Kpreps Game Day - Week 5

Hodgeman County lines up against Kiowa County in last week's game. (Tammy Ewy)
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Oct 3, 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.


Keep an eye out for these district games – and here’s why:

Class 3A:

Caney Valley (3-1, 0-1) at Galena (2-2; 0-1) – The winner of this one is almost assured to be in the playoffs and it looks like this game could decide the third and fourth place finishes. Galena will try to stop a two-game losing streak when they host the Bullpups at Abbey Field. Galena won at Caney last year, 34-16, on their way to the district title.

Prairie View (4-0; 1-0) at Burlington (2-2; 0-1) – These two teams finished as the District 2 champion and runner-up a season ago. Prairie View claimed the district title, shutting out Burlington 28-0 along the way. The Buffaloes are unbeaten and have only surrendered 30 points all season. Hunter Boone leads Prairie View with 441 rushing yards in four games. Burlington is coming off of consecutive close games including an 8-6 win over Wellsville and a 20-16 loss to Girard.

Girard (2-2; 1-0) at Anderson County (2-2; 1-0) – Both of these teams opened district play with wins last week and will be looking to go 2-0. Girard won this meeting 35-21 last year at home. Bo Dilliner has rushed for more than 650 yards in four games for the Bulldogs.

Santa Fe Trail (2-2; 0-1) at Perry-Lecompton (2-2; 1-0) – The loser of this game will likely be battling for the fourth and final playoff spot out of District 3.  The Kaws won at Santa Fe Trail last year, 28-6.

Wichita Collegiate (4-0, 1-0) at Cheney (3-1; 1-0) – This game will likely decide second and third place in District 6 since the top-ranked Andale Indians also reside in this district. Perhaps no team has been as hot as the Cheney Cardinals over the past three weeks. After a loss to Garden Plain (35-19) in the season opener, Cheney has reeled off three consecutive wins over Conway Springs (49-19), Chaparral (70-3), and Clearwater (48-10). Collegiate has rolled to an unbeaten start behind a defense that is allowing only seven points per game. The Spartans have outscored opponents, 154-28, while Cheney has outscored teams 186-67. Collegiate defeated Cheney, 28-7, last season. The Cardinals feature senior running back Riley Petz, and Collegiate has senior linemen Connor Allen and Nate Egan.

Holcomb (2-2; 1-0) at Larned (2-2; 1-0) – Holcomb travels to Larned in a matchup of two teams that opened a wide-open District 7 with a victory. Larned handled Pratt 46-15, while Holcomb will look to pick up a win and some district points margin after needing overtime to escape Nickerson last week, 22-21.

Class 2A:

Jayhawk-Linn (3-1; 0-1) at Southeast-Cherokee (4-0; 1-0) – This not only is a key game in District 1, but it also becomes the de facto Three Rivers League championship game. Southeast is going for what is believed to be the first football league title in school history. The Lancers are coming off of consecutive shutouts of Yates Center and Northeast-Arma and have only surrendered 24 points all season. Jayhawk-Linn suffered its only loss in a 44-0 blowout against district-favorite Humboldt last week. This game is expected to decide the third and fourth place finishers in District 1.

Pleasant Ridge (2-2; 1-0) at Nemaha Central (2-2; 1-0) – This is the key game in District 3 this week with both teams having won their district opener. Nemaha Central’s two losses have come in competitive games against Sabetha and Holton. The Thunder are likely the district favorite. Ultimately, Pleasant Ridge may have earned the final playoff spot with its win over Atchison County last week, but upsets can happen. Riverside turned blew up the district predictions last week with a touchdown pass in the closing seconds to upset Maur Hill-Mount Academy, 28-27.

Rossville (2-2; 0-1) at Southeast of Saline (4-0; 1-0) – Rossville suffered a tough district defeat last week to defending 2A runner-up Riley County. As a result, the Bulldawgs will likely need a win at Southeast of Saline this week in order to avoid being on the road to start bracket play.

Hoisington (4-0, 1-0) at Ellsworth (4-0; 1-0) – A pair of unbeatens will hook up in Ellsworth where the host Bearcats will take on the top-ranked Cardinals. Ellsworth slipped by Minneapolis last week, while Hoisington beat Thomas More Prep by 30. The Bearcats are entering a tough stretch against No. 1 Hoisington before challenging games against defending-champion Phillipsburg and an improved Norton squad.  The Bearcats likely need one more victory (at least) to be in the hunt for a playoff spot.

