By Matt Gilmore, Conor Nicholl, Mark Schremmer, & John Baetz for Kpreps.com
Posted: October 14, 2012 - 10:05 PM
Week 6 on the Kansas high school football schedule is so filled with big games, that we have expanded this week’s edition of The Pick List to eight game previews compared to the typical six games.
The entire Top 5 in Class 6A is featured as top-ranked Derby tries to hand No. 2 Hutchinson a second consecutive loss, while No. 3 Shawnee Mission East travels to take on No. 4 Lawrence Free State. Class 6A’s fifth-ranked team, the Topeka High Trojans, have a Centennial League showdown against 5A No. 2 Emporia.
Elsewhere, unbeatens collide in Class 4A as St. James Academy visits Eudora. But the biggest game in that class pits No. 3 McPherson against No. 2 Mulvane.
Finally, two rivalry showdowns highlight the schedule in Class 3A. Defending champion Conway Springs visits Central Plains League rival Garden Plain, while top-ranked Silver Lake takes on unbeaten Rossville in the War on 24.
Feature Games of the Week:
6A #1 Derby (5-0) at 6A #2 Hutchinson (3-2)
Hutchinson, formerly the No. 1 team in Class 6A and considered Kansas’ top team regardless of classification, took a shocking 35-10 loss to Salina South, ranked No. 3 in Class 5A, last week. This week, they get another strong test in AVCTL Division I foe Derby.
Coach Randy Dreiling said it was the first time Hutchinson had been outcoached, outplayed and out physicaled since 2004. Hutchinson allowed 305 rushing yards.
It marked the Salthawks’ worst loss since a 42-14 defeat to Salina Central in 2005.
Will Smith led Hutchinson with 115 yards rushing. He leads the Salthawks with 451 yards this season. Hutchinson has outscored teams by a combined margin of 193-113 and still ranks third in Class 6A in scoring offense, according to preppowerindex.com.
Still, the Salthawks, now ranked No. 2 in Class 6A, are still one of the state’s top teams. Hutchinson has made the playoffs every year since 1999 and made the eight state championships in the last nine years, including seven state titles.
Derby, the new No. 1 ranked team in Class 6A, has outscored opponents 212-27 and leads the classification in scoring offense and scoring defense. Shawnee Mission East is the lone team to allow fewer than 62 points. As well, Topeka High (201 points) is the only other 6A squad to exceed 200 points.
Another win would give Derby its longest winning streak since it won eight in a row in 2008. In a 49-0 victory against Haysville Campus last week, Chandler Shantz rushed for 123 yards and four scores and also threw for a TD.
Hutchinson will play better than it did last week – but it won’t be enough against Derby. The Panthers move to 2-8 in the last 10 years against Hutchinson with the first win since a 30-27 victory in 2008. That year, Hutchinson still went on to claim a state title. Even with a loss Friday, Hutchinson is certainly in the mix for a crown.
Our Pick: Derby 27, Hutchinson 21 (Nicholl)
6A #3 Shawnee Mission East (5-0) at 6A #4 Lawrence Free State (4-1)
The second showdown amongst 6A ranked teams will occur in Lawrence where Shawnee Mission East will travel to take on Free State.
Chip Sherman’s Shawnee Mission East Lancers are off to a 5-0 start thanks to a strong passing attack and a stingy defense that is surrendering just over 10 points per game.
On offense, the Lancers average 28 points per game despite a 3-0 win over Olathe South in Week 4. East is led by talented quarterback Jordan Darling. The Kansas commit has already thrown for 997 yards and six touchdowns, including throwing for 225 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over Olathe East. Darling also rushed for a pair of scores against the Hawks.
Darling’s primary target in the passing game has been Connor Rellihan. Rellihan, a Kpreps 6A All-State selection from a year ago, already has accumulated 527 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
The Lancer defense has perhaps been even more impressive. SM East has pitched two shutouts, including making a Will Humphrey field goal stand up in beating defending 6A champion Olathe South.
