Tuesday, 28 November 2023
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Local Sports News
Friday Night Fever: Week 5 previews and predictions
By Brandon Tadtman, Jared Sleppy, Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

2023 Pick Records


Last week: 20-0
Overall: 68-9
2022 Record: 172-29


Last week: 20-0
Overall: 70-7
2022 Record: 174-27


Last week: 19-1
Overall: 63-14
2022 Record: 154-47


KNZA 103.9 FM & Sabetha Channel – Riley County at Sabetha
KMZA 92.1 FM & Cobra Channel – Jackson Heights at Centralia
KAIR 93.7 FM – Troy at Maur Hill-Mount Academy
Holton Channel – Royal Valley at Holton
Hiawatha Channel – Concordia at Hiawatha

Week 5 Games

8M-I DISTRICT 5 – Non-League

(3-1) Lincoln at (3-1) Clifton-Clyde  

The Lincoln Leopards have strung together three blowout wins in a row after dropping their season opener to a very good Sylvan-Lucas team that is currently unbeaten by just 12 points. They are averaging 50.5 points per game at the half-way point, but they get a huge boost in competition with their toughest game since then.

Clifton-Clyde didn’t have any issues bouncing back after their Week 3 loss at Axtell as they dominated Washington County at home 54-6. In their three wins, they are averaging 50 points a game. This is definitively one of the most important matchups in the district. Both teams are 1-0 in district play and got all 21 points last week.

Clifton-Clyde has won three of the last five meetings dating back to 2008, including the last two. In last year’s game the Eagles dominated on the road 56-6.

Brandon’s Pick: Clifton-Clyde
Justin’s Pick: Clifton-Clyde
Jared’s Pick: Clifton-Clyde

(1-3) Bennington at (2-2) Washington County

After an opening week 30-22 win at home versus Goessel, the Bennington Bulldogs haven’t been able to put it all together since then losing their last three contests. However, they have been against tough opponents with a combined record of 11-1. Next year, they are moving up to 11-Man.

It was a forgettable district opener against Clifton-Clyde on the road as the Tigers dropped the game 54-6. They will hope to continue their trend of winning every other week. In their wins, they score 47 points per game, and in their losses, they score just six points per game.

The Tigers have won three of the last four meetings with their only loss in that span being in overtime in 2021. Last year, Washington County won by 20 on the road.

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

8M-II DISTRICT 3 – Twin Valley League

(2-2) Hanover at (0-4) Doniphan West

Hanover has won back-to-back games since starting 0-2 after their week four win against Blue Valley-Randolph 38-14. Hanover lost their first two games of the season to Clifton-Clyde and Ell Saline and were outscored 94-36. They’ve averaged 32 points per game in their last two games in wins over Osborne and Blue Valley-Randolph. The Wildcats are 1-0 in district play.

Doniphan West dropped to 0-4 as Frankfort ended their game at halftime last week 56-6. The Mustangs have lost nine of their last 10 games dating back to last season. The Mustangs offense compiled just 111 yards of offense against Frankfort and averaged less than five yards per carry. The Mustangs are 0-1 in district play.

Hanover has won the last three meetings against Doniphan West. 48-0 last season, 44-8 in 2019, and 52-6 in 2018.

Brandon’s Pick: Hanover
Justin’s Pick: Hanover
Jared’s Pick: Hanover

(2-2) Blue Valley-Randolph at (4-0) Axtell

The Rams are in the thick of a brutal three-game stretch of at Hanover last week where they lost 38-14, this week they’re at Axtell and next week they host Frankfort. On the positive side, the Rams have a .500 record through four games for the first time since 2013. It’s also the smallest margin of defeat against Hanover since 2006, and it’s also the first time they scored double digits against them since 2006.

The Eagles made quick work of Linn with a 56-0 halftime mercy rule victory. Brandon Schmelzle went 6-for-7 with 68 yards and a touchdown with six carries for 81 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Eli Broxterman had 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Landon Schmitz found the endzone over the air and on the ground. Axtell’s defense was sturdy with Linn going just 2-for-10 on third downs and just 1-for-8 on fourth downs.

The Eagles have dominated the Rams with wins in 19 of the last 20 meetings dating back to 2000, including the last ten in a row going back to 2011.

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

(1-3) Linn at (3-1) Frankfort

After their first three games were decided by less than 20 points, they were handed their first blowout loss. Prior to their 50-point defeat to Axtell, their season-long point differential was just -20. Their defense has now averaged 51.5 points per game allowed.

The Wildcats were able to bounce back after they were trounced in Week 3 by Lyndon with a 56-6 win at Doniphan West. Wes Anderson didn’t have his best stuff, but he still had a fine day. He was 6-for-9 with 133 yards and two touchdowns. He also got his second rushing touchdown of the season. Brock Armstrong had 133 total yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns.

