4A District Preview
Buhler's Tanner Fisher has the Crusaders rolling into district play. (Photo by Marion McReynolds, For Kansas Pregame/Kpreps.com)
Posted: October 15, 2010 - 9:36 AM
You know a district is loaded when it boasts the top two ranked teams in Class 4A. You know it's really loaded when you add an unbeaten team to that mix.
That's how it is for 4A's District 9 West, which includes the top-ranked Topeka Hayden Wildcats, the No. 2 Holton Wildcats and the unbeaten Royal Valley Panthers, as well as 1-5 Wamego.
Through no fault of their own, the Panthers enter as the underdogs as only two teams will advance to the 4A playoffs. Royal Valley has breezed through most of its competition with a 20-14 win over Jefferson West being the only margin within two touchdowns.
However, the Panthers play a schedule loaded with 4A and 3A schools.
Hayden and Holton, however, include larger schools on their schedules. In fact, each team's only loss came at the hands of a 6A school. Topeka High beat Holton 33-22 in Week 1, and 6A's No. 2 Manhattan nipped Hayden 7-6 the same week.
No doubt, it is a good example of numerous competitive 4A districts this season.
- KC Sumner Academy (6-0) – The unbeaten Sabres bring a balanced attack into district competition with Armond Brisbane at quarterback, Tyrone Battles at running back and Benny Parker and Vernon Vaughn at receiver. However, one thing to remember about Sumner is that none of its six victories comes against teams with winning records.
- Atchison (4-2) – After finishing 2-7 a year ago, the Redmen have to feel good entering district competition this season. Atchison’s only two losses are against 6-0 Abilene and 5-1 Silver Lake. However, the Redmen’s four wins come against teams with a combined record of 6-18.
- Hiawatha (3-3) – Senior running back and defensive back Camron Leupold leads the Redhawk attack. He has proven strong in all facets of the game. He ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to Royal Valley, recorded an 80-yard kick return against Jefferson West and grabbed a key interception in last week’s 22-21 win against Seneca-Nemaha Valley.
- KC Piper (2-4) – The Pirates enter with a poor record but suffered narrow losses to Lansing (35-34) and Mill Valley (42-35). Piper’s rushing attack has been spread out with Paul Jones (328 yards), Ricco Thomas (256 yards) and Glenn Morris (243 yards) leading the way. Jaron Guess has been the Pirates’ top receiver with 17 catches for 242 yards and five touchdowns.
Key Games: (Wk 7) KC Piper at Atchison; (Wk 8) KC Sumner at Atchison; (Wk 9) KC Piper at KC Sumner
Winner: KC Piper
Runner-up: KC Sumner Academy
- Basehor-Linwood (6-0) – Junior quarterback Colin Murphy leads the way for the unbeaten Bobcats. Murphy has 1,333 rushing yards and 166 rushing yards. He even caught a 19-yard touchdown pass in a 39-34 win against Mill Valley. Senior Steyr Stubenrauch (316 yards, 3 TDs) and junior Jesse Hiss (300 yards, 6 TDs) are the Bobcats’ leading ball carriers.
- Perry-Lecompton (4-2) – The Kaws are reeling after consecutive losses to Royal Valley and Holton. They look to get back on track in districts. Perry-Lecompton’s leading rushers Luke Kellum (669 yards, 5 TDs) and Trent Robb (533 yards, 9 TDs) were limited to 38 and 60 yards, respectively, last week against Holton.
- Jefferson West (3-3) – The Tigers also are coming off consecutive losses to Holton and Royal Valley. Jefferson West’s three wins come against teams with a combined 5-13 record. To make the playoffs, the Tigers will need a strong running attack. They were limited to 41 yards on 30 carries against Holton.
- Tonganoxie (1-5) – The Chieftains opened the season with an impressive 54-6 win against Bishop Ward, but it has been downhill since then. Senior Ian McClellan has been the team’s leading rusher with 250 yards and three touchdowns on just 46 carries.
Key Games: (Wk 8) Perry-Lecompton at Jefferson West
- DeSoto (2-4) – The Wildcats are a little difficult to read. They opened the season with two victories, including a 26-11 win at Paola. Since then, however, DeSoto has dropped four straight and has been unable to score more than seven points in any of those games.
- St. James Academy (2-4) – The Thunder like playing at home. The problem is that they haven’t gotten the opportunity very often this season. St. James is 2-0 at home with wins over Ottawa and Spring Hill, but 0-4 when they travel. The team is averaging almost 35 points at home, but only 10 on the road. Luckily for the Thunder, their district schedule opens at home against Blue Valley Southwest.
