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Friday Night Fever: Preview of all Week Four Area High School Football Matchups
By Jonny Kane and Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports
09/25/2020

Three 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. District play begins for Classes 3A, 2A and 8-man with each game becoming more meaningful as the season moves on. Below you can find a complete preview of each matchup along with prediction from Jonny Kane, Justin Fluke and Jake Spalding on each contest.

2020 Pick Records

Jonny

Last week: 17-2
Overall: 46-10 (82%)

Justin

Last week: 16-3
Overall: 45-11 (80%)

Jake

Last week: 15-4
Overall: 42-14 (75%)

Week Four Games to be Broadcast

Sabetha at Holton - 103.9 KNZA & Holton Channel
Hanover at Axtell  – 92.1 KMZA
Nemaha Central at ACCHS – KAIR 93.7 FM

Class 3A

Bishop Ward (1-2) at Perry Lecompton (3-0) in District 3

Perry Lecompton is coming off a big 28-14 victory at Holton last week in a battle of state ranked teams. They outscored the Wildcats 14-0 in the second half and that was after suffering a huge loss when starting all state quarteback Billy Welch left with a knee injury. Runningback Thad Metcalfe took over a QB and Reichen Rush moved into the backfield with both guys have a terrific game and second half is rallying the Kaws to a 3-0 record. Welch is scheduled to have surgery for a torn ACL and strained MCL in two weeks.

Hayden Robb, Ryley Besler and Jaxson Folks continue to be very dominant for the Perry defense and now enters 3A District play with three teams that are all 0-3 on the season (Baldwin, Santa Fe Trail, Osawatomie), as well as Hayden.  Tonight, the Kaws host Bishop Ward who snapped a 57-game losing streak beating McLouth two weeks ago.  James Jarrett has run for over 300 yards for the Cyclones, but Bishop Ward has been thumped by Perry the last two years by a combined score of 134-6.

Metcalfe filled in last year at quarterback for a game and has ran for 382 yards this season but replacing the 538 passing yards Welch delivered as well as 107 running yards with six TDs in justtwo and a half games will be a challenge.

Jonny’s Pick: Perry Lecompton
Justin’s Pick: Perry Lecompton
Jake’s Pick: Perry Lecompton

Sabetha (2-1) at Holton (2-1) in District 4 on 103.9 KNZA, Sabetha Channel & Holton Channel

Sabetha and Holton open 3A District play tonight in an important Big 7 game as well. Sabetha has a realistic chance to go 6-0 in the Big 7 and claim a share of the League title for a third straight year if they can top the Wildcats for a fifth consecutive season. The Bluejays have won 16 straight Big 7 League games.

These similar run-oriented offensive ball control teams already have two common opponents as both teams won wild tight contest at Nemaha Central, but while Sabetha fell 34-29 versus Chapman to open this 2020 season, Holton won 55-13 at the Fighting Irish in week two.  Holton fell 28-14 against Perry Lecompton in a battle of state ranked teams last Friday and they were outscored 14-0 in the second half and had six fumbles, three of which were lost for turnovers.

The Wildcats have had a few more injuries this week and may move a sophomore fullback Jace Boswell to offensive guard. Holton is expected to play without four starters, including their leading tackler at safety on defense, but still have Kale Purcell at quarterback and a dynamic senior duo of Konnor Tannahill (192 yards rushing) and Canon Karn (391 yards rushing) in the backfield.

Sabetha has opened the offense up a bit with new QB Kaden Dillon 15-30 passing for 181 yards and the Jays have moved their best player, Drew Schmelzle around to several spots including runningback where he has 209 yards behind Ross Duncan’s team leading 298. Schmelzle also leads the Jays with eight catches and paces the defense in tackles.  Sabetha is flying high after a 29-22 victory at rival Nemaha Central last week. 

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

Jeff West (0-3) at Royal Valley (0-1) in District 4

Two struggling Big 7 league teams meet in a district opener for homecoming in Hoyt tonight.  The Panthers got their first game of the season in last week in a  42-12 loss against Christ Prep. Jamison Shane was a bright spot for the Panthers with 155 yards rushing and both touchdowns while new QB Cole Dressman ran for 55 yards and was 5-17 passing for another 56 yards.

Jeff West had their game against Chanute cancelled last Thursday afternoon and quickly found Sedgwick to travel and play. However, the injury plagued Tigers came home following a 35-7 loss to the state ranked Class 1A school and now has even more injuries to report.  Four key starters, including a pair of all league players and all state player and now out for the season including the quarterback and runningback, which were new starters this year. Senior Josh Broxterman continues to fill-in at QB and tossed a 40-yard touchdown last week for the Tigers only score.

