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Friday Night Fever: Preview of All Week Nine High School Football Matchups
By Jonny Kane and Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports
10/29/2020

It’s playoff time across the state of Kansas thanks to the new classification changes, and although it is just week nine it is win or go home with all classes getting underway this week. While most 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A games will take place on Friday, some will be played Thursday so note each game while most 8-man games take place Thursday. Jonny Kane and Justin Fluke also continue to give their picks for all games in week nine.

Jonny’s Pick Record

Last week: 16-0
Overall record: 135-19 (88%)

Justin’s Pick Record

Last week: 15-1
Overall record: 133-21 (86%)

Games to Be Broadcast

Nemaha Central vs. Pleasant Ridge (Friday at 7 p.m.) – 92.1 KMZA

Jackson Heights vs. Central Heights (Friday at 7 p.m.) – 103.9 KNZA

Maur Hill vs. Mission Valley (Friday at 7 p.m.) – KAIR 93.7 FM

Sabetha at Hayden (Friday at 7p.m.) - Sabetha Channel

Holton vs. Santa Fe Trail (Friday at 7 p.m.) – Holton Channel

Class 3A

Sabetha (5-3) at Hayden (6-1) on Sabetha Channel

It is a rematch from week nine playoff game last year when Sabetha plays at Hayden. The Wildcats won 35-0 last season and returned a good group of seniors from that team, which has them at 6-1 and ranked in 3A again this season. Hayden has a lone loss 28-22 against Topeka Seaman in week two and was idle last week after Bishop Ward could not play. Hayden won their district by virtue of a 10-0 victory against Perry Lecompton two weeks ago in which they scored all 10 points in the final two minutes of the game.

Hayden senior Desmond Purnell averages better than 13 yards per carry while rushing for 670 yards on 51 attempts while senior Will DeVader has picked up 382 yards on 54 carries for a seven-yard average. Senior Johnny Holloway has passed for 864 yards as well for the Wildcats.

Sabetha is 5-3 this year and with three straight wins and finished fourth in district after not getting a chance to play Jeff West two week ago. Sabetha went and beat Doniphan, Nebraska however and then clinched their playoff spot for a 13th straight campaign with a 28-7 win at Hiawatha last week. Josh Herrmann and Kaden Edelman each ran for more than 100 yards in the victory with Drew Schmelzle taking more snaps at QB filling in for Kaden Dillon.  Schmelzle has 640 yards rushing the lead the Blujays this season and also paces the team in tackles.

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

Perry Lecompton (7-1) at Rock Creek (5-2)

It’s not your typical first round playoff matchup in Class 3A, but 7-1 Perry Lecompton, the defending state runner up, will play at Rock Creek, who is 5-2 and having their first winning season since 2012. The Kaws dropped to third in the district because Baldwin missed games against Hayden and Perry because of covid and got the second district spot with a 2-0 record despite starting this season 0-4.

Perry’s lone loss came 10-0 against Hayden two weeks ago and the Kaws bounced back nicely with a 52-6 triumph against Santa Fe Trail, leading 31-0 after just one quarter. Thad Metcalfe ran and passed for a pair of scores and now has 718 rushing yards and 745 passing in the Kaws balanced offense. Parker Stone has eclipsed 400 receiving yards for a team averaging better than eight yards per play. Ryley Besler, Jaxson Folks and Hayden Robb are all closing in on 100 tackles for the Perry defense that has surrendered just 62 total points in eight games.

Rock Creek is a similar balanced and spread offense led by their senior QB, Charlie Killingsworth, who now has more than 2,000 yards this year for the Mustang offense. Rock Creek is looking to win their first playoff game and continue a winning season for the first time since 2011.

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

Santa Fe Trail (2-6) at Holton (6-1) on Holton Channel

In another week nine playoff rematch from a year ago, Holton will host Santa Fe Trail. Last year the Wildcats won 34-27 in a highly contested game, but Coach Brooks Barta returned a lot more starters than the Chargers and it has showed, and Holton is 6-1 with a lone loss to Perry Lecompton in week three. The Cats won their district again this year despite not getting to play last week since Jeff West did not have enough healthy and non-quarantined bodies. Santa Fe Trail is 2-6 with victories against one-win teams in Osawatomie and Bishop Ward.

Holton averages 356 yards per game on the ground this fall led by Canon Karn with 114 yards per contest. Fellow senior backfield mates Konnor Tannahill and Addison Hundley combine for another 118 yards rushing per outing. That trio is also the three leading tacklers on a defense yielding only two scores per game.

McClain Weekley has more than 1,100 yards on the ground to pace the Chargers in 2020 while fellow senior Andrew Langley has thrown for 848. SFT has turned the ball over 16 times this season. Holton is 7-0 against SFT in the last 10 years.

