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Leopards walk to site of 2-1A title game

By NICK McQUEEN

nmcqueen@dailynews.net

Two miles for every game they would have to play to make it to the state championship game.

That was the idea behind a team-building exercise for this year's La Crosse High School football team.

Members of the 2013 version of the Leopards closed their summer camp Friday by taking a long walk. It was a journey that put them right smack dab in Hays -- 27 miles to be exact -- to the site the Leopards would play if they were to make it to the 2013 Class 2-1A state title game at Lewis Field Stadium.

It was an idea Leopard football coach Jon Webster got from Dodge City coach Dave Foster, and something he wanted to do in the past. This year provided a good opportunity.

"Just a good way to see how mentally tough we are, what kind of attitudes we have," said Webster, who will enter his fifth season as the head coach in La Crosse. "Try to bring it together a little bit."

The Leopards spent the night in the La Crosse High School gymnasium Thursday, then left at 5:30 a.m. Friday, and walked one mile west of U.S. Highway 183. Then, they headed north, and after a brief detour around Schoenchen to the blacktop, arrived in Hays.

"We were going to do it a couple years ago, but it was just too hot," Webster said. "It was only supposed to be in the lower 90s (Friday), but most of the kids got done before it got real hot."

Twelve players and all four coaches walked the entire distance, while some took breaks in the suburban. Some made the trip in just under eight hours, while the longest took a little more than 10 hours. They also made stops to eat and drink along the way.

"Everyone went just about as far as they could," Webster said. "The ones that finished it were bragging it up pretty good."

Fall practices for high school football begin Aug. 19 with the season kicking off Sept. 6.