Jeff West has won 6 of the last 8 meetings against Royal Valley including a 40-point victory each of the last two years. 

Jonny’s Pick: Jeff West
Justin’s Pick: Royal Valley
Jake’s Pick: Royal Valley

Rock Creek (1-1) at Hiawatha (1-2) in District 4

This 3A District opener was cancelled on Wednesday afternoon when Hiawatha went to full remote learning in all their school. But following a special USD 415 board meeting and 7-0 vote Thursday, all athletics and activities were allowed to resume, and the game is back on.

Rock Creek had already had their season opener cancelled this year, then fell 58-57 to Rossville in a Mid-East League thriller before beating Marysville 36-12 a week ago. Senior, Charlie Killingworth has 491 passing yards with several speedy weapons at his disposal.  

Hiawatha suffered their second straight setback falling 42-6 against Riverside last Friday when they dug a deep hole of 35-0 before halftime. These two teams have not met on the football field in the last 20 years.

Jonny’s Pick: Rock Creek
Justin’s Pick: Rock Creek
Jake’s Pick: Rock Creek

Chapman (2-1) at Marysville (0-3) in District 5

Marysville is continuing to search for answers and their first win of the season following a 36-12 loss to Rock Creek last week. The Bulldogs trailed just 14-6 at the half but were outscored 22-6 in the second half. Through three games the Bulldogs have yet to tally 500 yards of total offense with junior Patrick Smith as the only guy with over 100 yards rushing on the season.

The Bulldogs were set to face off against a Chapman team that has just a loss to rank Holton to their credit so far this year, but the Irish have been placed on remote learning so all activities have been cancelled.  

Jonny’s Pick: No Pick
Justin’s Pick: No Pick
Jake’s Pick: No Pick

Class 2A

Pleasant Ridge (0-1) at Mission Valley (2-1) in District 3

Fresh off a two-week team quarantine, the Pleasant Ridge Rams are off to Mission Valley in the opening game of district play. The Rams have played just once so far this season which came back in week one in a 42-14 loss to Jeff County North. Pleasant Ridge received two touchdown passes from Conner Gibson to Devin Stutz in the loss and will now look to find that magic again at Mission Valley.

The Vikings are 2-1 so far this season and coming off their first loss of the year falling to Osage City last week 45-8. Mission Valley is a run-oriented team that averages just shy of 200 yards on the ground per game led by senior Justice Dunbar who has ran for 267 yards and four touchdowns through the first three games. The Vikings have struggled passing the football as junior Carter Philips has completed just 37 percent of his passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns compared to two interceptions.

The Rams and Vikings have not played since 2008 when the Rams dominated in a 50-0 win.

Jonny’s Pick: Mission Valley
Justin’s Pick: Mission Valley
Jake’s Pick: Mission Valley

Rossville (3-0) at McLouth (0-3) in District 3

Rossville has continued to roll through the early portion of the season and bounced back after the week two scare from Rock Creek with a 67-12 win over St. Mary’s last week. Torrey Horak ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns last week and is up to nearly 400 yards rushing through three games with 10 scores. Woodrow Rezac is also up over 200 yards rushing with two touchdowns while Corey Catron and Tyree Sowers each have two rushing scores.

McLouth meanwhile played much better last week and gave themselves chances in a 34-20 loss to ACCHS. The Bulldogs were forced to move guys around and put young guys in key spots due to injuries but still McLouth was able to make strides in the right direction. The Bulldogs will need to be full strength tonight and limit the big plays of the Bulldogs.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Rossville and McLouth have played with the last meeting coming back in 2011 with the Bulldogs winning 43-6.

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

Oskaloosa (0-3) at Silver Lake (1-0) in District 3

Oskaloosa continues to search for answers after another blow out loss last week falling to Jeff County North 46-14. The Bears trailed 22-0 after the first quarter and got their only scores on a Chord Perry pass to Coy Perry and a Brayden Hast 8-yard run. The major problem has come defensively for the Bears as they have allowed at least 45 points in each game including over 50 points twice.

It does not get any easier this week for the Bears as they will travel to Silver Lake who is coming off their first game of the season last week in a thrilling 29-28 win over Riley County. The Eagles got 175 passing yards and three touchdowns from Daigan Kruger who added a rushing score as well.

Silver Lake won last year’s meeting 61-8 and have won five straight against Oskaloosa dating back to 2014.

