By Matt Gilmore, Conor Nicholl, Mark Schremmer, & John Baetz for Kpreps.com
Posted: October 14, 2012 - 10:10 PM
Week 4 of The Pick List features four games pitting unbeaten teams against one another. In Class 6A, it seems like Olathe South is involved in the Sunflower League game of the week each week. This is no different as the Falcons take on Jordan Darling and Shawnee Mission East.
One of the most intriguing games this week involves unbeaten Topeka Seaman taking on No. 2 Emporia in a 5A match-up. Seaman is currently just outside of our Kpreps rankings, but could make a major statement with a road win over their Centennial League rivals.
The SEK League again takes center stage as Fort Scott hosts unbeaten Coffeyville. Finally, no team has been more dominant this season through three weeks than the Beloit Trojans. Will they get their first real test this week on the road at unbeaten Sacred Heart?
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 #3 Olathe South (3-0) at Shawnee Mission East (3-0)
Defending 6A champion Olathe South gets a second consecutive road test as the Falcons visit unbeaten Shawnee Mission East on Friday night.
Entering this week, the Falcons and Lancers are two of four remaining teams without a loss in the Sunflower League.
That’s not to say that Olathe South hasn’t been tested. The Falcons needed a late Chase Hanson interception in the end zone last week to survive Kyle McFarland and Lawrence Free State 38-35.
Russell White posted big numbers against the Firebirds in rushing for 165 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. White leads the Falcons’ ground attack with 381 yards rushing and five scores this season. Hanson and Matt Elliott have provided good ground support as the duo combined for 153 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries in the win over Free State.
Chip Sherman’s Shawnee Mission East Lancers appear to have their offense in full gear after being grounded by weather conditions early in the season. SM East features one of the state’s best players in quarterback Jordan Darling (6-4, 230) who has committed to Kansas.
The son of military parents, Darling is playing for his fourth different school in his high school career. Last fall, he threw for more than 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns in sharing quarterback duties for Midway High School (Waco, Tex.), including finishing as Texas 5A runners-up. He also threw for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore at Lakota West in West Chester, Ohio. Darling played at Platte County, Missouri his freshman season.
This season, Darling has thrown for more than 600 yards and five touchdowns for the Lancers. His best performance may have come in last week’s 44-20 win over Olathe Northwest when he threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
Darling’s go-to receiver is Connor Rellihan; a Kpreps 6A All-State selection a year ago and one of the top receivers in 6A again this season. Rellihan has already totaled 305 yards receiving and four touchdowns through the air.
Olathe South will again try to use their physical line play led by Braden Smith to dictate the tempo of the game. But the Falcons have been susceptible to opposing offenses capable of spreading them out by putting the ball in the air. Remember that South’s lone loss a season ago came against Blue Valley Northwest’s spread led by Garrett Fugate, and Free State’s McFarland was able to cause problems a week ago. Darling, Rellihan and company will likely have to outscore the Falcons.
Our Pick: Olathe South 35, SM East 23 (Gilmore)
Hays (2-1) at Garden City (2-1)
Last year, Garden City, Hays High and Great Bend had a three-way tie for the WAC championship. Garden City defeated Hays High 24-21 in Hays for the Indians’ lone regular season loss.
This season, Friday again will likely determine how the WAC race shapes up.
Hays High has won or tied for the conference title in two of coach Ryan Cornelsen’s first three seasons. Before 2009, Hays High had two WAC football titles in school history, in 1990 and 2001.
Both squads have taken a loss, but it’s been entirely different scores. Garden City lost 42-7 in the season opener to Bixby, Okla., and then followed up with a 17-7 win against Woodward, Okla. and a 45-28 victory against Great Bend last week.
The Buffs have been outscored 77-69 this season, the lone Class 6A team that has a winning record but has been outscored overall. However, Garden City showed plenty of promise in the win against Great Bend, the most points the Buffs had scored against the Panthers since 1999.
Quarterback Greyson Tempel collected 382 yards of total offense, including 276 on the ground, in the win. He has 828 yards of total offense in three games.
Hays High lost a 44-43 road overtime contest in the season’s first week to Junction City and then followed it up with blowout wins on the road to McPherson (58-28) and a home win versus Liberal last week (51-34, in a game that wasn’t has close as the final score).
The Indians are Class 5A’s highest scoring team with 152 points, though have permitted the fourth-most points.
