Monday, 13 July 2020
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Friday Night Fever: Preview of All Week Eight Area High School Football Matchups
By Jonny Kane and Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

It’s hard to believe that the final week of the high school football regular season is here. Teams have been fighting all season long to put themselves in position to be successful in the new playoff format and have just one final chance to solidify their spot before the playoffs get underway next week. Jonny Kane and Justin Fluke also give their predictions for each matchup in week eight.

Jonny’s Pick Record

Last week: 18-3
Overall record: 119-22 (84%)

Justin’s Pick Record

Last week: 17-4
Overall record: 119-22 (84%)

Games to be Broadcast

Wamego at Holton - 103.9 KNZA & Holton Channel
Royal Valley at Sabetha  - Sabetha Channel
Nemaha Central at Maur Hill-Mount Academy  – 92.1 KMZA
Troy at Jeff County North – KAIR 93.7 FM

Santa Fe Trail (4-3) at Jeff West (6-1) Class 3A District 3

This game is likely a battle for the third and fourth seeds with both teams probably on the road to start the tough 3A playoffs. Jeff West has the same 3-1 District record as Perry and Hayden, but they are behind in points after only beating Wellsville 29-23 last week and need a Hayden loss to get a home post season game. The Tigers had to rally with two fourth quarter touchdowns just to get the road win and overcame 16 penalties for 185 yards. JW had only allowed a total of 16 points through their first six games before allowing 23 last week. And the Tigers are only averaging 12 points per game in their four contests against teams that have more than one win. The rushing attack came alive last week as Bryce Clements ran for 240 yards and Quinn Neuenswander added 108 on the ground.

Santa Fe Trail has posted back to back wins against Wellsville (25-19) and Bishop Ward (55-8) to clinch a playoff spot. The Chargers average 200 yards rushing per game and senior QB Andrew Berckenfeldt has thrown for another 140 yards per outing. Santa Fe Trail has beaten Jeff West five straight games dating back to 2013 and topped the Tigers last year 33-29.

Jonny’s Pick: Jeff West
Justin’s Pick: Jeff West

Perry Lecompton (4-3) at Bishop Ward (0-7) Class 3A District 3

Perry Lecompton is flying high following a 21-20 overtime win against Topeka Hayden last week, which pulled the Kaws even with Hayden and Jeff West at 3-1 in the District race. If Perry wins tonight by at least 18 points at Bishop Ward tonight, they are guaranteed a home playoff game next week. They need a Jeff West loss to claim the District title. Billy Welch threw for 254 yards last week but went out after taking a hard hit and Thad Metcalfe came in to toss a pair of touchdowns, including the game winner in OT before the Kaws stopped Hayden on a two-point try. Welch has been practicing all week and has thrown for 1,197 yards this season. Metcalfe has combined for over 1,000 yards of offense.

Perry topped Bishop Ward 77-0 a year ago and the Cyclones have now lost 55 games in a row dating back to 2013.

Jonny’s Pick: Perry
Justin’s Pick:  Perry

Wellsville (3-4) at Topeka Hayden (6-1) Class 3A District 3

Despite a one-point overtime loss at Perry last week, Hayden is still in the drivers seat for a District title. If Jeff West wins and Hayden beats Wellsville by three points or more, they clinch the top seed. Wellsville has been eliminated from any post-season after losing games by six points each of the last two weeks. The Eagles have three total losses by six points or less this season.

Jonny’s Pick: Hayden
Justin’s Pick: Hayden

Wamego (6-1) at Holton (5-2) Class 3A District 4 on 103.9 KNZA and Holton Channel

Holton opened district four by whipping Marysville 30-8 last week on the road and handing the Bulldogs their first setback of the season. The Wildcats ran 70 plays and got 130 yards and three scores from Konnor Tannahill to pull within a three-way tie atop the district standings. All Holton needs to do to clinch the District title now is beat Wamego. The Cats are rushing for 292 yards per game led by Tannahill with 557 and fellow junior Canon Karn with 511. Taygen Fletcher has 382 yards on the ground while Trey Wright checks in at 297 behind an offensive line that didn't return any starters coming into the season and is starting two underclassmen. A Holton loss will drop the Wildcats from first to fourth in the District and likely a road playoff opener at Hayden.

