Tuesday, 25 January 2022
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Friday Night Fever: Regional Round Preview and Picks
By Brandon Tadtman, Jonny Kane, Justin Fluke

The playoffs continue with the regional rounds across the state on Friday night. There is still plenty of area teams in action with the matchups getting more and more interesting as classifications begin to slowly eliminate a few more teams each week. We get you set with the Friday Night Fever Show presented by GN Banks.

2021 Pick Records


Last week: 21-5
Overall: 153-36


Last week: 22-4
Overall: 157-32


Last week: 21-5
Overall: 158-31

Games to be Broadcast

103.9 KNZA – Troy at Jefferson County North
92.1 KMZA – Hanover at Axtell
93.7 KAIR – Eudora at Atchison
Holton Channel – Perry Lecompton at Holton

Week 10 Regional Round Games

8-Man Division I

(8-1) Canton Galva at (7-1) Clifton Clyde

Clifton Clyde rolled to their 6th straight win as they defeated Solomon last week in the first round 66-20. Colby Garrison rushed for five touchdowns in the win. The Eagles defense have allowed just 64 points this season which comes out to just eight points per game. The 20 points allowed to Solomon was the most given up in a game this season. The Eagles are looking to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2013 and in that season, they got all the way to the semi-finals.

Canton Galva is currently ranked #3 in K-Preps 8M-D1 rankings as they dispatched Doniphan West in round one 60-14. Doniphan West got on the board first but the difference in the game was the third quarter as Canton Galva would outscore Doniphan West 34-0. Garrett Maltbie rushed for 166 yards and five touchdowns and threw touchdown passes to Tyson Struber and Ryder Norstrom. Struber had four catches for 52 yards and added 59 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Clifton Clyde has allowed only 64 total points this season which is the second fewest of 100 Kansas schools that play 8-man football. Both teams only loss is against Little River by a single touchdown.

Clifton Clyde and Canton Galva have played just twice in the 2000’s and it was back in 2010 and 2011. Clifton Clyde won both games, 60-12 in 2010 and 56-8 in 2011.

Jonny’s Pick: Canton Galva
Justin’s Pick: Canton Galva
Brandon’s Pick: Canton Galva

8-Man Division II  

(6-3) Hanover at (9-0) #1 Axtell

Ranked #1 for much of the season by K-Preps, the Axtell Eagles flew past Beloit St. John’s Tipton in their first-round game last week 48-0. Quarterback Isaac Detweiler tossed a couple of touchdown passes and rushed for two more scores. Detweiler’s first touchdown of the game was a 72-yard pass to Brandon Schmelzle. Schmelzle also added two rushing touchdowns. Grady Buessing also caught a touchdown pass from Detweiler as Axtell built an early 24-0 lead and never looked back. The 9th straight win for Axtell is the longest winning streak since 2004.

Hanover is getting back to form after a struggle during the middle of the season where they had a very rare three game losing streak. The Wildcats have won three straight including last week’s 24-6 win over #4 Osborne in the playoff opener. The Wildcats have dealt with significant injuries this season but are getting key pieces back at the right time. Hanover is trying to win back-to-back State Titles.

Axtell and Hanover played back on September 24th, and it was Axtell getting the win 30-24. These two teams played in the regional round last season, and it was Hanover that advanced after picking up a 52-6 victory. Overall, Axtell is just 4-16 the last 20 meetings with Hanover dating back to 2004 but the Eagles have won three of the last five meetings.

Jonny’s Pick: Axtell
Justin’s Pick: Axtell
Brandon’s Pick: Axtell

(7-2) Frankfort at (9-0) Thunder Ridge

The Frankfort Wildcats are in the Regional Round for the fourth consecutive season as they were able to get pasted Lakeside-Downs last week 60-40. The Wildcats led 46-40 in the fourth quarter but got two touchdowns from freshman quarterback Ty Smith to put the game away. Smith tallied five rushing touchdowns along with 100 yards. Caden Dalinghaus also had a big night with 96 rushing yards and a touchdown. It was the second straight season that Frankfort eliminated Lakeside-Downs from the postseason.

The Longhorns of Thunder Ridge currently ranked #2 in 8M-D2 cruised past Onaga in the playoff opener last week 62-16. They led the Buffaloes 40-12 at halftime and put the game away with 22 third quarter points. They tallied 437 yards of offense and averaged nearly 10 yards per play. Dylan and Dalton Bice combined for 25 carries for 282 yards and three touchdowns. Thunder Ridge’s nine game winning streak is the longest winning streak since 2010. The Longhorns have scored at least 44 points in every game this season and are averaging 58 points per game.

