Tuesday, 19 February 2019
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Friday Night Fever - Preview of all Week Three Kanzaland Area Matchups
By Jonny Kane and Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

Two weeks of the high school football regular season are in the books and some teams have started the season strong, while others are still in search of their first win.

Games to be Broadcast

Perry Lecompton at Sabetha - 103.9 KNZA and Sabetha Channel
Holton vs. Nemaha Central – 92.1 KMZA and Holton Channel
Jackson Heights at Maur Hill-Mount Academy – KAIR 93.7 FM

Jeff West (2-0) at Hiawatha (1-1)

The Jeff West Tigers are 2-0 for a second straight year, but hoping not to keep the 2017 trend going when they lost their final seven games last season.  In front of a capacity crowd and on their new turf field, Jeff West jumped to a 34-0 lead just a few seconds into the second quarter and got six touchdowns from Cade Ross (5 passing and 1 run) in a 54-14 victory against Royal Valley.  It was the most points scored since 2009 for the Tigers who have lost a couple starters to injury.  However, Jeff West continues to dominate the line of scrimmage and rack up the offense. 

Hiawatha won for just the second time in 12 meetings against Jeff West 36-13 last in week five and enters with a 1-1 record this year after falling at Nemaha Central 38-14 a week ago.  The Redhawks had an early 7-0 lead and were only down five points at halftime, but couldn’t muster much over 120 yards of total offense in the game and was outscored 19-0 in the second half while playing without star runningback, Andrew Woods.  Tonight is the first of three straight home games for the Hawks.  

Nemaha Central (1-1) at Holton (0-2) on 92.1 KMZA and Holton Channel

After a disappointing week one loss to Sabetha, the Thunder picked up their first victory of the season last week taking down Hiawatha in their home opener 38-14. It was not a pretty game by any stretch of the imagination, as both teams combined for seven turnovers each half in what was a muddy, sloppy game. Noe Gauna led the Thunder with 55 yards rushing and a touchdown, while quarterback Dalton Schmelzle also ran for 53 yards and a score. Gavin Duryea leads the Thunder on the season in rushing with 122 yards and three touchdowns, while through the air Schmelzle has compiled 274 yards and a score.

Holton is trying to avoid an 0-3 start for the second time in three years.  This year seems different however for the Wildcats who are averaging less than 200 yards per game and have mustered just 12 total points in two games and none last week in their first loss to Perry Lecompton (46-0) in ten years.  Coach Brooks Barta noted he has never suffered a loss like that in his 23 years at Holton and it was back to the basics and learning to practice better and work harder this week, while other changes are being made for the Cats and their 16 seniors.  Sophomore Konnor Tannahill leads the team with 30 carries and 89 rush yards this season. 

Nemaha Central has won three straight against Holton after ending the Wildcats 48 game Big 7 League win streak in 2016.     

Perry Lecompton (2-0) at Sabetha (2-0) on KNZA 103.9 FM

Perry Lecompton has outscored their first two opponents 114-0 which bumped to Kaws into the Class 3A Rankings this week.  Meanwhile, defending state champ, Sabetha, is ranked number one in most polls and throttled their first two foes 88-7 this year.  This looks like the Big 7 League title game, which Sabetha hasn’t won since 2007 and Perry has never captured a Big 7 football crown.  

Sabetha looks like a four-headed monster on the ground with Gabe Garber, Mason Engelken, Joe Gruber and Joel Hackney all well over 100 yards rushing.  The Bluejays have three special teams scores already in their first two contests this fall, and a potent kicker that could be a difference in this game.  Perry has a mean of 418 yards per game and star senior quarterback Dalton Kellum already has 395 yards rushing and 108 through the air. 

Sabetha has won three straight against Perry, including twice last year.  The Jays held on for a 28-21 victory in week six, then won a second round playoff rematch 28-6 while setting a state record with 88 rush attempts in the game last November.  

Riverside (0-2) at Royal Valley  (0-2)

Both teams are hungry for their first win of the season, especially with 3A District play starting next week, and have struggled early this year against some good competition.  Riverside lost against Sabetha 55-0 last week while Royal Valley ran into a buzz-saw and fell 54-14 at Jeff West a week after succumbing to Perry Lecompton.  The Panthers did have three plays of more that 40 yards and got a pair of scores from signal caller, Gavin Cumpton last week.  Both teams a have made their fair share of mistakes, like 16 penalties for the Panthers a week ago and a Cyclone team that struggled to move the ball and allowed two special teams scores.  Royal Valley has won this game the last three years.

Troy (2-0) at Horton (0-2)

Troy is off to a great start with a pair of wins, including last week’s 18-0 victory at Pleasant Ridge in probably the muddiest mess of a field in the state.  (Major props to Mrs. Coach Jasper for the weekend power-washing crusade!) There were nine turnovers in the slop fest last week, but only two for Troy.  The Trojans haven’t been able to pass the ball as much as they’d like, but have resurrected a defense with 10 starters returning that allowed 33 points per game a season ago.

