By John Baetz, Matt Gilmore, Conor Nicholl, Mark Schremmer for Kpreps.com
Posted: October 14, 2012 - 10:13 PM
Week two of The Pick List features an early season test for two ranked teams in the Centennial League as Manhattan visits Emporia. Class 4A contenders face major tests as McPherson hosts Hays and Buhler takes on Wichita Collegiate. Finally, Class 3A takes center stage as defending champion Conway Springs goes on the road to take on a Caney Valley team that has several starters back from last season’s state quarterfinal finish.
Each Thursday throughout the regular season, The Pick List will feature six of the best match-ups across the state, and we will make our predictions on a handful of other games.
Feature Games of the Week:
6A #5 Manhattan (1-0) at 5A #4 Emporia (1-0)
The Centennial League features some of the top large-class football teams in Kansas and Friday's match-up of 6A power Manhattan and 5A upstart Emporia should produce a front runner for the league title.
An inexperienced Manhattan team looked impressive last week in dispatching Mill Valley. Fourth-year coach Joe Schartz improved the Indians' regular season win streak to 28 straight, and made a statement by jumping out to a 43-0 lead in the third quarter.
Quarterback Jacob Holloway did a little bit of everything in the win completing 8 of 11 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 167 yards and three more scores on only 12 carries.
Emporia, coming off back-to-back 7-4 seasons under third-year coach Dustin Delaney, squeaked by Centennial League foe Shawnee Heights, 27-21.
The Spartans got a decisive 90-yard kickoff return and key 64-yard touchdown catch from J.L. Savage. Junior quarterback Braxton Marstall completed 6 of 12 passes for 179 yards and the score to Savage.
Entering the season, Manhattan appeared to have several question marks thanks to the return of only three starters from last year's 10-1 team. With the dominant season-opening victory over a quality opponent, those questions appear answered.
For Emporia, the return of 11 starters signaled a breakout season. If Sparty is to take the next step a win against the Indians, a team they haven't beaten since 2008, could be just what the doctor ordered.
Our Pick: Manhattan 27, Emporia 21 (Baetz)
Hays (0-1) at Class 4A #2 McPherson (1-0)
The last time Hays High traveled to McPherson was the final regular season contest of the 2008 season. McPherson, then and still a state power, throttled Hays High, 48-0. The Indians didn’t produce 100 yards of total offense in the last game of the Rick Blosser era.
The next year, Ryan Cornelsen took over at Hays High. Cornelsen went 7-2 his first season, including a 49-19 home loss to McPherson. Since then, HHS went 7-2 and 8-2 with the school’s first playoff appearance since 1995 last fall.
Last Friday, Hays High led 22-0 early, but lost 44-43 in overtime to Class 6A Junction City.
Quarterback Alex Delton, the first Indian sophomore to win the starting quarterback job out of fall camp since 1961, enjoyed a big game. He rushed 19 times for a team-high 102 yards and four scores and completed 3-of-6 passes for 78 yards and a score.
McPherson lost plenty of offensive firepower from last season’s 7-3 team, including quarterback Tyler Matthews, now at TCU.
On Friday, the Bullpups trailed El Dorado 20-19 after three quarters, but went on to win 41-20. Dalton Clark rushed 15 times for 207 yards and three scores, while Kyler Kinnamon rushed six times for 93 yards and completed 3-of-10 passes for 54 yards with one interception.
Our Pick: Hays 42, McPherson 36 (Nicholl)
4A #5 Buhler (1-0) at Wichita Collegaite (1-0)
The Wichita Collegiate Spartans are new to Class 4A, moving up from 3A in recent seasons. However, the Spartans are already showing they are ready to be a contender at this level.
Collegiate is coming off a 41-27 win against perennial 4A contender Andale. Now, the Spartans have an even bigger 4A test in the fifth-ranked Buhler Crusaders, who are coming off a 26-21 victory against Rose Hill.
The Spartans displayed potential for a balanced offense against Andale. Quarterback Landon Root, a transfer from Kapaun Mt. Carmel, completed 9 of 18 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Root also ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
Markus Phox, Collegiate’s former quarterback, moved to wide receiver and quickly became Root’s favorite target. Phox caught six balls for 116 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 66 yards on four carries.
Collegiate running back Isaiah Franklin gives the Spartans yet another offensive option, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries against Andale.
The Crusaders are no slouch on offense either, coming off a game where they put up 26 points against the defending 4A state champions.
Leading Buhler’s offense was running back Riley Allen, who rushed for 278 yards and four touchdowns. Allen, a 4A state runner-up in the 100 meters, has the ability to go the distance on any play. He scored on two runs of more than 70 yards and one for 50 yards against Rose Hill.
Collegiate will be focused on trying to limit Allen’s big plays. Buhler’s secondary will try to keep the Spartans grounded.
This game is a big one in 4A as the winner will likely be in the rankings heading into Week 3.
Our Pick: Wichita Collegiate 28, Buhler 21 (Schremmer)
3A #3 Conway Springs (1-0) at Caney Valley (1-0)
One of the more intriguing games on the Class 3A schedule this season is defending champion Conway Springs visiting Caney Valley.
The success of the Conway Springs Cardinals football program has been well documented. The Cardinals have posted an 88-13 over the last eight seasons, and have claimed seven state championships since 1998.
On the other hand, Caney Valley is quietly becoming a program on the rise in Class 3A.
The Bullpups have made consecutive trips to the 3A state quarterfinals after going 20-4 in the last two seasons. Caney has posted a 62-23 record over the past eight seasons with six playoff appearances.