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

Nemaha Central (1-2) at ACCHS (2-1) in District 4 on KAIR 93.7 FM

For the second time this season Nemaha Central suffered a heartbreaking loss as last week the Thunder fell late to Sabetha 29-22. Tyler Gerety scored twice for the Thunder with one coming on the ground and one receiving while Zac Kramer added a 79-yard rushing score. The Thunder had a potential game-tying drive late, but an interception ended Nemaha Central’s hopes.

ACCHS meanwhile has dealt with adversity throughout the week as Monday head coach Corey Thomas was relieved of his duties. So, Paul Courter takes over as interim coach with the Tigers coming off their second win of the season in a 34-20 victory over McLouth last week. After winning just three games a year ago the Tigers have already won twice this season and now have a chance for a statement win tonight.

Nemaha Central was dominant a year ago winning 57-18 and have won six straight in the series dating back to 2014 winning each game by at least 29 points.

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

St. Mary’s (1-2) at Riverside (2-1) in District 4

Riverside bounced back from a week two loss at Sabetha and dominated Hiawatha on the road leading 35-0 before posting a 42-6-win last week. The balanced Cyclones had 177 yards rushing and Kobe Davis passed for 189 with four touchdowns. Todrick Duncan has become a stud linebacker as a sophomore and leads the team in tackles after registering 11 last week. Davis has now thrown for 455 yards this season.

St. Mary’s suffered lopsided losses to Mid-East league quality foes Riley County and Rossville sandwiched with a week two win against Horton.  This is the first meeting between these football teams and a 2A District matchup. The Bears have not posted more wins than losses in a season since 2009.

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

Maur Hill-Mount Academy (3-0) at Republic County (2-1) in District 4

Maur Hill-Mount Academy has been one of the most impressive teams in Northeast Kansas to start the year with three dominant wins including a 40-6 win over Nickerson last week in a game the Ravens picked up in place of Pleasant Ridge. MH-MA led 27-6 at the half and never looked back as Andrew Schwinn ran for three touchdowns while Drew Caudle threw a pair of touchdown passes to Shane Sachse and one to Kolbrin Korbelik. Schwinn continues to lead the Ravens as he is up to 574 rushing yards and nine touchdowns through three games while defensively has over 40 tackles.

The Ravens will have their toughest test to date tonight traveling to Republic County who is coming off their first loss of the year last week falling to Minneapolis 20-14. The Buffaloes are rushing for 312 yards per game led by senior Jared Baxa who has ran for 603 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. Cody Dahl has also thrown for 286 yards and four touchdowns this season.

The Ravens and Vikings have never played setting up a big district opener tonight in Belleville.

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

Class 1A

Centralia (2-1) at Valley Heights (3-0) in District 2

It is perhaps the biggest game of the night throughout the entire state in week four as unbeaten Valley Heights hosts 2-1 Centralia for what will likely decide the Twin Valley League 11-man champion.

Centralia picked up a big win last week going on the road and beating Jackson Heights 30-12 in a game where the Panthers trailed 12-8 at the half. The Panthers, ranked third in 1A, held Jackson Heights to just 48 total yards of offense in the second half and got three second half touchdowns by Ian Haverkamp who ran for 108 total yards. Devon Fedkamp added 142 yards on the ground with an 80-yard score and leads the Panthers with 326 rushing yards and three touchdowns while Haverkamp has run for 263 and six scores.

Valley Heights has been dominant through the first three weeks and it continued last week with a 60-8 win over Horton. The Mustangs are ranked second in the state and have compiled 136 points through the first three weeks in their triple option attack led by senior quarterback Cameron Beardsley who is the far and away leader of the group. Jake Yungeberg leads the way running the football with 354 yards while Trenton L’Ecuyer adds 267 and Beardsey 230.

Centralia has won the matchup the past three seasons while Valley Heights has not won in the series since 2016 which broke a 27-game losing streak to the Panthers dating back to 1988.

Jonny’s Pick: Valley Heights
Justin’s Pick: Valley Heights
Jake’s Pick: Valley Heights

Horton (0-3) at Jeff County North (2-1) in District 2

It is a battle of Chargers in the Northeast Kansas League as Horton looks to build off something positive and find a way to snap a long losing streak. Horton had a tough mathup against Valley Heights last week and fell 60-8 with Trey Lockwood accounting for the lone touchdown, Horton’s second trip to the endzone this season. Horton lost a couple starters to injury last week which will not help as they try to end a three-game losing streak to JCN with the teams’ first meeting tonight since 2017.

