Player Picks to Click - Week 4

Axtell's Hunter Koch (top) & Quinn Buessing. (Photo Amy Heinen, courtesy Sports in Kansas)
By: John Baetz; Hayden Barber; Sean Boston; Dion Clisso; Matt Gilmore; Chet Kuplen; Brent Maycock, Conor Nicholl
Sep 19, 2018

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In our Picks to Click, we feature eight players or units from across the state that we feel will have breakout performances on Friday night.

This season, we’ve assembled a team of eight media members across the state to each select one player (or unit) each week.  We will track the cumulative statistics of our selections throughout the season similar to fantasy scoring.  

Picks to Click contributors for the 2018 season include: John Baetz (Kansas Pregame Magazine); Hayden Barber (Wichita Eagle); Sean Boston (KSKZ-Radio); Dion Clisso (; Matt Gilmore (; Chet Kuplen (Sports in Kansas); Brent Maycock (Topeka Capital Journal); and Conor Nicholl (

Check back next Thursday to see our picks for Week 5, and how the players performed that we picked the week prior. See the bottom of this article for details.

Ethan Baalmann, QB, Andale  (Boston)

Baalmann (6-1, 170) guides the high-powered Andale offense that has averaged more than 43 points per game. In last week’s win over Rose Hill, Baalmann rushed for 88 yards and three touchdowns on 11 attempts.  He also completed six of nine passes for 148 yards and another touchdown.

This week, Andale travels to Haven to open district play. Haven has lost two straight after a season-opening win against a struggling Lyons program. The past two weeks, the Haven defense has given up 76 total points. Look for Baalmann and the Indians to have a big night and keep Andale atop the Class 3A poll.

Dakota Bayliff, WR, Medicine Lodge (Kuplen)

Medicine Lodge has made a successful transition to eight-man football thanks, in part, to the dynamic duo of Garrett Burden and Dakota Bayliff. Bayliff has already put up solid numbers for a season in the Indians’ first three games. The senior receiver has 28 receptions for 563 yards and eight touchdowns in Medicine Lodge’s first three games.

The focus has been on putting the ball in the air. Senior quarterback Garrett Burden has completed 63 percent of his passes for 875 yards and 14 scores, while the Indians have only rushed for 241 yards on the season. Bayliff has contributed 82 yards on the ground and three more touchdowns.

This week, Medicine Lodge begins a challenging district on the road at Oxford. While the Wildcats are winless, the remaining district opponents all have winning records. Argonia-Attica, Caldwell, and Udall each enter district play unbeaten, while South Central (2-1) has been state ranked already this season.

Conner Born, QB, Hill City (Gilmore)

Born caught the attention of the state with his 396-yard, 7-touchdown rushing performance in the season-opener against Osborne. The Ringnecks eventually lost to Osborne, 88-76, but Born’s football return was an impressive one. After not playing football as a junior, Born’s first game back he accounted for 476 yards of total offense and nine total scores.

On the season, Born has rushed for 652 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s also passed for 254 yards and five more touchdowns.

Hill City is averaging 59 points per game and may need every bit of that when they face No. 5 Clifton-Clyde on Friday. The Eagles are unbeaten and averaging nearly 57 points per game. If these two teams get into a shootout, Born could have another big performance like he did in Week 1.

Quinn Buessing, QB, Axtell (Maycock)

The leading passer in eight-man football last season with 1,788 yards and 27 touchdowns, Buessing is on track to obliterate those numbers this season. In three games, he has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 672 yards and a whopping 18 touchdowns. He's had no fewer than five TD tosses in each game so far and also has thrown in a pair of rushing touchdowns as well. Pike Valley will be a solid test for the Eagles, but also means Buessing could have a full game to do his damage. Hanover put up 46 points on the Panthers in the opener and a shootout could lead to a huge night for Buessing.

Cole Coggins, LB, South Barber  (Nicholl)

The 6-foot-3, 170-pound Coggins is the South Barber’s tallest player. The senior has helped the Chieftains finish 9-2 in the last two seasons and open 3-0 this year. The Chieftains have been ranked in the top-five in Eight-Man, Division II all season and defeated Hutchinson Central Christian, 70-68, in triple overtime last week to seize control of District 7.

Coggins has helped an opportunistic defense pick off seven passes, force nine turnovers and be plus-4 in turnover margin. Coggins has already picked off four passes and has a fumble recovery. Additionally, he has recorded 19 tackles. Last year, he recorded five interceptions with eight passes defended.

This week, South Barber travels to 1-2 South Haven, which has scored 70 points but allowed 142. Sophomore Cooper Wolf passed for 223 yards with a 2/5 TD/INT ratio in the season’s first
two games.

