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Local Sports News
Friday Night Fever: Preview of all Week Five Area High School Football Matchups
By Jonny Kane
Copyright: MSC Sports
10/01/2020

Four 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 got underway last week for Classes 3A, 2A, 1A and 8-man DI & DII 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: 20-1
Overall: 66-11 (86%)

Justin

Last week: 18-3
Overall: 63-14 (82%)

Jake

Last week: 18-3
Overall: 60-17 (78%)

Games to be Broadcast

Rock Creek at Sabetha - 103.9 KNZA & 92.1 KMZA & Sabetha Channel
Royal Valley at Holton – Holton Channel
ACCHS at MH-MA – KAIR 93.7 FM

Class 3A

Royal Valley (0-2) at Holton (3-1) District 4 on Holton Channel

It's homecoming for Holton who host their third straight contest this week facing Jackson County and Big 7 foe Royal Valley in a district game.  Holton bounced back from their only setback of the season against Perry Lecompton and topped Sabetha 45-21 last week while running for 438 yards and never trailing in the game. Canon Karn had 169 yards and three touchdowns while Addison Hundley added 114 yards and Konnor Tannahill added 75. That trio of powerful senior backs were helped by three senior linemen in Carter Watkins, Logan Dieckman and Jordan Hunington again last week as the Cats out-physicaled their opponent.  

Royal Valley suffered a couple big injuries including to their top tailback in Jamison Shane last week in the 42-7 setback at Jeff West, just their second game of the season, which had to be finished on Saturday because of a light failure in Meriden.  The Panthers have not beaten their rival Wildcats since 1996, the year before Brooks Barta arrived in Holton.

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

Hiawatha (1-3) at Jeff West (1-3) District 4

The Redhawks and Tigers try to keep a part of the district race in a game at Meriden between 1-3 squads. Hiawatha has lost three straight after opening the season beating Troy while Jeff West was 0-3 but found a way to beat Royal Valley last week 42-7 in a game that had to be finished on Saturday because of a light failure. Hunter Courter had 19 tackles in that Jeff West win and Broxterman brothers Josh (QB) and Sam (RB) each had 100 yards on the ground for a Tiger team desimated by injuries. Jeff West has lost their starting quarterback, runningback, and reigning 3A defensive player of the year for the season, all were two-way starters.

Hiawatha is a very young team with only four seniors, but Alex Rockey continues to throw the football well and had a pair of touchdown tosses last week to Trent Kolb (200 receiving yards this year) and Carson Gilbert against Rock Creek. The Hawks are still very inexperienced up front and averaging only 120 yards of offense per game. Jeff West has won 14 of the previous 16 meetings between these Big 7 teams and six of the last seven with Hiawatha getting a 16-14 victory in 2016.  The Tigers won 55-0 last year. 

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

Rock Creek (2-1) at Sabetha (2-2) District 4 on 103.9 KNZA and Sabetha Channel

This is a pretty big game in district four, which also includes Holton, who Sabetha lost to 45-21 last week, ending the Jays 16-game win streak in the Big 7 League. Maybe a bigger loss for the Bluejays was losing their top running back Ross Duncan (senior) to a season ending injury. Drew Schmelzle ran for two touchdowns in the first half and played quarterback most of the second half, swiching spots with fellow senior Kaden Dillon. Now, Drew may have to be more of a full-time tailback as the Jays have played the last couple games without their top returning senior runningback Michael Gugelman on offense because of injury as well. Sabetha still is a formidable foe and is not being themselves with any turnovers or penalties but must defend the big plays this week against Rock Creek.  

The Mustangs one loss was a 58-57 shootout against Rossville while they bouned back to beat Marysville and Hiawatha 51-12 last Friday. Senior quarterback Charlie Killingsworth has had a monster year, throwing for 863 yards, and running for 290 more.  These teams haven't played since 2007, which brings up bad memories for Sabetha and they had a team finish 8-1 but not make the playoffs that year because they lost to the Mustangs 15-13 then watched Rock Creek (many think intentionally) lose the next week to still make the playoffs instead of Sabetha, which led to a KSHSAA rule change a few years later.  