8-Man, Division I

Sedan (3-1; 1-0) at Cedar Vale-Dexter (3-1; 1-0) – While District 1 is wide open, the top four teams square off against each other this week. The Blue Devils will make the short trip to take on Cedar Vale-Dexter looking for revenge from a year ago. Last year, the Spartans doubled-up Sedan, 64-32, behind a huge night from Brogan Myers. Myers rushed for 262 yards and scored nine touchdowns in the victory. How competitive is this district? Despite that loss, Sedan went on to claim the district title a season ago, while Cedar Vale-Dexter finished fourth. Myers will likely go head-to-head with Sedan’s Tayte Halderman again on Friday night to determine who can make the most plays and lead their team to victory.

West Elk (3-1; 1-0) at Oswego (3-1; 1-0) – Oswego suffered its first loss of the season last week in a 56-22 win by Sedan. The Indians had been dominating with the likes of standout back Jace Wilson. Wilson still put up great numbers with more than 240 yards rushing and three scores, but the Indians couldn’t slow down Sedan. Now they must tackle West Elk’s Nic Moreno and Devin Loudermilk who have combined for more than 1,100 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in four games.

Chase County (3-1; 1-0) at Maranatha Academy (3-1; 0-1) – Maranatha lost a shootout, 68-58, at district favorite Madison last week. The Eagles must rebound quickly against a much-improved Chase County team looking for its first playoff berth since 2009. Despite consecutive 1-win seasons, Chase County is off to a strong start and should contend with the upper-half of this district. Trint Rogers is an elusive back that contributed more than 140 yards and four touchdowns last week as the Bulldogs delivered Burlingame’s second regular-season loss since the 2014 season.

Kiowa County (2-2; 0-1) at Spearville (3-1; 1-0) – While Ness City is the only overall unbeaten team in District 6, Spearville, Hodgeman County, Kiowa County, and South Gray all figure to be in the mix for a playoff spot. Kiowa County battled Hodgeman County but fell 38-26 last week. The Mavericks must now regroup for a trip to Spearville. The Royal Lancers cruised to a win over Kinsley in their district opener. Junior Trace Tasset has rushed for 576 yards and 12 touchdowns already this season. Kiowa County hasn’t reached the postseason since 2015.

Hodgeman County (3-1; 1-0) at South Gray (3-1; 0-1) – Hodgeman County will look to move to 2-0 in district play with a win at South Gray. The Rebels opened with a 30-7 loss at Ness City and may need to protect their home field on Friday to be in the running for a top two district finish. South Gray has featuree four players that have shared carries through the first few weeks. Junior Aaron Skidmore has been the primary ball carrier, but Ethan Salmans, Storm Flores, and Adam Thiessen have all seen significant carries. On the other side, Hodgeman County will feature Eli Salmans and his brother Isaac Salmans. Eli already has 664 yards on the ground with 10 touchdowns, while Isaac has added 223 yards and six scores rushing and passed for 326 yards and five scores.

WaKeeney-Trego (3-1; 1-0) at Leoti-Wichita Co. (4-0; 1-0) – The winner of this game keeps its district championship hopes alive with second-ranked St. Francis still remaining on the schedule. Wichita County is averaging 67 points per game behind standout quarterback Kayde Rietzke. Trego has won two straight since its lone loss to Hill City in Week 2. Last year, Wichita County beat the Golden Eagles 58-12. Each game in this district is crucial where no team is below .500 overall.

St. Francis (4-0; 1-0) at Hoxie (2-2; 0-1) – Second-ranked St. Francis surrendered their first points last week on a safety. The Indians blasted previously-unbeaten Oberlin-Decatur Community, 48-2. Now St. Francis will travel to Hoxie. The Hoxie Indians have only won one game on the field after claiming a forfeit victory over Tribune-Greeley County to open the season. Hoxie’s two losses have come to good teams in Leoti-Wichita County and 8M-II No. 3 Osborne.

8-Man, Division II

Centre-Lost Springs (2-2; 1-0) at Waverly (2-2; 1-0) – Centre will travel to Waverly in what could decide the District 2 championship. Last year, Waverly won a shootout over the Cougars, 66-40, and eventually claimed the District 2 title. The Bulldogs have won two straight after opening with losses against Lyon County League rivals Lebo and Madison. Meanwhile, Centre has a heartbreaking two-point loss to Peabody-Burns and a lopsided loss to No. 1 Canton-Galva.