Lawrence Free State has ridden the arm and legs of senior quarterback Kyle McFarland to a 4-1 start. The Firebirds only loss came at home to Olathe South, 38-35. McFarland has thrown for 782 yards and seven touchdowns, while adding 470 yards and four more scores on the ground.
Tye Hughes has been McFarland’s main target on offense with 350 yards receiving and three scores. Hughes had five receptions for 137 yards and returned a punt for a touchdown in last week’s win over Shawnee Mission North.
The Free State defense led by Corban Schmidt is allowing nearly 19 points per game. McFarland and Demarko Bobo have been ball hawks in the defensive secondary, and will need to turn in a solid effort to keep Darling and the Lancer offense in state.
Our Pick: SM East 31, Free State 24 (Gilmore)
6A #5 Topeka High (5-0) at 5A #2 Emporia (5-0)
Two unbeaten teams prepare to battle in a Centennial League showdown as Class 6A’s fifth-ranked Topeka High Trojans travel to face 5A’s second-ranked Emporia Spartans.
The Trojans have displayed strong defense by not allowing more than 15 points in a game this season and a versatile offense led by a dual-threat quarterback.
Topeka’s Raymond Solis leads the city in total offense with 1,022 yards – 579 passing and 443 rushing. The Trojans’ running back Eli Weinbrecht leads the city in rushing with 526 yards on 71 carries.
Emporia has one of the best big-play offenses in the state with Oklahoma State recruit Jerel Morrow and J.L. Savage at wide receiver and Dylan Jackson at running back.
In last week’s 36-35 win against Topeka Hayden, Spartans quarterback Braxton Marstall completed 14 of 22 passes for 249 yards. Morrow and Savage combined for 10 of the catches and 214 of the yards. Jackson rushed for 117 yards on 20 carries.
The Spartans will be faced with their third consecutive difficult game, winning the past two by a combined three points.
Our Pick: Topeka 35, Emporia 28 (Schremmer)
4A #3 McPherson (4-1) at 4A #2 Mulvane (5-0)
Mulvane is enjoying one of the best seasons in 4A football improving to 5-0 last week and climbing to No. 2 in the Kpreps.com class 4A poll.
Veteran coach Dave Fennewald uses a wide open spread offense led by quarterback Ty Redington, one of 4A's best. Redington has passed for 1,036 yards and 10 touchdowns, completing 71 of 122 passes with five interceptions. He is also among the state's rushing leaders averaging 96.8 yards a game on the ground with an average of 8.1 yards per carry.
Legendary Kansas prep football coach Tom Young has the McPherson Bullpups among the best in 4A this fall after playing for years in the 5A ranks.
The offense goes through speedy running back Austin O'Bannon who has averaged 93.4 yards rushing per contest.
The Bullpups have also flourished through the air in spite of the loss of TCU signee Tyler Matthews at QB and Washburn signee Jordan Hart, the team's top wideout last season.
Sophomore quarterback Kyler Kinnamon emerged as the starter prior to the season and has been impressive. Kinnamon threw for 393 yards and four touchdowns in a Week 4 win over Buhler, but a sore shoulder relegated him to playing wide receiver in last week’s win over Winfield. He caught six passes for 191 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Marcus Houghton stepped in at quarterback against Winfield and completed 16 of 20 passes for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
Will the defenses have an answer for these two explosive offenses? The Wildcats have allowed only 20 points since giving up 34 to Buhler in week three. The Bullpups sandwiched 15 and 8 point defensive efforts against Rose Hill and Winfield around a 28 point outburst by Buhler in week four.
Comparing common opponents these two teams appear evenly matched. McPherson has victories of 44-28, 33-15, and 41-20 over Buhler, Rose Hill and El Dorado, while Mulvane has posted wins of 38-34, 20-13, and 42-7 against those three teams.
