By Mark Schremmer, Conor Nicholl, Matt Gilmore for Kpreps.com
Posted: October 14, 2012 - 10:25 PM
The past two seasons, Madison has owned 8-Man, Division-I, becoming the first school to win back-to-back state titles since Coldwater in 1994-95.
Graduated are three all-state players in Kole Schankie, Bubba Smith, and Collin Kile; yet the Bulldogs still have a good nucleus of starters returning and appear to be strong enough to challenge for a third consecutive title.
Madison opened the season with a 34-22 loss to 8-Man, Division-II’s top-ranked Baileyville B&B Falcons. Since that Week 1 loss, the Bulldogs have won three straight games by the combined score of 155-20.
As good as Coach Fred McClain’s team has been, several teams in Division-I appear loaded for playoff runs. It’s a division that entering Week 5 still includes 10 teams undefeated and 14 more teams with three wins.
Ness City may be the division’s most talented team. The Eagles return all eight starters from last season’s playoff team, and have rolled to a 4-0 start by outscoring their opponents by a combined margin of 222-36.
Other strong contenders that remain unbeaten are South Haven behind Kansas Pregame Magazine cover-boy Austin Showman, Marmaton Valley with standout running back/linebacker Cole Becker, and fifth-ranked Solmon which has used a big offensive line to pummel opponents so far this season.
Remaining unbeatens through Week 4 are Atwood-Rawlins County, Central Burden, Little River, Minneola, St. Paul, and Udall.
• South Haven (4-0, 2-0 district) – The Cardinals have dominated in their first four games, winning by an average of 55.5-5. Quarterback Austin Showman and running back J.T.Yunker lead the South Haven offense.
• Udall (4-0, 2-0 district) – The Eagles are coming off a big district win, defeating previously unbeaten Oxford 47-21. Michael Propst is a versatile player for the Eagles, passing, rushing and catching a touchdown in the win against Oxford. Heath Satterlee leads Udall with nearly 350 yards rushing and five scores.
• Central Burden (4-0, 1-0 district) – A year after graduating one of the most prolific quarterbacks in 8-man history, Central Burden has switched focus to a run-based offense under new coach Romney Runyan. The result has been a 4-0 start and an offense that averages 204 yards rushing per game. Austin Mettling (340 yards, 6TD) and Kasey Biddle (302 yards, 7TD) lead the Raider attack.
• Sedan (2-2, 1-1 district) – Sedan finished 8-1 last season, dropping only a Week 9 game to Udall after quarterback Nick Kimple was out with an injury. Kimple is back for his senior season and has rushed for 281 yards and six touchdowns, while passing for 273 yards and three scores.
• Oxford (3-1, 0-1 district) – Oxford was unbeaten before turnovers led directly to Udall points in last week’s 47-21 loss. Oxford fumbled three times in the end zone, all recoverd by Udall DE Cody Waggoner. The recoveries accounted for all of the 21 points scored by Udall in the second half. Gage Burkes has rushed for 372 yards and 13 touchdowns already this season.
• Cedar Vale-Dexter (1-3, 0-2 district) – The Spartans’ only victory came against a winless Argonia team. They have allowed 112 points in their two district games.
• West Elk (1-3, 0-2 district) -- The Patriots haven’t scored in their first two district games. Trae Gillespie and Paxton Noll have each rushed for more than 200 yards this season.
Key games: The district will likely come down to the final two weeks with Central Burden traveling to face Udall in Week 8 and Central Burden hosting South Haven in Week 9.
Winner: South Haven
• Marmaton Valley (4-0, 0-0 district) – The Wildcats have dominated in wins over Chetopa, Blue Valley Randolph and Elk Valley and edged a quality Colony-Crest team 46-42. Marmaton Valley has scored no fewer than 46 points in a game this season. Running back/linebacker Cole Becker is one of the state’s top 8-Man players.
• St. Paul (3-0, 0-0 district) – The Indians are led by Anthony Diskin, who rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns in a 50-40 win against Colony-Crest.
• Marais des Cygnes Valley (2-2, 0-0 district) – The Trojans are 2-2, but their two losses are to defending state champion Madison and an unbeaten Waverly team.