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

Jeff West (2-4) at Baldwin (2-4) Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

One could make a case that covid quarantined came at the right time and as it turned out, improved the district seed and opponent bracket outlook in the playoffs for both Jeff West and Baldwin. Both teams are 2-4 after missing a couple games as Baldwin didn’t play Hayden and Perry (14-2 combined) and Jeff West sit out games against Holton and Sabetha (11-4 combined).  The Tigers beat Royal Valley and Hiawatha while Baldwin topped Santa Fe Trail and Osawatomie.

Because covid complications, both these teams have battled numerous injuries this year, especially Jeff West who is playing without six key starters and on their third different signal caller of the year as Carson Brading has now been working at QB in practice the last two weeks. 

This game was moved to Saturday at 2:30 because Baldwin wasn’t allowed fans playing on their home field and didn’t want to give up the home game, so moved the game to Eudora, which has their own home game on Friday. It’s also the second Saturday game this year for Jeff West and facing an opponent they have not faced in the last 20 years.

Jonny’s Pick: Baldwin
Justin’s Pick: Baldwin

Colby (6-2) at Marysville (3-4) at 6 p.m.

It has a chance to be one of the better matchups in the opening round of the playoffs with the winner likely getting Southeast of Saline next week.

Colby has just two losses on the season to Southeast of Saline and Scott City where they scored just eight total points. The Eagles had a 48-8 win over Goodland last week and have given up less than 10 points in each of their six wins. Marysville meanwhile had their three-game win streak snapped last week in a 38-8 loss to Riley County. The Bulldogs are rushing for nearly 200 yards per game led by junior Patrick Smith who has run for over 450 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

Jonny’s Pick: Colby
Justin’s Pick: Colby

Osawatomie (1-7) at Hiawatha (2-6) Non-Playoffs

It is another new matchup in a season ending game for pride as Hiawatha will host Osawatomie and look for their third win of the season, something that hasn’t happened in four years. Alex Rockey has thrown for nearly 600 yards with Trent Kolb catching 333 of those and Cody Nevels has nearly 500 yards rushing to lead the Redhawks. Nelson King has been the top tackler all year for Hiawatha. 

Osawatomie scored a total of 40 points in their seven losses with a lone victory coming against Bishop Ward 38-35 in week six.  The Trojans are also incredibly young and have only one senior with offensive yardage this year as Toby Wilson has 135 yards rushing.

Jonny’s Pick: Hiawatha
Justin’s Pick: Hiawatha

Bishop Ward (1-5) at Royal Valley (0-6) Non-Playoffs

Royal Valley has had a season to forget with a team quarantine that cost them the first two weeks of the season, then all their JV and freshman getting quarantined for two more games which led to a couple contests with only about 15 active players, and the Panthers are 0-6 in games played. RV had scored in every game until a 62-0 loss to Rock Creek last week and is now on their third different quarterback after losing one of the top players in senior, Kenny Bell.

Royal Valley will host a Bishop Ward team that is 1-5 but beat McLouth in week two this year to stop a 57-game losing streak. The Ward Cyclones also have had to cancel two of their last three games in district play.

Jonny’s Pick: Royal Valley
Justin’s Pick: Royal Valley

Class 2A

Riverside (4-4) at Rossville (8-0)

Riverside made the playoffs for a second straight year by virtue of their 20-14 win in week four against St. Mary’s. The Cyclones put up a good fight last week against unbeaten MH-MA and had a 14-9 lead before falling 28-14. Their defense held the Ravens out of the endzone on four plays inside the five-yard-line to keep the margin at 14 points, which prevented the Ravens a shot at a district title.

Kobe Davis threw for 185 yards and now has 1,337 for his junior season.  Conner Hayes and Bray Davies are both over 400 yards receiving but the rushing attack has not been as strong for the Cyclones.   

Riverside plays at #1 ranked and undefeated Rossville, who beat St. Mary’s 67-12 and is averaging 57 points per game and 435 yards of offense this season. Torrey Horak has 773 passing yards, but his legs are a bigger threat with 1,027 yards rushing. The Bulldogs are also +13 in the turnover department in 2020.

Jonny’s Pick: Rossville
Justin’s Pick: Rossville

Mission Valley (5-3) at Maur Hill-Mount Academy on KAIR 93.7 FM

Maur Hill-Mount Academy completed an unbeaten regular season last week with a 28-14 win over Riverside, but unfortunately by not winning by at least 21 points the Ravens drew the 2-seed of the district. In last week’s win Drew Caudle completed 8 of 12 passes for 65 yards with a touchdown and an interception while senior Andrew Schwinn had 32 carries for 290 yards and three scores. Schwinn has now run for over 1,400 yards with 21 touchdowns while leading the defense with 88 tackles.

