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Week 3: Friday Night Fever with Previews and Predictions
By Jared Sleppy
Copyright: MSC Sports
09/14/2023

WEEK 3 – We’re off and running with week 3 games tonight across Kansas. Some teams are still trying to figure things out and get on track while others look to keep momentum going. From 8-Man to Class 4A we’ll get you set for all the action with the Friday Night Fever Show presented by GN Banks.

2023 Pick Records

Brandon

Last week: 17-2
Overall: 31-7
2022 Record: 172-29

Justin

Last week: 18-1
Overall: 34-4
2022 Record: 174-27

Jared

Last week: 16-3
Overall: 29-9
2022 Record: 154-47

BROADCAST SCHEDULE

KNZA 103.9 FM – Horton at Valley Falls
KMZA 92.1 FM – Nemaha Central at Perry-Lecompton
KAIR 93.7 FM – KC Harmon at Atchison
Holton & Hiawatha Channels – Hiawatha at Holton
Sabetha Channel – Sabetha at Jefferson West
Cobra Channel – Jackson Heights at Pleasant Ridge

Week 3 Games

NON-LEAGUE (8-MAN)

(1-1) Blue Valley-Randolph at (0-2) Wakefield

Blue Valley-Randolph dropped their first game of the season last week in a 46-0 loss to Clifton-Clyde. The game was called with 9:07 remaining in the third quarter. It’s the first time since 2015 that the Rams have won one of their first two games in a season.

Wakefield is 0-2 after a 44-20 loss last week at home to Solomon. The Bombers have a capable running game with sophomore running back Kingsly Smith rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown in their week one loss at Herington.

Wakefield is 8-2 against Blue Valley-Randolph since 2004. The Bombers defeated the Rams last season in a week nine game 42-28. It was the second time they played last season as Blue Valley won the early season matchup in week three 48-26.

Brandon’s Pick: Blue Valley-Randolph
Justin’s Pick: Blue Valley-Randolph
Jared’s Pick: Blue Valley-Randolph

(0-2) Hanover at (2-0) Osborne

The Wildcats lost at home to Ell-Saline in a neck-in-neck game by a final score of 44-28. It was a winnable contest for the Cats as they trailed just 12-8 at the half. However, the Cardinals’ offense hit their stride in the second half outscoring Hanover 32-20. They now continue a tough stretch of games in hopes to avoid falling to 0-3 for the second consecutive season. Before last year, they hadn’t started 0-3 since 2005.

The Bulldogs have handled their business so far this season. In Week 1, they won on the road against a very good Hill City 28-16 and last week they blew out Stockton at home 60-0. Their solid play has led them to a #2 ranking in KPreps latest 8-Man DII poll only behind Axtell.

These two teams are very familiar with each other. This will be the sixth meeting between Hanover and Osborne in the last four years. Hanover has won seven of the last nine games dating back to 2014 with four of those meetings being in the playoffs which includes the instant classic 8-Man DI state championship game in 2018 where Hanover defeated Osborne 58-50. Last year’s meeting was lopsided with Osborne winning 54-8 at Hanover.

Brandon’s Pick: Osborne
Justin’s Pick: Osborne
Jared’s Pick: Osborne

 

(2-0) Lyndon at (2-0) Frankfort

Lyndon has not given up any points yet this season. They defeated Lebo 54-0 in Week 1 and then Herington in Week 2 62-0 with both contests being at home. Senior quarterback Tanner Heckel has elite numbers to show for with only two incompletions in 15 pass attempts, 300 passing yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Senior running back Jalen Massey has 200 yards on just 11 carries (18.2 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He had four touchdowns against the Wildcats last year. Senior offensive lineman Kaedin Massey is the number one recruit in the state for the Class of 2024, according to 247 Sports. He’s committed to K-State. The Tigers are #2 in KPreps’ latest 8-Man DI poll.

After Frankfort’s 54-6 win over Washington County last Friday, Wes Anderson is now 34-for-45 (75.6% completion percentage) with 538 yards and ten touchdowns. Carter Olson now has six touchdown receptions with 219 yards. The offense has generated 744 yards of total offense (372 yards per game).