• Pleasanton (2-2, 0-0 district) – The Blu-jays beat winless Southern Coffey Co. and Tyro Christian but were shut out by Colony-Crest and Chetopa. Preston Coffman (6-2, 175) has been a standout in the Blu-jay backfield for three years.
• Uniontown (1-2, 0-0 district) – Even though the Eagles were in Class 3A just a year ago, it hasn’t been easy this season. Uniontown has decimated by injuries and have dropped consecutive games to Colony-Crest and a heartbreaker 58-56 to Chetopa on the final play of the game a week ago.
• Yates Center (0-4, 0-0 district) – The Wildcats have scored only 28 points all season, while allowing no fewer than 38 points in a game. Yates Center has won only four games since the beginning of the 2004 season.
Key games: (Wk 5) Marais des Cygnes Valley at Marmaton Valley; (Wk 8) St. Paul at Marais des Cygnes Valley; (Wk 9) Marmaton Valley at St. Paul
Winner: Marmaton Valley
Runner-up: St. Paul
• Lebo (3-1, 2-0 district) – The Wolves lost to Waverly in the season opener but have rattled off three straight wins against Southern Coffey Co., Centre-Lost Springs and Hartford. Lebo’s Tyson Robke had nine catches for 195 yards and two TDs, returned a kickoff for a TD and picked off four passes in the 36-26 win against Centre-Lost Springs.
• Madison (3-1, 2-0 district) – The defending state champion Bulldogs have won three consecutive games after opening the season with a 34-22 loss against 8-Man Division II’s top-ranked Baileyville B&B. Dallas Thompson rushed for 160 of the team’s 360 yards in Madison’s 59-6 win against Flinthills last week.
• Peabody-Burns (3-1, 1-0 district) – The Warriors’ only loss came 34-32 to an unbeaten Little River team in Week 2. Peabody-Burns handed Canton-Galva its first loss of the season last week. Hunter Pickens leads the Warriors with 785 passing yards and seven touchdowns. He has also rushed for 454 yards and 12 scores.
• Centre-Lost Springs (2-2, 1-1 district) – The Cougars have an uphill battle after the district loss to Lebo. Centre will likely need some help if they are qualify for their fourth consecutive playoff appearance.
• Flinthills (1-3, 0-1 district) – After blowing out Cedar Vale-Dexter 40-6 in Week 1, the Mustangs have combined for only 12 points in the past three games. The Mustangs’ last trip to the playoffs came in 2008.
• Burlingame (1-3, 0-2 district) – The Bearcats’ only victory is against winless Southern Coffey Co.
• Hartford (0-4, 0-2 district) – The Jaguars haven’t won a game, but they have faced one of the most difficult schedules in the state with losses to unbeaten Waverly, Madison, Lebo and Marais des Cygnes Valley.
Key games: (Wk 5) Centre at Peabody-Burns; (Wk 7) Lebo at Madison; (Wk 8) Peabody-Burns at Madison
• Osborne (3-1, 2-0 district) – Osborne, coming off back-to-back 10-2 seasons and Eight-Man, Division I sub-state championship game appearances, has yet to lose a district game since it switched down to the eight-man ranks before the 2010 season. The Bulldogs are 12-0 in district play, including 58-24 victories against rival Lakeside and a 50-40 win versus Wakefield this year. Osborne’s eight-man tenure is marked by an excellent offense and a porous defense and this season has continued that trend. In 2010, the Bulldogs had an average score of 48-27. Last year, Osborne’s average score was 55-31. This season, Osborne has a collective score of 198-170. The Bulldogs rank eighth in scoring offense in Eight-Man, Division I. Junior Kenton Ubelaker leads the team with 78 carries for 531 yards and 10 scores.
• Pike Valley (1-3, 1-0 district) – Pike Valley has already matched last season’s win total and exceeded last year’s district win total under 31st-year coach Don Melby. Pike Valley defeated Clifton-Clyde, 34-14, and have big losses to Beloit St. John's-Tipton, Thunder Ridge and Lincoln. The win against Clifton-Clyde came when Eagle running back Alex Deaver didn’t play. Robert Cox paces the Panthers with 101 carries for 477 yards and three scores.