- Blue Valley Southwest (1-5) – The Timberwolves have only one win to their credit, but they have braved a extremely competitive Eastern Kansas League schedule, playing the likes of Class 5A’s Bishop Miege, Blue Valley - Stilwell and Gardner-Edgerton. Southwest hopes the tough schedule will pay off in districts.
- Bishop Ward (0-6) – The Cyclones have scored a total of 41 points this season. Their opponents have scored more than that in four of their games this season.
Key Games: (Wk 8) DeSoto at BV Southwest
Winner: Blue Valley Southwest
- Baldwin (5-1) – A sleeper pick to open the season, the Bulldogs haven’t disappointed. Baldwin showed it was for real from the very first week by defeating Paola 32-14. The Bulldogs went on to win their first five games before falling 42-26 last week to Class 4A’s third-ranked Louisburg Wildcats. Senior Josh Hoffman has rushed for 868 yards and 13 touchdowns on 89 carries.
- Eudora (4-2) – After a tough 33-6 opening loss to Louisburg, the Cardinals have rebounded for a nice season. Senior running back Boomer Mayes, a Northern Illinois commit, has rushed for 513 yards and nine touchdowns on 71 carries. Junior Chris Pyle has pitched in for 478 yards and four touchdowns on 92 rushes.
- Ottawa (3-3) – The Cyclones enter with some momentum, winning their last two games against Spring Hill and DeSoto. In those wins, the Ottawa defense limited its opponents to a total of six points. Senior running back Gene Dydell has rushed for 883 yard and three touchdowns on 143 carries.
- Santa Fe Trail (0-6) – The Chargers are the owners of the state’s longest current losing streak at 31 games. However, Santa Fe Trail appears on the verge for a victory as it was edged 27-26 last week at Sabetha.
Key Games: (Wk 9) Baldwin at Eudora
- Louisburg (6-0) – Class 4A's third-ranked Wildcats boast a strong defense, which allowed only 23 points through its first five games. On offense, junior running back Garrett Griffin keeps the chains moving, and senior quarterback Kody Cook keeps opposing defenses honest.
- Paola (4-2) – The Panthers surprised a lot of people by opening the season 0-2 with losses to Baldwin and DeSoto. However, Paola may have surprised even more people with the way it bounced back with four consecutive wins over Pittsburg, Ottawa, Eudora and St. James Academy. Paola senior Skylar Hawkins has been one of the most productive running backs in the state.
- Osawatomie (1-5) – The Trojans won their first game of the season last week against Central Heights. Osawatomie will hope that will build some confidence for a defense that has allowed 50 points for more three times this season.
- Spring Hill (1-5) – Like Osawatomie, Spring Hill earned its first win of the season this past week. The Broncos beat Valley Center 22-19. Before that game, Spring Hill had scored 23 points all season.
Key Games: (Wk 9) Louisburg at Paola
- Anderson County (4-2) – The Bulldogs are coming off a tough 55-6 loss to Eudora. They look to rebound with a strong group of runners in Alen Troyer (931 yards, 10 TDs), Thomas Mudd (630 yards, 7 TDs) and Seth Bowman (431 yards, 5 TDs).
- Prairie View (4-2) – Like Anderson County, the Prairie View Buffaloes are coming off a difficult loss, falling 34-0 to Class 3A Wellsville. Three of Prairie View's four wins have been against 3A schools or smaller.
- Fort Scott (3-3) – In the first year with coach Bob Campbell back at the helm, the Tigers are making strides. Campbell left coaching for four years after leading Fort Scott to a 124-34 record and two state titles. The Tigers won only one game a year ago but earned a big win against Columbus two weeks ago and played 5A Pittsburg close last week.
- Iola (0-6) – The Mustangs have had a tough road in the Southeast Kansas League, allowing 52.6 points per game this season. On offense, junior wide receiver Jerrik Sigg has more than 30 receptions for more than 300 yards.
Key Games: (Wk 9) Fort Scott at Anderson County
Winner: Fort Scott
Runner-up: Anderson County
- Independence (6-0) – The Bulldogs haven't had any trouble putting the points on the board this season, scoring 43.5 points per game. Matt Bromley leads Independence with more than 1,250 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.
- Chanute (4-2) – The Blue Comets are another Southeast Kansas League team who have continually lit up the scoreboard. Chanute averages 40.8 points per game behind a strong ground game led by Girard-transfer Eric Bowman.
- Girard (4-2) – The Trojans enter with a strong record but play in the smaller Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League and will be in district against three Southeast Kansas League schools. Matt Perez has led the Trojan rushing attack with 867 yards and nine touchdowns on 107 carries.