The Wildcats will hope to keep that up against a team that blanked them a year ago 50-0. Frankfort got just 106 yards of offense in that game with only 18 rushing yards. Lyndon outscored Frankfort 24-0 in the opening quarter followed by 20 more points in the second quarter. The Tigers scored once more in the third quarter to end the game via run rule. Last year’s contest was the first meeting since 2001. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 3-2 dating back to its debut in 1998.

Brandon’s Pick: Lyndon
Justin’s Pick: Lyndon
Jared’s Pick: Lyndon

(1-1) Maranatha at (0-2) Doniphan West

The Maranatha Academy Eagles dropped their first game of the season last week to KC East Christian 56-50. They defeated Topeka-Cornerstone Family in week one 56-8. It’s the first time since 2019 that Maranatha has won at least one of their first two games of the season.

The Doniphan West Mustangs lost on the road at Cair Paravel last week 60-12. A week after they were shutout in week one by Washington County 46-0.

Doniphan West is 5-0 against Maranatha since 2014. The won the matchup last season 68-48 and are averaging nearly 53 points per game in the five wins over the Eagles.

Brandon’s Pick: Maranatha
Justin’s Pick: Maranatha
Jared’s Pick: Maranatha

TWIN VALLEY LEAGUE (8-MAN)

(2-0) Clifton-Clyde at (2-0) Axtell

Clifton-Clyde has taken care of business this year so far with a 50-8 win versus Hanover in Week 1 and another dominant 46-0 win at Blue Valley-Randolph last week. Head coach Russ Steinbrock has his team in mid-season form and at the right time. This week will be their toughest test of the season.

Axtell puts their 28-game winning streak on the line this Friday after a 52-6 mercy rule victory at Hartford. Brandon Schmelzle is 10-for-13 with 127 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. He also has four rushing touchdowns, a kickoff and punt return touchdown. Eli Broxterman has also been able to showcase his rushing prowess with four touchdowns so far.

Last year’s game created a lot of anticipation, but the payoff was underwhelming as Axtell routed Clifton-Clyde 58-12. Schmelzle went off with 273 scrimmage yards (147 rushing, 126 receiving) and five total touchdowns. Clifton-Clyde are 7-2 all-time against Axtell dating back to their first meeting in 1981, but Axtell has won the previous two games.

Brandon’s Pick: Axtell
Justin’s Pick: Axtell
Jared’s Pick: Axtell

(1-1) Washington County at (1-1) Linn

The Tigers are hoping to bounce back after a 54-6 loss at Frankfort in Week 2. That performance was after a 46-0 win at home against Doniphan West. It’s been a while since the Tigers have played a close game. The last time Washington County played in a game that was decided by one possession was October 7th of last season in a 14-6 loss against Lincoln.

Linn is averaging 50 points per game in their first two games after a 44-32 win against Logan-Palco. The defense is still getting their feet wet this season after giving up 46 points per game. Last year’s meeting was the only in recent history with Washington County taking it to Linn with a final score of 46-0.

Brandon’s Pick: Washington County
Justin’s Pick: Washington County
Jared’s Pick: Washington County

NON-LEAGUE

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

Jefferson County North has been dominant in their first two wins of the season. They’ve outscored their first two opponents 98-0 including last week’s 36-0 halftime win over ACCHS. The game was called at halftime due to a light outage. The Chargers tallied 411 yards of offense and Grady Noll accounted for 346 total yards and two scores.

Wabaunsee’s been impressive in their first two wins as they’ve outscored their opponents 102-28, which included a 56-0 win at Northern Heights last week. Wabaunsee is averaging 320 rushing yards per game on 11 yards per carry. Senior quarterback Wyatt Wurtz has rushed for 243 yards and four touchdowns in the first two games while averaging nearly 19 yards per carry.

According to K-Preps this is a top-five matchup this week with JCN ranked #5 and Wabaunsee ranked #4. Jefferson County North is 4-1 against Wabaunsee since 2018 but Wabaunsee won the matchup last season 24-8.