Criss Davis’ Bullpups return 15 starters from last year’s team that finished 11-1 -- a 16-8 quarterfinal loss to Rock Creek the only blemish on their record.
On the offensive line, Caney Valley returns four starters led by Kpreps 3A All-State selection Derek Bayless. In addition, Anthony Camper and Brian Dixon return as key parts of the Bullpup wishbone attack.
It was Camper who rushed for 100 yards and the game’s only touchdown in Caney’s 8-0 mud-bowl victory over Girard in Week 1.
Matt Biehler’s Cardinals returned only seven total starters from last year’s championship run, but they had little trouble with Leon-Bluestem in a 76-6 season-opening win.
Quarterback Tanner Wood (6-5, 240) led the Cardinals’ single-wing attack with 180 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Wood has committed to play at Kansas State University next year.
They key to Conway’s offense in 2012 is the maturation of the offensive line. The Cardinals return only two starters up front from last season, but have plugged in some size with Logan Creek (6-3, 260) and Ethan Roth (6-0, 250) joining returners Levi Bond (6-1, 225) and Derek Martin (5-10, 195).
This game will likely be won in the trenches as both teams rely on their ability to run the football.
Our Pick: Conway Springs 36, Caney Valley 14 (Gilmore)
Hoisington (0-1) at 2-1A #1 LaCrosse (1-0)
La Crosse is riding a 20-game regular season winning streak and is 23-2 overall since the start of the 2010 season. The Leopards, defending Class 2-1A runner-up to Centralia, have never lost a regular season home game under fourth-year coach Jon Webster.
La Crosse, the lone Central Prairie League team that plays 11-man football, has had trouble scheduling games in the past and has often had to travel hundreds of miles, meet at neutral sites or go out of state for games. This year, La Crosse got to stay close to home and play tougher teams.
In Week 1, La Crosse played Ellis, a perennial playoff contender, for the first time under Webster and won 16-6 on the road. The Leopards rushed for 270 yards, including a 17-carry, 182-yard performance from senior running back Levi Morss. Sophomore quarterback Jack Garcia, in his first career start, completed 3-of-7 passes for 39 yards with one interception and rushed 10 times for 24 yards and a TD.
Hoisington lost 14-6 to a senior-laden Great Bend team and trailed only 7-6 going into the fourth quarter. Usually in the Class 3A playoffs, the Cardinals missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years in 2010 with a 6-3 record. Last year, Hoisington was 5-4.
Senior Hagan Hanzlick completed 3-of-11 passes for 79 yards with one touchdown and one interception and rushed 19 times for 80 yards Friday. Overall, Hoisington had just 176 yards of total offense against Great Bend, 55 coming on one pass play.
Our Pick: La Crosse 17, Hoisington 14 (Nicholl)
Hanover (1-0) at 8M-I #5 Mankato-Rock Hills (1-0)
Hanover and Rock Hills are both coming off impressive 8-Man victories.
Hanover, one of the most successful programs in eight-man football over the last several years, is trying to return to prominence after stumbling to a 4-4 record last season and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
The Wildcats got off to a good start in Week 1 defeating Linn 52-14 behind 356 yards of total offense. Despite sloppy play at times – five lost fumbles and 11 penalties – the Wildcats cruised to a 30-8 halftime lead.
Hanover was balanced on offense with three players rushing for 60 yards or more, and quarterback Cody Nieman completing 5 of 7 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
Rock Hills ran past defending 8-Man Division II state champion Thunder Hills 62-16.
Sophomore back Joel Broeckelman rushed for 152 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Grizzlies. Junior Chanse Copple added 133 yards and two scores on just five carries. Broeckelman and Copple benefit from the work upfront from Wyatt Flinn, a big, physical blocker at 6-3, 235-pounds.
Hanover must be more polished in order to have a chance against Rock Hills.
Our Pick: Rock Hills 42, Hanover 20 (Schremmer)
The Pick List:
Andover Central (1-0) at 6A #2 Derby (1-0) – Derby
SM South (0-1) at Leavenworth (1-0) – SM South
4A #3 Topeka Hayden (0-1) at Topeka High (1-0) – Topeka High
5A #5 Blue Valley Southwest (1-0) at St. Thomas Aquinas (1-0) – BV Southwest
Abilene (0-1) at Rossville (1-0) – Rossville
Rose Hill (0-1) at Andale (0-1) – Rose Hill
Eudora (1-0) at Louisburg (1-0) -- Eudora
Smith Center (0-1) at 3A #5 Beloit (1-0) – Beloit
McLouth (1-0) at Doniphan West (0-1) – McLouth
Sublette (1-0) at Oakley (0-1) – Oakley
Cheylin (1-0) at Atwood-Rawlins Co. -- Cheylin
Central Plains (1-0) at 8M-II #3 Otis-Bison (1-0) – Otis-Bison
Axtell (1-0) at Clifton-Clyde (0-0) – Clifton-Clyde
Hoxie (1-0) at 8M-II #2 Sharon Springs-Wallace Co. – Sharon Springs
8M-I #2 Madison (1-0) at Marais des Cygnes Valley (1-0) -- Madison
Colony-Crest at 8M-I #4 Marmaton Valley (1-0) – Marmaton Valley
Macksville (0-1) at 8M-I #1 Ness City (1-0) – Ness City
Quinter (1-0) at 8M-II #1 Baileyville B&B (1-0) – Baileyville B&B
8M-I #3 South Haven (1-0) at South Barber (1-0) – South Haven