Holton had won five straight against Wamego and held a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter a year ago before falling 41-34 against the Red Raiders. Wamego earns a home playoff game with a win tonight but needs a Marysville loss to clinch the district. The speedy Raiders are off their home turf and likely without their star runningback, Isaiah Childs, who was hurt in the fourth quarter of a 28­­-15 win against Sabetha last week. Quarterback Brad Sackrider ran for 195 yards and two scores as Wamego rattled off 28 consecutive points. The only Wamego loss is to Marysville, despite having a fourth quarter lead. Childs has 875 yards rushing while Sackrider and Taybor Vetter both have more than 700 yards rushing. 

Jonny’s Pick: Wamego
Justin’s Pick: Holton

Royal Valley (1-6) at Sabetha (5-2) Class 3A District 4 on Sabetha Channel

Royal Valley got their first win of the season outscoring Hiawatha 27-0 in the second half to pull away for a 53-20 victory last week. Senior Chance Lyming had 249 yards rushing and five touchdowns while Gavin Cumpton added 75 yards and a score. The win, coupled with Sabetha's 28-15 loss at Wamego, kept the Panthers alive for the post-season. In fact, the winner of this game is in the playoffs and the loser is out. Even with a win, Sabetha will begin their back-to-back State title defense with a road game next week.

Gabe Garber threw for 175 yards and a touchdown to Kaleb Grimm last week, but the Jays only ran for 65 total yards as a team and had two fumbles in their second loss off the season. Garber has 993 yards passing and 525 rushing to lead Sabetha while Andrew Frazee is almost to 500 yards rushing as well and Grimm (215) joined Drew Schmelzle (252) and Braden Argabright (290) with more than 200 yards receiving this fall. Sabetha is trying to earn a share and repeat as Big 7 League champions with a win and has beaten Royal Valley three straight seasons and allowed only six total points to the Panthers in those three games combined.

Jonny’s Pick: Sabetha
Justin’s Pick: Sabetha

Marysville (6-1) at Hiawatha (0-7) Class 3A District 4

Marysville sit a couple of their top playmakers including star running back Atreyau Hornbeak in the first half last week, but trailing 14-0 at halftime, they opted to give some snaps to those seniors. Hornbeak has 729 yards rushing this season but just 31 total yards on only nine carries the last two weeks. Brandon Schroedl has thrown for 948 yards and added 404 yards rushing for Marysville, who is still ranked in the top five of most polls. Owen Nietfeld has 368 yards receiving and three scores for a balanced offense that is averaging 34 points per game but is allowing 24.5 an outing. Marysville has secured a home playoff game but needs a win and a Wamego win at Holton to secure the District title.

Hiawatha got three touchdowns from their senior dynamic duo of Tyler Brockoff to Michael Moreno in the first half but couldn't keep pace with Royal Valley in a 53-20 loss last week that eliminated the Redhawks from the post-season. The Hawks have also struggled on defense allowing at least 47 points in six straight games and continue to play many underclassmen. Hiawatha first year Head Coach Mike Downard is a Marysville native that will take on his alma-mater tonight.

Jonny’s Pick: Marysville
Justin’s Pick: Marysville

Osage City (4-3) at McLouth (0-7) Class 2A District 2

It’s been a year to forget for the McLouth Bulldogs but all of that can end tonight over Osage City with a win to finish off the regular season. The Bulldogs struggled to stop the run last week in a 32-0 loss to Central Heights allowing 226 yards on the ground in the contest on only 23 carries. This week they will face Osage City who fell 57-0 to Silver Lake last week which ended a four-game win streak. The Indians only average 205 total yards per game on the year with most of those yards coming on the ground in a run-oriented attack. Osage City got the best of McLouth last season 38-18 which was the first meeting between the two schools.