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

Marysville (0-3) at Council Grove (2-2) District 5

Marysville is coming off a bye week and will look to pick up their first win of the season on the road at Council Grove. The Bulldogs have had three formidable opponents so far this season falling in each game by two scores including a 36-12 loss to Rock Creek two weeks ago.

Council Grove has wins over Northern Heights and West Franklin so far this season but last week fell 56-6 to Concordia. The Braves do most of their damage on the ground rushing for 190 yards per game while passing wise they have struggled completing just 17 percent of passes so far this season.

Jonny’s Pick: Marysville  
Justin’s Pick: Marysville
Jake’s Pick: Council Grove

Perry Lecompton (4-0) at Winfield (1-3) Non-District

Perry Lecompton was supposed to play Baldwin this week but the Bulldogs are in their second week of team quarantine, which means they won't face Hayden or Perry in district games this year and that could drastically effect the final district standings.  As for the Kaws, they were able to pick up a game against Winfield and will drive nearly three hours to play the 4A Vikings who have a lone 14-12 week two win against Labette County, but solid competition in losses to Buhler, Ark City and 56-13 to McPherson last week.

Winfield certainly has some athletes and will challenge the Kaws who play their second game without all state QB Billy Welch who underwent ACL surgery this week.  Thad Metcalfe took over last week as was 10-16 passing for 164 yards while running for 125 yards and scoring six times against Bishop Ward. Reichen Rush added 151 yards on just six carries as the Kaws walked their way to more than 600 yards of offense in a 71-0 blowout to remain undefeated.    

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

Class 2A

Rossville (4-0) at Oskaloosa (0-4) District 3

Oskaloosa looking to move forward after what was a miserable week four which saw the Bears fall to Silver Lake 96-0. The Bears were down five guys and at one point had over half of their starters out. The attention now quickly flips to Rossville who is coming off a dominant win themselves over McLouth last week 56-0 where the Dawgs ran for 229 yards and six touchdowns. Through four games Rossville is averaging over 300 yards on the ground with Torrey Horak recording over 800 total yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns.

Oskaloosa and Rossville have not played since 2008 which was a 51-8 win for the Bulldogs.

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

McLouth (0-4) at Pleasant Ridge (0-2) District 3

Just like Oskaloosa, McLouth is looking to bounce back and forget about last week which came in a 56-0 loss to Rossville. The Bulldogs had no answer for the speed and athleticism from Rossville, but head coach Gary Freeman was able to use the game to show his guys exactly what it takes to be a premier program throughout the state.

The Bulldogs will now face off against Pleasant Ridge who lost their first game back from quarantine last week to Mission Valley 37-8 in game where the Vikings ran for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Pleasant Ridge threw four interceptions in the game with their only score coming on a 26-yard pass in the first half.

Pleasant Ridge has won three straight in this meeting dating back to 2016 and won last year going away 35-6. 

Jonny’s Pick: Pleasant Ridge
Justin’s Pick: Pleasant Ridge
Jake’s Pick: Pleasant Ridge

ACCHS (2-2) at Maur Hill-Mount Academy (4-0) District 4 on KAIR 93.7 FM

It’s the Atchison County rivalry tonight with the Ravens hosting the Tigers in what is always a high-spirited affair. Maur Hill-Mount Academy, though, has won six straight in the series dating back to 2014 including a 49-0 win a year ago.

The Ravens are coming off perhaps their most impressive victory so far this season as they went on the road and blew out Republic County last week 41-8 to open district play. MH-MA held Republic County’s stud running back Jared Baxa in check for the most part and got 191 rushing yards and three more touchdowns from Andrew Schwinn who is fourth in the state in rushing with 765 yards and 12 scores. Drew Caudle also threw for another touchdown and has completed 75 percent of his passes this year for 525 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with no interceptions.

