By Matt Gilmore, Kpreps.com & John Baetz, Kansas Pregame Magazine
Posted: October 24, 2012 - 11:32 PM
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.
Blake Baird, LB, Silver Lake
Baird has had a strong senior season for the unbeaten and top-ranked Eagles. Blake has totaled 88 tackles on the season – an average of 11 stops per game. Baird has also registered nine of the 49 sacks by the Eagle defense this season. Silver Lake has already clinched the District 3 championship, but will try to wrap up another unbeaten regular season against Maur Hill.
Stetson Broce, TE/S, Pretty Prairie
Pretty Prairie's Stetson Broce is hard to miss at 6-4 and at least 205 pounds, and that's why he's been the target of double teams by most squads all season. The four-year starter for the Bulldogs is one of the top players in all of Kansas. While he's been slowed this season on the offensive side of the ball because of the attention of opposing defenses, he was able to pull down several big touchdown receptions in a win over Lincoln last week. Solomon has the athletes to guard Broce, but his experience gives him the edge when it comes to pulling down big receptions in key situations. What he doesn't get done on the offensive side of the ball he makes up for as a hard hitting safety on defense.
Tyler Burns, RB, Wichita Trinity
Just a sophomore, Trinity's Tyler Burns is the younger brother of former Knight, and current K-State Wildcat, Morgan Burns. Tyler rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns last week against Augusta and has nearly 1,400 yards rushing and more than 22 scores on the year. Defending champs Rose Hill and Trinity square off this week for the second playoff spot out of District 11, and it should be a great game. But if Burns can get his yards against Greg Slade's tough defense the Knights could be headed to the postseason.
Is it possible that the defending 2-1A champions, a team that has won two of the last three 2-1A titles, is flying under the radar? It seems that way for the Centralia Panthers who didn't open the season in our preseason top five, but have reeled off eight straight regular season wins in impressive fashion. Most notably, since allowing 16 points in a week one win over St. Marys, the Panther defense has not allowed more than one touchdown in any of the last seven wins, including four shutouts. Centralia hasn't been too shabby offensively either, with at least 42 points in each of the last six victories. It's all the more surprising considering the Panthers graduated nine seniors from last year's squad and welcomed back only four total starters. The Panthers will get their stiffest test of district play this week against a Jackson Heights team experiencing a resurgence under former Smith Center player Caleb Wick, but the Panther D is looking to remind people why they are the defending champions.
Ty Redington, QB, Mulvane
Redington is a primary reason why the Wildcats are 7-1 and ranked third in Class 4A. Redington has completed nearly 59 percent of his passes for 1,849 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He’s also shown the ability to beat teams with this legs. The senior has rushed for more than 550 yards and seven more scores, although he’s been hampered by an ankle injury for the last few weeks. Redington and the Wildcats need a road win at Clearwater to wrap up the District 12 championship and secure a first-round home game.
Malik Veal, RB, Salina Central
Veal rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns as Salina Central kept their playoff hopes alive with a 20-13 win over Great Bend. The junior has rushed for 575 yards and six touchdowns this season and has averaged more than five yards per carry. Veal rushed for 760 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore last fall, and more than 360 yards during his freshman season. If Salina Central is going to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010, Veal will need another big night against Hays.
Last week’s Picks to Click (Week 8):
Britton Abbott, QB, Liberal – Abbott threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns in the Redskins 56-35 win over Goddard Eisenhower. The junior also rushed for 182 yards and four more scores.
Barrett Simon, QB, Flinthills – Simon threw for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns, and added 105 yards rushing and a score, but the Mustangs fell short 44-40 to Centre.
Smith Center defense – The Smith Center defense got a key interception in the end zone as time expired to secure a 22-16 win over Bennington.
Josh Thompson, QB, Southeast-Cherokee – Thompson completed 3 of 6 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown before leaving a 23-6 loss to Galena early with a concussion.
Logan Thompson, QB, Sedgwick – Thompson threw for more than 200 yards and five touchdowns in the Cardinals 51-7 win over Leon-Bluestem.
Conley Wilkins, RB, Blue Valley West – Wilkins rushed for just 52 yards, but the Jaguars beat Blue Valley Southwest 29-28.