Brandon’s Pick: Frankfort
Justin’s Pick: Frankfort
Jared’s Pick: Frankfort

1A DISTRICT 3 – Non-League

(2-2) Mission Valley at (3-1) McLouth

Mission Valley has won back-to-back games since starting 0-2. They defeated Valley Falls last week 36-8 and they defeated West Franklin 7-3 in week three. They were outscored 76-13 in their two losses against Osage City and Council Grove. Mission Valley is 1-0 in district play.

McLouth lost their first game of the season last week to Jefferson County North 52-6. The Bulldogs had not started a season 4-0 since 2011. McLouth is now 1-6 in the last seven meetings against the Chargers. McLouth is 0-1 in district play.

Mission Valley has won the last three meetings against McLouth. 29-12 last season which turned into a forfeit, 34-6 in 2021, and 38-0 in 2020.

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

(1-3) St. Marys at (1-3) Valley Falls

The Bears bounced back with a 57-6 win over Oskaloosa and looked like the reigning state champs for the first time this season. St. Mary’s will look to keep their eyes focused on Valley Falls this week with a possibly district-deciding game at Jefferson County North next week.

The Dragons’ offense fell flat in their 36-8 loss at home against Mission Valley. Zac Evans had a tougher time throwing it this week with a 43% completion percentage and three interceptions with 144 yards. The ball carriers struggled too with just two yards per carry. Valley Falls is only scoring 16.5 points per game.

These two teams don’t compete against each other often. This will be their third all-time meeting with St. Mary’s winning the first two including last year’s meeting 65-14.

Brandon’s Pick: St. Marys
Justin’s Pick: St. Marys
Jared’s Pick: St. Marys


(4-0) Jefferson County North at (1-3) Oskaloosa

1A #3 Jefferson County North improved to 4-0 last week with a 52-6 win over McLouth. Carson McAfee was the star for the Chargers against the Bulldogs. On his 18th birthday, Carson finished with 17.5 tackles, one tackle for loss, a 69-yard pick-six, and a 29-yard touchdown reception on offense. JCN has outscored their opponents 186-40 this season and has posted two shutouts.

In Oskaloosa’s 57-6 loss at St. Mary’s, they were held to -5 rushing yards on 17 attempts. Quarterback Trenton VanHoutan had 107 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception. It’s been tough sledding for Oskaloosa, putting points on the board with just 14 points per game. Their defense going into the game averaged just 18.3 points per game.

The Chargers hold an 11-8 advantage over the Bears since 2004 with JCN winning the last seven meetings. The Chargers won the matchup last season 42-7. The last time Oskaloosa beat JCN was 2015.

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

1A DISTRICT 4 – Non-League

(4-0) Jackson Heights at (4-0) Centralia – 92.1 KMZA & Cobra Channel

Jackson Heights avenged their 28-12 loss to Riverside last season and beat them last week 36-7 to improve to 4-0. The Cobras outgained the Cyclones in rushing 306-86 and they held Riverside to negative rushing yards in the second half. Quarterback Drake Mellies finished with 28 carries for 156 yards and four touchdowns while Kade Holliday finished with 16 carries for 137 yards and a score. The Cobras are 4-0 for the first time since 2017.

The Panthers are off to a 4-0 start making it the second straight year they have gotten out of their first half unscathed. It’s also the seventh consecutive season that Centralia has a four-game winning streak. They won at Troy 36-6 last Friday to clinch their seventh consecutive TVL league title. In the win, they ran for 327 yards with Maveryk Becker getting a pair of rushing touchdowns. He also got a pick-six in the fourth quarter.

Centralia is 6-1 against Jackson Heights dating back to 2005. Centralia has won the last five meetings with the Cobras lone win in that stretch back in 2016. Centralia’s win last season was 28-6.

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

(1-3) Onaga at (1-3) Riverside

The Buffaloes had the week off, although they did have a scrimmage against Kickapoo Nation, but it was not registered as a KSHSAA-regulated contest, so it doesn’t go towards their overall record. The Buffaloes have an opportunity to get their first win of the regular season and district play after getting 13 days to prepare for this one.

Riverside is now on a three-game losing skid after their season-opening 13-6 win at Jefferson West. They haven’t been able to surpass the 20-point mark yet this season with last week being a 36-7 loss at Jackson Heights. The Cyclones had just 86 yards on the ground with their lone touchdown coming from a fumble returned to the house.

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

1A DISTRICT 5 – Non-League

(1-3) Sacred Heart at (3-1) Valley Heights

The Knights avoided an 0-4 start with a 40-0 win over Belle Plaine. They played that game at Kansas Wesleyan’s football field and Sacred Heart had their best offensive output of the season. Their defense also had a nice bounce back performance after allowing 30+ points in their prior three games.

