Colton Deckard

Colton Deckard carries the ball for Muenster. Deckard and the Hornets face Santo on Friday.

District titles aren’t won in September, but the winner of Friday’s game in Santo may be the early favorite.

The Muenster football team travels to Santo for its first district road game Friday in a matchup of teams which reached the third round of the playoffs last year.

Muenster (2-3 overall, 1-0 District 8-2A Division II) rebuilt a lot of confidence by defeating Era 69-0 last week.

Santo (4-0, 0-0) was off last week and will be playing its first district game of the season.

After losing to three Class 3A opponents in non-district, Muenster coach Brady Carney said it was good for the Hornets to dominate the way they did last week.

“I think we’re back to understanding who we are and how we got better from playing those three big schools we played,” Carney said. “I know we didn’t come out on top, and everyone wants to win, but I think it made us a better football team. Kind of brought us back down to Earth and helped us realize that we need to make sure we’re working hard and playing hard.”

Santo hasn’t played as tough a schedule as Muenster to this point, but the Wildcats have been dominant, especially on defense. Santo has outscored its opponents 130-14 with two shutouts.

Carney said Santo is solid on both the offensive and defensive lines.

“I think that’s the strength of their team,” Carney said. “I’m not taking anything away from anybody else, because I think the quarterback’s really talented, too. But defensively, it’s those six guys they got in the box, their two inside linebackers and then their d-line. That makes them who they are. For us to have success, we’re going to have to be able to control the line of scrimmage against a really good defensive team.”

Santo runs a flexbone option offense. Junior quarterback Hutson Thornton has been the Wildcats’ most prolific runner, followed by seniors Kash Johnson and Jaime Sandoval. The Hornets’ defense struggled at times against their 3A opponents but have held their 2A opponents to 13 total points. Carney said Muenster has talent, but stopping Santo will be tough since the Hornets don’t usually see this type of offense.

Muenster will have to play shorthanded. The Hornets have several players missing with various injuries. Carney said they were missing six last week and will have more out this week.

“That’s going to be my main concern,” Carney said. “We got kids playing new positions and different positions and having to fill in here and there, so we’ve got a banged-up crew going over. We’re intact on the o-line. We’re intact on the d-line. Still got some guys that can run the football and throw the football and some guys that can catch, so we’re just going to go over there and give it our best shot, see what happens.”

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