• Mankato-Rock Hills (3-1, 1-1 district) – After three big victories – and earning a spot in the state rankings – the Grizzlies dropped out of the rankings with a 42-24 loss to Clifton-Clyde. Mankato-Rock Hills had just 188 yards of total offense in the game. After leading 18-8 after the first quarter, Rock Hills allowed 26 unanswered points in the second and third quarter. Clay Cosand had 53 carries for 367 yards and seven scores, while sophomore Joel Broeckelman had 33 carries for 341 yards and eight scores.
• Clifton-Clyde (2-1, 1-1 district) – Clifton-Clyde had a bye in Week 1 before it played three relatively close games. The Eagles defeated Axtell 34-26 in Week 2, then lost to Pike Valley, 34-14, and defeated Rock Hills last week. Clifton-Clyde will likely need to have Alex Deaver available if it wants to reach the playoffs. He has rushed for more than 3,500 yards in his career.
• Lakeside-Downs (2-2, 1-1 district) – The Knights went 19-3 in 2010-11 and dropped back some under first-year coach Kody Tegtmeier this season. Tegtmeier was hired in the summer after former coach Curt Christians left for Rock Hills to be an assistant coach. Lakeside has allowed 44 points per game, but has 10-point victories against Chase and Linn to offset losses to Lincoln and Osborne.
• Wakefield (1-3, 0-1 district) – Wakefield los 52-28 to Little River and fell 54-8 to Solomon, each quality teams. However, the Bombers defeated Centre 58-14 and lost to Osborne by only ten. Wakefield’s playoff appearance in 2006 is the program’s lone berth in the last two decades. Wakefield has allowed 42.5 points per contest this year. The last four years, Wakefield had permitted 38.8 points per game from 2008-11.
• Linn (0-4, 0-2 district) – Linn has allowed 198 points in four games and has just one game within 20 points, a 32-22 defeat to Downs-Lakeside last week.
Key games: This is an extremely competitive district where every team could make a run for a playoff berth. Pike Valley’s upset of Clifton-Clyde threw the district into some early disarray. Then, Clifton-Clyde’s win against Rock Hills continued to create uncertainty in the district. Rock Hills arguably has the best top-to-bottom talent, while Osborne has the best offense in the district. Plus, Osborne coach Steve Tiernan is a veteran of deep playoff runs and state titles.
Winner: Mankato-Rock Hills
• Little River (4-0, 0-0 district) – Little River has averaged nearly 57 points per game on offense this season. Chet Cordell leads the Redskins with nearly 400 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Little River must find answers on defense where they are surrendering 30 points per game.
• Solomon (4-0, 0-0 district) - The fifth-ranked Gorillas have rolled to a 4-0 start by outscoring their opponents by an average of 54-8. Leading rusher Colton Shirack (439 yards, 6TDs) benefits from a big offensive line that includes Blayne Neilson (6-2, 245), Craig Weise (6-4, 250), Hunter Base (5-9, 205), and Josh Burdine (6-5, 185).
• Canton-Galva (3-1, 0-0 district) – Canton-Galva is 3-1 thanks to new coach Jeff Savage and his son Cody. Cody, who started at wide receiver for Central Burden last fall, had put up big numbers in his first two games as an Eagle before missing the Week 3 win over St. John’s Military due to injury.
• Lincoln (3-1, 0-0 district) – Senior quarterback Dayton Walker has been a standout for Lincoln in throwing for more than 400 yards and rushing for 269 more. He sat out in Week 4 due to injury, but his freshman brother Zach stepped in and rushed for 175 yards and four scores in the win over Pike Valley.
• Pretty Prairie (3-1, 0-0 district) – Pretty Prairie has averaged more than 53 points per game thus far. That includes a 52-8 defeat at the hands of Division-II’s top-ranked Baileyville B&B Falcons. Quarterback Alex Mains has looked towards Stetson Broce in the passing game.
• Central Plains (1-3, 0-0 district) – In their first year after consolidation, Central Plains went 9-2 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The Oilers have lost three straight to Central Prairie League competition. Bryce Steiner directs the Oiler offense from his quarterback position for the second consecutive season.
