By Mark Schremmer, Matt Gilmore, Conor Nicholl, for Kpreps.com
Posted: October 14, 2012 - 10:03 PM
As we enter district play in Class 3A, seven teams remain unbeaten. Currently only 8-Man, Division-I has more unbeaten teams with eight.
Gone from the list of unbeaten in Class 3A is defending champion Conway Springs, which dropped a 41-21 decision to rival Garden Plain in Week 6.
The western half of 3A again appears to be the strength this season. Five of those remaining seven unbeatens reside on the west side, and two will square off to open district play as Beloit hosts Phillipsburg. Beloit has been the classification’s, and perhaps the state’s, most dominant team. The Trojans are averaging nearly 65 points per game while giving up only 8.5.
Scott City, Garden Plain, and surprising Hillsboro also remain unbeaten on the western half.
In the east, top-ranked Silver Lake is 6-0 and will try and reach the 3A state title game for the tenth time in the last 11 years.
Joining the Eagles in the east is unbeaten Riverside which survived a 38-35 scare against 2-1A Onaga in Week 6.
• Riverside (6-0) – The Cyclones have had several close games – winning four games by seven points or fewer – but their record remains unscathed. Riverside is led by sophomore quarterback Andrae McGaughy, who has passed for 559 yards and six TDs, while rushing for 565 yards and three touchdowns. Dakota Pummell has added 445 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
• Hiawatha (4-2) – The Redhawks’ two losses were to 4A’s top-ranked Holton Wildcats and the 5-1 Nemaha Valley Raiders. Junior defensive lineman Peyton Newell (6-3, 280) has received 17 offers from Division I schools, including Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State and UCLA, according to Rivals.com.
• Horton (2-3) – The Chargers are coming off a disappointing 21-20 loss to Maur Hill. Dakota Bayles has been a key receiver, catching six balls for more than 100 yards against Atchison County.
• Sabetha (2-4) – The Blue Jays have kept opponents under 20 points in five of their six games. Senior linebacker Levi Huneke is averaging more than 10 tackles per game.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Riverside at Sabetha; (Wk 8) Hiawatha at Riverside; (Wk 9) Hiawatha at Sabetha
• Nemaha Valley (5-1) – Led by former NFL player Warren Seitz as head coach, the Raiders have won five straight since losing the season opener to McLouth 32-6. Michael Rottinghaus, who earned an All-State honorable mention at linebacker last season, keys the Raider defense. He had 11 tackles in a 27-21 win against Hiawatha.
• Rock Creek (3-2) – The Mustangs are hoping for another playoff run after advancing to the state semifinals a year ago. Senior running back Tyler Dillon (5-9, 135) leads a Mustang rushing attack that is averaging more than 200 yards per game.
• Riley County (2-4) – Things are looking up for the Falcons. They lost their first four games, but those opponents have a combined 15-3 record. Now, the young Falcons squad has posted consecutive wins against Wabaunsee and St. Marys. Bryce Chavis rushed for 246 yards and five TDs in a 61-30 win against St. Marys.
• Marysville (0-6) – The Bulldogs have allowed more than 40 points in five of their six games. Now, first-year head coach Eddie Minor will try to rally the troops for a district run. The Bullodgs have two of the better prospects in the state in tight-end Brady Moore (6-6; 215) and lineman Garrison Wright (6-4; 270).
Key Games: (Week 8) Rock Creek at Nemaha Valley; (Week 9) Riley County at Rock Creek
Winner: Rock Creek
Runner-up: Riley County
• Silver Lake (6-0) – The Eagles boast a balanced offensive attack, led by Dailin Kruger at quarterback and Pete Pfannestiel at running back. Silver Lake, which was runner-up in 3A last year, is averaging about 150 yards passing and about 240 yards rushing per game.
• Atchison County (4-2) – The Tigers won their first four games but have dropped their past two against Centralia and Riverside – a pair of unbeaten teams. Senior running back Ramsey Hundley leads a rushing attack that produces about 200 yards per game.
