Kpreps Game Day - Week 3

Shomari Parnell & Andover Central look to take down No. 2 Goddard. (by David Jackson)
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Sep 20, 2019

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Kpreps Game Day feature is designed to provide you with a program for things to watch out for each week in Kansas High School Football. This week, we focus on teams off to surprising unbeaten starts.

If you have suggestions for what you would like to see in future Game Day features, send us a message on Twitter or Facebook.


Smith Center, Phillipsburg prepare for No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown

Phillipsburg head football coach J.B. Covington walked down from the bleachers after the Panthers’ last-second 21-14 road loss to Mid-Continent League rival Plainville last weekend.

Phillipsburg saw its 14-game winning streak end, and fell for the first time in the regular season since a 34-32 defeat to Sedgwick in Week 6 of the 2015 season. As well, it marked the first league defeat for the Panthers since a 7-6 home loss to Norton in Week 2 of ’15. Covington had his right shoulder in a sling from an injury suffered July 4 weekend.

Covington’s team is also going through some key injuries. Senior lineman Noah VanKooten, a first team all-league player on both sides of the ball as a junior, has not played this year because of a back problem. Junior fullback Clint Gower was helped off the field in the Plainville game, though Covington does not expect him to miss any significant time. Phillipsburg never trailed until 68 seconds remained in the contest.

“Down the stretch, they just outplayed us. It hurts a little bit,” Covington said of Gower’s absence. “…When a guy goes down, it just kind of takes the air out of you, and we didn’t bounce back from that, and I don’t know the status of Gower, but he’s a good, tough kid. I think he will be back.”

Phillipsburg and Hoisington flip-flopped the top-two spots in the Class 2A poll after the defeat. This week, the Panthers have a marquee home game versus MCL foe Smith Center, the two-time defending state champions and ranked first in Class 1A.

Since the start of 2017, Smith Center is 26-0 against non-Phillipsburg opponents, and 0-2 versus the Panthers. Phillipsburg has captured eight in a row in the series, dating back to a 46-17 Smith Center win on Sept. 9, 2011. Smith Center has 1A’s current longest winning streak at 12 games, and Phillipsburg did have the longest 2A winning streak before the defeat.

Smith Center averages 445 rushing yards a game behind another new-look running back corps and senior Trenton Colby, a returning starter at quarterback. Senior Jaden Atwood leads with 34 carries for 390 yards and three scores, and senior Colton Shoemaker has 23 carries for 198 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior Joel Montgomery and junior Charlie Timmons are both three-year starters and pace the squad with 21 and 19 tackles, respectively. SC has back-to-back home wins versus TMP-Marian (34-0) and Norton (41-18).

“Losses aren’t that big a deal this time of year,” Covington said. “As long as we learn from it, and progress and come out and work hard. And I think our kids will show that, kind of over the course of the last two years, if we take a loss, the kids really buckle down and get after it, and we expect this group to do the same thing.”

The Panthers received big games from junior quarterback Ty Sides, and senior lineman Parker Dibble. Sides cleared 100 rushing and 60 passing in the defeat. Junior Kagan Keeten had a touchdown reception on fourth down and picked off a pass.

“It was tough,” Covington said of Sides. “They were running a lot of man coverage, and we were getting some linebacker fires that were creating pressure, so he was just trying to get downfield and make plays, and his running ability showed up big for us a few times, and then he just took some chances and turned the ball over a couple times.”

Even without VanKooten, Phillipsburg has plenty of strength up front with seniors Tyce Jerby and Austin Miller. Covington said Phillipsburg struggled with Plainville sophomore nose guard Dakota Yost (6-3, 290), especially in the second half.

“We had trouble moving him,” Covington said. “And that’s our point of attack on a lot of our inside run games, so we have got to get that fixed, and then I thought that their linebackers plugged the gaps well. They took away from us what we really liked to do and that’s run inside.”

Olathe North with big passing, offensive game

Olathe North has opened the season with a 27-21 victory against Olathe East, and won at Shawnee Mission North, 68-22, in a high-scoring contest last week. The Eagles are ranked No. 3 in Class 6A this week and face Shawnee Mission West (1-1).