ACCHS meanwhile is looking to bounce back after a 48-0 loss to the defending 2A State Champion Nemaha Central Thunder last week. The Thunder ran at will last week against the Tigers who had their starting quarterback Kieran Courter go down with an injury late. Courter should be good to go tonight though for ACCHS and will have to have a big game if the Tigers want to pull the upset.

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

Nemaha Central (2-2) at St. Mary’s (1-3) District 4

Nemaha Central started district play in a big way last week going on the road and shutting out ACCHS in a 48-0 win and put forth a concerted effort to get the grown game going. Zac Kramer ran for two scores in the victory while Sam McWilliams added two more scores. The Thunder have now won six straight district games dating back to the 2018 season and will hit the road for the second straight week traveling to St. Mary’s.

The Bears are coming off a close loss to Riverside a week ago 20-14 where the Cyclones had success through the air scoring all three of their touchdowns. St. Mary’s trailed just 14-6 at the half and got a 6-yard rushing touchdown from Greg King and a 51-yard touchdown pass from Jaxon Hurla to Cody Dedonder.

Nemaha Central beat St. Mary’s last season 49-20 in week nine to open their run to a Class 2A State Championship.

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

Republic County (2-2) at Riverside (3-1) District 4

Riverside is trying to start 4-1 for the second straight season, but the win was not easy last week in a 20-14 triumph against St. Mary's. Kobe Davis tossed for 240 yards and a trio of touchdowns, the last of which went to Braden Chalfant with 36 second left in the tied game. Chalfant then intercepted his second Bear pass of the contest to seal the win. Conner Hayes had 112 yards receiving and a score while Charlie Grable also caught a TD.

Republic County is 4-29 in their last 33 games but won a couple late last year to snap a 26-game losing streak and started this year 2-0. The Buffaloes have now lost two straight including their district opener to MH-MA a week ago.  Cody Dahl is a senior quarterback that has passed for 298 yards and ran for 114. Two other Buffalo seniors lead a potent ground game as Jared Baxa already has 700 yards rushing in the first four games and Kaleb Talkington has added 243. It is homecoming in Wathena and these two teams have not met in the past. 

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

Class 1A

Jackson Heights (2-1) at Troy (1-3) District 2

Both these former Delaware Valley League rivals are coming off a victory last Friday.  For Troy, it was their first win of the season holding on to beat Pleasanton 30-20 after building a 24-6 second half lead. Camden Anderson threw fro 196 yards and two scores while also returning a punt for a touchdown in the Trojan victory that snapped a nine-game losing streak. Anderson has passed for 828 yards this year. Keaton Neuman scored on defense for Troy with a pick-six while Boden Benitz, Reagan Hartman and Jerrit Norris all have more than 80 receiving yards.

Jackson Heights topped Wabaunsee in their first road game 33-21 after Wabaunsee had beaten Troy 37-13 the week before. The Cobras built a 21-0 halftime lead and held on despite allowing 278 yards passing, which they will see more aerial attack tonight. Dylan Thompson broke out with 179 yards rushing on just 16 carries and scored twice while QB Jason Bosley also ran for 122 yards.

Troy had dominated the DVL games between these teams that then did not play from 2014-2017. But Jackson Heights won by 30 points a year ago after notching an 8-7 win in 2018. 

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

Jeff County North (3-1) at Centralia (3-1) District 2

Jeff County North is coming off what was an explosive week four victory where the Chargers scored 56 points in the first quarter in a 72-8 beat down of Horton. Landon Gutchenritter ran for five touchdowns while the Chargers got a punt return and interception return for a score. The varsity squad did not get a ton of work last week as the younger guys played after the first quarter.