Jeff County North bounced back in a big way last following their blow out loss to Valley Heights in week two as the Chargers took down Oskaloosa on homecoming 46-12. JCN led 22-0 after one quarter and took control with a 24-6 second. Landon Gutschenritter ran for five touchdowns for the Chargers who have not played Horton since the 2017 season when JCN won convincingly 48-7.

Jonny’s Pick: JCN
Justin’s Pick: JCN
Jake’s Pick: JCN

Jackson Heights (1-1) at Wabaunsee (2-1) in District 2

After playing their first two games of the season last week in a five-day stretch, Jackson Heights travels for the first time this year to face 2-1 Wabaunsee. The Chargers have already matched their win total from the past two seasons combined and has its first multi-win season in four years.  Wabaunsee has several third-year starters like junior quarterback Cade Oliver, who has 634 yards passing and 7 touchdowns while Tyler Lohmeyer has 295 yards and Dawson Shultz has 196 receiving. 

After defeating ACCHS, the Cobras had a 12-8 halftime lead against Centralia last Friday night, but did not score or move the football much at all in the second half before losing 30-12. Jason Bosley tossed a pair of touchdown passes going 6-12 in the air for 110 yards while running for a team high 44 yards.

Jackson Heights has won five straight against Wabaunsee including a 42-0 opening round playoff win last year.  

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

Pleasanton (0-3) at Troy (0-3) Non-League

In this battle of teams looking for their first win of the season, Troy is very beat up and likely to be without two of their top receivers and players. Blaine Schellenberger and Griffin Weber were both injured in Troy's first home game last week, a 37-13 loss against Wabaunsee. Cam Anderson threw for 248 yards while Keaton Neuman had a touchdown and led the team in tackles, but Troy could not overcome three turnovers in their ninth consecutive defeat. It was the first points Troy had scored this season.

Pleasanton is a new opponent for the Troy football team and has scored only six total points in their first three contests. The Bluejays were competitive however last week in a 14-6 loss to Uniontown after getting blown out by incredibly good Lyndon and Christ Prep teams. 

Jonny’s Pick: Troy
Justin’s Pick: Troy
Jake’s Pick: Troy

8-man DI

Maranatha (0-3) at Valley Falls (2-1) in District 3

Valley Falls looks to bounce back from their first loss of the season and they went on the road for the first time last week and fell down very quickly to a Chase County team before the game ended with a 50-0 score in the third quarter. The Dragons hope to respond in their third game at home hosting a winless Marantha squad that is only scoring 16 points per game. Valley also gets one of their senior linemen back this week and a third win this season would be the best for the Dragons since 2014 when they still played 11-man. These teams last played each other in 2014 and 2015 with Valley Falls winning both games.

Jonny’s Pick: Valley Falls
Justin’s Pick: Valley Falls
Jake’s Pick: Valley Falls

Burlingame (2-1) at Clifton-Clyde (3-0) in District 3

The Clifton-Clyde Eagles are off to one of the best starts in the state through three weeks with an unblemished record following a 54-6 win over Wakefield last week. The Eagles are averaging 53 points per game while allowing just 60 points total through the first three games.

Clifton-Clyde will be tested this week with Burlingame who has won two straight after a 54-6 victory over Hartford last week. The Bearcats only loss came to Madison in week one and feature a balanced offensive attack averaging 163 yards passing and 151 yards rushing per game. Wyatt Ledom leads Burlingame with 321 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns.

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

Washington County (2-1) at Doniphan West (2-1) in District 3

Washington County is looking to rebound following their first loss of the season last week to Canton-Galva 48-0. The Eagles are the top ranked team in 8-man DI and the favorite to reach the state title game. The Tigers allowed just six points in the first quarter but gave up 22 in the second and 20 in the third. Washington County allowed 464 total yards of offense and gained just 55 yards themselves.

After going 1-1 against Missouri teams and beating a tough Johnson Brock team 44-22 last week in Nebraska, Doniphan West is set for their first game in Kansas, in the Twin Valley league and in district play. The Mustangs have scored more than 51 points per game against good teams to start the year led by a strong rushing attack with quarterback Trent Spiker compiling 533 yards on the ground and 14 touchdowns already. D-West has not turned the ball over the past two weeks and has stayed healthy with only 16 players on the 2020 roster.

Washington County has beat the Mustangs five of the last six years with the teams meeting in week one the last four seasons and Washington County eeking out a 42-34 win in 2019.