Senior Caleb Nelson completed 16 of 25 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns in a breakout game. Arland Bruce, a first team all-state dual threat player, had played quarterback in the past, though switched just to running back. Bruce had 16 rushes for 186 yards and four scores.

Since ’08, it marked the most Olathe North completions in a game, according to MaxPreps archives. As well, it was the second-most attempts and the highest number of yards for the Eagles and coach Chris McCartney. Previously, Olathe North had thrown for 293 versus Olathe South on Sept. 25, 2015.

Additionally, ON had 650 yards of total offense, easily the most in the last 11 years. SM North led 8-7 after the first quarter. Sophomore Jackson Parrish had a big game for Olathe North.

Olathe North is now 12-1 in its last 13 Sunflower League contests.

This week’s Player to Watch

Jashun Grant, Wichita South
Grant and the Titans will host Ark City (0-2) at Carpenter Stadium on Friday. Grant has led Wichita South to consecutive wins over Wichita North (47-6) and Wichita Southeast (27-25). The senior quarterback has completed 8 of 11 passes for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s been really dangerous with the ball in his hands in rushing for 351 yards and six touchdowns in the first two games, and eclipsing his rushing total from the 2018 season. As a junior last fall, Grant passed for more than 500 yards and seven touchdowns and rushing for 280 yards and four scores.


Other notable matchups to watch for in Week 3:

Olathe East (1-1) at Olathe West (0-2) – Olathe East is just outside the Kpreps rankings in Class 6A after an impressive 26-17 win over Lawrence Free State last week. The Eagles opened with a 27-21 loss to No. 3 Olathe North. Meanwhile, Olathe West has lost consecutive games at Free State (45-19) and against No. 2 Gardner-Edgerton (34-7) to open the season.

Wichita West (2-0) at 5A No. 3 Bishop Carroll (1-1) – Wichita West has jumped on everyone’s radar after impressive wins over Hutchinson (38-14) and Kapaun Mt. Carmel (34-0). The Pioneers defeated Kapaun for the first time since 2000. Now Weston Schartz’s group turns its eyes to Bishop Carroll. Carroll rebounded from a close loss to No. 2 Wichita Northwest (21-17) in the season-opener with a 55-12 blowout of Wichita Heights. Carroll beat Wichita West 49-20 last season.

Emporia takes on Legend (Colorado) in Scott City – For the second consecutive season, Emporia will travel to Scott City to take on Legend High School out of Parker, Colorado. The Spartans and Titans played a competitive game last year with Legend coming out on top 16-13. Legend is 3-0 to begin the 2019 season and has several key returning players from last year’s team that finished 5-6 overall. Emporia is 2-0 after posting wins over Washburn Rural (17-6) and Topeka West (48-6) in the first two weeks.

4A No. 2 Goddard (2-0) at Andover Central (2-0) – This should be one of the better games in the state this week. Goddard is off to an unbeaten start with wins over Wichita East and Ark City. Lions’ junior quarterback Kyler Semrad has passed for 608 yards and 10 touchdowns in two games this season. Semrad has plenty of targets to spread the ball around to as three players already have over 100 receiving yards. Senior Blake Mitchell leads Goddard with 13 receptions for 276 yards and three scores. Meanwhile, Andover Central has opened with comfortable victories over Augusta (35-7) and Goddard-Eisenhower (33-2). The Jaguars, under the direction of new coach Derek Tuttle, have a solid defense and some playmakers on offense. Quarterback Shomari Parnell has passed for 358 yards and four touchdowns this season, while Xavier Bell and Matthew Macy are formidable receiving targets. Bell has eight catches for 177 yards and two scores, while Macy’s six catches have gone for 171 yards and three touchdowns.

Holton (1-1) vs. Nemaha Central (1-1) – There are a couple of intriguing matchups this week in the Big 7 Conference. Holton has played two, seven-point games to start the season. The Wildcats dropped their opener 7-0 to Jefferson West before rebounding with a 14-7 win over Perry-Lecompton last week. Brooks Barta’s group now travels to Seneca to take on Nemaha Central. The Thunder had beaten Holton three consecutive years until the Wildcats won 37-32 a year ago. Nemaha Central challenged top-ranked Sabetha in a 13-6 loss to open the season, then rolled past Hiawatha (52-27) last week.

