By Matt Gilmore, Kpreps.com & John Baetz, Kansas Pregame Magazine
Posted: October 18, 2012 - 1:22 AM
In our Picks to Click, we feature six players or units from across the state that we feel will have breakout performances on Friday night. Check back next Thursday to see our picks for week nine, and how the players performed that we picked this week.
Britton Abbott, QB, Liberal
Why pick a player on a 1-6 team? Because while the Liberal defense is struggling to keep opponents off the scoreboard, Redskin coach Cliff Abbott's son Britton, a 6-3, 210 pound junior, and the Redskin offense consistently put points on the board. Britton has thrown for nearly 1,900 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions through seven games. He has also rushed for 638 yards and 11 more touchdowns while also tallying 33 tackles on defense. Goddard Eisenhower, this week's Redskin opponent, has allowed at least 38 points in five of seven games, and it's anyone's guess which of these teams will get their second week of the season, but it's likely Britton Abbott will have another big night.
Barrett Simon, QB, Flinthills
With Simon at quarterback, the Mustangs have been surging in recent weeks. Flinthills has won two straight games and have averaged 55 points per contest over the past three weeks since switching to a spread offense. Simon has been a key, throwing for 150 yards and rushing for 160 more last week as the Mustangs shocked a 5-1 Peabody-Burns team, 50-34. He has amassed more than 900 yards pass and 600 more on the ground this season. While still possible, Flinthills will likely need some help to reach the playoffs in a loaded District 3, but remaining games with Centre-Lost Springs and Hartford give the Mustangs a chance to get above .500.
Smith Center defense
After starting the season 1-3 and allowing at least 28 points in each of those three losses, the Redmen appeared headed for one of the worst season's in Roger Barta's tenure. But the coaches have rallied the troops and the Redmen have survived tough tests against Ell-Saline and Plainville to take control of 2-1A District 6. Defense hasn't quite been the calling card of this team as it has in years past, but with the toughest portion of their district schedule behind them and defensive coordinator Brock Hutchinson helping them improve weekly, the Redmen will rely on their defense this week against a much improved Bennington team.
Josh Thompson, QB, Southeast-Cherokee
The Southeast senior quarterback is a key reason why the Lancers have already won six games – their most since the 2005 season. Thompson (6-1, 175) has thrown for 1,289 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, and has a pair of talented receiving threats in classmate Dan Peak and sophomore Ryan Rakestraw. Peak has already amassed 750 receiving yards and eight scores towards his second consecutive 1000-yard receiving season. Rakestraw has 417 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Thompson has also been effective on the ground as the Lancers’ leading rusher with 542 yards and nine scores. Southeast travels to Abbey Field to take on a Galena team that has dropped three straight games.
Logan Thompson, QB, Sedgwick
Thompson, a senior, has taken a peculiar path to the starting quarterback role. He entered his freshman season as a lineman where he modeled himself after his all-league brother Nathan. After coaches saw his athleticism he was moved to receiver this season and at 6-2, 235 pounds he was enjoying an All-State caliber season with nearly 500 yards receiving and seven touchdowns on 22 catches. But quarterback Brylie Ware, enjoying a stellar season in his first year as a starter following the graduation of standout Trent Stucky, suffered a season ending knee injury and Thompson was inserted into the quarterback spot. In the October 5th win over Moundridge he passed for more than 200 yards, and last week he rushed for more than 200 against Wichita Independent. With games against Leon-Bluestem and Whitewater-Remington left, two teams that have combined for two total wins, Thompson should add to those numbers.
Conley Wilkins, RB, Blue Valley West
Wilkins (5-10, 187) is part of a dynamic ground-duo for the Jaguars this season along with quarterback Ryan Ralston. The senior running back has rushed for 1,135 yards and nine touchdowns this season, including 521 yards and six touchdowns in West’s last two games. In a 41-36 Week 6 win over Bishop Miege, Wilkins rushed for 302 yards and four scores, and followed that up with a 217-yard, two-touchdown performance against Pittsburg last week. He also returned a kickoff 89 yards for a score against the Purple Dragons. Wilkins rushed for more than 1,200 yards and 14 scores as a junior last season.
Last week’s Picks to Click (Week 7):
Thomas Kirk, LB, Chase County – Kirk recorded 16 tackles in the 45-0 loss to Onaga, giving him 126 through seven games.
Sam McKinney, QB, Weskan – McKinney threw for 179 yards and four touchdowns as the Coyotes beat Wheatland-Grinnell 38-14.
Ethan Miller, RB, Wabaunsee – Miller rushed for 226 yards and two more touchdowns as the Chargers won their second straight game and moved closer to another playoff spot.
Lane Miller, QB, Moscow – Miller threw for 100 yards and two touchdowns, and added 141 yards rushing and a score in the Wildcats 42-6 win over Ashland.
Trevor Turner, QB, Hutchinson –Turner rushed for 65 yards and a score, and threw for 66 yards and another touchdown as the Salthawks beat Dodge City 49-17.
Gage Younger, RB, Ellis – Younger rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns, but the Railers couldn’t get past St. Francis in a 38-22 road loss.