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

TWIN VALLEY LEAGUE

(2-0) Centralia at (0-2) Onaga

Centralia’s Maveryk Becker thrived in their 44-32 win at Christ Prep last Saturday. The running back had 18 carries for 110 yards and a rushing touchdown. He also had five receptions for 115 yards and three receiving touchdowns. On defense, he also made a huge impact with two interceptions with one being returned for a touchdown.

The Buffaloes lost handily at Valley Heights last Friday by a final score of 48-16. Onaga got off to a solid start on their opening drive getting to the five-yard line, but they were turned away on a 4th & 2. They also made costly mistakes on special teams and their defense wasn’t able to stop the Mustangs until the game got out of hand. On offense, the run game was solid averaging 4.9 yards per carry getting 261 total yards. However, they weren’t able to find the endzone enough to keep up with Valley Heights.

It's been decades since Onaga topped Centralia with the closest recent matchup being a 22-14 loss back in 2011. Since 2004, only three times has Onaga been within 35 points of Centralia in their 14 meetings. Last year’s game was their first meeting since 2015 which resulted in a 48-6 win for the Panthers. Onaga hasn’t defeated Centralia since 1998 with the Panthers winning the last 20 games in the series.

Brandon’s Pick: Centralia
Justin’s Pick: Centralia
Jared’s Pick: Centralia

(1-1) Valley Heights at (1-1) Troy

Carson Spoonts was solid in their blowout win over Onaga. He went 4-for-5 with 100 yards and a touchdown with 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Jayden DeWalt got seven carries with 51 yards and two touchdowns with the offensive line dominating the trenches all night long. Logan Gray had 137 scrimmage yards and a receiving touchdown as well.

Troy bounced back after a week one loss at Wabaunsee to defeat Valley Falls last week 46-8. They led 34-0 at halftime and never looked back. Trojans quarterback Gannon Bowe completed 22 of 30 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns. Christian Etherton caught six passes for 148 yards. Troy’s defense held the Dragons to less than 200 yards of offense.

Troy is 10-6 against Valley Heights all-time since 2007 and won last year’s matchup 55-6. The Mustangs won three straight from 2019 to 2021 including an 80-7 win in 2020.

Brandon’s Pick: Valley Heights
Justin’s Pick: Valley Heights
Jared’s Pick: Valley Heights

 

 

BIG 7

(2-0) Nemaha Central at (1-1) Perry-Lecompton – KMZA 92.1 FM

The Thunder got another dominant win this time at Royal Valley by a final of 62-0. Nemaha Central is proving that they haven’t skipped a beat since their state title last season despite losing their quarterback, running back and top wide receiver. A big reason for their dominance is because of Carter Hajek’s ability to transition to the quarterback position flawlessly. He has 237 rushing yards and five touchdowns through two games as well as a 60% completion percentage with three passing touchdowns.

The Kaws bounced back after a week one loss to Sabetha and defeated Riverside in week two 20-7. The Kaws outscored the Cyclones 14-0 in the second half. They rushed for 223 yards and the defense held Riverside to 55 yards of offense and four first downs. Quarterback Tristan Gorden rushed for 109 yards and two scores.

2A #1 Nemaha Central has controlled the pace in this series as they have won five straight over the Kaws since 2012 including last year 46-13. During Nemaha Central’s five game winning streak over Perry-Lecompton, the Kaws have not scored more than 13 points in any of those games. The Nemaha Central/Valley is 5-2 all-time against the Kaws.

Brandon’s Pick: Nemaha Central
Justin’s Pick: Nemaha Central
Jared’s Pick: Nemaha Central

(2-0) Sabetha at (1-1) Jefferson West – Sabetha Channel

2A #2 Sabetha was stout once again in a 24-8 win over Holton last week. The Bluejays ran for nearly 270 yards and added over 100 yards passing with Mitchell Kramer. Colin Menold rushed for 114 yards on 20 carries while Chase Frey racked up 122 yards on 15 carries.

