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Local Sports News
Friday Night Fever: Preview of all Week Seven Area High School Football Matchups
By Jonny Kane
Copyright: MSC Sports
10/16/2020

Just two weeks remain in the high school football regular season with area teams battling for seeding heading into the new week nine playoff format around the state of Kansas. Several games last week were affected due to COVID-19 forcing more cancellations this week. Below you can find a complete preview of each matchup along with predictions from Jonny Kane, Justin Fluke and Jake Spalding.

Jonny

Last week: 19-2
Overall record: 103-16 (87%)

Justin

Last week: 19-2
Overall record: 101-18 (85%)

Jake

Last week: 16-5
Overall record: 92-27 (77%)

Games to be Broadcast

Rock Creek at Holton - 103.9 KNZA & Holton Channel
Sabetha at Doniphan, Neb.  - Sabetha Channel
Valley Heights at Jackson Heights  – 92.1 KMZA
Jeff County North at Troy – KAIR 93.7 FM

Class 3A

Perry Lecompton (6-0) at Hayden (5-1) District 3

There are a couple huge showdowns in Class 3A this week, but maybe none bigger than this battle of state ranked teams who met twice a year ago with both contests decided by a single score. This year, Hayden's only loss came by a 28-22 score in week two against Topeka Seaman (5-1). Perry meanwhile is a perfect 6-0 and ranked number two in the state where they finished last year just behind Andale.

Both teams return a lot of experienced starters, but the Kaws of course will be playing their fourth game without quarterback Billy Welch, who had games throwing for 254 and 233 in the two meetings with Hayden in 2019.  He also ran for 28 yards in the Sub-State victory. Thad Metcalfe has stepped in at QB for the Kaws and they have not missed a beat, albeit against teams with a combined 2-15 record. Metcalfe has passed for 481 yards and ran for a team high 587 to keep Perry balanced on offense this season while Reichen Rush has added 472 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns last week in a 58-6 beat down of Osawatomie.  Perry also has five receivers that have caught a TD and that have at least 129 yards receiving this year, but it is the Kaw defense that is likely to give them a chance to stay undefeated in 2020. Ryley Besley, Jaxson Folks and Hayden Robb all have more than 50 tackles for a unit that has been downright stingy and now looks to track down the speed of Hayden.   

The Wildcats finished 10-2 with both losses to Perry last year, including a 21-20 district overtime thriller. Haden is again balanced this year with Jonny Hollaway passing for 756 yards and star runningback Desmond Purnell totaling 893 yards (553 rushing) and 16 touchdowns averaging more than 15 yards per carry. Will Devader has added 284 yards rushing.  Hayden has also coasted against teams that are 3-14 combined the last few weeks following an impressive win versus Manhattan High.

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

Hiawatha (1-5) at Royal Valley (0-4) District 4

Two teams desperate for a Big 7 League win meet in Hoyt tonight with Royal Valley only suiting up 14 players last week in their home 43-14 loss against Sabetha, because of all their JV and freshman players quarantined for the second time this season. Hiawatha has been able to play all their games, but also has a light roster with only four seniors and has not won since the opening game of the year against Troy.

Hiawatha lost 60-0 versus Holton last Friday and has lost all their games by more than 30 points. Kenny Bell has been the bright spot for the Panthers and ran for two touchdowns last week in their closest game of the year falling by 29 points. Alex Rockey has thrown for 500 yards for the Redhawks this season while fellow senior Trent Kolb has caught almost 300 of those yards. Cody Nevels has 231 yards rushing to lead the Hawks and is second on the team to fellow junior Nelson King in tackles.

Royal Valley has won three straight and five of the last six games in this series including a 53-20 final last season. 

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

Sabetha (3-3) at Doniphan, Neb. (2-5) Non-District on Sabetha Channel

Sabetha was supposed to play Jeff West in a home Big 7 League and 3A District game this week, but the Tigers are practicing with fewer than 15 players this week after numerous injuries and then last week, several football players being quarantined among 70 high school students who had “close contact” with a high school student who tested positive for covid. So, Jeff West will not play their final two district games, which locks up a third-place district finish and puts Sabetha fourth.

The Bluejays contacted at least 12 Kansas schools to pic k a game but to no avail before finally getting a game scheduled three hours North in Grand Island Nebraska against Doniphan. The frustrated Bluejays are 3-3 on the season following their first district win at Royal Valley last week as Drew Schmelzle and Kaden Edelman each ran for more than 100 yards.  Sabetha is looking to keep momentum going as well as post another winning campaign and potential playoff run, something they have done each of the last 12 seasons with Garrett Michael as head coach.