Kyler Semrad, QB, Goddard  (Barber)

Goddard sophomore quarterback Kyler Semrad stepped in for injured starter Blake Sullivan last season and passed for nearly 500 yards and nine scores. Now a year later, Semrad is in control of the Lion offense. Semrad passed for 216 yards and a score in last week’s overtime victory over Andover Central.

This week, Goddard has rival Goddard-Eisenhower. Semrad will try and keep the Lions unbeaten against a Tiger defense that has surrendered nearly 30 points per game. Semrad has passed for 532 yards and four touchdowns this season and will need a big performance in Friday’s rivalry game.  

DeAndre Washington, WR, Wellington  (Baetz)

After going winless in in Zane Aguilar's first year as Wellington head coach in 2016, the Crusaders finished 5-5 with a playoff berth last fall. Wellington again appears to be headed in the right direction with a quality season opening shutout of Wichita Collegiate to go with last week's 47-26 offensive explosion against Clearwater.

The Crusaders are versatile on offense led by quarterback Michael Ledbetter, who threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns last week. Running back Grey Hatfield tallied 196 yards and four more scores on the ground. Ledbetter completed passes to five different Crusaders in the win, but sure-handed senior receiver DeAndre Washington led the way with six catches for 140 yards and one touchdown.

Ledbetter and Washington will need to hook-up often against an Augusta team known for its defensive execution under fifth year coach Jason Filbeck. If the Crusaders establish the ground game with Hatfield and Isaac Hilt, then Ledbetter should be able to find Washington in the passing game.

Dalton White, QB, KC Piper  (Clisso)

The Pirates’ senior signal caller has been doing damage with his arm and legs this season. White has passed for 465 yards and rushed for an additional 325 yards while accounting for seven total touchdowns.

White can look to several young players that have shown the ability to make plays early in the season. Sophomore LeJames White has contributed 384 yards rushing with five scores, while sophomore Malakhi Kennon has 16 catches for 335 yards and four scores.

Piper is new to the Frontier League this season, and has a tough test this week against unbeaten Louisburg.

Week 3 Picks to Click results (scoring):

K’Vonte Baker, QB, Wichita Heights – Baker passed for 96 yards and rushed for 66 yards and two scores in the Falcons’ 49-27 loss to Dodge City. (Barber – 27 pts)

Garrett Carver, QB, Rossville – Carver rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 163 yards and another score in the Bulldawgs’ 29-21 win over Rock Creek. (Kuplen – 53 pts)

Evan Foster, QB, Olathe South – Foster passed for 64 yards before leaving with an injury. The Falcons lost 27-21 in overtime to Shawnee Mission Northwest. (Clisso – 6 pts)

Hudson Gray, QB, Beloit – Gray passed for 190 yards and three scores and added 79 yards rushing before leaving with an injury. The Trojans beat Minneapolis, 56-18. (Baetz – 44 pts)

Hunter Koch, WR, Axtell – Koch had six receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 48-0 win over Onaga. (Maycock – 32 pts)

Kayde Rietzke, QB, Leoti-Wichita County – Rietzke passed for 105 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 90 more yards and two scores in the Indians’ 54-6 victory over Logan-Palco.  (Gilmore –49 pts)

Jace Wilson, RB, Oswego – Wilson rushed for 169 yards and two scores and passed for 27 more yards in Oswego’s 48-16 win over Altoona-Midway.  (Nicholl – 30 pts)

Tyron “Tank” Young, RB, St. Thomas Aquinas – Young rushed for 228 yards and four touchdowns on just 13 carries in the Saints’ 49-14 win over Blue Valley Northwest. (Boston – 46 pts)

Standings for the 2018 season through Week 3:

  1. Chet Kuplen, Sports in Kansas                                              147 points
  2. Sean Boston, KSKZ-Radio                                                    145 points
  3. John Baetz, Kansas Pregame Magazine                               133 points
  4. Hayden Barber, Wichita Eagle-Varsity Kansas                      103 points
  5. Brent Maycock, Topeka Capital Journal                                 98 points
  6. Conor Nicholl, Kpreps                                                             95 points
  7. Matt Gilmore,                                                      72 points
  8. Dion Clisso,                                                     52 points

 2018 Picks to Click

- The objective will be to have the most cumulative points over the course of the season.

- Participants may select a quarterback, running back, WR/TE, offensive line or a defensive player each week.

- Everyone must pick a WR/TE, offensive line and defensive player at least once.

- Points will be rewarded only for the player's offensive or defensive stats, depending on how you designate the player that week. For instance, if you pick a running back then you will not receive any of his points for defense.

Scoring system


- 1 point for every 10 yards passing, rushing or receiving from a quarterback, running back or wide receiver

- 6 points for every passing, rushing or receiving touchdown

Offensive line

- 1 point for every 50 yards gained as an offense

- 3 points for every offensive touchdown

Defensive player

- 2 points for every tackle

- 4 points for every INT, sack or fumble recovery



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