Tuesday, 18 September 2018
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Friday Night Fever - Preview of All Week Four Kanzaland Area Football Matchups
By Mike Smith
Copyright: MSC Sports

One-third of the high school football season is in the books and the action is just heating up across the State of Kansas. Five area teams are in the rankings this week with several others looking to break into the polls with another win. 

Week Four Games to be Broadcasted:
103.9 KNZA – Maur Hill-Mount Academy at Jackson Heights  (click here to listen)
92.1 KMZA – Valley Falls at Frankfort (click here to listen)
KAIR 93.7 FM – Oskaloosa at JCN (click here to listen)
Holton Channel – Riverside at Holton (click here to listen & watch)
Sabetha Channel – Sabetha at Royal Valley  (click here to listen & watch

Maur Hill-Mount Academy (2-1) at Jackson Heights (3-0)
The Cobras have won 11 straight games in the Northeast Kansas League, with the last loss coming at MH-MA by a 21-2 score in 2015. Jackson Heights did defeat the Ravens 59-27 a year ago and has outscored their three opponents this season by a combined 134-6 margin and are one of only 11 teams in Kansas that have given up less than 10 points on the season.  Senior, Brady Holliday had 149 rush yards and two touchdowns in a 28-0 win at Oskaloosa last week and now has 470 yards in three games. Sebastian Butto added 119 yards last week. 

MH-MA has put together two quality wins including a 37-12 thumping of Horton a week ago.  Dillon Smith has filled in for injured star Ronald Faulk-Tindal with 209 yards rushing the last two games and Colten Kocour will start at quarterback this week. Jack Caudle was 12-18 for 152 yards last week before taking a hit and leaving the game just before halftime.       

JCN (3-0) vs. Oskaloosa (2-1)
The Chargers are off to a 3-0 start for the second consecutive season with all three victories by 30 points or more. JCN has outscored opponents by 125 points through the first three weeks and are averaging over 50 points per game. Ridge Robertson is off to one of the best starts around the area with eight total touchdowns on the season with six coming on the ground and two in the return game. Samuel Larson has added five scores of his own, as JCN sports one of the most dynamic backfields around. The Chargers took last season's meeting over the Bears 54-6, jumping out to a 26-0 lead at halftime.

The Bears on the other hand suffered their first loss of 2017 last week falling to Jackson Heights at home 28-0, being outscored 14-0 in the second quarter. Jared Miller has been the key on offense to far this season, leading Oskaloosa in rushing with 364 yards on the year. Hunter Reed has also become a threat in the backfield for the Bears, rushing for nearly 100 yards and two scores in Oskaloosa's week two win over Horton.

Mclouth (0-3) at Pleasant Ridge (0-3)
Win number one of the 2017 season is on the line Friday night in Easton as both McLouth and Pleasant Ridge enter the matchup 0-3. The Bulldogs are coming off a 40-14 loss at home to Maranatha last week, giving up 308 yards and six touchdowns through the air. Pleasant Ridge on the otherhand is looking to rebound after a 58-20 loss on the road at Jefferson County North in which the Rams outgained the Chargers 243 to 220, but gave up both a punt return and kick return touchdown which was the biggest difference.

The Bulldogs took last season's meeting 13-8, snapping a two game win streak by the Rams over McLouth.

Horton (1-2) at Maranatha (1-2)
After a season opening shutout win at Pleasant Ridge, the Chargers have struggled to put points on the board, especially in the second half in dropping their last two games and scoring just 12 points in each contest. Maranatha meanwhile scored 40 points last week as Nate Burdette threw for 308 yards and six touchdowns in the Eagles first victory of the season at McLouth. Brock West had 10 receptions for 220 yards and caught four scores for Maranatha.  Horton beat Immaculata last year 62-12 for their lone win of the season. 

Valley Falls (0-3) at Frankfort (1-2)
Both teams have had bumps in the road to open the 2017 season and both teams have dealt with and are dealing with injuries headed into their showdown this year; Frankfort won the matchup over Valley Falls last year 62-12. The Dragons have struggled finding themselves looking for a level of consistency to build upon and while experienced returned to the fold this year a few upperclassmen are injured and things just haven’t fully come together. Tyler Lockhart gives the Dragons a guy that can sling the ball in the passing attack and he has some strong targets including Cole Borsa, while Carter Allen can run the ball too. Coming up with stops will be critical for Valley Falls to take the next step forward as they have surrendered 208 points in three games.

Frankfort after a season opening win over Onaga the Wildcats have been blanked by a pair 3-0 teams in Clifton-Clyde and St. Paul. The Wildcats without a few upperclassmen to start the season have those guys back but have another guy nicked up and Brandon Bussmann could be limited against the Dragons on Friday. A freshman in Gavin Cornelison will help guide the Wildcat offense on Friday night but team expects to rely upon sophomore, Garret Dalinghaus out of the backfield. Piecing things together for a full game will be key for Frankfort to get back to the win column.