Jonny’s Pick: Washington County
Justin’s Pick: Doniphan West
Jake’s Pick: Washington County

8-man DII

Frankfort (2-1) at Blue Valley (0-0) in District 3

After being in a team quarantine for the first three weeks of the 2020 season the Blue Valley Rams will finally have the chance to open their season hosting Frankfort who has won two straight since a season opening loss to Washington County.

Blue Valley is coming off a season to forget about a year ago where they went just 1-7 while being shutout twice with the only win coming in a 70-24 beat down of Wetmore in week three. The Rams averaged just 10 points per game in their seven losses and now open the season tonight with several question marks including who will run the offense after the graduation of Bryson Brockman at quarterback.

Frankfort meanwhile is coming off a dominant week three win over Onaga in a 62-12 decision last week where the Cats scored 26 points in the second quarter. Gavin Cornelison ran for 173 yards and two scores while Ethan Armstrong added 109 yards and three touchdowns and Caden Dalinghaus 101 yards and two scores. Frankfort is averaging 52 points per game so far this season and have allowed just 48 total points to this point.

Frankfort shutout Blue Valley last season 54-0 and has won the last five meetings by at least 45 points.

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

Hanover (2-0) at Axtell (3-0) in District 3 on 92.1 KMZA

It is one of the top games throughout all classes tonight in a matchup of the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the state and a rematch of last season’s sub-state championship.

Axtell has been dominant through three games winning by an average of 46 points including a 64-18 win over Rock Hills last week. Mitchell Buessing, George Volle and Dakota Barber each recorded three touchdowns while Isaac Detweiler threw for 5 scores. Detweiler has now thrown for 522 yards through three games with 15 touchdowns and only one interception while completing 78 percent of his passes. Mitchell Buessing has been his favorite target with 369 receiving yards and seven touchdowns while Dakota Barber leads the rushing attack with 238 yards and four scores. Defensively George Volle leads the Eagles with 27.5 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss while Buessing has two picks on the year.

Hanover is coming off a bye week where they had their game with Blue Valley cancelled. The Wildcats are yet to give up a point this season after a 46-0 shutout of Pike Valley in week one and a 58-0 blanking of Onaga in week two. Senior Jacob Jueneman leads the way at quarterback and is coming off three total touchdowns in the win over Onaga while senior running back Tyler Bonser ran for three scores in that win.

Axtell won both meetings last season, 28-26 in week six and 26-12 in the sub-state title game with the week six win snapping Hanover’s 43-game win streak overall and the Wildcats 13-game win streak over the Eagles.

Jonny’s Pick: Hanover
Justin’s Pick: Hanover
Jake’s Pick: Axtell

Onaga (0-3) vs. High Plains (Neb.) (1-3) in Linn

Just when the Onaga Buffaloes did not think they would play this week High Plains Community School out of Polk, Nebraska made the decision to cross the boarder and play a neutral site game at Linn High School.

The Buffaloes are giddy about the opportunity to step out of the Twin Valley League and the gauntlet that was their first three games in losses to Clifton-Clyde, Hanover and Frankfort. Onaga fell last week to Frankfort 62-12 but did get 130 yards passing a touchdown from Zac Fisher while Rilyn Maginness ran for a score as well.

Onaga will look to pick up their first win against High Plains who is off to a 1-3 start to the year following an 80-6 loss last week. Despite the record High Plains is rushing for over 220 yards per game with three guys over the century mark rushing this season.

Jonny's Pick: Onaga
Justin's Pick: Onaga
Jake's Pick: Onaga

Pike Valley (1-2) at Wetmore (0-2) Non-League

Wetmore had the week off last week and this week the Cardinals will not take the field once again due to the team being forced to quarantine.

Jonny’s Pick: No Pick  
Justin’s Pick: No Pick
Jake’s Pick: No Pick

OTHERS

Atchison (1-2) at Wamego (2-1) Non-League, Non-District

Atchison is coming off one of the most exciting victories of any team last week as the Redmen tied a state record with four interceptions returned for touchdowns in a 42-24 victory over Bonner Springs. Jake Rebant, Xavier Hernandez, Dameon Owens, and Omarion Daniels recorded the four interceptions for Atchison while Xavier Cushinberry ran for 209 and a touchdown while Pat Denton added 100 yards rushing.

The Redmen will face yet another tough test tonight in Wamego who has won straight following a 14-7 loss to Concordia in week one. The Red Raiders won last week over Clay Center 34-21 despite giving up over 300 yards rushing.

Like it has been all season Atchison has not played Wamego in quite some time but will make the 90 minute drive tonight.

Jonny’s Pick: Wamego
Justin’s Pick: Wamego
Jake’s Pick: Wamego


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