• Maur Hill (4-2) – Senior quarterback Brock Hanf leads a Jr. Ravens offense that has scored at least three touchdowns in four of their six games. Hanf also is recording more than 10 tackles per game as a defensive back.
• Pleasant Ridge (2-4) – Freshman quarterback Nick Holmes has rushed for 585 yards and four touchdowns on 89 carries. Holmes also has been effective on kick returns and punt returns for the Rams.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Maur Hill at Atchison County
Winner: Silver Lake
Runner-up: Atchison County
• Rossville (5-1) – Rossville dropped its first game of the season 32-12 in the War on 24 with Silver Lake. The Bulldogs should have the talent to keep their playoff streak alive. Quarterback Dalton Catron has thrown for 832 yards and 11 touchdowns while rushing for 361 more yards. Thatcher and Corban Horack lead the Rossville receiving corps with 232 and 221 yards, respectively.
• Mission Valley (4-2) – Mission Valley had won four straight before dropping a 29-14 decision to Osage City in Week 6. The Vikings’ Trenton Shuler leads the team with 465 rushing yards and four touchdowns. A playoff berth would be the Vikings first since 2008. Mission Valley has an impressive 49-32 record in the past nine season, but have only three playoff appearances during that time.
• Council Grove (3-3) – The Council Grove offense has been limited to only 13 total points in the past three games after scoring 147 points in the first three weeks of the season. The Braves still found a way to slip by West Franklin 7-6 in Week 6. The defense has been shaky at times, and surrendered a 30-point fourth-quarter comeback to Northern Heights in Week 2.
• St. Marys (2-4) – Three of the Bears’ four losses have come in the difficult Mid-East League, and the other is to defending 2-1A champion Centralia. Sojuan Turentine has put up big numbers for St. Marys, including his 237-yard, 4-touchdown performance in last week’s loss to Riley County. The trouble for the Bears has been defense, as St. Marys has surrendered an average of 30 points per game counting a shutout of Wabaunsee.
Key Games: (Wk 8) Mission Valley at St. Marys; (Wk 9) St. Marys at Rossville
Runner-up: St. Marys
• Osage City (4-2) – Senior quarterback Tyler Irvin has combined for more than 1,100 yards of offense, passing for 662 yards and rushing for 485. Senior Malachi Cousin has totaled four sacks on defense.
• West Franklin (3-3) – The Falcons like to pound the ball with the running game, totaling almost 300 yards per game. Junior Josh Napper has had some big games, rushing for 266 yards and four touchdowns on only seven carries in a win against Herington.
• Central Heights (2-4) – The Vikings need to get more going offensively. Central Heights has been limited to six points or less in four games.
• Wellsville (2-4) – The Eagles’ offense has started to find its stride, scoring 30 points or more in each of its past three games. Senior running back Shane Hillman has rushed for 838 yards and 11 touchdowns on 107 carries.
Key Games: (Wk 7) West Franklin at Osage City; (Wk 8) Wellsville at Osage City; (Week 9) Wellsville at West Franklin
Runner-up: Osage City
• Humboldt (4-2) – K.B Criss returned to the sidelines this season to try lead the Cubs program back to the playoffs. Humboldt hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009, but is only a few years removed from a 10-2 season and a state quarterfinal finish. The Cubs’ two losses this season have come to Neodesha and Caney Valley; teams that are a combined 10-2.
• Burlington (2-4) – The Wildcats lost their first three games to open the season, but rebounded with wins over Cherryvale and Osawatomie. Burlington has qualified for the 3A playoffs every other year since 2006 – this being a playoff year in that pattern.
• Eureka (0-6) – Eureka was painfully close to a season-opening win at Haven, but fell 33-26. Since, the Tornados have been beaten by an average of 30 points per game. Eureka is still a young team with only two seniors on the roster.