Mission Valley meanwhile has had an up-and-down season and last week got blanked by Rossville 53-0. The Vikings also have losses to Osage City and Silver Lake but have won two of their last three with wins over McLouth and Oskaloosa, albeit two teams that are a combined 0-14.

Maur Hill-Mount Academy beat Mission Valley in the playoffs two years ago 27-18. The winner of this game will get Rossville or Riverside next week.

Jonny’s Pick: Maur Hill
Justin’s Pick:MHMA

Pleasant Ridge (2-4) at Nemaha Central (5-2) on 92.1 KMZA

Nemaha Central did not play last week due to Republic County being in quarantine and with winning each district game by at least 21 points the Thunder were able to take the 1-seed over unbeaten Maur Hill. Since a 1-2 start Nemaha Central has won four straight in dominant fashion allowing just 16 total points in those four wins. Zac Kramer has thrown for over 1,000 yards this season with nine touchdowns while rushing for 655 and 11 more scores. Tyler Gerety has caught 29 passes for 604 yards and five touchdowns to lead the receiving core.

Pleasant Ridge meanwhile is coming off a 51-8 beat down at the hands of Silver Lake who scored 30 points in the second quarter to take control. Pleasant Ridge's lone score came on a 44-yard pass from Connner Gibson to Devin Stutz to avoid the shutout. The Rams feature an aerial attack that has struggled at times this season and under first-year head coach Logan Fritz Pleasant Ridge hasn’t been afraid to throw the ball over 30 times in a game.

Nemaha Central blanked Pleasant Ridge 22-0 last season with the winner of this game likely getting Silver Lake next week.

Jonny’s Pick: Nemaha Central
Justin’s Pick: Nemaha Central 

McLouth (0-7) at St. Marys (2-6) Non-Playoffs

It is nothing but pride on the line tonight between McLouth and St. Marys who both finished fifth in their respective districts. McLouth did not play last week after Oskaloosa was forced to enter a quarantine while St. Marys picked up their second win of the season over ACCHS 22-6. McLouth and St. Marys have not played in recent years with both teams ending their seasons tonight.

Jonny’s Pick: St. Marys
Justin’s Pick: St. Marys

Southeast-Cherokee (3-3) at ACCHS (2-6) Non-Playoffs

ACCHS was scheduled to play Oskaloosa this week for pride but the Bears have been in quarantine since last week, so the Tigers picked up Southeast-Cherokee. The Tigers played well last week but fell short to St. Marys 22-6 which was ACCHS’ fifth straight loss. Southeast meanwhile has scored just six total points in their last two games which were losses including a 27-6 setback to Fredonia last week. ACCHS and Southeast have never played and will end their seasons tonight.

Jonny’s Pick: Southeast-Cherokee
Justin’s Pick: Southeast Cherokee

Class 1A

Central Heights (4-4) at Jackson Heights (3-4) on 103.9 KNZA

It’s a battle of Heights tonight in the 1A playoffs as Central Heights plays at Jackson Heights for the first time in forever. It’s been quite the covid season for the Cobras as well, which currently has their head coach Caleb Wick and his whole family home after testing positive. After a 3-1 start, JH has dropped three straight games, albeit against teams that have a combined 21-3 record this year. And that doesn’t include an earlier season loss to Centralia in the Cobras brutal schedule. The loses have also timed with the absence of one of the most athletic and JH weapons in dual-threat QB Jason Bosley, who is trying to return from a foot injury.

Central Heights is in the similar situation after starting the season 4-1 they have lost three straight. It’s the best season already since 2013 for the Vikings who have their top athlete and dual-threat QB healthy in Tony Detwiler.  The junior has 701 yards passing and 976 rushing to lead his team while accounting for 20 touchdowns.  The winner of this game gets a rematch against #1 ranked Olpe.

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

Northeast-Arma (0-5) at Valley Heights (7-1) at 5 p.m.

Heartbreak. That is the only word to describe the week for the Valley Heights. The Mustangs found out Wednesday that the school will be moving to remote learning due to several COVID tests throughout the school, so Valley Heights has been forced to cancel tonight’s game which will end their season. It is unfortunate for the Mustangs who were just put back into the 1A rankings and will end their season with a record of 7-1.

Jonny’s Pick: 
Justin’s Pick: 

Troy (2-6) at Uniontown (4-4)

Troy feels like they have a chance against Uniontown tonight and with Valley Heights having to forfeit because of covid to end their season, the winner of this game will face a winless Arma-Northeast team in the second round. So, there is a lot on the line between the 4-4 Eagles and 2-6 Trojans.