Jonny’s Pick: Osage City
Justin’s Pick: Osage City

Oskaloosa (3-4) at Silver Lake (7-0) Class 2A District 2

After starting the season off 0-3 the Bears have turned things around and have won three of their last four games including a 38-16 win over West Franklin last week which has them second in the district. Oskaloosa held West Franklin scoreless in the first and fourth quarters as Chord Perry ran for two touchdowns and threw one to Charles Freed while Eli King and Nick Henry added rushing scores. Those two are now each over 300 yards rushing on the year and have combined for six touchdowns while Perry has thrown for 438 yards and seven scores.

The Bears will have a tough test this week going up against the current No. 2 team in the state in Silver Lake who blew out Osage City last week 57-0. The Eagles have outscored teams 313-25 this season and have posted five straight shutouts giving them the No. 1 scoring defense in Class 2A. This will be the first meeting since a 68-0 win for the Eagles in 2017 after Oskaloosa was forced to forfeit last season.

Jonny’s Pick: Silver Lake
Justin’s Pick: Silver Lake

Nemaha Central (5-2) at Maur Hill-Mount Academy (6-1) Class 2A District 3 on 92.1 KMZA

A district title is on the line tonight in Atchison as the Thunder enter the contest 4-0 in district play while the Ravens are 3-1 with their lone loss coming to Riverside who Nemaha Central beat two weeks ago. A win by the Thunder would give them the district title outright while the Ravens need a win by at least eight points to earn a second straight district championship.

Maur Hill-Mount Academy wrapped up a league title last week for the first time in 27 years claiming the Northeast Kansas League championship in a 49-14 beat down of Pleasant Ridge. The Ravens led 34-7 at halftime as Andrew Schwinn ran for two scores and caught another from senior Jack Caudle who threw for four touchdowns including one to Grant Kocour who finished with 112 receiving yards as well. Caudle has now thrown for 1,517 yards and 23 touchdowns this season compared to just two interceptions while he is second on the team in rushing with 230 yards and four scores. Schwinn leads the team on the ground with 618 yards and 11 touchdowns while freshman Drew Caudle leads the team in receiving with 350 yards and five scores.

Nemaha Central continued to roll last week in a 57-18 win over ACCHS which marked the fourth straight win for the Thunder after starting the season 1-2. Dylan Schultejans threw for 188 yards and four touchdowns and ran for two scores while Gavin Duryea added 92 yards on the ground on just nine carries. Zac Kramer also recorded a 72-yard touchdown on the ground while Andrew Leonard caught one of the touchdown passes and totaled 65 yards on just three receptions. Schultejans has now thrown for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns this season while Gage Palic leads the Thunder on the ground with 338 yards and eight scores despite not playing last week.

This game was for the district championship a year ago and ended in thrilling fashion as Maur Hill-Mount Academy held Nemaha Central out of the end zone on a 2-point conversion with 90 seconds left to win 27-25.

Jonny’s Pick: MH-MA
Justin’s Pick: MH-MA

Horton (0-7) at ACCHS (1-6) Class 2A District 3

Horton was down to just 15 players last week and minus nearly half their starters in a 55-0 loss to Riverside. The Chargers were led by Ethan Vanderweide on the ground, but Horton has now lost 18 games in a row, including a 50-20 loss to ACCHS a year ago in the school’s first meeting since 2013.

ACCHS continued to struggle last week in a 57-18 loss to Nemaha Central where the Tigers gave up four touchdowns through the air and 214 yards on the ground. The Tigers did get three rushing touchdowns, including one each from Kieran Courter, Tucker Smith and Trystin Myers. ACCHS has now lost six straight since a season-opening 56-12 win over Oskaloosa.