Doniphan Trumbull is 2-5 this year posting a mean of 218 rushing and 132 passing yards per game. They have a junior runningback Blake Detamore with 534 yards and a receiver Ayden King with 40 catches for 407 yards. They average 18 points per game and have a stud defender in Sam Hoppe who already has 106 tackles. The Cardinals have posted eight straight winning seasons including a 13-0 state title in 2013 and a 9-2-mark last season. 

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

Rock Creek (4-1) at Holton (5-1) District 4 on 103.9 KNZA and Holton Channel

Another huge 3A game with a district title on the line takes place in Holton tonight, where the Wildcats hope to have about 20 healthy players suited up. The Cats had only 17 available in their win at Hiawatha last Friday due to all freshman and JV players completing their second week in quarantine. Holton lost 28-14 in week three against Perry but has dominated their only foes while averaging more than 40 points per game.

Rock Creek knows all about scoring themselves posting 57 in their one-point loss to Rossville to open the season in week two and averaging 48 points per outing. Granted, the teams have put in big numbers in much different ways as Rock Creek quarterback Charlie Killingsworth has passed for 1,453 yards in five games and ran for another 436, while the Wildcats get 351 of their 382 yards per game from the wishbone rushing attack.  Brooks Whaley leads all receivers with 700 yards on 35 catches, but the spread-attack of the Mustangs has plenty of weapons.

Canon Karn has 734 yards and nine touchdowns while only carrying the ball five times total in the last two games because of blowouts. Konnor Tannahill and Addison Hundley also both have more than 320 yards on the ground this season and are part of a quick defensive line that Holton hopes can get after the quarterback in their first meeting against Rock Creek.  

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

Marysville (2-3) at Clay Center (3-3) District 5

Marysville pulled one of the shockers of week six last week pulling the upset over Concordia 30-24 which gave the Panthers just their second loss of the season. It was the second consecutive victory for the Bulldogs who led Concordia 12-0 after the first quarter. Patrick Smith ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns and Peyton Smith caught a pair of touchdown passes from Ayden Price to lead Marysville.

This week Marysville heads to Clay Center who broke a three-game losing streak last week with a 21-14 win over Chapman. The Tigers ran for 366 yards and had five different guys run for over 50 yards with Blake Frederick running for 103 and a score. Clay Center averages 378 yards per game on the ground and have forced 10 turnovers so far this season.

Jonny’s Pick: Clay Center
Justin’s Pick: Clay Center
Jake’s Pick: Clay Center 

Class 2A

Pleasant Ridge (1-3) at Oskaloosa (0-6) District 3

Pleasant Ridge is looking to bounce back after a let down against Rossville last week where the Bulldogs had four different guys run for at least two touchdowns in a 69-6 loss for the Rams. Conner Gibson threw Pleasant Ridge’s lone touchdown to Jake Heckman while the defense allowed over 515 yards of total offense.

Oskaloosa meanwhile continued to struggle last week in a 41-13 loss to Mission Valley where the Vikings led 21-0 after the first quarter and 34-0 at the half. The Bears got a 3-yard rushing score from Braden Henry as the only true offense. The defense has struggled all season long allowing just shy of 60 points per game while the offense is averaging just nine points a night.

The Rams and Bears have not played since the 2017 season where Pleasant Ridge won in a thriller 22-16.

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

McLouth (0-6) at Mission Valley (4-2) District 3

McLouth continued their gauntlet of a schedule last week with a 49-8 loss to Silver Lake marking the Bulldogs third loss to a state-ranked team so far this season. The Bulldogs trailed 21-0 after the first quarter and got their lone score in the second quarter but trailed 35-8 at the half. McLouth is allowing an average of 46 points per game and have been shutout twice this season averaging just seven points a game.

This week the Bulldogs hit the road and travel to Mission Valley who is coming off a 41-14 win over Oskaloosa last week. The Vikings ran for 344 yards and five touchdowns led by Joel Deters’ 163 yards and a score while the team is rushing for 222 yards per game with four guys over 200 yards rushing this season.

This is the first meeting between the two sides dating back to before the 2008 season.

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

Maur Hill-Mount Academy (5-0) at St. Mary’s (1-5) District 4

Well, the 2020 season truly is day by day, week by week and that has been the case for Maur Hill-Mount Academy who last week had their huge game against Nemaha Central cancelled due to COVID. The Ravens fully expected to miss this week against St. Mary’s as well but the school went to bat and got the approval to get back to practice Wednesday and play this game tonight.

The Ravens will look to try to pick up right where they left off following a 53-6 win over ACCHS two weeks ago after another big game from senior Andrew Schwinn. He is the x-factor for the Ravens as he has run for 1,022 yards and 15 touchdowns through five games while recording 69 tackles, three tackles for loss and an interception. Drew Caudle has also thrown for over 600 yards and nine touchdowns with 250 of those yards going to Grant Kocour.