Our Pick: McPherson 44, Mulvane 40 (Baetz)
St. James Academy (5-0) at 4A #4 Eudora (5-0)
St. James Academy and Eudora will meet Friday in a key showdown on the eastern half of Class 4A, and while both teams are undefeated, the respective programs are in different places.
Eudora has seemingly become one of the elite programs in Class 4A over the past several seasons under Coach Gregg Webb, and are fresh off the school’s first trip to the 4A football state championship game. The Cardinals finished as the 4A runners-up last season to Rose Hill, and are contenders again this season and ranked fourth in the state. Eudora has posted a 71-23 record (.755) over the past eight-plus seasons, and have made seven playoff appearances during that span.
St. James Academy, on the other hand, is just in its sixth season of varsity football, and is seeking the schools’ first trip to the state playoffs. The Thunder have already set a school record for wins with their 5-0 start this season.
For the Thunder, it all starts up front where they feature a pair of offensive linemen sure to garner attention from coaches at the next level. Chris Gomez (6-3, 275) and Jake Wittman (6-5, 255) anchor the St. James line on both sides of the ball. They open holes for junior running back Jake Bade and quarterback Jansen Keyes. Bade leads the Thunder with 437 yards and four touchdowns, while Keyes has rushed for 290 yards and passed for 618 yards and eight touchdowns.
Last week, St. James remained unbeaten with a 12-6 road win over Louisburg in a game that was scoreless until the third quarter. The Thunder forced four Wildcat turnovers including two in the red zone that ended Louisburg scoring opportunities, and one that led directly to points for St. James when Gomez recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Eudora’s ground attack has been spread to four primary ball carriers. Garret Elston leads the Cardinals with 444 yards rushing, while Gabe Cleveland (358 yards), Andrew Ballock (331 yards), and Markis Hill (279 yards) have all made significant contributions. Ballock, Eudora’s quarterback, has rushed for seven touchdowns, and has also thrown for 515 yards and six scores.
Both teams have wins over traditionally strong programs in Louisburg and Paola. Eudora defeated Louisburg 21-20 in Week 2, and Paola 35-7 in Week 4. St. James beat Paola 20-13 to open the season before the hard-earned victory over Louisburg last week.
Our Pick: Eudora 27, St. James 20 (Gilmore)
3A #3 Conway Springs (5-0) at 3A #4 Garden Plain (5-0)
Two of the top teams in Class 3A will butt heads when the third-ranked Conway Springs Cardinals travel to face the fourth-ranked Garden Plain Owls on Friday night.
Several thousand people are expected to attend this rivalry game that includes two unbeaten teams. The game has implications at the state level, but also will likely decide the Central Plains League champion.
Conway Springs is the defending 3A state champions and have won 15 games in a row since falling 19-13 to Garden Plain in the 2011 regular season. The Cardinals avenged that loss last year with a 38-14 win over the Owls in the state semifinals.
The Cardinals are led by Tanner Wood, who is one of the best running quarterbacks in the state. He rushed for 284 yards and two touchdowns while passing for another in last week’s 45-14 win against Wichita Trinity.
Conway Springs’ Brady Bodine also rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in last week’s win against Trinity.
The Cardinals are averaging 45.8 points a game out of their single wing offense.
Garden Plain has had a strong start under first-year head coach Brad McCormick.
The Owls are averaging 52.4 points a game, led by the rushing attack of running backs Denver Doyle and Dylan Clark. Both backs have had multiple 100-yard rushing games this season. Garden Plain also has shown some ability to pass with quarterback Caleb Arnold, who has passed for more than 100 yards in three games and more than 90 in another.
Our Pick: Conway Springs 21, Garden Plain 14 (Schremmer)
3A #1 Silver Lake (5-0) at Rossville (5-0)
Class 3A’s top-ranked Silver Lake Eagles will travel to face the fellow unbeaten Rossville Bulldogs for the rivalry game known as the War on 24. As usual the game will likely decide the Mid-East League championship.