Jonny’s Pick: ACCHS
Justin’s Pick: ACCHS

Pleasant Ridge (3-4) at Riverside (5-2) Class 2A District 3

Pleasant Ridge has wrapped up a playoff spot despite a 49-14 loss to Maur Hill-Mount Academy last week. The Rams got down 34-7 at halftime and had no answer for the high-octane offense of the Ravens allowing four touchdowns through the air and getting two touchdowns from Jake Heckman who ran for a score and caught one. Heckman leads the Pleasant Ridge offense with 474 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while Conner Gibson has thrown for nearly 600 yards and eight touchdowns on the year.

Riverside continues their stellar turnaround season under new coach Bryce Paden and with a 55-0 shutout at Horton last week, the Cyclones have secured their first five-win season since 2014. The Cyclones also have a playoff spot locked up and could finish anywhere from second to fourth in the District. Riverside needs a win and a Nemaha Central victory at MH-MA to get the two seed and host a first-round game.  If they don't beat P-Ridge, they could end up the fourth seed.  Quenton Barron had quite a game last week with 169 yards rushing and four touchdowns at Horton while Kobe Davis threw for another 134 yards and two touchdowns.

Last year, Pleasant Ridge trailed 18-8 in the fourth quarter before rallying for a 24-18 win against Riverside in the school's first football meeting.    

Jonny’s Pick: Riverside
Justin’s Pick: Riverside

Jackson Heights (5-2) at Lyndon (7-0) Class 1A District 3

Jackson Heights has won three straight after a 38-8 win at JCN where the Cobras won the second half 22-0.  Jackson Heights got 190 yards and two scores from Cooper Williams on the ground while Dylan Thompson ran for 112 yards and a touchdown.  After back to back big games, Williams now has 890 yards rushing this season. The Cobras overcame eight penalties for 85 yards, but the green and gold defense held JCN to just 77 total yards and allowed only one score after a missed fourth down conversion at their own 30-yard-line. 

Jackson Heights beat a 3-6 Lyndon team at home 47-8 a year ago, but this Lyndon team is undefeated at 7-0 under new coach Scott Jones.  All the wins have been by at least 10 points for the Flint Hills League champs, but they've yet to play a team with better than a 4-3 record.  The Tigers beat Troy 36-16 a week ago taking advantage of four turnovers and racking up more than 300 yards of offense. Shawn Hinck has 691 yards rushing on the year while juniors Ethan Edington and Luke Detwiler each have more than 300 yards while the Lyndon defense has allowed just 85 total points this year.

Jonny’s Pick: Jackson Heights
Justin’s Pick: Jackson Heights

Troy (2-5) at Jeff County North (4-3) Class 1A District 3

The third spot in district three is on the line tonight as both teams enter the matchup 0-2 in district play. Jeff County North continued to trend in the wrong direction last week managing just 7 yards and falling to Jackson Heights 38-6 which was the Chargers third straight loss after starting the season 4-0. JCN has averaged just six points per game in their three losses, scoring the only touchdown last week on a Boyd Tweed pass to Ryan Feldkamp.

Troy has won just two games this year and a 20-point setback to Lyndon was their closest loss last week. Yet, four of those losses are to opponents with only one loss and another to a team with just two defeats this season.  Troy will also have a TVL rematch to start the 1A Playoffs next week against either Centralia or Valley Heights. Kipp Jasper had more than 100 yards both passing and rushing last week against Lyndon but couldn't overcome four turnovers.  Riley Wells returned from injury and had double digit tackles along with Cale Hamilton.  

Troy is 11-2 against JCN in their last 13 matchups on the gridiron including a 54-8 Trojan triumph last fall.

Jonny’s Pick: JCN
Justin’s Pick: JCN

Centralia (6-1) at Valley Heights (6-1) Class 1A District 4

It’s one of the premier matchups across the state with a district title and Twin Valley League 11-man championship on the line. Centralia continued to roll last week and won their sixth straight game beating Wabaunsee 62-0 after leading 32-0 after the first quarter.  Kamble Haverkamp ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns on five carries and Devon Feldkamp added two rushing scores. The Panthers had five total players run for touchdowns and finished with 320 rushing yards. Centralia has outscored opponents this season 298-95 and are led on the ground by Haverkamp’s nearly 1,400 yards and 20 touchdowns while Feldkamp has added 750 yards and eight scores.