Pike Valley (2-2; 2-0) at Beloit St. John’s-Tipton (3-1; 3-0) – St. John’s-Tipton already has notched three district wins on its resume. The Blujays still have the strength of District 4 remaining on their schedule (Pike Valley & Mankato-Rock Hills), but their three wins should be good enough to put them in the bracket. Pike Valley is 2-0 in district play and will at least get to three wins with Linn forfeiting a district game and thus their playoff eligibility. Pike Valley’s two losses have come to the state’s top two teams – Hanover (58-14) and Axtell (58-10). St. John’s-Tipton’s lone loss came to Axtell by a similar score, 58-12.

Osborne (4-0; 1-0) at Logan-Palco (3-1; 1-0) – Third-ranked Osborne will take on Logan-Palco with a chance to move towards another district championship. The Bulldogs will have a district showdown with No. 5 Thunder Ridge in Week 8. Logan-Palco is certainly in the mix for one of the top four spots in this district and a playoff spot. The Trojans will have a big challenge in trying to slow down Osborne’s backfield which average 316 yards per game on the ground.

Triplains-Brewster (2-2; 1-0) at Dighton (1-3; 1-0) – Dighton’s bid for another District 6 championship can take a big step if the Hornets can get past Triplains-Brewster on Friday. The Hornets got a forfeit win over Tribune-Greeley County last week. Meanwhile Triplains-Brewster held off Quinter, 32-26. Wheatland-Grinnell is the only team with an overall winning record in this district

Minneola (3-1; 2-0) at Otis-Bison (3-1; 3-0) – The Wildcats and Cougars will meet on Friday in a game that will likely decide the District 8 championship. Otis-Bison has already picked up three district wins, but has Ingalls and Chase remaining on their district slate. Minneola has to go on the road to take on the better teams in the district. After Friday’s game, the Wildcats will travel to Ingalls in two weeks. Minneola’s Tuck Lang is averaging 204 yards per game on the ground and has 15 touchdowns.

Other notable games:

Blue Valley West (3-1) at St. Thomas Aquinas (4-0)

If Blue Valley West is to keep its hopes of at least sharing the Eastern Kansas League title alive, the Jaguars must take down Class 5A’s top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas Saints. The Jaguars have three close wins over quality opponents. Blue Valley West scored 28 points in the fourth quarter – all by senior running back Riley Cummings – to beat Mill Valley, 28-21 in the season opener. After a loss to Bishop Miege, the Jaguars have slugged their way past St. James Academy, 10-7, and outlasted Blue Valley North, 25-18 in two overtimes.

Now comes Aquinas, which is coming off of a 28-21 victory over Mill Valley as well. Tyron “Tank” Young’s touchdown run late in the third quarter proved to be the winning score for the Saints. Expect Aquinas to get Young involved in the run game and put pressure on the West defense. But make no mistake, Blue Valley West has the talent to make a deep playoff run like they did with semifinal and quarterfinal finishes back in 2012 and 2013.

Mill Valley (1-3) at Blue Valley North (1-3)

Just another week int eh Eastern Kansas League. Mill Valley will travel to Blue Valley North in a matchup of two 1-3 teams that absolutely have enough talent to make a deep playoff push.

Mill Valley’s final year in the EKL has proven a prime example of how difficult it can be week in and week out. The Jaguars led 21-0 entering the fourth quarter of their opener against Blue Valley West and lost 28-21. After a 27-7 win over St. James Academy, Mill Valley dropped consecutive games to powers Bishop Miege and St. Thomas Aquinas by a touchdown each.

Now the Jaguars get the team that’s reached the Class 6A title game in each of the past two seasons. Blue Valley North has gone through some growing pains, but has a talented roster. The Mustangs also have a pair of close losses – by a touchdown each to Bishop Miege and to Blue Valley West. Regardless of the outcome of this game, these are two teams that may not have shiny records come playoff time, but no one will be happy about seeing them on the opposite line com playoff bracket time.

Buhler (4-0) at McPherson (4-0)

Unbeaten Buhler will travel to McPherson in a game that will likely decide the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail -III division title. The Crusaders are 4-0 with wins over Newton (34-14), El Dorado (55-0), Augusta (35-21), and Mulvane (25-14). Meanwhile, McPherson has blown out its last three opponents by an average score of 50-6 after a challenging 29-17 victory over Salina South to open the season.

