Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Prep Kickoff 2014: Eagles' Matzke Ready to Carve Own Niche

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Prep Kickoff 2014: Eagles' Matzke Ready to Carve Own Niche

Article excerpt

SILVER LAKE -- The performance was stuff from which legends are made.

Despite having a torn ACL for the last half of the 2013 football season, Dailin Kruger not only played but flourished to the point of leading Silver Lake to an eighth Class 3A state title and earning All-State honors.

Kruger won't have an encore performance, not at Silver Lake at least, having graduated and moved on to Benedictine. That leaves the command performance in the hands of senior Ryan Matzke, who embraces the task at hand.

"There are definitely some shoes to fill," Matzke said of Kruger, who capped his remarkable year with an eight-touchdown performance in the state championship game. "He had a great year last year, and it's going to be hard to step into those shoes and fill that spot and repeat what he did. I'll do my best. I don't know that there's a lot of pressure for me to be him. I just have to be myself."

It won't be the first time Matzke's had to step in and replace Kruger. When Kruger went down with his ACL injury, Matzke took over as the Eagles' starting quarterback for two games, and the argument could be made that Silver Lake's offense didn't skip a beat.

In his first start, Matzke topped 100 yards both rushing and passing in a 33-7 win over Rock Creek. He followed with 203 yards rushing and three touchdowns in a 33-22 victory over St. Marys.

Kruger returned the next week against Rossville, but Matzke's performance gave both him and the Eagles plenty of confidence in his ability to lead the team.

"The few games I got to play, that experience helps a lot," Matzke said. "The game's obviously a lot faster than JV and you may not know what to expect. Those games helped me a lot, and I got a lot of confidence. As (Silver Lake coach) C.J. (Hamilton) says, it's the next guy up and I was just doing my job."

The stint wasn't exactly Matzke's first taste of being a key cog for the varsity team. …

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