Both these teams lost to Wabaunsee and both beat Pleasanton in games decided by 10 points or less. While Uniontown was blanked by Lyndon last week, Troy got their second win of the season 38-0 against Horton. Camden Anderson threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns while seniors Blaine Shellenberger and Keaton Neuman both had more than 100 yards receiving and two scores. Anderson, a junior, now has 1,429 yards passing this year. The Eagles are trying to surpass four wins in a season for the first time since 2015. 

Jonny’s Pick: Uniontown
Justin’s Pick: Uniontown

Horton (0-7) at Lyndon (6-2)

Horton is at Lyndon tonight as the Chargers finish a first season under new Coach David Losey. It’s been a struggle for the young Horton squad, which has also battled injuries and available athletes, while scoring only four times this season. Trey Lockwood has been steady and quarterback and Jaiden Oswald has led the backfield for the Chargers.

Lyndon has loses to Olpe 13-6 and Centralia, but has dominated the rest of their schedule.  The Tigers get about 200 of their 325 yards per game on the ground led by Luke Detwiler with 784 yards, although Darian Massey has thrown for more than 900 yards as well.

The winner of this game faces the winner of JCN and Northern Heights. 

Jonny’s Pick: Lyndon
Justin’s Pick: Lyndon

Northern Heights (1-7) at Jeff County North (6-2)

Following a week five loss to Centralia, Jeff County North has won three straight over Wabaunsee, Troy and last week Jackson Heights 36-0. The Chargers gave up just 99 total yards of offense last week and led 22-0 at halftime. Landon Gutschenritter accounted for five touchdowns on the night including three rushing, one receiving and one passing. Gutschenritter leads JCN with over 900 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns.

Northern Heights has struggled mightily offensively this season being shut out in four straight games and six total, while scoring just 36 total points this season. The Wildcats are also giving up over 50 points per game so it will be tough sledding.

The winner will likely get Lyndon in the regional round next week.

Jonny’s Pick: JCN
Justin’s Pick: JCN

8-man DI

Washington County (4-2) at Little River (6-2) on Friday

It is expected to be one of the top 8-man games throughout the state with one of the most even matchups across the board.

Washington County’s two losses have come to No. 1-ranked Canton/Galva and Burlingame, but the Tigers do have a win over 8-man DII No. 5-ranked Frankfort back in week one. The Tigers have not played since Oct. 9 where they beat down Maranatha 68-20 and now have to face Little River who has won three straight including a 64-0 win over Soloman last week. The Redskins have allowed just 12 total points in the last three wins combined, while the offense has scored at least 54 points in each win. Little River’s two loss came by six to Clifton-Clyde in overtime in week two and an 18-point loss to No. 1-ranked Canton-Galva in week five.

The Tigers and Redskins have never played setting up for what should be a big show down on Friday.  

Jonny’s Pick: Little River
Justin’s Pick: Little River

Doniphan West (3-3) at Solomon (4-4) 6:00 Non-Playoffs on Friday

It's a final game for pride between the Mustangs and Gorillas, who both lost a tiebreaker in districts to just miss the playoffs. Solomon started the season 4-0, but now has lost four straight contest and been shut out by ranked teams the last two weeks in Canton Galva and Little River.

The Gorillas were state runner-up two years ago and tonight try to surpass their four-win total from last season. Solomon has rushed for 151 yards per game and passed for an average of 81 yards. Senior, Alex Herbel has passed for 553 yards and ran for 585 to lead his team.  

Doniphan West is led by their quarterback as well in junior, Trent Spiker who had 170 yards last week and accounted for both Mustang scores in a 46-12 home loss to Burlingame. D-West lost the turnover battle 5-0 last week and showed some rust after sitting out the previous two weeks due to a lack of available players because of covid quarantines. Spiker has rushed for 920 yards this season.

Both these teams are looking to use this final game of 2020 as a springboard to next year as each have only a couple seniors on their roster.

Jonny’s Pick: Soloman
Justin’s Pick: Doniphan West

OTHERS

Atchison (2-6) at Basehor-Linwood (5-3) Class 4A East

It is a rematch of a pretty good week six game where Basehor-Linwood outlasted Atchison 42-26 after the Bobcats led just 22-20 at the half but were outscored 20-6 in the third quarter. Atchison has struggled holding onto the football the last couple weeks and last week it continued in a 24-15 loss to Leavenworth where the Redmen turned the ball over three times. Basehor-Linwood meanwhile has won four straight including that week six win and a 27-10 victory over Pittsburg last week.

Basehor-Linwood has won five straight dating back to 2016 over Atchison with the winner of this game getting the winner of Piper-Eudora next week.

Jonny’s Pick: Basehor-Linwood
Justin’s Pick: Basehor-Linwood


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