Lyndon (4-0) at Northern Heights (4-0)

One of the very few matchups that involve undefeated teams comes in Class 1A when Lyndon (4-0) is at Northern Heights (4-0) in the Flint Hills League. Lyndon has historically been very strong, including at least quarterfinal showings in ’12-13 and ’15-16, and an 8-2 mark in ’17. However, the Tigers took a rare down year to 3-6 last year, including a 21-12 loss to Northern Heights. The Wildcats ended a nine-game losing streak to Lyndon.

Lyndon suffered three shutout losses last season. Coach Brent Hoelting took the same position at Pratt, and Scott Jones took over the Tiger program. The Tigers have won every game by at least 14 points and averaged 37.3 points a contest. Northern Heights was 5-13 in the last two years. The Wildcats have averaged 301 rushing yards per game. Senior Cameron Heiman has delivered 67 carries for 581 yards and 11 scores with 1,000 total yards. Northern Heights has forced nine turnovers.

Lyndon has 266 rushing yards a contest. Senior Shawn Hinck has 60 carries for 393 yards and two scores.

Versatile players

Kansas has had multiple players stand out in versatile roles.

Great Bend quarterback/safety Dalton Miller is a four-year starter on defense and in his first year as the signal caller. Miller has completed 56 of 101 passes for 477 yards with a 3/2 TD/INT ratio. He leads with 63 carries for 545 yards and five scores, and paces GB with 40 tackles. Miller has 362 career tackles.

Dodge City senior John Johnson has helped the Red Demons start 4-0. Johnson has more than 110 receiving yards, is a return specialist and double-digit tackles.

Oswego senior Jace Wilson has again enjoyed a big season in a multi-faceted role in the Indians’ single wing. He has completed seven of 10 passes for 111 yards with four scores. He has rushed 42 times for 531 yards and 11 scores, delivered 164 special teams yards and collected 23 tackles with a pair of interceptions.

Little River has used Jayden Garrison and Graham Stephens as quarterbacks, running backs or wide receivers. They both have 24 tackles. Stephens, an all-state punter, has delivered 38 yards a punt.

Could long series winning streaks be snapped?

In Eight-Man, Division I, District 8, second-ranked St. Francis stands at 4-0, 1-0, and Hoxie is 2-2, 0-1. St. Francis has won nine straight in the series, dating back to a 34-28 Hoxie victory on Sept. 8, 2004. That includes 16-8 and 64-30 victories the last two seasons.

In Western Athletic Conference play, Garden City is 1-3, 1-0 in league action. Liberal stands at 2-2, 0-1 in conference. Liberal paces the WAC in total offense (1,574 yards), total defense (1,104 and points scored (164). Redskin senior Syris Dunlap has 467 passing and a league-high 632 rushing yards, according to league statistician/Hays High broadcaster Dustin Armbruster.

Garden City captured its first win last week and has Josh Janas (447 rushing yards). Garden City defeated Hays High, 35-32, last week. Two weeks ago, Liberal fell, 13-12, in overtime to HHS. Liberal has lost five straight conference contests.

Garden City has won 11 straight versus Liberal dating back to a 39-20 victory on Sept. 28, 2007.

Keep an eye on the state’s current longest streaks (by classification):

Current Longest Winning Streaks:

Class 6A
Derby – 17

Class 5A
St. Thomas Aquinas - 16

Class 4A
Several tied – 4
(Andover Central, Buhler, McPherson, Paola, Tonganoxie)

Class 3A
Several tied  – 4
(Andale, Colby, Columbus, Frontenac, Halstead, Hesston, Jefferson West, Marysville, Prairie View, Scott City, Topeka Hayden, Wamego, Wichita Collegiate)

Class 2A
Several tied  – 4
(Belle Plaine, Cimarron, Ellsworth, Garden Plain, Hoisington, Humboldt, Lakin, Silver Lake, Southeast-Cherokee, Southeast of Saline)

Class 1A
Smith Center – 14

Class 8M-I
Pratt-Skyline – 6

Class 8M-II
Hanover - 42

Cheylin, Moscow – 4

Current Longest Losing Streaks:

Class 6A
Wichita North – 11 games

Class 5A
Topeka Highland Park – 47 games

Class 4A
Baldwin – 9 games

Class 3A
Bishop Ward – 51 games

Class 2A
Lyons – 33 games
Horton – 15 games
Wichita Independent –14 games

Class 1A
Republic County – 23 games

Class 8-Man, Division I
St. John – 17 games

Class 8-Man, Division II
Burrton – 21 games
Tescott – 13 games

Western Plains – 24 games


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