District Preview: Class 1A

Colgan's Andrew Lomshek (2) tries to bring down Centralia's Devon Feldkamp (19). (Lori Ann Spachek)
By: Conor Nicholl, Alex Hammeke, & Matt Gilmore for Kpreps.com
Oct 8, 2019

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Class 1A will begin district play this week. The classification includes only 31 schools, while the new format allows for 32 qualifiers into the playoff bracket.

That means that everyone is already in, but the next three weeks of district play will help determine the playoff positioning.

Also unique to 1A is that District 8 contains only three teams. As a result, each team in that district will have an open date in the coming weeks, and the district champion from District 7 will get a bye into the second round of the Class 1A playoffs.

EAST

District 1 
Pleasanton (2-3)
St. Mary’s Colgan (2-3)
Uniontown (1-4)
Yates Center (0-5)

Colgan enters district play as the heavy favorite in District 1. The Panthers battled through some injuries, early-season inconsistency, and tough schedule. Colgan’s three losses have come to Columbus, Frontenac, and Centralia – teams that are currently a combined 14-1 this season. The Panthers have several options in the backfield and started to get the ground game going in last week’s 26-0 shutout of Class 4A Abilene. Pleasanton joins Colgan in entering district play with a 2-3 mark, although the Blu-Jays 90-62 loss to Appleton City (Mo.) last week was an 8-Man game. Pleasanton holds wins over Northeast-Arma (62-0) and Leon-Bluestem (28-8). Other than last week’s loss, the Blu-Jays have fell in close games to Southeast-Cherokee 28-12 and Jayahwk-Linn, 20-14 in three overtimes. Freshman Dale Gillespie has taken over at quarterback with the graduation of Kaden McKee and still has Kasen McKee as a top receiving target. Uniontown is under new leadership as John Stark has taken over for former Eagle standout Jeremy Neville. Stark’s first victory as Eagle coach come in Week 3 with a 22-7 decision over Northeast-Arma. Uniontown had a tough loss in the summer when three-year starter Andrew Reed transferred to nearby Fort Scott. Yates Center has battled numbers this year and at times has suited up fewer than 15 players. The Wildcats were shut out in each of the first four weeks of the season before falling 32-21 last week against Leon-Bluestem. Yates Center lost a key member of their backfield from a season ago when Kendrick Jones transferred to Mill Valley over the summer. Jones, now a sophomore, has 11 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown for the Class 5A Jaguars.

Projected Order of Finish:
1. Colgan, 2. Pleasanton, 3. Uniontown, 4. Yates Center


District 2  
Olpe (5-0)
Hillsboro (3-2)
Leon-Bluestem (1-4)
Marion (1-4)

Olpe has its sights set on getting back to Hays and having a better showing than last year’s blowout defeat to Smith Center in the 1A title game. The Eagles have the experience and playmakers to do it. Quarterback Colby Hoelting is a consistent performer and allows Chris Schmidt to go to the air when necessary. Kynden Robert is in his third season seeing significant action in the Eagle backfield and can be a game-changer. When you think about Olpe you think of toughness on the offensive line and on the defensive side of the ball. This group is no different. The Eagle defense is allowing only seven points per game. Hillsboro graduated some really talented playmakers off of last year’s 7-3 team. While the Trojans are young, they are starting to gain confidence with back-to-back wins over Sacred Heart and Wabaunsee. Matthew Potucek has taken over at quarterback with Caleb Potucek and Jamari Harris proving capable options in the backfield.  Marion has struggled to a 1-4 start and has been shut out in three of its four losses. The Warriors are only scoring 6 points per game and that includes the lone victory – a 22-0 shutout of Douglass. Leon-Bluestem is coming off of its first win of the season and Ethan Haworth’s first victory as the Lions’ coach. The Lions beat Yates Center 32-21 last week setting school records for total offensive yards (480) and yards rushing in a game (431).  

Projected Order of Finish:
1. Olpe, 2. Hillsboro, 3. Marion, 4. Bluestem


District 3 
Lyndon (5-0)
Jefferson Co. North (4-1)
Jackson Heights (3-2)
Troy (2-3)
 

Lyndon and Jefferson County North have bounced back after rare down seasons in ’18. Lyndon went 3-6 but has rebounded to again win the Flint Hills League title under first-year coach Scott Jones. The Tigers had won seven games every year from ’10-17. Senior Shawn Hinck has 76 carries for 483 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Luke Detwiler has been a big play threat with 17 carries for 240 yards and a score. Senior Mathew Anschutz paces with 53 tackles, 22 more than any other player. Jefferson County North has doubled last year’s win total. From ’15-17, JCN finished a combined 25-7. According to Prep Power Index, Jackson Heights has played the No. 7 strength of schedule in class 1A, well ahead of Lyndon (20) and JCN (31). JH won this district last year and remains the district favorite despite close losses to 2A Maur Hill (4-1) and 1A No. 2 Olpe (5-0). The Cobras have been ranked most of the year and beat then-No. 4 Valley Heights last week. Senior Carson Williams anchors a big offensive line that went 9-2 last fall. Troy, the ‘18 runner-up in district play, has senior quarterback Kipp Jasper, a multi-year starter. The Trojans have permitted 30 points a game. Troy has all three losses by at least 28 points, though has fallen to Valley Heights, Centralia and KC Christ Prep, all teams with one defeat.