The Mustangs’ defense held Republic County to just 50 yards of total offense in their mercy rule 52-0 win on the road. They forced three fumbles and Carson Spoonts had a pick-six. Ben Arganbright also had a punt return for a touchdown in the second half with a safety sealing the game in the third quarter. On offense, Spoonts and Jayden DeWalt both had two rushing touchdowns.

Valley Heights and Sacred Heart have met three times with the Buffaloes winning all three previous meetings. This includes last year’s game with Sacred Heart winning 27-6.

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


(2-2) ACCHS at (2-2) Pleasant Ridge

It was a tough go for ACCHS last week in their first district game as they lost 70-0 to Rossville. The Bulldogs compiled 430 yards of offense against the Tigers with 270 on the ground and 160 through the air. ACCHS is averaging 37 points per game in their two wins but have been outscored 106-0 in their two losses to JCN and Rossville.

Pleasant Ridge bounced back after a week three loss to Jackson Heights and defeated Maur Hill-Mount Academy last week 55-16. The Rams have started 2-2 for back-to-back seasons. Pleasant Ridge and Rossville are the top two teams in the district after the first round of games.

ACCHS is just 4-11 against Pleasant Ridge since 2004 but the Tigers have won the last two meetings including 36-14 last season.

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

2A DISTRICT 4 – Non-League

(2-2) Riley County at (4-0) Sabetha – 103.9 KNZA & Sabetha Channel

Riley County got back to .500 last week after they rallied in the second half to beat Royal Valley at home 20-13. The Panthers led 13-7 at halftime but the Falcons outscored Royal Valley 13-0 in the second half. Riley County finished the game with 274 yards of offense which included 171 rushing yards. The Falcons were able to get the win despite three turnovers.

2A #2 Sabetha continued their strong play with a 28-6 road win last week at Minneapolis to open district play. The Bluejays finished with nearly 400 yards of offense including 318 on the ground. Colin Menold finished with 27 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown. Chase Frey added 65 yards and two touchdowns.  The Sabetha defense is once again one of the best in state through the first month as they’re giving up just seven points per game through the first four games.

Sabetha is 6-2 against Riley County dating back to 2006. Sabetha has won the last three meetings including 48-13 last season. Riley County’s last win over Sabetha was in 2011.

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

(2-2) Minneapolis at (0-4) Horton

Minneapolis couldn’t get much going last week offensively as they lost at home to 2A #2 Sabetha 28-6. The Lions have dropped their last two games since starting the season 2-0. They outscored Republic County and Sacred Heart 93-0 in their first two games but have been outscored 88-12 in their last two against SE of Saline and Sabetha.

Horton had a tough draw last week against the defending champs and 2A #1 Nemaha Central. Thunder rolled the Chargers 69-0. That game in Seneca was the third consecutive road game for the Chargers and now begin a stretch where three of their last four in the regular season will be games at home.

Minneapolis won the meeting last season over Horton 64-0.

Brandon’s Pick: Minneapolis
Justin’s Pick: Minneapolis
Jared’s Pick: Minneapolis

3A DISTRICT 4 – Non-League

(1-3) Perry-Lecompton at (4-0) Hayden

The Kaws dropped to 1-3 last week with a 32-12 home loss against Holton. Perry-Lecompton could only put up 71 yards of offense against the Wildcats. The Kaws two touchdowns in the game were from Eli Dean and Koltyn Kaniper. Holton rushed for over 260 yards against the Kaws defense. The Kaws have not had an easy schedule with their three losses coming against Holton, Nemaha Central, and Sabetha.

3A #3 Topeka Hayden continued their strong season improving to 4-0 with a 64-0 win at Jefferson West last week. So far through four games, the Wildcats are scoring nearly 53 points per game while the defense is surrendering less than 10 points per game.

Hayden is 5-3 against Perry-Lecompton dating back to 2008. The Wildcats won the meeting last season 44-28 with the Kaws last win over Hayden back in 2020.

Brandon’s Pick: Hayden
Justin’s Pick: Hayden
Jared’s Pick: Hayden

3A DISTRICT 4 – Big 7

(1-3) Royal Valley at (2-2) Holton – Holton Channel

Royal Valley couldn’t hold a 13-7 halftime lead at Riley County last week as the Falcons rallied to beat the Panthers 20-13. The Panthers ran more plays, gained more yards, and had two less turnovers and it still wasn’t enough to get the win. They were good on third-down conversions completing 54% but they were 0/4 on fourth-down conversions.

Holton won their second straight game and started district play 1-0 with a 32-12 win at Perry Lecompton. The Wildcats came out on fire and led 24-0 after one quarter, never looking back. Turnovers and penalties continued to plague Holton, but they ran for 388 yards and had four different players score and carry for more than 40 yards in Eli Hallauer, Cael Frazier, Kyler Jackson, and Abbott Hundley who led the ground game with 186 yards rushing. It's homecoming for Holton who will play three of their final four regular season games at home.