As to St. Mary’s the Bears are looking to bounce back after suffering their fourth consecutive loss last week in a 40-0 shutout by Republic County. The Bears lone win came in a 46-8 victory over Horton while their next closest game came in a 20-14 loss to Riverside. St. Mary’s is averaging just over 14 points per game but are allowing 37 points a night.

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

ACCHS (2-4) at Republic County (4-2) District 4

ACCHS was scheduled to play for their playoff hopes tonight on the road at Republic County, but late last night the Tigers found out that game will not be played, so the Tigers hopes of the playoffs have been dashed.

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

Nemaha Central (4-2) at Riverside (4-2) District 4

It is one of the top games in the area tonight with the top spot in district four potentially on the line with Nemaha Central 2-0 in district play while Riverside is 2-1.

Last week was wild for Nemaha Central who had their game against Maur Hill-Mount Academy cancelled before picking up a game with Baldwin which the Thunder dominated 33-0. Zac Kramer threw for 181 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 93 yards and two scores. The Thunder defense blocked three punts including two by Gage Palic and held Baldwin to just 44 total yards in the first half.

Riverside got back on track last week and improved to 4-2 with a 22-0 win against ACCHS. Bray Davies had two interceptions on defense and caught a pair of touchdown passes from Kobe Davis, who also had an INT on defense and has now thrown for more than 1,000 yards this season.  Jase Wendt ran for 108 yards against the Tigers and now has more than 300 along with teammate Charlie Grable. 

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

Class 1A

Horton (0-5) at Wabaunsee (2-4) District 2

Horton didn't have enough players to play Centralia last week because of an array of different reasons, but have enough to travel to Wabaunsee for a 1A district game tonight. The young and inexperienced Chargers have scored 24 total points in five games while adjusting to a new coach and scheme this year while allowing an average of 55 points per game.  Trey Lockwood is expected to return at quarterback in this game.

Wabaunsee has lost three straight but still had success moving the football, especially with 216 yards passing per game and only 36 yards average on the ground. Cade Oliver has over 1,200 yards passing but the Chargers have struggled on defense giving up more than 32 points per game. These teams have not played in recent history.

Jonny’s Pick: Wabaunsee
Justin’s Pick: Wabaunsee
Jake’s Pick: Wabaunsee 

Valley Heights (5-1) at Jackson Heights (3-2) District 2 on 92.1 KMZA

The second spot in district two is on the line tonight with both Valley Heights and Jackson Heights each holding one district loss.

Since their week four loss to Centralia, Valley Heights has been dominant in back-to-back weeks, last week blowing out Troy 80-7. The Mustangs led 22-0 in the first quarter and put the game away quickly leading 56-0 at halftime. Valley Heights has scored over 50 points three times this season and averaging over 45 points per game. The defense is just as impressive giving up just 12 points per game while holding teams under double-digits three times.

Jackson Heights struggled last week totaling less than 100 yards of offense against #1 ranked Olpe in a 35-0 loss. It was 28-0 at half before only a special team score on a blocked punt during a running clock in the second half last week.  The Cobras did have two takeaways and Wyatt Bacon had an INT while leading the team in tackles and forcing a pair of fumbles. But since going back to the wishbone following the loss of dual-threat QB Jason Bosley, JH has not looked the same.

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

Jeff County North (4-2) at Troy (1-5) District 2 on KAIR 93.7 FM

Jeff County North battled through adversity last week and moved to 4-2 on the year with a 38-20 win over Wabaunsee. JCN trailed 20-6 after the first but held Wabaunsee scoreless the rest of the way for the comeback win. Blake Fowler threw for 130 yards and two TDs while Landon Gutschenritter continued his strong season adding 106 yards on the ground. The Chargers have now won three of their last four games and are scoring 37 points per game.

Troy was blasted at Valley Heights last week 80-7 with only a fourth quarter score on a Reagan Hartman to Boden Benitz 66-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter. Troy did get a couple players back from injury but has still struggled to run the ball and stop anybody on defense surrendering more than 40 points per contest.

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

Centralia (5-1) at Lyndon (5-1) Non-District

With just hours to spare last week Centralia got Beloit to come to town to replace Horton who was forced to cancel on Thursday and the Panthers greeted the Trojans to the tune of a 36-6 beat down. After a scoreless first quarter Centralia scored 20 points in the second quarter and rolled. Devon Feldkamp ran for 148 yards and one touchdown while Ian Haverkamp added 102 yards and two scores and Ethan McNally added two passing scores.

The Panthers now get set for their toughest test to date, traveling to No. 5-ranked Lyndon who shut out Central Heights last week 49-0. The Tigers only loss came to No. 1-ranked Olpe in week three 13-7. Lyndon is averaging 188 yards per game on the ground led by senior Luke Detwiler who has run for 616 yards and seven touchdowns this season.