The two schools are separated by about six miles on US-24 highway and have one of the most stories rivalries in state history. However, Silver Lake has had the edge as of late, not losing to Rossville since the 2003 regular season. Since the teams often end up facing each other in the playoffs as well, the Eagles are on a 12-game winning streak against the Bulldogs.
The Eagles, who were last year’s 3A runner-up, beat the Bulldogs 20-18 in the 2011 regular season.
Silver Lake appears to have the edge on paper this season when you look at like opponents. The Eagles beat Rock Creek 42-6 and Riley County 41-14. Rossville edged Rock Creek 36-33 and beat Riley County 27-14.
Silver Lake has been pretty balanced, averaging 252.8 yards on the ground and 135.2 yards through the air.
The Eagles use a two quarterback system with senior Evan Burdiek and junior Dailin Kruger. Burdiek has thrown a little more with 376 passing yards, while Kruger is more apt to run with 472 yards and seven TDs on 35 carries. Running back Peter Pfannenstiel is Silver Lake’s leading rusher with 493 yards and six TDs on 56 carries.
Rossville also owns a balanced attack as it averages 170.4 rushing yards and 145.2 passing yards. Senior quarterback Dalton Catron leads the offense. He has completed 56 of 89 passes for 693 yards and nine touchdowns, while rushing for 341 yards and three touchdowns on 83 carries.
Junior linebacker Tagen Lambotte is averaging 12 tackles a game this year.
Our Pick: Silver Lake 28, Rossville 14 (Schremmer)
8M-I #3 South Haven (5-0) at Udall (5-0)
South Haven and Udall, part of Eight-Man, Division I, District I, have each rolled through their respective opponents to this point. South Haven has beaten opponents by a combined score of 276-34 against the classification’s No. 40 schedule (52 total teams). Udall has defeated teams by a collective margin of 220-35 behind the No. 49-hardest schedule.
South Haven has a 3-0 district record, while Udall is 2-0 in district play. Central Burden (5-0, 2-0 district) has also dominated with a collective margin of 208-12. One of those three teams will likely miss the playoffs.
Last week, South Haven defeated Oxford 54-6 in a game where the Cardinals outscored the Wildcats 32-0 in the second half. Quarterback Austin Showman had 173 yards of total offense and accounted for four scores, while J.T. Yunker rushed for 116 yards and two TDs.
Udall senior quarterback Michael Propst has completed 29 of 53 passes for 509 yards with an 8/5 TD/INT ratio. Heath Satterlee has rushed 82 times for 429 yards and seven TDs. Propst has 15 carries for 33 yards and five TDs. Four players have at least 100 receiving yards, including Deshon Stiner, who has 10 catches for 268 yards and five TDs.
A win for South Haven – one of eight-man’s most consistent programs – would mark the seventh winning streak of at least six games since 2003.
South Haven is 8-0 in the last eight meetings against Udall, including a 46-36 victory last season. However, two of the last three and three of the last six meetings are within 10 points. This one will be close again, as both teams have great quarterbacks. South Haven has the slight edge.
Our Pick: South Haven 48, Udall 42 (Nicholl)
The Pick List:
BV Northwest (3-2) at BV Southwest (3-2) – BV Northwest
Dodge City (3-2) at 5A #5 Hays (4-1) – Hays
Pittsburg (4-1) at Coffeyville (4-1) – Pittsburg
KC Piper (4-1) at Mill Valley (4-1) – Mill Valley
Girard (4-1) at Galena (4-1) – Girard
Holcomb (4-1) at Ulysses (3-2) – Holcomb
Atchison County (4-1) at 2-1A #4 Centralia (5-0) – Centralia
Hoxie (4-1) at 8M-I #1 Ness City (5-0) – Ness City
Lebo (4-1) at 8M-I #2 Madison (4-1) – Madison
Frankfort (3-1) at 8M-II #1 Baileyville B&B (5-0) – Baileyville B&B
Victoria (3-2) at 8M-II #4 Otis-Bison (4-1) – Otis-Bison