Holton has dominated Royal Valley winning 27 straight dating back to 1996. The Wildcats won the meeting last season 48-15. The 15 points for Royal Valley in that game was the second most points they've scored against Holton in 22 years. 

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

3A DISTRICT 5 – Non-League

(2-2) Rock Creek at (2-2) Marysville

Rock Creek lost a tight contest to Silver Lake last week 38-35 to drop to 2-2 on the season. The other loss for the Mustangs was against a top-five team in 2A in Southeast of Saline in week one. They beat St. Marys in week two and Riley County in week three. This game at Marysville in week five will be Rock Creek’s third consecutive road game.

Marysville has won back-to-back games since starting the season 0-2. They beat Concordia last week on the road 23-6 and they beat Chapman at home in week three.

Marysville is 3-7 against Rock Creek dating back to 2006. Rock Creek has won five in a row against Marysville including last season 56-21. Marysville’s last win over Rock Creek was back in 2010.

Brandon’s Pick: Rock Creek
Justin’s Pick: Rock Creek
Jared’s Pick: Rock Creek

(0-4) Concordia at (1-3) Hiawatha – Hiawatha Channel

Concordia dropped to 0-4 last week with a 23-6 home loss to Marysville. Concordia has lost eight straight games and 11 of their last 12 games dating back to last season. The lone win in that stretch was at home against Hiawatha 38-12.

Hiawatha dropped their third game in a row since a season opening win at Royal Valley. They had a tough go with 3A #5 Clay Center last week at home and lost 75-13. The Tigers rushed for 317 yards against the Redhawks and averaged a staggering 18.6 yards per carry.

Brandon’s Pick: Concordia
Justin’s Pick: Concordia
Jared’s Pick: Concordia

Non-District – Non-League

(1-3) Troy at (0-4) Maur Hill-Mount Academy – KAIR 93.7

Troy lost to 1A #2 Centralia last week at home 36-6. The Trojans threw for nearly 190 yards, but the Centralia defense held the Trojans to just 27 rushing yards on 16 carries. Troy’s lone touchdown in the game was a two-yard run by Seth Judd in the first quarter. Centralia was able to rush for nearly 330 yards.

Luke Seibert had a great day on the ground with 22 carries for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas Boos hauled in six of Seibert’s nine completions with the star wideout getting 88 yards. Their 16 points in their 55-16 loss to Pleasant Ridge is a season high. However, the Ravens have now allowed 50+ points in back-to-back games.

The Trojans have Ravens have played three times since 2012 and Troy is 2-1. They beat the Ravens 76-16 last season and 44-7 in 2013. The Ravens win over Troy was 34-7 back in 2012.

Brandon’s Pick: Troy
Justin’s Pick: Troy
Jared’s Pick: Troy

Non-District – Big 7

(1-3) Jefferson West at (4-0) Nemaha Central

Jefferson West in one of the more grueling stretches a team could have through three weeks. They lost to 2A #2 Sabetha 50-14 in week three, lost 64-0 last week against 3A #3 Hayden, and now travel to play at 2A #1 Nemaha Central this week. The Tigers lone win so far this season was in week two and that was a 16-14 road win over Hiawatha.

The Thunder are coming off their largest margin of victory this season with a 69-0 win versus Horton last week. Their dominant offensive line paved the way for Carter Hajek to run for 145 yards and six touchdowns on just 12 carries. He also had a passing touchdown and was one of our highlighted “Athletes of the Week”. He now has 13 rushing touchdowns and 596 rushing yards with 320 passing yards and five touchdowns.

Nemaha Central is 12-3 against Jefferson West dating back to 2004. The Thunder have won five straight including 67-6 last season. The Tigers last win over the Thunder was back in 2013 and that was a 21-20 final.

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

Meadowlark Conference

(3-1) KC Washington at (4-0) Atchison

KC Washington lost their first game of the season last week at Wamego 53-6. They were 3-0 with wins over KC Sumner, KC Harmon, and Bonner Springs prior to the game against Wamego. All three of those wins were games played on their home field.

Atchison’s offensive dominance continued last week as they defeated KC Schlagle 54-8 to improve to 4-0. They outscored Schlagle 21-0 in the first quarter and led the game 47-0 at halftime. Trey Carter threw for nearly 150 yards and a touchdown while Atchison rushed for 188 yards and averaged over eight yards per carry as a team. Atchison is averaging 60.5 points per game through the first month of the season.

Atchison is 10-6 against KC Washington dating back to 2004 with the Phoenix winning the last two games. The win last year for Atchison was 55-6. KC Washington’s last win over Atchison was 40-14 back in 2019.

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

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