Sophomore sensation Alex Delton continues to put up big numbers at quarterback. He has passed for 414 yards and two scores and rushed for 331 yards and seven TDs. Senior running back David Cardinal, the returning WAC Player of the Year, has 412 rushing yards and nine TDs.
Hays High has some defensive issues, but its offense has proven difficult to stop. Look for the Indians to put up plenty of points again.
Our Pick: Hays 47, Garden City 31 (Nicholl)
Topeka Seaman (3-0) at 5A #2 Emporia (3-0)
A pair of unbeaten Class 5A teams will battle Friday in Emporia.
The Topeka Seaman Vikings are 3-0 after a 2-7 finish a year ago. Seaman has posted quality wins against Topeka Hayden, Junction City, and Manhattan.
The Vikings are led by senior quarterback Butch Rea, who has passed for about 225 yards and rushed for more than 300. Senior fullback Nathan Stanley picks up a lot of the tough yards for Seaman, rushing for four touchdowns on the season.
Sophomore running back Joseph Reagan has been the Vikings’ big play threat. In Seaman’s 21-20 win against Manhattan, Reagan rushed for 53 yards on seven carries, while catching three passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Reagan also has been a weapon as a return man.
The Emporia Spartans have their share of weapons as well.
Wide receiver Jerel Morrow, who has verbally committed to play at Oklahoma State, garners a lot of attention from opposing defenses. Emporia receiver J.L. Savage gives the Spartans another big time option in the passing game. Savage caught three balls for 133 yards and two touchdowns in Friday’s 50-14 win against Topeka Highland Park. Morrow caught four balls for 185 yards, including an 85-yard TD pass from Savage in the win. Emporia quarterback Braxton Marstall passed for more than 200 yards.
The Seaman and Emporia matchup should be a fun one to watch as Morrow, Savage and Reagan are some of the best playmakers in the state.
Emporia may have just a little more firepower though.
Our Pick: Emporia 28, Seaman 21 (Schremmer)
Coffeyville (3-0) at Fort Scott (3-0)
Fresh off of a huge win at Pittsburg in Week 3, the Fort Scott Tigers get another SEK League test as they host the unbeaten Coffeyville-Field Kindley Golden Tornado on Friday night.
Bob Campbell’s Tigers were dominant in the second half against Pittsburg one week ago as they turned a 14-14 halftime tie into a 41-20 victory.
It was Fort Scott’s first win over the Purple Dragons since 2004.
Coffeyville will present a different challenge for the Tigers.
The Golden Tornado feature several weapons that can go the distance of the field on each play.
Wide receiver James Newton, the 4A 100-meter champion this spring, has four catches for 195 yards and three touchdowns this season. Newton compiled more than 725 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns a year ago. Coach Murray Zogg also has the luxury of Newton’s speed on kickoff and punt returns as well.
Senior running back Wesley Collins is coming off a 1,300-yard junior season in which he rushed for 19 touchdowns. He has already tallied 291 yards and six touchdowns in the ‘Nado’s first three games.
Collins has helped to relieve some pressure from the Coffeyville offense missing quarterback Cory Turner who was dismissed from the team prior to the season for a violation of rules. Turner threw for more than 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns a year ago. Luis Grossi has stepped in at quarterback and thrown for 200 yards and two scores in the first three weeks.
Fort Scott will try and counter with a ball control offense that sprinkles in the occasional play action.
Senior quarterback Johnathan Stark leads the Tigers’ split-back veer offense. Stark was masterful against Pittsburg a week ago in rushing for 88 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing for 89 yards and a score.
The Tigers used several different backs last week including Race Kastl, Jacob Durossette, and Victor Hughes while Marques Floyd nurses and ankle injury.
Coffeyville’s challenge will be to force the Fort Scott in to second and third-and-long situations and must avoid the Tigers chewing up yardage with long, time-consuming drives.
Junior linebacker Elijah Jones leads the Coffeyville defense with 44 tackles (14.7 per game) and two interceptions.
Our Pick: Fort Scott 27, Coffeyville 19 (Gilmore)
3A #5 Beloit (3-0) at Sacred Heart (3-0)
An experienced Sacred Heart team, that posted a thrilling overtime victory over Sedgwick last week, could provide the first real test for a big, physical Beloit team that has outscored opponents an incredible 188-8 in rolling to a 3-0 start.