Tonight marks the first meeting between the two sides since 2013 in the state semifinals when Centralia won convincingly 69-21.

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

8-man DI

Argonia/Attica (6-0) at Clifton-Clyde (5-1) District 3

For the second straight week Clifton-Clyde has had their opponent cancel, this week Washington County, and for the second time the Eagles have picked up a big-time opponent. This week it is undefeated Argonia/Attica who will come to Clyde featuring a defense that has given up 12 total points through six games and an offense that is averaging over 45 points a night. Clifton-Clyde suffered their first loss of the season last week to Hanover 40-20 so the Eagles want to bounce back but will have to do it against a tough Titans squad.

Jonny’s Pick: Clifton-Clyde
Justin’s Pick: Clifton-Clyde
Jake’s Pick: Argonia/Attica

Flint Hills Christian at Valley Falls (3-3) Non-District

Valley Falls was supposed to have a district game against Doniphan West this week, but the Mustangs still have fewer than eight players this week because of COVID quarantines. So, the Dragons picked up a game against Flint Hills Christian of Manhattan who has a 4-1 record.

Following a 3-1 start, Valley Falls has lost back-to-back games, but was within two of Burlingame last Friday before two late scores including a key turnover led to a 42-26 setback. Cade Norris had three touchdowns, including a 75-yard kickoff return for the Dragons who remain balanced on offense but have allowed at least 20 points to all but one opponent.  

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

8-man DII

Axtell (4-2) at Wetmore (1-2) District 3

After suffering two consecutive losses Axtell got back on track last week blowing out Cair Paravel 70-20 at home. Isaac Detweiler threw for 352 yards and six touchdowns to go along with three rushing scores while George Volle caught three touchdown passes and finished with 197 yards receiving. Mitchell Buessing caught a pair of touchdown passes as well for Axtell and is averaging over 120 yards and two touchdowns per game. 

Wetmore meanwhile is coming off an impressive victory of their own after having three weeks off as the Cardinals exploded for a 68-32 win over Blue Valley. Senior Kael McQueen was a stud throughout rushing for 268 yards and seven touchdowns while recording a receiving touchdown and racking up 21 tackles, an interception, and a sack on defense. The Cardinals will need McQueen to play big this week against Axtell who is averaging 44 points per game.

Axtell dominated Wetmore a year ago winning 74-24 scoring 30 points in each of the first two quarters.

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

Blue Valley (0-3) at Onaga (1-4) District 3

A spot in the playoffs is on the line tonight at Onaga with both teams winless in district play and with only two games remaining, a loss essentially seals the fate of missing the postseason.

Blue Valley is looking to sure up their defense after falling to Wetmore 68-32 a week ago in a game where the Cardinals rushed for 424 yards and nine touchdowns. The Rams only picked up three first downs throughout the game and gave up 18 points in the first quarter and 30 more in the third. Landon Schreiber did throw three touchdown passes for the Rams who scored their first points of the season after being shut out by Frankfort and Rawlings County to begin the season.

Onaga meanwhile played well in their first week back from quarantine last week but ultimately fell short to St. John-Tipton 36-12. The Buffaloes trailed just 14-6 after the first quarter but only scored six points the rest of the way while the Blujays scored in each of the final three quarters. Onaga gave up 369 rushing yards last week and on the season is allowing 48 points per game.

Onaga dominated this matchup a season ago 54-8 while Blue Valley won two seasons ago 48-22.

Jonny’s Pick: Onaga
Justin’s Pick: Onaga
Jake’s Pick: Onaga

Thunder Ridge (4-2) at Frankfort (4-1) Non-District CANCELLED COVID

Just hours before kickoff last week Frankfort was delivered the news of a positive COVID test and had to cancel their big game against Hanover. The Wildcats will now be able to play once again this week and are not likely to play again in the regular season.

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

OTHERS

Atchison (2-4) at Pittsburg (3-3) Non-District

It is another non-district game and a long road trip to Pittsburg for Atchison who picked up this game just a few weeks ago.

The Redmen are looking to bounce back after a 42-26 loss to Basehor-Linwood last week where they trailed just 22-20 at the half but were outscored 20-6 in the third quarter. Pat Denton ran for two scores while Xavier Cushinberry added a 20-yard touchdown run.

Atchison faces another tough test this week in Pittsburg who has lost two straight to Kapaun and a 21-20 loss to Lansing last week. The Dragons only other loss came to Washburn Rural 21-14 and Pittsburg heads into tonight averaging 25 points per game.

Jonny’s Pick: Pittsburg
Justin’s Pick: Pittsburg
Jake’s Pick: Pittsburg


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