Jefferson West matched their win total from 2022 with a week two win at Hiawatha 16-14. It was their first win over the Redhawks in three years. The Tigers got a 19-yard touchdown run from Brodie Thelan and a 13-yard touchdown run from Crayton Holman. Thelan finished the game with 80 yards rushing on 15 carries while grabbing two interceptions on defense.

Sabetha has won seven straight games against Jefferson West and is 10-3 against the Tigers dating back to 2006. During the seven-game winning streak, the Bluejays are beating Jefferson West by an average score of 37-9.

Brandon’s Pick: Sabetha
Justin’s Pick: Sabetha
Jared’s Pick: Sabetha

(0-2) Royal Valley at (1-1) Riverside

Royal Valley had a tough go at it last week as they lost to 2A #1 Nemaha Central 62-0. The Panthers have now lost seven straight games against the Thunder. The Panthers have started 0-2 in five of the last six seasons.

The Cyclones fell to Perry-Lecompton 20-6 last week and were only able to get 87 yards of total offense and four first downs. Riverside had as many turnovers as they did third down conversions with two apiece. Their defense has been keeping them in ballgames so far this season after allowing a combined 26 points in their first two games.

Royal Valley has won back-to-back games against Riverside including last season 31-20. The Cyclones last win over the Panthers was 42-14 back in 2019.

Brandon’s Pick: Royal Valley
Justin’s Pick: Riverside
Jared’s Pick: Riverside

(1-1) Hiawatha at (0-2) Holton – Holton & Hiawatha Channels

Hiawatha lost their first game against Jefferson West in three years last week 16-14 at home. Hiawatha scored the first touchdown of the game and had a 14-8 lead in the third quarter but couldn’t hold on. Connor Kettler scored both touchdowns for the Redhawks on a 60-yard pick six in the first quarter and a nine-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter before leaving the game with an injury.

Playing a top two ranked team on the road for a second straight week, Holton showed some big improvement and promise but still fell to Sabetha 24-8. The Wildcats went on an 18-play nearly 10 minute drive in the second half that stalled inside the three-yard-line and could have pulled them within one score. Holton ran for 207 yards led by Abbott Hundley again, but were missing two more starters and ran a freshman on the line. After suiting up only six seniors last week, the Cats play their first home game of the season and look for a better start to the game after falling down early in their first two contests. 

Dating back to 2001 the Wildcats have won 22 straight games against the Redhawks and have averaged over 50 points per game during that span. Holton’s win last season was 49-7 and the Redhawks have scored a combined 21 points in the last four meetings with Holton.

Brandon’s Pick: Holton
Justin’s Pick: Holton
Jared’s Pick: Hiawatha

NORTHEAST KANSAS LEAGUE

(0-2) Horton at (0-2) Valley Falls – KNZA 103.9 FM

The Horton Chargers dropped to 0-2 with a 26-6 loss last week at McLouth. It was the first of three straight road games with week three at Valley Falls and week four at 2A #1 Nemaha Central.

Just like last week, Valley Falls had three different players attempt a pass in their 46-8 Week 2 loss at Troy. Each of them threw an interception but Zac Evans led the team in passing with 96 yards. In total, they had 142 yards over the air and 62 on the ground. The Dragons are hoping for their offense to break through after back-to-back sub-20-point games to start the year.

Horton is 3-6 against Valley Falls dating back to 2004. The Dragons won the meeting last season 34-20 which was the first time the teams had played since 2015. Valley Falls have won four of the last five with Horton’s lone win in that stretch back in 2014.

Brandon’s Pick: Valley Falls
Justin’s Pick: Valley Falls
Jared’s Pick: Valley Falls

(1-1) ACCHS at (1-1) Oskaloosa

The two-time defending NEKL champs fell behind in the standings last week with a 36-0 loss to Jefferson County North in a game that ended at halftime due to a light outage. It was the Tigers first loss in league play since 2020. The Tigers’ first two games this season were at home so four of their last six regular season games in 2023 will be on the road.