Valley Heights has bounced back nicely since their week five loss to Jackson Heights as they won their second straight game by at least 15 points in a 28-13 win over Northern Heights. The Mustangs ran for 310 yards overall and built a 28-0 lead as Cole Coggins ran for 117 yards and a touchdown and Cameron Beardsley added a pair of rushing touchdowns. The Mustangs are averaging over 44 points per game this season while the defense is giving up just 14 a game.

Tonight’s game is a rematch of last season’s district championship game which the Panthers won 49-22 as Haverkamp ran for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

Jonny’s Pick: Centralia
Justin’s Pick: Centralia

Valley Falls (1-6) at Maranatha (5-2) 8-man DI District 3

Valley Falls trailed 20-6 after one quarter but could not slow down Chase County before losing 60-14. Drew Pickerell ran for a touchdown and passed for another to Diego Cernvantez in the loss.  The Dragons have allowed at least 42 points in every game this season but are technically still alive for a playoff spot with a win and a lot of help. 

Maranatha is 5-2 but fell to Lebo 62-36 last week for their second district loss.  It was the fewest points Maranatha had scored this year against the same Lebo team that Valley Falls got their lone win against 52-42 in week four.  Maranatha pitched three shutouts to start the year and is led by Nate Burdette who has 748 yards passing and Micah Webb who has 1,095 rushing yards.

The Eagles are one of three teams with a 2-2 district record going into tonight and beat Valley Falls 54-8 a season ago.  

Jonny’s Pick: Maranatha
Justin’s Pick: Maranatha

Lincoln (2-5) at Clifton-Clyde (7-0) 8-man DI District 7

Clifton-Clyde wrapped up the district seven title last week with a 48-0 win over Washington County. The Eagles pitched their fifth shutout on the season and have outscored opponents 362-36. Clifton-Clyde continues to be ranked fifth in the latest 8-man DI state rankings and will face a favorable matchup this week against Lincoln who has lost five straight after a 2-0 start losing each game by over 40 points. The Leopards fell to Stockton last week 53-8 and turned the ball over four times while being held to just five yards rushing. The Eagles won last year 46-0 and have won 16 of their last 17 games dating back to last season.

Jonny’s Pick: Clifton-Clyde
Justin’s Pick: Clifton Clyde

Washington County (4-3) at Hill City (4-3) 8-man DI District 7

After starting the season 4-1 the Tigers have lost two straight including a 48-0 loss last week to Clifton-Clyde who is currently ranked fifth in 8-man DI. Washington County has scored just eight points in their last two games and have scored those eight total points in their three losses on the year. It will be another tough matchup tonight for the Tigers as they face Hill City who has won three straight including a strong 30-22 win over Victoria last week. The Ringnecks won last season’s week eight meeting 46-20 which was the Tigers first season at the 8-man level.

Jonny’s Pick: Hill City
Justin’s Pick: Hill City

Hanover (6-1) at Frankfort (7-0) 8-man DII District 3

A district championship and Twin Valley League 8-man title is on the line as Frankfort is a perfect 5-0 in district play while Hanover is 4-1. Hanover bounced back last week after suffering their first loss of the season to Axtell two weeks ago by beating Wetmore 54-7. The Wildcats need a win by at least six points to claim the district championship, but a loss would put Hanover in the third spot in district three.

Frankfort is coming off one of the biggest wins in program history and one of the best games of the year beating Axtell 24-20 on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Cornelison to Branden Bussman as time expired. Garret Dalinghaus ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns to lead Frankfort while Cornelison added a score on the ground. Dalinghaus has now ran for over 800 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, while Cornelison has ran for over 600 yards and thrown for over 500 with 20 total touchdowns.

Hanover has dominated this matchup in recent years winning a year ago 46-0 and the last four meetings by over 30 points in each game.