• Fredonia (0-6) – Fredonia hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006. If the Yellow Jackets are going to change that, they’ll need to quickly repair a defense that has given up an average of 37 points per game.
Key Games: (Wk 9) Humboldt at Burlington
• Caney Valley (5-1) – Caney Valley tested itself in the first two weeks of the season with an 8-0 win at Girard, and a 33-8 loss to 3A defending champion Conway Springs. The Bullpups’ physical running game is led by seniors Brian Dixon and Anthony Camper.
• Neodesha (5-1) – The Blue Streaks are 5-1 thanks to a three-headed rushing attack that has put up solid numbers. Jake Crawford leads Neodesha with 673 yards and eight touchdowns, while Dierks Hayden has added 537 yards and eight scores. Quarterback Justice Baird has rushed for 472 yards and thrown for 482 yards and five scores.
• Cherryvale (2-4) – The Chargers are still young and their two wins have come against winless teams in Fredonia and Eureka. For Cherryvale to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2009, they must win home games over Erie and Neodesha.
• Erie (1-5) – Former Iola coach Rick Horton is trying to transition the Red Devils into more of a wide-open offense. Erie struggled early on with the transition and the wet weather didn’t help. The competition has been good thus far, but the offense must improve having scored just 37 points this season.
Key Games: (Wk 8) Caney Valley at Neodesha
Winner: Caney Valley
• Southeast-Cherokee (5-1) – Southeast sent a message early on that they were a program on the rise. The Lancers beat new CNC member Columbus in Week 1 and followed that up with an impressive win over Frontenac. Lancer quarterback Josh Thompson has already thrown for more than 1,200 yards and 11 scores. Wide receiver Dan Peak is one of 3A’s best and has 36 catches for 715 yards and seven scores. Ryan Rakestraw has 364 yards on 22 catches.
• Galena (4-2) – The Bulldogs have lost two straight after beginning the season 4-0. Four backs have at least 250 yards rushing led by Tyler VanCleave’s 383 yards and six touchdowns. Jacob Helton has added seven scores and 355 yards on the ground. VanCleave, back from a knee injury last season, leads the Galena defense with nearly 11 tackles a game.
• Riverton (4-2) – The Rams’ only two losses have come to 4A schools in Girard and Columbus. Riverton is led by Greyson Spriggs, an all-stat caliber player that put up more than 1,200 yards of total offense last season. He’s made the switch to running back this season and the Rams are averaging 33 points per game.
• St. Mary’s Colgan (4-2) – The Panthers are 3A for the first time and are beginning to find an identity after graduating 20 seniors a year ago. Colgan suffered a heart-breaking 26-25 overtime loss to rival Frontenac, and was shutout 29-0 by Girard the week after. The consecutive losses were the first for the Panthers since the end of the 1998 and beginning of the 1999 season. Connor Dayton has emerged as the Panthers go-to back having for more than 500 yards and six touchdowns.
Key Games: All of the games will be crucial in a district with four similar teams. Brothers Derrick (Riverton) and Clint Rider (Southeast) will square off in a Week 7 coaching battle.
Runner-up: St. Mary’s Colgan
• Conway Springs (5-1) – The defending champs dropped their first game of the season in a Week 6 loss to Garden Plain. Still the Cardinals have plenty of weapons to still be considered state title contenders. Quarterback Tanner Wood (6-5; 240) leads the Conway Springs’ single-wing offense which is averaging nearly 42 points per game.
• Douglass (3-3) – Douglass is 3-3 on the season, but the Bulldogs’ wins have come against teams that are a combined 2-16 this season. The Bulldogs have reached the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, but lost in the first round in each of those appearances.
• Chaparral (2-4) – The Roadrunners put up 54, 50, and 58 points in a three-game stretch, but only won two of those games thanks to a wild final-play loss to Wichita Independent. Senior Clay Wilcox (6-1; 295) leads the Roadrunners up front. Chaparral has only reached the playoffs twice in the last eight seasons.