- Parsons (3-3) – The Vikings do enter districts with a .500 record, but their wins against three teams with a combined record of 2-16. Tre Nash rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries against Southeast.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Independence at Chanute
- Baxter Springs (4-2) – Like Girard, Baxter Springs is a Crawford-Neosho-League team in a district surrounded by larger Southeast Kansas League schools. The Lions lost their first two games to Riverton and Galena, but then bounced back with four consecutive dominating wins against weaker competition. Ty Rowe directs Baxter's passing game, throwing for more than 1,100 yards.
- Columbus (3-3) – The Titans look to rebound after dropping their past two games. To do so, Columbus' air attack will need to play well. Receivers Taylor Spear (21 rec., 306 yards) and Dustin Morris (16 rec., 262 yards) lead the way.
- Labette County (2-4) – The Grizzlies sandwiched four losses between an opeing win against Fort Scott and last week's victory against Iola. Labette's offense is led by quarterback Keaton Turner, running back Hunter Seibert and tight end Christian Hosey.
- Coffeyville (1-5) – The Golden Tornado may have only one win, but they do possess a playmaker in senior wide receiver Cameron Craig. He has 32 catches for 647 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Cory Turner will work to get Craig the ball.
Key Games: (Wk 8) Columbus at Coffeyville
- Royal Valley (6-0) – The Panthers may be the only 6-0 underdog in the state, but that's where Royal Valley sits in a district with top-ranked Topeka Hayden and No. 2 Holton. Despite their record, the Panthers will have a tough road to the playoffs.
- Topeka Hayden (5-1) – The top-ranked Wildcats have not only shown they are one of the best teams in 4A, but they may be one of the best teams from any classification. Hayden's only loss came 7-6 in the first week to Manhattan, 6A's second-ranked team. The Wildcats also have handed 6A schools Washburn Rural and Topeka High their only losses.
- Holton (5-1) – The Wildcats' only loss came 33-22 in the first week to 6A's Topeka High. Since then, Holton has dominated, scoring at least 42 points in every game. Gunnar McKenna, who has 709 yards and four touchdowns on 104 carries, leads a running game that has produced 437.3 yards per game.
- Wamego (1-5) –The Red Raiders' only victory came against winless Chapman in Week 4. Besides that, Wamego has only one other game where it has scored more than seven points.
Key Games: (Wk 8) Hayden at Holton
Winner: Topeka Hayden
- Rose Hill (4-2) – After opening with losses to Buhler and Wichita Collegiate, the Rockets have blasted their competition. Rose Hill has averaged 49.7 points in wins against Andale, Pratt, Winfield and Mulvane. Senior Laque Mayes (753 yards, 13 TDs) and junior Derrick Decker (709 yards, 8 TDs) lead the Rocket rushing attack.
- Towanda Circle (3-3) – The Thunderbirds need to get back on track after being shut out the past two weeks in big losses to Wichita Collegiate and Andale. Before that, Circle was posting 25.7 points per game.
- Augusta (0-6) – The Orioles are lacking a win but did have close outings against Winfield (27-20) and Nickerson (30-29).
- El Dorado (0-6) – The Wildcats are not only winless, they haven't even sniffed a victory. El Dorado has been outscored 313-13 this season.
Key Games: (Wk 8) Rose Hill at Towanda Circle
Winner: Rose Hill
Runner-up: Towanda Circle
- Clearwater (4-2) – The Fighting Indians are still looking for that big win, falling to Wichita Collegiate and Andale. The positive for Clearwater is that it has shown it can win the close games by beating Towanda Circle 23-21 and Maize South 14-13. Jarrod Nickelson leads the running game for Clearwater.
- Winfield (3-3) – The Vikings had lost three consecutive games before last week's 49-7 win against El Dorado. Quarterback Jeremy Groene directs the offense, passing for 443 yards and rushing for 582 yards this season.
- Mulvane (2-4) – The Wildcats' two victories are against a pair of winless teams in Augusta and El Dorado. Despite the poor record, Mulvane has averaged 32.8 points this season.
- Wellington (1-5) – When a team is going to win only one of its first six games, Week 6 is probably the week to do it. After opening 0-5, the Crusaders beat Arkansas City 43-37 last week for some momentum heading into districts.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Wellington at Mulvane; (Wk 8) Mulvane at Clearwater; (Wk 9) Clearwater at Wellington
- Andale (5-1) – The fifth-ranked Indians have shown they can be a resilient team this season. After suffering a tough 31-8 loss to Rose Hill in Week 3, Andale responded with a 33-21 win against previously unbeaten Wichita Collegiate in the following week. The Indians will need quarterback Cody King to be healthy after leaving with a head injury last week against Towanda Circle. If King isn't back, Andale will turn to Jake Hattabaugh and Trent Horsch to step up their production.