Centralia is coming off one of the biggest wins we have seen so far this season after a dominant performance in a 28-0 shutout of Valley Heights in what was a state-ranked matchup. Centralia led 14-0 at halftime and held Valley Heights to just 119 yards of total offense. Devon Feldkamp led the Panthers with 189 rushing yards and three touchdowns while Ian Haverkamp added 75 yards. Ethan McNally tossed a touchdown pass to Presley Bowers.

Centralia and Jeff County North last played in 2018 which the Panthers won 36-14.

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

Wabaunsee (2-2) at Valley Heights (3-1) District 2

As mentioned, Valley Heights is looking to bounce back after that tough loss to Centralia a week ago. The Mustangs were shutout and held to just 119 total yards of offense including only 70 yards on the ground. Through Valley Heights’ first three games they dominated the line of scrimmage but that simply wasn’t the case Friday night. The Mustangs will look to get back to their power run game tonight and face off against a Wabaunsee squad that is coming off a 33-21 loss to Jackson Heights a week ago.

The Chargers are a complete flip of what Valley Heights saw a week ago as Wabaunsee throws for over 230 yards per game led by junior Cade Oliver who is just shy of 1,000 yards passing. His favorite target is Tyler Lohmeyer who has nearly 400 yards receiving on the season while Dawson Schultz leads the team with five touchdown receptions.

Valley Heights dominated this matchup a season ago winning 64-20 at home while winning the last four meetings.

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

Central Heights (3-1) at Horton (0-4) Non-District

Horton's losing streak has reached 24 games after falling to JCN 72-8 last week.  The score was 56-0 after one quarter as the Chargers sit some starters for disciplinary reasons and started three freshmen on the offensive line and four total freshman started on defense. Horton has been able to score a touchdown in three straight games but is allowing 55 points per game.

Central Heights had won only seven total games the last six years including a couple winless campaigns themselves. However, coming off a 2-7 record last year, the VIkings are a surprising 3-1 despite scoring only 24 points per game. Central Heights beat Jayhawk Linn 24-6 a week ago and now meets Horton for the first time. The Vikings are led by junior signal caller Tony Detwiler who has 500 yards rushing and 329 passings yards already this season.

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

8-man DI

Valley Falls (3-1) at Clifton-Clyde (4-0) District 3

After just four total wins in their first four years on 8-man football, the Valley Falls Dragons are 3-1 this year under second year Coach Sawyer Havenstein as they bounced back last week from their only loss of the season. The new milestones reached last week was point ruling a team and beating them in the first half with a 52-0 win against Maranatha. Dylan Cervantez and Cade Norris each scored three times for the Dragons who are fully healthy entering this big district showdown and only second game on the road in 2020.

Clifton-Clyde is 4-0 for the second consecutive season and last week picked up a key district three win in a 62-12 beat down of Burlingame. Aiden Rudolph continued to shine for the Eagles scoring five rushing touchdowns to go along with a passing touchdown and a pick-six. With Rudolph at quarterback Clifton-Clyde has won 29 games including nine the past two seasons.

Clyde dominated Valley Falls 50-0 last season and have point-ruled the Dragons each of the last four seasons.

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

Maranatha (0-4) at Doniphan West (2-2) District 3

On paper it looked like Doniphan West lost an 80-62 district opening shootout versus TVL foe Washington County last week and although that was the outcome and final score, there is more to the story. The Mustangs lost starting QB Trent Spiker in the second quarter when he already had 177 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. Then, running back Hunter Smith went out with an injury too and the Mustangs could never catch up from a 44-34 halftime deficit finishing the game with only 10 healthy players. Those two offensive stat leaders are expected to miss tonight’s game against winless Maranatha. Creighton Johnson took over at QB and was 9-17 for 142 yards and two scores and wideout Lafe Blevins had nearly 100 yards receiving with two touchdowns.

The Mustangs face a Maranatha team that has lost by at least 12 points in every game this year and is coming off a 52-0 blowout loss against Valley Falls. The Eagles and Mustangs last meet in an 11-man game in 2015 with D-West taking a 55-20 win.  