• Belle Plaine (1-5) – The Dragons are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1996. Zach Thornbrugh scored a pair of touchdowns and kicked a field goal in Belle Plaine’s win over Leon-Bluestem.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Douglass at Chaparral
Winner: Conway Springs
• Sedgwick (5-1) – The Cardinals have picked up where they left off a season ago behind a new leader under center. Sophomore Brylie Ware filled the quarterback role vacated by graduated all-stater Trent Stucky before suffering a season-ending injury. Ware had thrown for 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns through six games. Logan Thompson is now the Cardinals' signal caller. Dalton Brandt leads the Sedgwick rushing game with nearly 600 yards and four scores.
• Wichita Independent (4-2) – Independent’s four wins is their most in a season since finishing 5-4 in 2007. The Panthers have scored 116 points in their last two games – wins over Chaparral and Belle Plaine. Senior Matt Loveland has thrown for more than 900 yards and 11 touchdowns.
• Leon-Bluestem (1-5) – Bluestem’s only win came 12-0 over a winless Medicine Lodge team back in Week 2. The Lions have scored in double digits just twice this season, and are averaging less than nine points per game. A Week 7 game against winless Remington may be their best chance for a second win.
• Whitewater Remington (0-6) – Remington has been shutout in four of six games this season. The Broncos defense, meanwhile, has struggled in surrendering at least 42 points in every game this season.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Sedgwick at Wichita Independent
Runner-up: Wichita Independent
• Garden Plain (6-0) – The Owls made a statement in Class 3A last week by beating Conway Springs 41-21. Backs Denver Doyle and Dylan Clark are one of the better duos in the state. Doyle and Clark each rushed for more than 100 yards in the win over Conway Springs, while Doyle also had 120 receiving yards and a touchdown.
• Hutchinson Trinity (4-2) – The Celtics are 4-2 in Brad Hollinger’s first year as coach, and have displayed a more run-oriented offense. Four Trinity backs have rushed for more than 200 yards this season, led by Elias Jasso-Cardenas’ 402 yards and three scores. Sophomore Joey Hale has averaged more than 10 tackles per game to lead the Celtics defense.
• Haven (3-3) – Haven is trying to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The Wildcats’ three losses have come to Pratt, Hesston, and Nickerson who are a combined 11-7. Trae Regier leads the Haven offense along with quarterback Zach Hendrixson.
• Kingman (2-4) – Kingman enters district play with some momentum after a narrow 29-28 win over Halstead in Week 6. The Eagles’ Braxton Bangert and Zach Andersen have rushed for 571 and 546 yards, respectively. Ryan Boroughs leads the Kingman defense as the junior is averaging more than 12 tackles per game.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Kingman at Hutch Trinity; (Wk 8) Haven at Kingman; (Wk 9) Hutch Trinity at Haven
Winner: Garden Plain
Runner-up: Hutch Trinity
• Hillsboro (6-0) – Hillsboro may be the biggest surprise among the seven remaining unbeaten teams in 3A. The Trojans have rolled through their schedule with a 10-point win over Hesston being the closest margin. Quarterback Tyler Proffitt has lit up opposing defenses for 1,237 yards and 14 touchowns so far this season.
• Halstead (4-2) – The Dragons enter district play at 4-2 after a surprising Week 6 loss to Kingman. Halstead has not reached the playoffs since 2008, but came painfully close last season in a 44-38 loss to Garden Plain in Week 9. Cory Armendariz has put up solid numbers including a 226-yard, three-touchdown performance in the win over Sterling.
• Marion (2-4) – For Marion to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2003, the Warriors must tighten up on defense. The Warriors have surrendered nearly 43 points per game in their four losses. The offense has been good enough, averaging nearly 28 points per game thus far this season. Marion travels to rival Hillsboro in Week 8.
• Moundridge (1-5) – The Wildcats have struggled in their return to Class 3A. Moundridge’s only win came in Week 5 over a winless Remington team. In that game, Daniel Ratzlaff and Garrett Higgins each rushed for more than 100 yards and combined for five touchdowns.
