By Kpreps.com & Kansas Pregame
Posted: August 30, 2012 - 12:22 AM
In our Picks to Click, we feature six players or units from across the state that we feel will have breakout performances on Friday night. Check back next Thursday to see our picks for week two, and how the players performed that we picked the week prior.
Riley Allen, RB, Buhler
Allen (6-0, 170) may be one of the top players in the state no one knows about because he spent the last two years backing up superstar Tanner Fisher. Fisher piled up the yards out of the Crusaders I-formation the last three seasons but he is now gone to college. Allen, 4A's runner-up in the 100 meter dash, has a tough season opener against defending champion Rose Hill, but if he's as good as veteran coach Steve Warner says he is, he should have an immediate impact.
Trevor Axelson, RB, Plainville
If the Cardinals are to recreate the success of their 10-2 2011 season then Axelson (5-7, 145) will again have to lead the offense from his running back spot. Plainville runs an old-school; T-backfield formation which gives Axelson a combination of dives, counters, sweeps, and traps. He utilized that combination to the tune of 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior last season. While some key pieces of that o-line are gone, experienced players returning from injury and some talented newcomers should join forces with senior center Bradey Chard to power the run game to another special season.
Jayce Brack, DT, Great Bend
Sophomore defensive tackle Jayce Brack (6-3, 265) is one to watch on the Panther defense. The big d-lineman is already a returning starter in only his second season of high school football. The Panthers season opener with county rival Hoisington is intriguing because of the size difference between the two schools and the quality of the football programs. If the 5A Panthers are too dominate the 3A Cardinals the way some expect, the play of the d-line, and specifically Brack, will be key.
Calahan Brown, RB/LB, Frankfort
Brown (5-11, 180) returns as part of a loaded backfield for the Wildcats. Along with fellow seniors Lucas Adams and quarterback Alex Surdez, Brown will look to get Frankfort back to the playoffs. Brown rushed for more than 700 yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago, but the key to Frankfort’s success will rebuilding the offensive line. The Wildcats open on the road against a Southern Cloud team that was winless in 2011.
J’veyon Browning, RB, KC Schlagle
Browning (5-10, 185) rushed for 1,466 yards and 20 touchdowns last season in helping lead the Stallions to a 7-2 record. Schlagle returns seven starters on each side of the ball, which should ease the transition for first-year coach Martez Wesley. The Stallions open at Topeka West; a team that surrendered nearly 57 points per game last season.
Austin O’Bannon, RB, McPherson
O’Bannon will be a primary offensive weapon this season for the Bullpups after the graduation of quarterback Tyler Matthews and wide receiver Jordan Hart. O’Bannon (5-9, 190) rushed for nearly 1,400 yards last season and possesses the speed to go the distance on each play. McPherson begins their 4A run against an El Dorado team that gave up 40 points per game in 2011.