Thursday, 15 November 2018
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Sabetha at Silver Lake 3A Sub-State Football Preview
By Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

It’s a battle of birds Friday in 3A Sub State as the Sabetha Bluejays battle the Silver Lake Eagles.  The winner will advance to the State Championship in Hutchinson against the Marysville/Phillipsburg winner. Sabetha is 11-1 after convincing playoff wins against MH-MA (56-14), Perry Lecompton (28-6) and Osage City (56-13).  The Bluejays only loss came in week seven at Nemaha Central (21-7), who is the lone common opponent in this matchup after the Eagles beat the Thunder 25-7 in the second round of this post season and also topped Mission Valley (29-7) as well as Galena (13-6) last week to remain undefeated on the season.

These two teams played two years ago in the playoffs as Sabetha won a thrilling 34-28 contest.  This year, both defenses are surrendering only ten points per game, but Sabetha is averaging 42 points scored per contest and Silver Lake 35. The Eagles have had three games decided by seven points or less this season while Sabetha has played only one game closer than 14 points. 

It’s hard to be more balanced than the Eagles on offense as they post 165 yards rushing and 164 passing per contest.  Mason Griffin has thrown for 1,617 yards, while Trent Byers has emerged as the leading target with 743 yards on 47 receptions and eight scores while Keenan Baird has added 501 yards on 31 catches.  Mason Jones paces the rushing attack with 1,033 yards and 18 touchdowns, but is the only back posting more than 50 yards per game. Silver Lake has only five total turnovers all season, but the defense, led by leading tacklers Josh and Will Boyd, has 21 takeaways and 17 sacks and hasn't allowed a team to run for more than 191 yards this season. 

Sabetha has ran the ball down the throat of their opponents with a mean of 345 rushing yards per game.  They are also extremely balanced with five runningbacks that all have at least 550 yards this season. Joe Gruber leads the way with 1,082 and 13 scores while Mason Engelken has 887 yards and 11 touchdowns.  The lone senior of the group is Wyatt Beyer who has 650 yards and 10 trips to the endzone while Joel Hackney has added 572 rushing yards and eight touchdowns and Gabe Garber has scored 13 times while rushing for 558 yards in 2017.  Quarterback, Brandon Brownlee has thrown for 340 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for another 142 yards and four scores behind a stable and stout offensive line.  The Bluiejays defense has 30 takeaways and 15 sacks, led in tackles by Cauy Rokey, as well as Garber, Gruber and top lineman, Elliott Strahm. 

Special teams nugget:  Silver Lake has missed at least one extra point in four straight games and is only 4 of 13 making PAT's during that stretch.  Sabetha kicker Braedon Cox has made 50 of 54 PAT kicks this season. 

Coach CJ Hamilton now sits at 419 career wins, the most all-time in Kansas and will face his former player as Coach Garrett Michael of Sabetha returns to his alma-mater where he won state football titles as a player in 1989 and 1991.  Both teams have been in the playoffs every year for the last decade with Silver Lake appearing in 18 state championship games and winning eight times in school history, including their latest trip in 2013.  Sabetha is trying to return to the title game for a fourth time, with the last appearance in 1997 resulting in a State Championship.  Sabetha last appeared in Sub-State in 2006 and lost to Silver Lake that year.

The game at 7:00 PM Friday night between Sabetha at Silver Lake will be broadcasted live on KNZA 103.9 FM and online at with pregame starting at 6:30.      

©2018 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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