Key Games: (Wk 5) Lincoln at Solomon, Little River at Pretty Prairie; (Wk 6) Lincoln at Little River; (Wk 7) Solomon at Little River; (Wk 8) Lincoln at Pretty Prairie; (Wk 9) Pretty Prairie at Solomon
Runner-up: Pretty Prairie
• Fairfield (3-1, 2-0 district) — Fairfield may be a bit of a surprise having an early lead in the District 6 standings. The Falcons have not made the playoffs in any of the past eight seasons, and have not posted more than 6 wins in a single season during that timeframe. Fairfield’s strong start can be attributed to a balanced rushing attack from Wayne Schoenecker, Eric Schoenecker, Cannon Burns, and Ryan Ewy.
• St. John (3-1, 1-0 district) — St. John is looking to get back to the state playoffs for the first time since 2007. The Tigers have posted three impressive wins in Central Prairie League play over Victoria, Central Plains, and Macksville. The Tigers’ lone loss came 22-20 to Otis-Bison in Week 1.
• South Central (3-1, 1-1 district) — The Timberwolves rolled to a 3-0 start before losing 42-38 to Fairfield in Week 4. A closer look reveals that South Central’s first three opponents are a combined 0-12. Junior Coby Lindsay leads the Timberwolves with 518 rushing yards, while classmate Stetsen Underwood has rushed for 468 yards.
• Kiowa County (2-2, 1-1 district) — Kiowa County is using a pair of backs to try and replace the graduated Ross Binford who it seems averaged 300 yards per game rushing in his career. Trever Powell has led the way for the Mavericks with 546 yards on the ground and ten scores. Creighton McDonald has added 431 yards and two touchdowns.
• Macksville (1-3, 1-1 district) — Macksville has only lost more than three games once in the past eight seasons, and that came in 2008 when the Mustangs lost in the state semifinals. Macksville has already dropped three games this season to Central Prairie League opponents Victoria, Ness City, and St. John.
• Pratt Skyline (0-4, 0-1 district) — Skyline has given up an average of 51.5 points per game through the first four weeks of the season. The Thunderbirds’ offense hasn’t been able to keep up with that pace, averaging only 18 points per contest. Senior Brandon Baird leads Skyline with 338 yards rushing and three scores.
• Kinsley (1-3, 0-2 district) — Kinsley’s losses have come to teams that are a combined 9-3. Senior quarterback Nathan Frame has thrown for 600 yards and six touchdowns this season, while Tyson Espinosa leads the Coyotes in rushing with 343 yards and four scores.
Key Games: St. John appears to have the early control in this district thanks to their win over Macksville. Macksville’s 28-24 win over Kiowa County may be enough to propel the Mustangs back to the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.
Winner: St. John
• Minneola (4-0, 0-0 district) — Minneola is off to a great start thanks to the ridiculous numbers put up by senior quarterback Matt McClaren. McClaren rushed for 488 yards and nine touchdows in a 66-22 win over Fowler, and followed that up with a 307-yard, six-touchdown performance against Ashland. In four games, McClaren has rushed for 1,079 yards and 20 touchdowns.
• Hodgeman County (2-2, 0-0 district) — It’s been an up-and-down start for Hodgeman County so far this season. The Longhorns were ranked fourth in our preseason rankings, but opened with a 29-26 loss to Fowler. After posting wins over Ashland and WaKeeney-Trego, the Longhorns were beaten 58-12 by top-ranked Ness City a week ago. Still with an experienced team that includes Jared Borger, Hodgeman County should be a factor come playoff time.
• Satanta (2-2, 0-0 district) — The Indians drop down from Class 2-1A after playing a couple of 8-man regular season games during the past few seasons. Satanta has struggled in recent years having posted a 3-28 record since the beginning of the 2009 season.
• South Gray (2-2, 0-0 district) — Last year’s state runners-up South Gray graduated nearly 4,000 combined rushing yards in Coulter Croft and Wyatt Slaven. Colton Dirks is one of three returning starters. Dirks rushed for 282 yards and five touchdowns in the Rebels win over Bucklin.