Things went from bad to worse for Horton, who is down to 15 kids on the roster after losing their best lineman in Sky Wishkeno (6’1, 250, senior).  The two-way stalwart will be replaced by a freshman for the Chargers who are still looking for their first score of the year after losing 44-0 at Valley Heights last week.  The Chargers have lost to Troy in week nine the past couple seasons.      

ACCHS (1-1) at Valley Heights (1-1)

After snapping a 19-game losing streak in week one, the Tigers had a tough time with Jackson Heights last week falling to the Cobras 38-0. The game was actually tied at halftime, but the Cobras got their rushing attack going in the second half with three touchdown runs over 50 yards. ACCHS is led on the ground by Tucker Smith who has compiled 213 yards and one touchdown, while the Tigers offense as a whole is averaging 295 total yards per game.

The Mustangs bounced back last week after a week one loss to Troy, taking down Horton in their home opener 44-0. Valley Heights wasted no time jumping out in front, leading 38-0 at halftime before picking up their final score early on in the third quarter.

Tonight marks the first ever meeting between the two schools.

Jackson Heights (2-0) at Maur Hill-Mount Academy (2-0) on KAIR 93.7 FM

This looks to be a battle for the top spot in the Northeast Kansas League and both teams have been impressive early in 2018.  The Cobras won last year at home versus the Ravens 16-14.  This year, Jackson Heights has outscored their opponents by a combined 80-0 margin, but was tied with ACCHS last week 0-0 at halftime before an offensive eruption.  Namely, Cooper Williams exploded with 280 yards on just 11 carries and ventured all the way to the endzone on a trio of occasions.  He now has 367 yards rushing for the season after shifting from QB to runningback this year in the wishbone attack.  Jackson Heights has won the NEKL the past two years and has a chance to crack the state 1A rankings with a road win this week and a huge district showdown next Friday versus Olpe. 

The Ravens continued their dominant start to the season last week, going on the road and blanking the Oskaloosa Bears 48-0. Five different Ravens found the end zone on the ground, led by James Steichen who ran for 85 yards on just four carries. Junior quarterback Jack Caudle has proven to through two games why he is one of the top quarterbacks in the area, as he’s compiled 420 yards through the air with five touchdowns to just one interception.

McLouth (1-1) at Pleasant Ridge (1-1)

The Bulldogs and Rams are each coming off two completely different weeks. McLouth bounced back after a tough week one loss to Maur Hill-Mount Academy, taking down defending league champion Jefferson County North 28-12. The Rams meanwhile are looking to bounce back after suffering their first setback of 2018 last week, falling to Troy 18-0. Pleasant Ridge didn’t play all that bad giving up just six points each of the first three quarters, but the Rams compiled just 158 total yards and over 100 yards worth of penalties.

The Rams took last season’s meeting 34-24 and have won two of the last three meetings between the two teams.

Oskaloosa (0-2) at Jefferson County North (0-2)

The Bears and Chargers are each off to tough starts to the 2018 season as both teams are still searching for win No. 1 on the year. Oskaloosa is still looking for its first points of the year, after Maur Hill-Mount Academy blanked the Bears for the second consecutive week last week 48-0. The Chargers meanwhile are looking to bounce back after a 28-12 loss to McLouth last week. JCN has played tough in each of their first two games and have been competitive, but so far it has seemed that youth and inexperience have prevailed.

The Chargers took last season’s meeting 50-8 and have won two out of the last three meetings.

Centralia (0-2) at St. Marys (1-1)

For the second straight week Centralia went up against a Mid-East league opponent and came up just short, falling last week to Riley County 26-21. The Panthers actually held a 21-18 lead with under four minutes to play, but couldn’t find a way to get a stop when they needed it. Isaac Gore had a huge game for Centralia recording three rushing scores on the day, with two of them coming late in the fourth quarter. St. Marys meanwhile opened up the season with a big loss to Silver Lake in week one, but bounced back last week to take down Rock Creek 32-9.

Centralia took last season’s meeting 29-8, recording nearly 400 yards of total offense in the contest.

Blue Valley (0-2) at Wetmore (1-1)

The Rams played their first game of 2018 last week after having to forfeit in week one and Blue Valley fell to the Axtell Eagles 64-12. The Rams got down 30-6 after just one quarter, as Axtell was able to do pretty much anything they wanted through the air. Cole Montgomery scored the only two touchdowns for Blue Valley on a 20-yard run and a 72-yard kick return for a score, and led the team on the ground with 87 yards and the one score.

The Cardinals picked up their first victory of the season last week, taking down Southern Cloud in the home opener 44-22. Joel Hutfles had a huge game for Wetmore recording six total touchdowns with four on the ground, while totaling 142 yards on the ground and 104 through the air. Kael McQueen caught both touchdown passes from Hutfles, and finished with 102 yards receiving along with the two scores.