Jonny’s Pick: Frankfort
Justin’s Pick: Frankfort

Axtell (6-1) at Doniphan West (3-4) 8-man DII District 3

The Eagles are looking to bounce back for the first time this season after a 24-20 last-second loss to Frankfort last week and now find themselves in the third spot in district three with a chance of going on the road in the first round of the playoffs next week. Axtell needs at least a 21-point victory over Doniphan West and Frankfort to win against Hanover in order to take second in the district and have a home playoff game next week, but a Hanover win by six or less would give the Eagles a district title.

In the Eagles loss to the Wildcats last week they had a chance to win the game late and a 20-18 lead with the ball and only 40 seconds left, but a costly third down mistake with a player running out of bounds stopped the clock and an incomplete pass on fourth down allowed Frankfort to get the ball back and drive down the field for the game-winning score with no time on the clock. Freshman quarterback Isaac Detweiler threw two touchdowns to Derek Buessing while Mitchell Buessing added a rushing score. Axtell will get back all-state quarterback Quinn Buessing this week after he missed last week with a concussion, which should prove to be huge going into the playoffs.

Doniphan West has won three straight and would certainly love to get a second chance to play teams like Washington County and Onaga, even Frankfort and Hanover that the Mustangs played very tough before losing to in the first half of the season.  Last week, D-West jumped to a 33-0 lead and cruised to a 54-6 win at Blue Valley Randolph as Trent Spiker threw for a pair of touchdowns and the Mustangs ran for 259 yards as a young team.  Doniphan West needs to win and Wetmore to beat Onaga if the Mustangs have a chance to make the playoffs.   

Jonny’s Pick: Axtell
Justin’s Pick: Axtell

Onaga (4-3) at Wetmore (1-6) 8-man DII District 3

There’s a lot on the line tonight for the Buffaloes who need a win in order to move into the fourth spot in district three and a spot in the playoffs. Onaga has won three of their last four games including a 56-0 shutout of Tescott last week. Zac Fisher threw for 105 yards and two touchdowns while Ethan Powell ran for 62 yards and two touchdowns along with Kaid Schwant adding two rushing scores. Powell has now run for over 700 yards and 14 touchdowns this season while Fisher has added over 800 total yards rushing and passing with 12 total touchdowns.

Desperately needing a win, the Buffaloes will face Wetmore who continued to struggle last week in a 54-7 loss to Hanover. The Cardinals have lost five straight since a week two win over Southern Cloud and have scored over seven points just once in their past four games.

Onaga won last season’s meeting 36-18 and now two of the last three meetings dating back to 2016.

Jonny’s Pick: Onaga
Justin’s Pick: Onaga

Blue Valley (1-6) at Lakeside (4-3) 8-man Non-District

Blue Valley continued to struggle last week falling to Doniphan West 54-6 fumbling three times while allowing over 250 yards on the ground. The Rams have been shut out twice this season and have scored just 14 total points combined the last four weeks. Blue Valley will face a Lakeside team tonight that score with the best despite suffering a 54-0 loss to St. John/Tipton. The Knights have scored over 45 points four times this season including an 84-point outing in a win over Pike Valley two weeks ago. Blue Valley won twice over Lakeside last year by scores of 52-6 in the regular season and 68-0 in the first round of the playoffs.

Jonny’s Pick: Lakeside
Justin’s Pick: Lakeside

Sumner (3-4) at Atchison (2-5) Non-District

The problem that has haunted Atchison all season long continued last week in a 39-20 loss to Basehor-Linwood as the Redmen fumbled seven times including three times inside of the Bobcats 15-yard line. Atchison did run for over 350 yards in the game and did a lot of good things, but turnovers just proved to be too costly in the end. The Redmen have a chance to get back on the right side of things this week facing a Sumner team that has just a 1-3 KCA League record but is coming off a 28-12 win over Harmon. Atchison won last season’s meeting 56-20 and eight straight against the Sabres dating back to 2011.

Jonny’s Pick: Atchison
Justin’s Pick: Atchison 

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