Key Games: (Wk 9) Hillsboro at Halstead
• Sacred Heart (5-1) – Sacred Heart has lost three straight playoff games and hasn’t won a postseason contest since a 38-14 victory against Sterling in 2008. The Knights could return to the playoffs this year behind the playmaking ability of junior quarterback Nick Wuthnow, who has completed 33 of 68 passes for 716 yards with a 7/2 TD/INT. He has also rushed 42 times for 367 yards and seven scores. Senior Tony Chavez has provided 10 catches for 310 yards and five TDs, while junior Clayton Wetter has picked off four passes and recovered two fumbles. Sacred Heart’s lone loss is a 70-20 defeat to Beloit.
• Ellsworth (4-2) – Tyler Hampton, a former assistant at Hoisington and Clearwater, took over for the retired Ken Windholz and has helped the Bearcats continue to win games. The Bearcats suffered a 27-25 loss to surprising Larned in Week 1 and then captured three straight victories. The second loss came in a 68-10 defeat to Beloit in Week 4, but Ellsworth bounced back with a 21-17 Week 5 victory versus Minneapolis. Trevor Miley has rushed for 512 yards and seven TDs, while Takot Anderson has tacked on 492 yards and seven scores. Ellsworth has three state playoff appearances in the last five years.
• Southeast of Saline (3-3) – Southeast of Saline has already lost more games than it did in last season’s 8-2 finish. The Trojans are 1-3 at home and 2-0 on the road. Southeast of Saline has went W-L-W-L-W-L in the first six games. Only a 14-2 Week 2 loss to Chapman is within 20 points. Keenan Breen has struggled at quarterback, completing 23 of 70 passes for 386 yards with a 3/7 TD/INT ratio. He leads the team with 384 rushing yards and eight rushing TDs, one of four players with at least 160 rushing yards.
• Lyons (1-5) – James Johnston, the longtime former coach at Kiowa-South Barber, has taken over at Lyons and already tied the Lions’ win total from last year. Opponents have outscored Lyons 176-73 and the Lions haven’t scored more than 20 points in any contest. The lone win was a 13-12 victory in Week 3 against Sterling; last year, Lyons lost 30-7 to Sterling.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Southeast of Saline at Sacred Heart; (Wk 8) Sacred Heart at Ellsworth; (Wk 9) Ellsworth at Southeast of Saline.
Winner: Sacred Heart
• Beloit (6-0) – The Trojans are ranked No. 4 in Class 3A behind powerhouses Silver Lake, Scott City and Garden Plain, but Beloit is arguably the classification’s most dominant team. Traditionally known for its high-scoring offense under veteran coach Greg Koenig, Beloit has outscored opponents 388-51. Beloit leads 3A in scoring offense by a massive margin; Garden Plain (303 points) is the only team within 128 points of the Trojans. Beloit has scored at least 50 points in each game. Four players have rushed for at least 326 yards.
• Phillipsburg (6-0) – The Panthers have won the last five games without the full-time services of quarterback Sean Newlan, one of Kansas top athletes. Newlan delivered huge numbers in a Week 1 blowout victory against Plainville and then sprained his ankle the following week versus Oberlin. In addition to the ankle sprain, Newlan had an allergic reaction to some treatment and missed more time. He returned last week and played in the first half in a 59-0 victory against Thomas More Prep-Marian. The Panthers rank No. 1 in the classification in scoring defense (32 points) behind a unit that has picked off 12 passes and recorded nine fumbles. In addition, the Panthers have blocked two punts and senior kicker Justin Juenemann has kicked seven field goals.
• Norton (5-1) – The Bluejays have already bounced back from their 3-6 season last fall, Norton’s first year without the playoffs since 1999 and first losing record in 17 falls. The lone loss was a 22-14 Week 3 defeat to Plainville. Norton has outscored opponents 170-75 and ranks seventh in the classification in scoring defense, according to preppowerindex.com.