Frankfort gets another crack at #2 Thunder Ridge as these two teams played just a few weeks ago at Thunder Ridge and the Longhorns won big 60-12.

Jonny’s Pick: Thunder Ridge
Justin’s Pick: Thunder Ridge
Brandon’s Pick: Thunder Ridge

Class 1A

(5-4) Jackson Heights at (8-0) Olpe

It’s a rematch from back in week six at the top of the Class 1A bracket as Olpe won 35-0 over Jackson Heights on October 8. The Cobras trailed just 14-0 at the half but Olpe scored two wild touchdowns on a tip pass and on fourth down in the second half to secure the win while holding Jackson Heights to just 85 total yards of offense.

Last week though Jackson Heights laid a beat down to Central Heights at home winning 62-10 in a game that was out of reach from the start. The Cobras collected 422 total yards of offense and received seven total touchdowns from Jason Bosley who threw for three and ran for 236 yards with four more scores. The Cobras are 3-3 in non-league games this year and have been somewhat competitive in every contest to this point.

Olpe meanwhile has just continued to roll through opponents all season and received a bye last week as the district one champion. The Eagles are 8-0 on the year and ranked No. 1 in the state allowing just 12 total points this year defensively, shutting out seven of their eight opponents and allowing just 47 total points the last two seasons combined. Olpe has also scored over 43 points in every game this season except for the Jackson Heights game and have scored over 60 points four times.

In the six meetings dating back to 2015 the Eagles are a perfect 6-0 against Jackson Heights including three consecutive shutout victories which includes a 53-0 win in the playoffs last season.

Jonny’s Pick: Olpe
Justin’s Pick: Olpe
Brandon’s Pick: Olpe

(5-4) Troy at (6-2) Jefferson County North  

Just like the game at the top half of the bracket this is another rematch from just three weeks ago which saw Jeff County North win 22-12. JCN led just 14-6 at halftime but got a third quarter rushing touchdown from Blake Fowler to seal it.

Jeff County North has not played in two weeks after receiving a bye last Friday which was probably good after the hard fought 8-7 win over Jackson Heights two weeks ago. The Chargers dropped their opening game of the season to Pleasant Ridge 24-22 but since then have played great even in a 20-6 loss to Centralia in week five. Blake Fowler has been solid at the quarterback spot compiling over 1,300 total yards and 16 touchdowns while Caleb Worthington is creeping up on 500 yards rushing.

Troy continued their rebound season last week with a grinding 22-14 victory over Uniontown in the opening round. The Trojans led just 8-6 at halftime but put up 14 points in the third quarter to gain control. Cam Anderson threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 77 yards and another score as Troy rushed for 100 yards as a team for the first time this season. Anderson has thrown for 1,780 yards this season with 23 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, but he is likely to be without his top target in Jerrit Norris who has nearly 800 receiving yards with eight scores. Norris tore a muscle in his shoulder last week and is possibly a bigger loss defensively as he had 16 tackles last week in only two quarters of play.

Troy, coming off their first playoff win since they went undefeated and won the 2016 2-1A state title, is 11-5 against Jeff County North dating back to 2004 but the Chargers have won the last three meetings holding the Trojans to just 23 total points in those wins. The winner of this game will get the winner of Olpe-Jackson Heights next week in the sectional round.  

Jonny’s Pick: Jefferson County North
Justin’s Pick: Jefferson County North
Brandon’s Pick: Jefferson County North

(4-4) Valley Heights at (6-2) Centralia

Valley Heights has put together their best stretch of the season at the right time as they enter their matchup with Centralia winning two straight and three of their last four. Last week, they got past Pleasanton in the playoff opener 29-14. The Mustangs controlled the game from the start as they built a 22-8 lead in the second quarter and then would add another score late in the game. Valley Heights were 7-1 last season heading into the playoffs but had to back out of their first-round game with Northeast Arma due to Covid. They got to the regional round in 2019 and lost 6-0 in overtime to Jackson Heights.

Just like Jefferson County North, Centralia had the luxury of a bye last week with a 6-2 regular season and winning the district two title. However, the Panthers are coming off a loss as they closed the season with a 45-40 loss at Wabaunsee. Panthers quarterback Ethan McNally has led the offense with 907 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns which is 13 more than Jared Blaha who is second on the team with four rushing touchdowns. He’s also thrown for over 600 yards with six more scores.