3A No. 1 Sabetha (2-0) at Perry-Lecompton (1-1) – Sabetha and Perry-Lecompton played one of the most memorable games of 2018 with the Bluejays surviving a late touchdown and two-point conversion attempt to win, 35-33. The Bluejays now carry a 22-game win streak into this meeting after wins over Nemaha Central (13-6) and Riverside (50-7). Meanwhile, Perry-Lecompton started with a blowout of Royal Valley (68-0) before last week’s 14-7 loss to Holton.  

Leoti-Wichita County (2-0) at Logan-Palco (2-0) - While Mankato-Rock Hills has received attention for its explosive offense, Leoti-Wichita County is tied with the Grizzlies for the most points in eight-man football. As well, Wichita County has not allowed a point in dominant victories against Pretty Prairie (74-0) and Wallace County (70-0).

This week, Wichita County is at Logan-Palco (2-0). Logan-Palco was 3-6 last season, while Wichita County stands 8-3 with second-year coach Brant Douglas. Quarterback Kayde Rietzke has completed 13 of 16 passes for 181 yards with five touchdowns against zero interceptions. He has 15 carries for 171 yards and four scores. Junior Kendrix Loy has four tackles for loss.

Wichita County, St. Francis, Clifton-Clyde and Thunder Ridge are the only eight-man teams that have not allowed a point.

Cedar Vale-Dexter (2-0) at Caldwell (2-0) – This will be a key game in the South Central Border League. Cedar Vale-Dexter stands 2-0 with a pair of big wins versus Altoona-Midway (50-0) and South Haven (66-20). Last year, the Spartans had a big start but then lost, 58-0, to Caldwell in Week 3. CVD has a high number of key returners, notably junior running back Brogan Myers and gets the rematch this week. Caldwell has cruised to 52-6 victories versus South Haven and Flinthills behind quarterback Caleb Noyes.

Myers is at 14 carries for 285 yards and five scores, while senior quarterback Caleb Henderson has completed 9 of 14 passes for 308 yards with five scores against no interceptions. He has seven carries for 97 yards and four scores.


The Best Winless Team in Each Classification:

Class 6A – Blue Valley North
Slow starts are really nothing new for Blue Valley North. The Mustangs opened 0-3 last season and were just 1-3 after four games in 2017 and 2016. Those seasons have turned out alright. Blue Valley North finished 9-4 last fall and were the Class 6A state runners-up to Derby. In 2017, the Mustangs also finished 9-4 and captured the schools’ only state football title with a win over Derby. In 2016, Andy Sims’ group finished 7-4 and reached the state quarterfinals.

Although the Mustangs graduated a once-in-a-generation talent at quarterback in Graham Mertz, expectations are still high for this talented 2019 roster. The schedule hasn’t been forgiving. North opened with a 27-20 loss at Bishop Miege, and last week fell 34-7 to Blue Valley in a game where the second half was postponed from Thursday to Friday due to severe weather. Blue Valley led 14-7 at halftime and when the game resumed on Friday, the Tigers returned the second-half kickoff back for a touchdown and a two-score lead.

This week, Blue Valley North will host Class 4A’s fifth-ranked team in Pittsburg. Last season, Pittsburg defeated Blue Valley North, 34-31, after Mertz left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury. Mertz’s absence thrust freshman Henry Martin into action, and Martin threw three touchdowns passes in the second half to give the Mustangs a 31-27 lead early in the fourth quarter. Pittsburg would eventually score the game-winning touchdown with 1:30 remaining to get the win.

Class 5A – Andover
Andover is now 0-3 after Thursday night’s 20-14 home loss to Goddard-Eisenhower. The Trojans have now lost three games by a combined 16 points. Andover opened with a heartbreaking 13-10 overtime loss at Great Bend in which the Trojans led 10-0 with less than a minute remaining in the game. Great Bend got a safety, then a Hail Mary touchdown pass and a two-point conversion on the game’s final play to force overtime. The Panthers then won it in OT with a field goal. Andover followed that up with a 14-7 loss to a solid Maize South team that remains just outside the top five in Class 5A.