• Minneapolis (3-3) - Minneapolis has won its three games by a combined score of 79-7 and lost its two contests by a combined tally of 69-23. The Lions has three players with at least 167 rushing yards. Second-year coach Jeff Giles has already helped the Lions tie last season’s win total from a 3-6 season.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Phillipsburg at Beloit; (Wk 8) Beloit at Norton; (Wk 9) Norton at Phillipsburg
• Scott City (6-0) – The Beavers, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A all season, have continued to roll through another regular season. Scott City has outscored opponents 260-62 and rank in the top-five in scoring offense and scoring defense. The Beavers, 55-10 under coach Glenn O’Neil, are on pace for their sixth double digit win season in seven years. Quarterback Brett O’Neil, the coach’s son, has delivered outstanding numbers, completing 60 of 87 passes for 901 yards with a 13/0 TD/INT ratio. Dalton Buehler has rushed for 810 yards and eight rushing TDs on 83 carries, while Drew Kite has 56 tackles and five sacks to pace the defense.
• Hoisington (3-3) – The Cardinals have played the classification’s No. 15-hardest strength of schedule out of 64 squads. Hoisington has scored 24 points in its three losses to quality teams Great Bend, La Crosse and Phillipsburg. In its three victories versus Sunrise Christian Academy, Ellinwood and Larned, Hoisington has scored 163 points. Senior Hagen Hanzlick has 107 carries for 854 yards with 11 TDs.
• Russell (1-5) – Russell has struggled with each loss by at least 22 points. Opponents have outscored Russell 288-90. The only victory came with a 42-14 victory against Republic County in Week 4.
• Thomas More Prep (1-5) – After a Week 1 victory against Ellinwood, the Monarchs have lost five in a row, including the last two to undefeated squads in La Crosse and Phillipsburg. The Monarchs’ top quarterbacks in Shane Zimmerman and Max Megaffin didn’t play in last week’s 59-0 loss to Phillipsburg because of injury; Megaffin is out for the year. The Monarchs haven’t made the playoffs since 2002.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Hoisington at Scott City
Winner: Scott City
• Cimarron (5-1) – The Bluejays have enjoyed a turnaround under fourth-year coach Doug Minneman. Cimarron had been 10-27 under Minneman, including a 2-7 mark last season. The only loss was a 56-0 Week 4 defeat to Class 2-1A power Meade. The last two weeks, Cimarron has a 20-19 victory against Larned and a 32-26 win versus Elkhart. Junior Ty Clark has 80 carries for 827 yards and eight TDs.
• Holcomb (5-1) – Holcomb has played the No. 1-hardest schedule in Class 3A, but have done well with a 28-27 victory against Meade and a 35-25 win against Ulysses. In Week 3, Holcomb lost 21-7 to Scott City. Senior quarterback Tyler LaSalle has again put up big numbers by completing 50 of 88 passes with 792 passing yards and a 9/4 TD/INT ratio. He leads the team with 73 rushes for 457 yards and three scores.
• Lakin (4-2) – Lakin has two big losses to Meade (63-14) and Stratford, Tex. (57-0) in Weeks 2 and 5, but the Broncs also have big wins versus Syracuse, Sublette and Ellinwood and a six-point victory versus Elkhart in Week 3. The Broncs are 3-0 at home and 1-2 on the road. Junior Gage McAtee has 77 carries for 651 yards and eight scores, while senior Ty Adams has recorded 75 carries for 616 yards and eight TDs. Lakin has seven playoff berths in the last nine years, but is 0-7 in those games.
• Southwestern Heights (1-5) – Matt Scripsick, the former Ashland coach, has struggled in turning around the Mustangs. He is 4-20 with Southwestern Heights, including four straight losses to start this season. The lone win was a 69-22 victory against Syracuse in Week 4.
Key Games: (Wk 7) Cimarron at Lakin