St. Paul (3-0) at Axtell (2-1)
Axtell Eagles haven’t played football in 11 days with their last game a 70-20 rout of Southern Cloud back on September 11th. The Eagles head into their showdown with St. Paul eager to get back to action and riding a wave of momentum after scoring 70+ points in the last two games each. Offensive contributions have come from all around but the trio of Quinn Buessing, Michael Swanson and Hunter Koch have led the charge for Axtell. Buessing has tossed for 459 yards with nine touchdowns, while Swanson 350+ yards of offense with seven touchdowns and Koch has 282 yards receiving with seven scores.

Axtell will have their hands full with St. Paul who beat Frankfort 48-0 last week holding the Wildcats to under 100 yards of total offense. The Indians have rolled to a 3-0 start to the season outscoring their opponents 128-8 in the first three weeks. Runningback, Albert Albertini has been leading the charge for the Indians with his elusive running and will be tough to rein in. Last year St. Paul topped Axtell 66-16.

Wetmore (2-1) at Madison (3-0)
Last year Wetmore and Madison had a combined one when entering their showdown this year they’ve combined for five wins. Last year the contest was a tight ball game down to the wire and Wetmore tied it with 32 seconds remaining only to see Madison hit on a Hail Mary pass with 0.7 seconds left to take the game 40-34. The Cardinals started this year quite opportunistic in their first two games taking advantage of their opponents turnovers and earning wins over Valley Falls and Onaga, but last week fell to Linn 58-8 and struggled with miscues of their own plus quarterback, Joel Hutfles left the game early with an injury. Hutfles and Kyler Vance have led the way for Wetmore each with over 300 yards rushing accounting for 10 and eight touchdowns apiece.

Madison this season has rolled out to a 3-0 start outscoring their opponents 176-36 on the season. The Bulldogs after 5-13 over the last two years appear to be back on the upswing as they look to return to dominance and winning ways that included State titles in 2010 and 2011. The Cardinals will have to watch out for Stephen Stutesman and Eli Serrer in the contest.

Onaga (0-3) at Herington (0-3)
It’s a District showdown in 8-Man DI action and also a battle for the first win of the season for Onaga and Herington. The Buffaloes have had some ups and downs this season falling only 28-6 to Rural Vista in week three but perhaps taking a step back offensively in the contest after a solid balance of run/pass in week two but defensively took strides forward. The youth and inexperience are still showcasing themselves quite a bit on the field for Onaga to start the season and the Buffaloes are looking to develop consistency on both sides of the ball to put things together in hope to translate to wins. The Buffs have been able to run the ball well with Tanner Marten who has 665 yards rushing with nine touchdowns.

Last year Herington won this matchup last year 78-30 and while entering this matchup this year 0-3 have lost to teams with a combined record of 8-1 this season. The Railroaders like to run the ball averaging 190 yards rushing per game this season led by Ethan Moorman-Meador who has 328 yards with four touchdowns. Getting in the right spots, rallying to the ball and technique on tackling will be key for Onaga in the showdown while also reining in the turnovers.

Rural Vista (2-1) at Clifton-Clyde (3-0)
Flying high to start the season the Clifton-Clyde Eagles look like a contender for the postseason as they have outscored their opponents 172-6 in three games and have held all three to 135 yards or less of total offense in each game. Multiple playmaker have emerged for the Eagles has a trio of guys have over 100 yards rushing on the season and the team is averaging 169 yards rushing per game. Drake Steinbrock has 224 yards of offense with seven touchdowns to lead the way for Clifton-Clyde. Defensively on top of only giving up six points and are one of only 11 teams in Kansas to have given up less than 10 points on the season and also have seven sacks in three games, along with three interceptions and nine fumble recoveries.

Last year Clifton-Clyde won a shootout 74-72 over the Rural Vista in double overtime. While there’s been a coaching change with Austin Flowers taking over as Coach for longtime coach Jeff Hostetter the mentality has stayed the same with Rural Vista as they look to run the ball out of their single wing formation with guys like Eli Fleming and Chase Krause helping led the way.

Hanover (3-0) at Linn (2-1)
The Hanover Wildcats have cruised through the competition quite a bit over the past few years winning by the point rule several times including a pair of point rule wins this season. The Wildcat defense that was stout last year is yet again appearing to be that way this season giving up just 12 points in three games and has not surrendered more than eight points in a regular season game since 2015. While the offensive statistics might not be eye popping the Wildcats have busted off plenty of big plays this season with a plethora of playmakers like Thomas Atkins, Carter Bruna and others. Special teams have made an impact early in the season too for Hanover as they have return a punt and kickoff for a score. Wildcats have a 15-game win streak which is tied for second longest in the State. 

