happen that is.
Hot Springs has already been forced to cancel its entire non-conference schedule and, as of now has only four regular season games on the docket. The first game that the Heat are allowed to play is this Saturday versus Valley Christian. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Saturday in Hot Springs.
The game was moved to Saturday from its original Friday date due to a shortage of available referees.
“We have been trying to line up some more games but it is tough to do,” Lawson said. “The kids are anxious to play, they have been working hard and are ready to get after it.”
Usually fighting low numbers, the Heat even have quite a few players this year — 14. “Fourteen is a good number for us,” Lawson offered, “we haven’t had this many for several years.”
The top returning players for Hot Springs are Kyle Lawson, the coach’s son who earned All-Conference and All-State honors last year, Jack McAllister (also All-Conference), Lincoln Slonaker and Bert DeTienne.
The Heat will need to replace the dynamic Brandon Kundsen, an All-State quarterback and defensive back. McAllister, who earned all-con honors in spite of the fact that he played the entire season last fall with a broken right hand, looks to step in at QB.
“Jack has a lot of experience, he should do well,” coach Lawson said, “and Kyle and Lincoln will be our main running backs.”
He sees White Sulphur Springs and Noxon as being the major roadblocks in the Western C 6-Man ranks.
“You have got to look at those two teams as being the ones to beat,” Lawson said. “White Sulphur has a lot of talent coming back, and Noxon is a pretty physical, well-coached team.”
The Heat host Noxon on Sept. 18 and visit White Sulphur Springs Oct. 3.