Sacred Heart used a 27-yard Tymony Bonilla field goal on the final play of overtime to win a thrilling game with previously undefeated Sedgwick last week, 31-28.
The Knights could muster only 67 yards of offense in the first half, but went to the ground game in the second to finish with 340 total yards.
The offense is led by junior quarterback Nick Wuthnow, a returning starter and standout wrestler, and speedy senior running back Drew Diederich, one of the state's top sprinters. The duo combined for 221 yards rushing in the win.
Beloit has looked impressive in dispatching Concordia, Smith Center, and Russell in the first third of the regular season and allowing only Concordia to score in the week one rivalry game.
The Trojans are led by a huge offensive line and talented senior fullback Stanten Krone.
Junior quarterback Payton Vetter is a three-year starter for the Trojans and has helped their double wing accumulate 1,222 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns through three games. That’s an average of 407.3 yards rushing per contest and Beloit is averaging 9.1 yards per carry.
Do the Knights have the defense to slow down the black and orange? Will the Trojans allow their second score of the year? We won't know until Friday night, but what we do know is the winner of this one will be a clear favorite to win the North Central Activities Association.
Our Pick: Beloit 44, Sacred Heart 12 (Baetz)
Cheylin (2-1) at 8M-II #2 Sharon Springs-Wallace County (3-0)
Cheylin has quickly become one of the top teams out west since the start of the 2010 season, while Sharon Springs has been an elite squad ever since coach Kevin Ayers came seven years ago.
Cheylin is 20-4 since the start of 2010, including a playoff win against Victoria and two wins against Sharon Springs in the last two years that led to district titles.
Cheylin won 64-18 in 2010 and earned a 26-18 victory last season where the Cougars had several big fourth down stops. The 2010 game was the last time Sharon Springs lost at home. The Wildcats have won eight straight since.
The winner Friday will have a big leg up to solidify a playoff spot in Eight-Man, Division II, District 6, a district that also includes 3-0 Weskan.
Cheylin has permitted just 48 points in three games, and suffered a 22-14 loss to undefeated Atwood-Rawlins County in Week 2 before it rebounded with an 18-6 victory versus Wheatland-Grinnell last Friday. Sharon Springs has allowed just 38 points in three wins, including a 20-6 home win against a quality Hoxie team in Week 2.
Sharon Springs senior quarterback Gavin Mote, in his fourth season as a starter, has again put up solid numbers. He has completed 15 of 23 passes for 262 yards with four TDs against zero interceptions. He has rushed 47 times for 348 yards and six scores.
Cheylin has relied on one back in each of the last two seasons, but is going with a versatile approach this season. Four players have between 104 and 127 yards, including junior quarterback Kenan Reeh. He has passed for 183 yards with a 3/2 TD/INT ratio and leads the team with 127 rushing yards and 55 tackles.
Both teams have strong defenses, but Mote – just like in many games this season – is a difference-maker with his ability to run the offense and lead.
Our Pick: Sharon Springs 24, Cheylin 12 (Nicholl)
The Pick List:
Salina Central (1-2) at 6A #2 Derby (3-0) – Derby
SM West (2-1) at Olathe East (1-2) – SM West
Andover Central (2-1) at Maize South (3-0) – Maize South
Blue Valley (1-2) at 5A #5 Bishop Miege (2-1) – Bishop Miege
Pittsburg (2-1) at Chanute (2-1) – Pittsburg
Atchison (2-1) at KC Wyandotte (3-0) – Wyandotte
4A #3 Buhler (2-1) at McPherson (2-1) – Buhler
Girard (2-1) at Southeast-Cherokee (3-0) – Girard
3A #4 Garden Plain (3-0) at Wichita Trinity – Garden Plain
Phillipsburg (3-0) at Smith Center (1-2) – Phillipsburg
Ulysses (2-1) at 3A #2 Scott City (3-0) – Scott City
Ell-Saline (3-0) at Sedgwick (2-1) – Sedgwick
Clifton-Clyde (1-1) at 8M-I #5 Mankato-Rock Hills – Rock Hills
8M-I #1 Ness City (3-0) at Hodgeman County (2-1) – Ness City
Marais des Cygnes Valley (2-1) at 8M-II #3 Waverly (3-0) – Waverly
8M-II #4 Colony-Crest (2-1) at St. Paul (2-0) – Crest
Beloit St. John’s-Tipton (3-0) at Thunder Ridge (2-1) – Thunder Ridge