The Pick List - Week 3
Miege coach Tim Grunhard will try and slow down Gardner-Edgerton. (Photo by Marion McReynolds for Kansas Pregame)
By Kpreps.com & Kansas Pregame Magazine
Posted: September 15, 2011 - 12:07 AM
Week three of The Pick List features the first of several key games in the Eastern Kansas League race as 5A #5 Bishop Miege visits fourth-ranked Gardner-Edgerton.
Elsewhere, Wellsville travels to Olpe, and Norton visits Plainville as all four teams try to claim their stake as viable contenders in their respective classes.
Finally, we wrap up The Pick List with a pair of 8-man showdowns in the SPIAA and Lyon County Leagues.
Each Thursday throughout the regular season, The Pick List will feature six of the best match-ups across the state, and we will make our predictions on a handful of other games.
Feature Games of the Week:
Junction City (2-0) at Salina South (1-1)
Salina South fell just shy of upsetting 5A's number three ranked McPherson Bullpups last Friday, 41-39. It doesn't get any easier this week as they play host to consistent winner Junction City.
The Cougar offense has been potent behind senior dual-threat quarterback Christian Linenberger and speedy junior running back Cody Busby, but the Cougar defense has been porous allowing 28 points to a struggling Campus team and 41 points to McPherson on Friday.
An inexperienced Blue Jay team is coming off a solid 8-3 2010 season in which they nearly upset eventual 6A champion Wichita Heights in one of the best playoff games in any class.
The Blue Jays sport a 2-0 record thus far but have struggled to put up points in wins over Shawnee Heights and Highland Park.
To improve to 3-0 the Blue Jay defense will need its best performance to date against an explosive Salina South offense.
Our Pick: Salina South 35, Junction City 31
5A #5 Bishop Miege (2-0) at 5A #4 Gardner-Edgerton (1-1)
Anyone who watched him play will agree that a team cannot replace a player like Bubba Starling, but Gardner-Edgerton has maintained its high level of play from recent years with the help of a pair of talented sophomores.
Quarterback Jared Hobby continues to emerge as a dual threat as he threw for 96 yards and rushed for 41 more in last week’s 54-20 win over Blue Valley North. Hobby threw for 126 yards and a touchdown in the Blazers season-opening loss at East St. Louis, Illinois.
But any added pressure on replacing a legend at quarterback for Gardner-Edgerton has been eased by the arrival of running back Traevohn Wrench.
Wrench exploded on the EKL scene last week with 345 yards rushing and five touchdowns on his 31 carries. The sophomore led the Blazers 122 yards and two scores in the Week 1 loss.
Marvin Diener’s squad will be tested again this week as they host fifth-ranked Bishop Miege.
The Stags are fresh off come-from-behind win over Blue Valley Northwest.
Trailing 24-20 with just over two minutes remaining, Miege junior quarterback Montel Cozart engineered a game-winning drive resulting in a 9-yard Quanzee Johnson touchdown run and a 27-24 win over the Huskies.
Cozart is another dual-threat weapon who rushed for 82 yards to go along with his 199 yard, two-touchdown passing performance against Northwest. He is surrounded by talent on the offensive side of the ball with Johnson and wide-out Tre’ Parmalee.
This EKL showdown is loaded with offense, but the game may be decided by which defense can register a key stop.
Our Pick: Gardner-Edgerton 35, Bishop Miege 24
Norton (2-0) at 2-1A #5 Plainville (2-0)
It was clear that the Plainville Cardinals were going to be much improved this season, but few prognosticators anticipated a 2-0 start against traditionally strong Mid-Continent League foes Phillipsburg and Ellis.
After two weeks, the Cardinals are flying high and have outscored their opponents 79-27 behind a run heavy offense driven by a big, experienced offensive line that includes seniors Jameson Klein and Nathan Thyfault, and juniors T.J. Addelman and Bradey Chard.
Senior tight end and linebacker Andrew Casey is one of 2A's best all-around athletes.
Traditional power Norton appeared headed for a down year after losing all but two starters including Shrine Bowl running back Terrell Lane, all-state linemen Kaid McKenna and Landon Keiswetter, and quarterback Spencer Shirk, but two games into the season the Blue Jays have outscored Ellis and St. Francis 91-15.
If common opponents are any indicator the two teams appear evenly matched. Norton opened the season with a 38-7 win over the Railers while Plainville handed them a 42-6 defeat last week.
This Mid-Continent League match-up will provide the first true test of the season, and for the winner will likely set-up a league championship game with Smith Center.
Our Pick: Norton 22, Plainville 20
Wellsville (2-0) at Olpe (1-1)
Wellsville will travel to Olpe in a rematch of one of the better games of the 2010 season.
Last fall, Olpe kicker Tanner Burenheide kicked a 20-yard field goal in the final seconds to lift the green and gold Eagles to a 10-8 win over the Eagles from Wellsville.