• Spearville (2-2, 0-0 district) — The Royal Lancers broke a 10-game losing streak with a win over Bucklin in Week 1. Spearville is led by a pair of freshmen in the backfield in Nathan Stein (438 yards, 6TD) and Brandon Davis (228 yards, 3TD). A pair of sophomores, Kaden Stein and Hunter Stephenson, join Davis as the Lancers’ leading receivers. Look for good things in the coming years for Spearville.
• Deerfield (1-3, 0-0 district) — After posting a 68-6 win against Plainview (Colo.) in Week 1, the Spartans have gone winless against in-state competition. Deerfield has been outscored 153-56 in losses to Rolla, Moscow, and Fowler.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Hodgeman County at Minneola should decide both playoff spots.
Runner-up: Hodgeman County
• Atwood-Rawlins Co. (4-0, 0-0 district) - The Buffs are another team in a long line of squads that have found success after switching from 11-man to 8-man football. The last two seasons, Atwood went 4-5 in Class 2-1A. This year, the Buffs are undefeated, although with three close victories. Atwood has defeated Cheylin 22-14, beat Sylvan Lucas 30-28 and then knocked off Quinter, 14-12, last week in a non-district game. Atwood and Quinter will play again in Week 7 at Quinter in a district contest. Michael Capo leads the team with 81 carries for 489 yards and five scores. James Peterson has played well on defense with a sack, a team-high six quarterback hurries, an interception, two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.
• Ness City (4-0, 0-0 district) - Ness City has played like the No. 1 team in the classification with four wins by at least 44 points, including victories against Macksville, Victoria and Hodgeman County. The Eagles have outscored opponents 222-36 and rank in the top-five in scoring offense and defense in the classification. Garrett Flax has 47 carries for 408 yards and six TDs, while Dalton Gantz has tacked on 42 carries for 300 yards and seven scores. Blake McVicker leads the team with 42 tackles and is tied for the team lead with three sacks. Flax also has seven special teams returns for 263 yards, including two of at least 67 yards.
• Hoxie (3-1, 0-0 district) - The Indians have a quality Week 3 victory against Otis-Bison – just the second time the Cougars have lost a regular season game in the last four years. Plus, Hoxie lost 20-6 to Sharon Springs in Week 2, by far the closest game the Wildcats have played this year. Chase Kennedy has completed 19 of 37 passes for 252 yards with a touchdown and an interception and has rushed 40 times for 256 yards and five scores.
• WaKeeney-Trego (3-1, 0-0 district) - A darkhorse pick for the playoffs in the preseason because of a bevy of experienced, athletic skill players, the Golden Eagles have already matched last season’s win total from a 3-6 season. WaKeeney had just five wins from 2009-11. The Golden Eagles average 322 rushing yards a game. Devon Ghumm has rushed for 439 yards and 11 scores on 55 carries, and Cameron Staples has collected 535 yards and 58 carries with seven scores.
• Quinter (2-2, 0-0 district) - The Bulldogs have delivered wins against Golden Plains and Dighton and have a big loss to Baileyville B&B and a 14-12 defeat to Atwood last week. Quinter, historically known for its strong defense, has allowed 90 points in four games against the classification’s No. 9-hardest schedule. Junior Colton Corwin leads the team with 47 carries for 420 yards and seven scores. Corwin, a starter at defensive back since he was a freshman, has 60 tackles and two interceptions. He has 12 interceptions in 20 career games. Sophomore Jason Werth has collected 54 tackles.
• Hill City (0-3, 0-0 district) – The Ringnecks have slid under first-year coach Scott Schulz with losses to Stockton, Osborne and Satanta. It marks the first time Hill City had lost to Stockton since the program switched to eight-man in 2008. The Ringnecks also lost a chance at a win when Wichita Word of Life cancelled its schedule.
Key Games: Ness City is the class of the district – and of the classification thus far – but the second spot could come down to tiebreakers between WaKeeney-Trego, Hoxie, Quinter, and Atwood. Any game between those five is critical for the second playoff berth. The Golden Eagles receive a slight edge because, next to Ness City, no one has better skill players.
Winner: Ness City