Last night, Andover led Eisenhower 14-0 in the fourth quarter before giving up 20 consecutive points. Make no mistake, this Trojans team is talented and probably feels a bit snake-bitten at this point. But once they get in the win column, this is a team that can make some noise in the playoffs.

4A – Wellington
Coach Zane Aguilar has taken steps each year to build Wellington back to the high level the program sustained in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2017, the Crusaders ended a six-year playoff drought, then last season reached the 4A state quarterfinals.

But this season, Wellington has started with losses to a pair of top teams in the AVCTL-IV in Wichita Collegiate and Andale. Collegiate is expected to be a factor in Class 3A this season and Andale is ranked No. 2 in the Class 3A poll. Wellington managed just a touchdown in each game in losing 28-7 to the Spartans, and 35-7 to Andale last week. Wellington’s strength may be in its front seven on defense. The Crusaders will look to get back on track this week when they host unbeaten Clearwater.

Class 3A – Chapman
Chapman football has seen a resurgence under the direction of third-year coach Kurt Webster. The Irish put together a strong 7-3 season a year ago, advancing to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs. But graduation claimed all-state running back Dalton Harvey and fellow all-stater Izek Jackson. Chapman’s strength this season is up front where South Dakota commit Kel Stroud anchors a good offensive line.

The Irish have begun 2019 with a difficult schedule against the top of the North Central Kansas League. Chapman dropped its opener, 34-22, to third-ranked Marysville, and fell 28-14 against a talented Wamego team last week. The Irish will look to rebound this week against another NCKL member when they host Abilene.

Class 2A – Norton
Prior to the season, Norton was listed as one of our Kpreps’ Potential Breakout Teams for 2019. The Bluejays are coming off a 4-5 season in 2018 – their first since graduating quarterback Jace Ruder. Ruder is now on roster as a quarterback at North Carolina.

Although the Bluejays’ return several experienced players on both sides of the ball, the schedule in the Mid-Continent League has been difficult. Norton has opened with consecutive losses to Class 1A’s top two teams. The Bluejays’ lost to No. 2 Plainville 29-22 to open the season, then fell 41-18 to top-ranked Smith Center last week. Last season’s 0-2 start also included Norton losses to Plainville (31-14) and Smith Center (40-0). The Bluejays will look to get on track this week against unbeaten Oakley.

Class 1A – St. Mary’s Colgan
St. Mary’s Colgan is 0-2 to start a season for the first time since 1973, and the Panthers have lost three consecutive games (including last year’s semifinal loss to Olpe) for the first time since 1990. But there is hardly cause for concern. Coach Shawn Seematter has done an incredible job in taking over a program where he is only the third head coach since 1961. He has led the Panthers to deep playoff runs in each of his first two seasons including a 1A state runner-up finish in 2017. Colgan’s roster isn’t as full as it has been in past years given the size of some of the classes going through, but there is still plenty of talent to be a factor come playoff time.

Colgan opened with a 21-14 loss to an experienced and talented Columbus team, then dropped a rivalry matchup against Frontenac (41-12) last week while missing a few key players. If the early season is any indication, Frontenac and Columbus look like solid playoff contenders in Class 3A. Colgan travels to Baxter Springs tonight and has challenging games against Centralia and Abilene in the next couple of weeks.  

Class 8M-I – Central Plains
Incredibly, there are only six teams in Eight-Man, Division I without a win after two weeks, and one of those is the defending state champions. Central Plains rolled to a dominant 13-0 season a year ago and capture the state championship with a 52-6 victory over Solomon. The Oilers surrendered only 34 total points all season and held Solomon to 24 plays for minus-23 yards in the state title game. The Gorillas scored their only points on a kick return for a touchdown.

But Central Plains graduated six players that earned Kpreps all-state honors a season ago. The Oilers opened with a 36-30 loss to Central Prairie League rival Ness City, and last week fell 50-14 to another CPL team in Victoria. In fact, since the 2011 consolidation of Claflin and Quivira Heights to form Central Plains, five of the Oilers 16 total losses have come to Victoria. The Oilers will try and get back on track this week when they travel to Kinsley (0-2).