Wellsville returns 15 starters from last season’s 10-2 squad which made the state quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Silver Lake.
The Eagles return Cole Gardner at quarterback and Jesse Lamay at running back. The senior duo was critical in Wellsville’s 43-21 win over Anderson County a week ago as Gardner rushed for 152 yards while Lamay contributed 137 yards on the ground.
The strength of Mark Luedtke’s team may be upfront where the entire offensive line returns with another year of experience.
Chris Schmidt’s Olpe Eagles fell at home last week 35-13 to a strong Caney Valley team.
The Eagles continue to try and reload after losing a talented group of seniors off of last year’s team, and a key returning player when sophomore linebacker Parker Bass transferred to Emporia at the beginning of the school year.
To add to the difficulty, running back Michell Argabright missed the Caney Valley game with an injury, and his status for the this week and the remainder of the season is uncertain.
Without Argabright, Olpe managed just 75 yards rushing on 39 carries.
Quarterback Jake Brinkman accounted for both of the Eagles touchdowns with a 4-yard run and a 59-yard pass to Issac Hall.
Olpe will have to establish an more effective running game in order to slow down the more experienced Wellsville team.
Our pick: Wellsville 36, Olpe 14
Jetmore-Hodgeman Co. (1-0) at South Gray (2-0)
The Hodgeman County Longhorns got a late start to the season after an open date in week one, but appeared none the worse for it last week as they grounded the Trego Golden Eagles in a 46-12 win.
The Longhorns are without the services of 8-man All-Stars Evan Kreger and Devan Rudzik, lost to graduation, but the return of seven juniors with starting experience has them poised for a long run of success.
The Longhorns will find out just how much success this Friday night as they face an experienced and talented South Gray Rebels team that has rolled to 2-0 behind the strong legs of senior back Coulter Croft, and five other returning starters from last year's 7-2 squad.
This is the Rebels first opportunity to avenge a loss from a year ago. The Longhorns beat the Rebels 46-36 at home last season, but travel to Montezuma for this contest.
Our Pick: South Gray 38, Hodgeman County 34
Waverly (2-0) at 8M-I #2 Lebo (2-0)
Lyon County League rivals will square off as unbeaten Waverly travels the 16 miles to Lebo to take on the second-ranked Wovles.
Waverly has opened the season with wins over Marais des Cygnes Valley (50-40) and Southern Coffey County (38-18).
The Bulldogs return six starters on each side of the ball, and return a solid offense with quarterback Tanner Sipe, running back Kyle Henry, and receiver Tanner Smith.
Through two games, Sipe has completed 20 of 33 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns. His primary target has been Smith who has 145 yards receiving with four of his seven receptions going for touchdowns.
Henry has also been explosive in rushing for 304 yards; including a 221-yard performance against MdCV in Week 1. The 5-10, 180-pound senior has two rushing touchdowns, a receiving touchdown, and has returned a kickoff for a score.
As experienced as Waverly is, the Lebo Wolves return even more starters.
Lebo finished 9-2 long-time coach Butch Jones’ last season, but was decimated by key injuries which many felt kept them from competing with Madison for a state championship berth.
This season, the Wolves under the direction of Troy McArthur, return eight starters on each side of the ball.
Quarterback Trevor White has started for at least two seasons now, and has the luxury of bruising fullback Sam Strawder and the speedy Austin Holmes in his backfield.
Strawder returned the opening kickoff 78 yards for a score in last week’s win over St. Paul.
But White is the true catalyst to the Lebo offense. The senior threw for 135 yards and two touchdowns a week ago, and added 140 yards and another score on the ground.
The Wolves have won the last four meetings between these two dating back to the second of Waverly’s back-to-back state championship teams in 2006.
Our Pick: Lebo 46, Waverly 24
The Pick List:
Andover Central (1-1) at 5A #3 McPherson (2-0) – McPherson
Atwood-Rawlins Co. (1-1) at 2-1A #3 Stanton County (2-0) – Stanton County
De Soto (1-1) at Baldwin (1-1) – De Soto
Blue Valley West (1-1) at 5A #1 Blue Valley-Stilwell (2-0) – Blue Valley-Stilwell
Chase (2-0) at 8M-II #3 Otis-Bison (2-0) – Otis-Bison
Dighton (2-0) at Weskan (2-0) – Dighton
6A #3 Manhattan (2-0) at Emporia (1-1) – Manhattan
Independence (2-0) at Fort Scott (2-0) – Fort Scott
8M-I #3 Lakeside-Downs (2-0) at Blue Valley Randolph (2-0) – Lakeside
Girard (1-1) at Osawatomie (1-1) – Girard
Louisburg (1-1) at St. James Academy (2-0) – Louisburg
Wichita East (2-0) at 6A #5 Wichita Northwest (2-0) – Wichita Northwest