Linn Bulldogs after a tough week one loss to Clifton-Clyde have bounced back with wins over Blue Valley and Wetmore the past two weeks and are averaging around 230 yards on the ground per game with four guys with 110+ yards or more rushing. Joseph Trumble leads the Linn with 273 yards rushing and four scores, while Dillon Cooper has 226 yards receiving with four scores and Evan Bott is guiding the offense with 299 yards passing with five touchdowns and also 185 yards on the ground with a pair of scores.

Hanover dominated this matchup last year taking down Linn 48-0. 

Centralia (2-1) at Doniphan West (2-1)
This Twin Valley League showdown will be a battle of different styles with Centralia looking to run the ball and Doniphan West looking to the air for offense. The Panthers won last year 49-13 and established the run quite well in the contest.

Centralia Panthers appear to be back on the upswing after just one last season the Panthers are back on the prowl this year and after a tough week one loss to Sabetha have picked up strong wins over St. Mary’s and Troy both on the road the last two weeks. Panthers are running the ball at a highly successful rate with 1,025 yards rushing in three games averaging 6.8 yards per carry. Five guys have over 100 yards rushing on the season led by Trenton Flentie whose ran for 437 yards and six touchdowns and the rushing attack only expects to get more dynamic with the return of Isaac Gore soon. The defense has been strong too shutting out Troy last week had only allowing 70 yards to them while defending the pass well and giving up only eight points to St. Mary’s the previous week.

Doniphan West posted a 26-21 win at Hiawatha with the aerial attack once again in full force.  MSC Sports Athlete of the Week, Levi Watts passed for 347 yards with a pair of scores to Luke Blevins (180 yards receiving) and another to Zeb Speer (106 yards receiving). Matt Buster has filled in nicely at runningback after the departure of all league performer Clayton Ridout, and also at middle linebacker where he led the team with 11 tackles again last week.

Valley Heights (3-0) at Ellis (2-1)
Last year the Valley Heights were a playoff team and had a seven-game win streak during the season this year if the Mustangs want to return to the playoffs Coach Tony Trimble knows the team will have lock in and continue to progress. The progression looks pretty good through the first three weeks as the offense with strong upperclassmen leadership is helping lead freshman quarterback, Cameron Beardsley along. Mustangs have amassed 1,150 yards rushing in three games with 19 touchdowns on the ground, led by the duo of Jordan Yungeberg and Cole Coggins who have 354 and 497 yards rushing, respectively with seven touchdowns each. Defensively Coach Trimble believes the team still has room for improvement as the Mustangs look to corral big plays. The team is also looking to bounce back from the loss of Payden Yungeberg who suffered a season ending injury last week.

Ellis is fresh off a 47-0 win over Sublette last week and sit at on the season with their loss to Thomas More Prep. The Railroaders like to run the ball also rushing for 242 yards per game this season with seniors, Joseph Eck and Bryce Younger leading the way with 210+yards rushing each. The Mustangs who won this matchup last year 41-26 and will need to control the line of scrimmage in the matchup to win this year (Mustangs have given up 63.3 yards rushing per game through three games).

Perry Lecompton (3-0) at Troy (1-2)
Perry Lecomton has been impressive in starting 3-0, but their victories are all against winless teams. Dual threat quarterback, Dalton Kellum had 145 yards on just five carries in a 59-14 triumph against ACCHS and he has now accounted for 629 yards of offense. The Kaws have scored 56 or more points in all three wins to start the season and look to avenge a 25-22 loss to Troy last year. It’s homecoming for the Trojans who are trying to shake off a 49-0 loss against Centralia. Troy is allowing 44 points per game this season and managed just 80 yards of offense last week. Like many 2-1A teams, district play starts next week for Troy, who is down to one healthy senior on the roster.   

Sabetha (3-0) at Royal Valley (2-1)
Two similar ball control offenses meet in Hoyt tonight as Sabetha and Royal Valley look make the right reads in their rushing attacks. The Bluejays defense is one of the best in the area allowing one score all season with linebackers Gabe Garber and Cauy Rokey averaging more than 10 tackles per game. But Sabetha has not scored more than 28 points on a Friday night this year or beaten anyone by more than three scores. Mason Engelken did his part in a 22-7 win against Jeff West last week with 164 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries. 

Royal Valley beat Riverside 30-8 in week two as Chance Lyming ran for 170 yards. The Panthers are averaging better than 26 points per game this year, but were blanked 48-0 against Sabetha last season.     