These two teams played in week four with Centralia getting by the Mustangs 41-16. Centralia has won 11 of the last 12 games against Valley Heights with the Mustangs lone win in 2016.

Jonny’s Pick: Centralia
Justin’s Pick: Centralia
Brandon’s Pick: Centralia

Class 2A

(7-2) Nemaha Central at (9-0) #1 Rossville

Nemaha Central won their fourth straight game as they defeated Pleasant Ridge last week in the first round 48-14. Since the loss to St. Marys last month, the Thunder have outscored their last four opponents 207-33. The Thunder are familiar with Mid-East League opponents as they have defeated a team out of that league the last two years in the regional round. They defeated Silver Lake last year and Rossville in 2019.

Rossville is the consensus #1 team in Class 2A as they have dominated the opposition all season. They took care of Republic County last week 56-0 with gave Rossville their 22nd straight victory. Rossville has played the last few weeks without reigning 2A Offensive Player of the Year Torrey Horak but senior Corey Catron has stepped in and filled in nicely at quarterback. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents this season 453-65 which comes out to an average of a 50-7 win each week.

This is a battle of the last two 2A State Champions as Rossville is defending their title from last year and Nemaha Central claiming the crown in 2019. The Thunder are 1-4 against Rossville dating back to 2013.

Jonny’s Pick: Rossville
Justin’s Pick: Rossville
Brandon’s Pick: Rossville

Class 3A

(6-3) Perry Lecompton at (9-0) Holton

It's the sixth meeting in the last three years between these Big 7 teams as Perry handed Holton both their losses last season including a sub-state championship to return to the 3A Title game.  In week three this year however, Holton won 28-7 and the Wildcats are still undefeated at 9-0, looking to start 10-0 for the first time since 2013 and avenge season ending losses to the Kaws the last two years.

Holton has not allowed any points in the first quarter this season and only four teams have scored a single touchdown in the first half against the Cats stingy defense. They also have 12 takeaways in the last four games combined. Last week, Holton was up 58-0 at halftime against Santa Fe Trail before posting a 58-18 win to start their 24th consecutive post season. It was also the 300th game as Head Coach for Brooks Barta at Holton, picking up his 244th victory. 

Holton averages more than 350 yards rushing per game and more than 8 yards per carry thi sseason with a balanced attached that includes four players with at least 530 yards and 6 touchdowns each: Jayden Fletcher, Garyson Booth, Jace Boswell and quarterback Matt Lierz, who also has 276 passing yards and 6 TD tosses.

Perry has won five of their last six games with a loss to Hayden and their only other defeat besides Holton this year was in week two at Hiawatha when they were without a slew of starters.

Perry Lecompton held Sabetha to just 91 yards rushing on 38 attempts last week and built an early lead before holding on for a 28-21 home win. Gunnar Ball had 281 yards and 3 passing touchdowns last week and now has thrown for 1,110 and 15 TDs this season while adding 551 yards rushing and 8 more scores. Reichen Rush paces the balanced Kaw offense with 716 yards on the ground while Kael Gorski has 562 receiving yards and Ty Williams adding 335 with both hauling in more than 30 passes. Jackson Payne also has 199 yards receiving. 

Jonny’s Pick: Holton
Justin’s Pick: Holton
Brandon’s Pick: Holton

Class 4A

(5-4) Eudora at (8-1) Atchison

Atchison won their playoff opener last week against 4A East 14-seed Fort Scott 14-6. Phoenix running back Jesse Greenly rushed for over 150 yards and a touchdown. It was Atchison’s first playoff win since 2008. On the season, Greenly has rushed for over 1,600 yards with 26 touchdowns. He’s averaging nearly 180 yards per game while averaging nearly nine yards per carry. Atchison’s offense is averaging 38 points per game this season while the defense is allowing just under 20 points per game. The eight straight wins for Atchison is the longest winning streak since 2006 when they won 10 straight.  

The Eudora Cardinals have won back-to-back games and three of their last four with last week’s 48-12 win over Ottawa in the opening round. The Cardinals dominated by scoring 40 points in the first half to cruise the rest of the way. Eudora quarterback Gage Hayden tallied five total touchdowns with three on the ground and two through the air. Last season the Cardinals lost in the regional round to Basehor-Linwood.

Eudora has its most wins since 2015 and all four of Eudora's losses are by seven points or less including a pair of one-point defeats and a three-point-setback as well. Atchison and Eudora last played in 2006 with Eudora winning that game in the playoffs 20-12.

Jonny’s Pick: Eudora
Justin’s Pick: Eudora
Brandon’s Pick: Atchison

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