- Wichita Trinity (4-2) – The Knights won their first four games before dropping consecutive contests to Chaparral and Conway Springs. Their four wins are against teams with a combined 5-19 record. Running back Morgan Burns provides big-play potential for Trinity.
- Cheney (3-3) – The Cardinals have had trouble against several top tier 3A schools, losing to Hutchinson Trinity (62-13), Garden Plain (41-10) and Conway Springs (64-20).
- Maize South (3-3) – Junior quarterback Drake Dukes leads the Mavericks air attack, while sophomore Wes Phillips has been his big-play receiver.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Wichita Trinity at Maize South
Runner-up: Maize South
- Buhler (6-0) – Is anyone going to give fourth-ranked Buhler a game? Anyone? Anyone? Seriously, the Crusaders have cruised through their first six games, allowing only Mulvane to score more than 10 points. Junior running back Tanner Fisher leads Buhler with 1,157 yards and 22 touchdowns on 116 carries. As a team, the Crusaders are rushing for 336.7 yards per game.
- Nickerson (5-1) – The Panthers are another one of those teams that are difficult to put your finger on. One week they barely edge winless Augusta 30-29, and another they beat previously undefeated Hesston by more than two touchdowns.
- Pratt (3-3) – The Greenbacks haven't done anything spectacular this season, but they have won the games they should win. However, they will need to earn that big victory in order to advance to the playoffs.
- Haven (1-5) – The Wildcat defense needs to improve from last week's performance against Hesston where it allowed 86 points for the game and 37 in the second quarter. Haven quarterback Ridge Foster passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Trae Regier caught five balls for 192 yards and three touchdowns.
Key Games: (Wk 9) Nickerson at Buhler
- Ulysses (4-2) – Ulysses (4-2) - The Tigers have been strong, falling only to Class 5A Liberal and undefeated Scott City. Ulysses also notched a big win in Week 4, handing Hoisington its only loss, 46-10.
- Holcomb (2-4) – The Longhorns enter districts with two consecutive wins after opening the season with four straight losses. However, the victories come against Southwestern Heights and Lakin, which have two wins combined.
- Hugoton (2-4) – The Eagles must like something about the score 21-20. That is how Hugoton has won both of its games this season against Oakley and Southwestern Heights.
- Larned (0-6) – To say that the Indians have struggled this season would be an understatement. The Indians have been outscored by an average of 50.8-7.1, and they've faced all 3A and 2-1A teams.
Key Games: (Wk 8) Hugoton at Holcomb
- Abilene (6-0) – Abilene (6-0) – The Cowboys are unbeaten, but that's not to say they have dominated all their games. Three of Abilene's games have been decided by seven points or less. The running attack is led by Jordon Ward (452 yards, 5 TDs) and Kane Kelly (432 yards, 6 TDs).
- Hesston (5-1) – The Swathers had three players - Lucas Petrocci, Kyle Perry and Ryan Schadler - rush for more than 100 yards in last week's 86-19 win against Haven.
- Smoky Valley (1-5) – The only win for the Vikings comes against a 1-5 Lyons team. They face an uphill battle in a district with Abilene and Hesston.
- Chapman (0-6) – A relatively close game (38-14) against 5-1 Concordia last week could give the Fighting Irish some confidence entering district competition.
Key Games: (Wk 8) Abilene at Hesston
- Concordia (5-1) – The Panthers' only loss is to the unbeaten Abilene Cowboys. Senior running back Blaine Newton leads Concordia with 741 yards and six touchdowns on 81 carries. Linebacker Tyler Snavely leads the team in tackles with 58.
- Russell (4-2) – Ryan Zachman is a big-play threat for the Broncos, posting TD runs of 65 and 47 yards during last week's win against Belleville. Russell will need to step up its play, facing all 3A schools in its first six games.
- Clay Center (3-3) – Senior Joe Wietharn leads the Tiger offense, passing for 393 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 686 yards and eight touchdowns.
- Colby (3-3) – The Eagles need to rebound after consecutive losses to Ulysses and Goodland. To do so, senior running back Andrew Flanagin (574 yards, 7 TDs) will need to play well.
Key Games: (Wk 9) Concordia at Clay Center
Runner-up: Clay Center