Class 8M-II – Waverly
The sidelines look a bit different at Waverly this season after veteran coach Mike Hevel retired at the end of last year. Hevel led the Bulldogs to nearly 200 wins and a pair of state championships in 2005 and 2006. Nick Fraenza has taken over the Bulldog program and has opened with a pair of tough losses against good competition.

Waverly opened with nearby rival Lebo and fell 46-14 to an experienced Wolves team. Last week, the Bulldogs fell 57-0 at fifth-ranked Madison. Still, Waverly has reached the playoffs in each of the past three seasons and should certainly be in the mix for a high finish in District 2. The Bulldogs take on Southern Coffey County this week – a team that has given Waverly problems in recent years. The Bulldogs beat Southern Coffey County, 58-28, to snap a two-game losing streak against the Titans.


The state’s current longest streaks (by classification):

Current Longest Winning Streaks:

Class 6A
Derby – 15

Class 5A
St. Thomas Aquinas - 14

Class 4A
Bishop Miege - 8

Class 3A
Sabetha – 22

Class 2A
Minneapolis – 3

Class 1A
Smith Center – 12

Class 8M-I
Pratt-Skyline – 4

Class 8M-II
Hanover - 40

Weskan - 8

Current Longest Losing Streaks:

Class 6A
Wichita North – 10 games (includes 9/19/19)

Class 5A
Topeka Highland Park – 45 games

Class 4A
Independence – 15 games

Class 3A
Bishop Ward – 49 games
Osawatomie – 11 games

Class 2A
Lyons – 31 games
Oskaloosa – 15 games
Horton – 13 games
Wichita Independent –12 games

Class 1A
Sublette – 34 games
Republic County – 21 games

Class 8-Man, Division I
St. John – 15 games

Class 8-Man, Division II
Burrton – 19 games
Tescott – 11 games

Western Plains – 22 games


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Smith Center, Phillipsburg, Plainville, J.B. Covington, Noah VanKooten, Clint Gower, Hoisington, Trenton Colby, Jaden Atwood, Colton Shoemaker, Joel Montgomery, Charlie Timmons, Thomas More Prep, Ty Sides, Parker Dibble, Tyce Jerby, Austin Miller, Olathe North, Olathe East, Shawnee Mission North, Shawnee Mission West, Caleb Nelson, Arland Bruce IV, Chris McCartney, Jackson Parrish, Jashun Grant, Wichita South, Arkansas City, Wichita North, Wichita Southeast, Olathe West, Wichita West, Bishop Carroll, Emporia, Goddard, Andover Central, Kyler Semrad, Blake Mitchell, Derek Tuttle, Shomari Parnell, Xavier Bell, Matthew Macy, Augusta, Goddard-Eisenhower, Wichita East, Holton, Nemaha Central, Perry-Lecompton, Sabetha, Leoti-Wichita Co., Logan-Palco, Cedar Vale-Dexter, Caldwell, Brant Douglas, Pretty Prairie, Sharon Springs-Wallace Co., Kayde Rietzke, Kendrix Loy, St. Francis, Clifton-Clyde, Thunder Ridge, Altoona-Midway, Brogan Myers, South Haven, Flinthills, Caleb Noyes, Caleb Henderson, Blue Valley North, Blue Valley, Bishop Miege, Andy Sims, Henry Martin, Andover, Great Bend, Maize South, Wellington, Andale, Wichita Collegiate, Clearwater, Chapman, Wamego, Marysville, Kel Stroud, Dalton Harvey, Izek Jackson, Kurt Webster, Abilene, Norton, Jace Ruder, Oakley, St. Marys Colgan, Shawn Seematter, Columbus, Frontenac, Baxter Springs, Central Plains, Solomon, Ness City, Victoria, Claflin, Quivira Heights, Kinsley, Waverly, Mike Hevel, Lebo, Southern Coffey Co., Madison, Nick Fraenza, Derby, St. Thomas Aquinas, Minneapolis, Pratt-Skyline, Hanover, Weskan, Topeka Highland Park, Independence, Bishop Ward, Osawatomie, Lyons, Oskaloosa, Horton, Wichita Independent, Sublette, Republic County, St. John, Burrton, Tescott, Western Plains