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

Washington County (3-1) at Burlingame (2-2) District 3

It would not be surprising if the Washington County Tigers are still trying to catch their breath after getting into a track meet last with Doniphan West which resulted in an 82-60 victory. The Tigers led 44-34 at halftime and took advantage of the Mustangs having their starting quarterback and back up quarterback both go out with injuries to finish with just 10 healthy players. Regardless, the Tigers are off to a 3-1 start to the year with their only loss coming to No. 1-ranked Canton-Galva.

This week the Tigers will go up against Burlingame who typically always presents a tough test despite falling 62-12 to state-ranked Clifton-Clyde a week ago. The Bearcats feature a balanced attacked averaging around 130 yards per game both rushing and passing. Evan Young has thrown the ball 91 times this season for just over 500 yards while Wyatt Ledom has run for 331 yards and eight touchdowns.

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

8-man DII

Axtell (3-1) at Frankfort (3-1) District 3

Axtell entered last week’s matchup against No. 2 Hanover knowing they would be without veteran lineman Kolby Talbot, but just an hour before the game they found out that another starting lineman Owen Strathman would be out as well. Hanover took advantage of the depleted front of the Eagles and ran wild to the tune of a 62-12 victory. The Eagles only positive offense came on a pair of Isaac Detweiler to Mitchell Buessing touchdown connections but other than that, the Eagles could not get anything going.

Now Axtell will look to bounce back against the team that gave Axtell their only loss a season ago in Frankfort who has been great since their season opening loss to Washington County. Last week the Wildcats blanked Blue Valley 56-0 as Ethan Armstrong ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns while Aiden Gerstner added three more on the ground.

If this game is anything like last season’s meeting then strap up, because a year ago Frankfort won on the game’s final play on a Bryce Stowell touchdown reception which earned the Wildcats a share of the league title. 

Because one of our sports broadcasters is ill, we will not be able to carry this game on radio tonight as planned. 

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

Onaga (1-3) at Wetmore (0-2) District 3 – CANCELLED-COVID

Just when Wetmore thought that they would be able to finally play after a two-week team quarantine, it is Onaga who get bit by the bug this week, so this game has been cancelled. Wetmore meanwhile will take the week off once again before traveling to Blue Valley next week.

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

Blue Valley (0-1) vs. Rawlins County (0-2) Non-District

Blue Valley finally got to play their first game of the season last week, but they were not greeted nicely in a 56-0 loss to Frankfort. The Rams are extremely young with a ton of sophomores and freshman who are being forced into a tough spot facing teams that already have several games underneath their belts. This week the Rams were originally facing an open date but earlier this week picked up Rawlins County who has a 2-point loss to Quinter and a 58-8 loss to St. Francis two weeks ago.

Jonny’s Pick: Blue Valley
Justin’s Pick: Rawlins County
Jake’s Pick: Rawlins County

Osborne (2-2) at Hanover (4-0) Non-District

Hanover continued their dominant start to the season last week blowing out No. 3 Axtell 62-12 and taking control of the Twin Valley League 8-man standings. Collin Jueneman ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns for Hanover while he caught another score to go along with Jacob Jueneman running in a pair of TDs. Now the Wildcats face the team that they beat for the 8-man DII State Championship two years ago in Osborne who has had an up-and-down season to this point including a 60-6 win over Rock Hills last week. The Bulldogs are no strangers to big games as they won it all last year over Axtell 34-26.

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

OTHERS

KC Turner (0-2) at Atchison (1-3) Non-District

After setting a state record defensively two weeks ago, Atchison had problems defensively last week in a 41-7 loss on the road at Wamego. The Redmen got beat by the pass throughout the game and couldn’t find a way to limit big plays. Atchison got their lone score on a Jesse Greenley touchdown run and now will turn their attention to Turner who has had a tough start to the year. The Golden Bears have yet to score a point this season following a 53-0 loss to Pittsburg last week.

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


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