The Bears were in a slug fest that came down to the end against Pleasant Ridge. In the end, they ended up losing their home opener 21-16. Coy Perry was extremely busy accounting for 65 offensive plays. He was 16-for-49 over the air with 239 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also ran it 16 times for 54 yards. VanHoutan had another great game at wide receiver with eight catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

ACCHS and Oskaloosa have played three times ever and the Tigers have dominated all three matchups. Final scores of 48-0 last season, 56-12 in 2019, and 46-0 in 2018.

Brandon’s Pick: ACCHS
Justin’s Pick: ACCHS
Jared’s Pick: ACCHS

(2-0) Jackson Heights at (1-1) Pleasant Ridge – Cobra Channel

Jackson Heights has been impressive in the first two weeks of the season with a pair of 42-6 wins. They defeated Horton in week one and Maur Hill-Mount Academy last week. Against the Ravens, Drake Mellies was the star. The Cobras quarterback threw for 176 yards and two scores, added 67 rushing yards and a touchdown, returned a punt for a touchdown, and added three interceptions on defense. His performance earned him an athlete of the week honor.

The Rams bounced back after losing by 62 points in week one to Jefferson County North. They beat Oskaloosa last week 21-16 for their first win of the season. The Rams led the game 13-0 at halftime and had to hold off a late rally attempt by the Bears as they scored all 16 of their points in the fourth quarter.

It’s about streaks in the last nine games between these two teams. The Rams won six straight from 2004 to 2009 but the Cobras have won the last three games including last season 49-28.

Brandon’s Pick: Jackson Heights
Justin’s Pick: Jackson Heights
Jared’s Pick: Jackson Heights

(0-2) Maur Hill-Mount Academy at (2-0) McLouth

The Ravens had a tough time with mistakes with four turnovers in their 42-6 loss at Jackson Heights last week. Luke Seibert was efficient on the ground, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and he had 160 passing yards. Maur Hill-Mount’s defense couldn’t slow down the Cobras’ offense which gave up 308 yards total.

McLouth followed up their Week 1 win at Onaga with another victory last week. The Bulldogs defeated Horton at home 26-6 to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2014.

In 2022 and 2021, the games between these two were canceled, both for different reasons. This will be the first meeting since 2020. McLouth is hoping for their first win against MHMA since 2005, which is their only win in the series. The Ravens have won the last seven meetings with an overall record of 8-1 in the series.

Brandon’s Pick: McLouth
Justin’s Pick: McLouth
Jared’s Pick: McLouth

MEADOWLARK CONFERENCE

(0-2) KC Harmon at (2-0) Atchison – KAIR 93.7 FM

The Hawks of KC Harmon have struggled in the first two weeks of the season. They lost 44-0 in week one against KC Schlagle and last week they lost 61-0 at KC Washington. The game against Atchison will be their third straight game on the road with the first home game in week four against a very good Highland Park team.

Atchison’s offense has looked potent through two weeks, and they blasted KC Sumner Academy last week 63-6. The Phoenix rushed for 248 yards against Sumner and averaged nearly 10 yards per carry. Trey Carter completed 7/13 passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns while adding 72 rushing yards and another score.

Atchison is 12-0 against KC Harmon dating back to 2010. The Phoenix have outscored the Hawks 287-8 in the last five meetings and won last year’s game 72-0.

Brandon’s Pick: Atchison
Justin’s Pick: Atchison
Jared’s Pick: Atchison

NORTH CENTRAL KANSAS LEAGUE

(1-1) Chapman at (0-2) Marysville

Chapman lost their first game of the season last week 61-0 at Clay Center. That was after they won their season opener 14-13 against Concordia. The Fighting Irish have started 1-1 in three of the last four seasons.

Marysville dropped to 0-2 after a 49-0 loss last week at Wamego. Wamego scored 28 points in the first quarter and never looked back. The Bulldogs have been outscored 77-14 in their first two games of the season against Abilene and Wamego.

Marysville is 11-8 against Chapman dating back to 2004 but Chapman have won back-to-back games in the series including last season 22-9. The Bulldogs last won over Chapman 34-22 in 2019.

Brandon’s Pick: Chapman
Justin’s Pick: Chapman
Jared’s Pick: Chapman


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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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