Riverside (0-3) at Holton (1-2)
For the third straight year, Riverside lost their starting runningback to an injury against Royal Valley. Dawson Dick is likely out for the season after a serious spleen injury and the Cyclones are still looking for a win after the 30-8 loss last week versus the Panthers. More pressure might fall to senior quarterback Andrew Miller to spin the Cyclone offense, but the line must give him time to hit the weapons. Riverside also looks to replace Dick in the middle of a defense that is surrendering 40 points per outing. 

Holton played much better last week in a 30-18 loss at Nemaha Central and outgained the Thunder, but fell down early 21-0 by giving up a punt block for TD and throwing a pick-six for one of three turnovers. AJ Haussler returned for the Wildcats and posted 108 yards of offense and scored on a run and a reception. Jayger Carson leads the Cats with 213 rushing yards this season and Dylan Aeschliman had 147 while also registering more than 13 tackles per game to pace the Holton defense. Last year was the first time Holton ever played Riverside and won by a 41-7 score. 

Hiawatha (0-3) at ACCHS (0-3)
Somebody will earn their first win of the season when the Redhawks and Tigers meet for a Big 7 League game in Effingham. After falling 26-21 against Doniphan West, Hiawatha has now lost two games by a single score. The Hawks are nearly balanced 50/50 in rushing and passing on offense, but the young squad has struggled with turnovers and penalties and the defense has been gashed for some big plays while surrendering more than 41 points per game. The extremely young Redhawks appear to have lost one of their top sophomores for the year in Manuel Flores. 

ACCHS has scored in all three losses this year but also had problems on defense giving up 79, 42 and 59 points. Tucker Smith added two more touchdowns last week in a 59-14 setback at Perry Lecompton. The Tigers are looking to snap a 13-game losing streak. These teams are 5-5 head-to-head in their last 10 games, but Hiawatha won last year 34-14. 

Nemaha Central (3-0) at Jeff West (2-1)
Last week’s 30-18 win over Holton marked the 18-straight Big Seven League win for Nemaha Central as the Thunder moved to 3-0 and is ranked #1 across the board in the State rankings. The Thunder have scored in just about any way you can think of this season scoring on a pick-six and blocked punt recovery return just last week. The contributions are abounding for the Thunder in every way and Mitchell Henry has been at the forefront amassing 660 total yards offense (passing & rushing) while having thrown and rushed for touchdowns, along with a pick-six and punt return score. The huge amount of upperclassmen have helped lead the Thunder in a strong way on both sides of the ball including defense as the Thunder have given up 12.6 points per game this year and have only surrendered 20+ points twice in the last 16 games.

Jeff West is coming off their first loss of the year, albeit a competitive 22-7 setback at Sabetha. The Tigers had four turnovers in the defeat and managed just 143 yards of offense with a 15-30 passing attack for Cade Ross and Caleb Middendorf pounding out 76 yards rushing. The Jeff West defense has allowed only 40 points this season but faces their toughest test this week in a Thunder team that runs a very similar offense. Nemaha blanked the Tigers 56-0 a year ago.   

Marysville (3-0) at Concordia (1-2)
Marysville Bulldogs are off to their best start since 2009 which marked their last winning season before last year’s 7-3 record. The Bulldogs have the big wins over Rossville and Abilene in the first two weeks and took down Wamego 50-13 last week to remain unbeaten. The offense has been balanced with 250 yards passing and 135 yards rushing per game and quarterback, Jack Blumer his guiding the Bulldogs passing for 751 yards with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions on the season. Five different guys have caught a touchdown pass this season with Gabe Pieschl leading the way with six touchdown grabs and 437 yards receiving on 14 catches.

Concordia heads into the NCKL battle off their first win of the season beating Chapman 35-14 last week and their two losses on the season have come by only nine points to Beloit and Clay Center on both on the road. The Panthers will have to find an answer to the explosive Marysville offense something they struggled with last year falling to Marysville 34-0 as the Bulldogs outgained them 301 to 93 total yards in the contest.

KC Wyandotte (1-1) at Atchison (1-2)
Atchison is looking to bounce back after getting shutout at Schlagle last week 30-0, which snapped the Redmen's 17-game KCAL win streak which dated back to the 2013 season. Atchison struggled stopping the run last week, giving up 277 yards and three touchdowns to Schlagles' Ivan Webb. The Redmen have relied heavily on the run game this season, as Sercy Duncan and Taye Helms have combined to rush for over 550 yards and six touchdowns through the first three games. Wyandotte had an open week last week but have had two completely different games this season getting routed by Louisburg week one, but winning 28-0 over Harmon in week two.

The Redmen dominated last season's meeting on the road, taking down the Bulldogs 52-12 throwing for five touchdown passes in the victory.

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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