Wetmore took last season’s meeting 42-8, as Hutfles recorded four total touchdowns in the contest.

Onaga (0-2) at Axtell (2-0)

The Buffaloes and Eagles are off to two completely different starts to the year. Axtell is flying high to the tune of a 2-0 start, after going on the road and taking down Blue Valley-Randolph 64-12. Quinn Buessing and Hunter Koch continued to be one of the top quarterback-receiver duos in the state, after the two combined for five touchdowns through the air last week. Koch is up to 10 touchdown receptions through just two games and is fourth in the state with 289 receiving yards, while Buessing is currently ninth throughout all classes passing with 477 yards and 13 touchdowns with zero interceptions.

Onaga is looking to bounce back after a 52-6 loss to Frankfort last Friday night. The Buffaloes gave up two special teams touchdowns in the first four minutes and trailed 30-6 after the first quarter. Onaga moved the ball at times throughout the game, but just couldn’t find a way to sustain a drive. Ethan Powell recorded the lone score for Onaga on a 7-yard run, while tonight’s meeting between the Buffaloes and Eagles marks the first meeting between the two schools in over 10-plus years.

Doniphan West (0-2) at Frankfort (2-0)

Doniphan West had a stiff challenge last week against top ranked and defending state champ Hanover, but did manage to score and push the game into the second half before a 52-6 loss.  The Mustangs played without one of two seniors, who are the only players on the D-West team that have played varsity high school football, but Tucker Holzhey is expected to return.  The test is very difficult for Doniphan West this week with a long trip to face unbeaten Frankfort. 

The Wildcats continued their dominant start to the 2018 season last week, going on the road and blowing out Onaga 52-6. The Wildcats jumped out to a 24-0 lead less than four minutes into the game thanks to two special teams scores, while Carson Schreiner racked up four touchdowns; two receiving, one rushing and one via punt return. Frankfort has yet to play into the fourth quarter of any of their games this season, and are averaging 57 points per game through two games.

Rock Hills (2-0) at Hanover (2-0)

The Wildcats continue to be ranked at the top of the 8-man division two rankings, after moving to 2-0 on the season last week with a 52-6 win over Doniphan West. The defending state champs took the opening kickoff back for a score and never looked back, moving their current win streak to 27 straight games dating back to the 2015 season.

Rock Hills comes to town to take on the Wildcats out of the Northern Plains league, coming off a 52-0 win over Lakeside. Hanover beat Rock Hills in the opening game of the playoffs last season 62-32, scoring 38 points in the second half after leading by just two points at halftime.

Clifton-Clyde (2-0) at Wilson (1-1)

The Eagles are looking to continue their dominant start to the season, after thumping Valley Falls week 56-6. Everything starts on defense for Clifton-Clyde, as the Eagles have allowed just six points through the first two games of the season. Clifton-Clyde is currently ranked fourth in the state in 8-man division two according to the Cap Journal rankings, while Wilson enters tonight off a 42-14 loss at home to Lincoln.

Washington County (1-1) at Valley Falls (1-1)

These two teams have really mirrored each other as of late.  Both squads went 0-9 a year ago, but notched week one wins before falling last week.  Following a week one overtime win that snapped a long losing streak, the Valley Falls Dragons were humbled a bit last week in a 56-6 loss at Clifton Clyde. 

After a 38-12 win over Doniphan West to begin the year, the Tigers suffered a setback last week falling at home to Thunder Ridge 12-0. The Washington County defense did their part allowing just two touchdowns in the second quarter, but the offense couldn’t get anything going and failed to find the end zone. The Tigers are also facing their first road trip of the season tonight, and are looking to snap a current four game losing streak on the road dating back to the 2016 season.

KC Piper (2-0) at Atchison (1-1)

Atchison suffered their first loss of the season last week, falling to defending league champion Schlagle 18-12. The Redmen got off to a fast start jumping out to a 12-6 lead at halftime, but struggled to get anything going after the break finishing with just 117 yards rushing after running for over 300 yards in week one. Senior Sercy Duncan leads the Redmen on the ground with 164 yards and a touchdown through two games, while quarterback Brayden Dame has yet to find a rhythm through the air throwing for just 92 yards and one score to go along with four interceptions.

Piper took down the Redmen in the final game of last season 47-26, and enter Friday night as one of the top teams in the state in Class 4A.

Concordia (1-1) at Marysville (1-1)

Marysville got a huge bounce back win last week against Clay Center 32-6 as they led 26-6 at halftime thanks for three touchdowns passes by Brandon Schroedl.  The junior has thrown for 329 yards this season.  Last year, Concordia was the only team to beat the Bulldogs before the state championship game with a surprising 22-16 final.  Marysville has beaten Concordia just once in the last eight years and the Panthers are 1-1 this season after a 14-6 victory against Abilene last Friday.  

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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