Projected Order of Finish:
1. Jackson Heights, 2. Troy, 3. Jefferson Co. North, 4. Lyndon


District 4   
Centralia (4-1)
Northern Heights (4-1)
Valley Heights (4-1)
Wabaunsee (1-4)


Last year, Centralia won the district, followed by Valley Heights, Wabaunsee and Northern Heights. Centralia, behind senior single wing quarterback Kamble Haverkamp, has played the No. 5 SOS in Class 1A. The Panthers opened a 28-8 loss to Rossville and have four straight victories with at least 22 points, including quality wins versus Riley County, St. Mary’s Colgan and Troy. Centralia is 8-1 against Valley Heights in the last nine meetings. Northern Heights has doubled its win total from last year, and could finish with its first winning season since 2015. NH lost the Flint Hills League title to Lyndon last week. Northern Heights had its first 4-0 start since at least 1998. Senior Cameron Heiman had 67 rushes for 581 yards and 11 touchdowns in the first month. Senior Tee Preisner and junior Cody Medlen have led the defense. Valley Heights has been a top-5 team most of the year, though took a loss to Jackson Heights last week. Senior running back Cole Coggins and junior quarterback Cameron Beardsley are multi-year starters. Wabaunsee, under first-year coach Jess Rutledge, defeated Central Heights, 31-6 for its only win. The Chargers have lost three games by shutout.

Projected Order of Finish:
1. Centralia, 2. Valley Heights, 3. Northern Heights, 4. Wabaunsee
 

WEST

District 5 
Smith Center (5-0)
Ell-Saline (4-1)
Republic County (0-5)
Sacred Heart (0-5)
 

Smith Center won the district in ’18, followed by Ell-Saline, Sacred Heart and Republic County. SC held off Ell-Saline, 15-8, for the district title last year. Smith Center is the two-time state champion and has been ranked No. 1 all season. The Redmen won its first outright Mid-Continent League title since 2009. Smith Center has enjoyed a big season from multiple players, including senior Trenton Colby with 11 of 21 passes for 147 yards with three touchdowns against one interception. Senior Jaden Atwood has cleared 100 yards in every game with 87 carries for 756 yards and eight touchdowns. Senior Colton Shoemaker has 48 rushes for 464 yards and five scores, while junior Nate Hendrich has stepped up with 64 carries for 298 yards and three touchdowns. SC’s big strength comes up front with Joel Montgomery, Charlie Timmons and Brell Spiess. Montgomery leads with 43 tackles. Ell-Saline leads 1A in scoring defense with 31 points allowed and has four shutouts. The Cardinals have a variety of key skill players, such as Luke Parks, Treyton Peterson and Sawyer Kramer. Republic County went 0-9 each of the last two seasons and is 0-5 this year, though has been much more competitive this season under new coach Faron Kraft. RC has lost three games by 12 points or fewer. SH has lost by at least 25 points in every game.

Projected Order of Finish:
1. Smith Center, 2. Ell-Saline, 3. Republic County, 4. Sacred Heart


District 6  
La Crosse (5-0)
Plainville (4-1)
Ellis (2-3)
Oakley (2-3)

Plainville, the defending district champion, has been ranked No. 2 all year in 1A. Plainville played Smith Center competitively in a Week 4 loss despite missing standout Jared Casey, who is out with a hand injury. Casey is expected to return during districts. Senior quarterback Jordan Finnesy is a three-year quarterback with 81 rushes for 335 yards and five touchdowns, and has completed 40 of 83 passes for 492 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. La Crosse has had marked improvement and will face Ellis twice this season again. The Leopards went 3-6 last season and were expected to be much improved in the program’s last year of the 11-man ranks. Sophomore Colby Stull has cleared 100 yards in every game with 74 carries for 810 yards and 12 scores. Senior quarterback Hunter Morgan has started three years under center with 775 passing and 306 rushing yards, along with nine touchdowns accounted for. Plainville has won four in a row versus La Crosse. Senior Michael Showalter has 47 tackles with nine TFLs, easily the team highs. Ellis junior Tegan Cain has enjoyed a strong year with 71 of 136 passes for 970 yards with eight scores against three interceptions. Konnor Pfeifer has 65 carries for 467 yards and five touchdowns. Oakley opened 2-0, though has lost three in a row, including two by shutout. Senior Ellis Slack has 13 catches for 367 yards and four scores.

Projected Order of Finish:
1. Plainville, 2. La Crosse, 3. Ellis, 4. Oakley


District 7 
Sedgwick (5-0)
Inman (2-3)
Meade (1-4)
Sublette (1-4)

Sedgwick looks to be the clear favorite in 1A District 7. The Cardinals have had a stifling defense, keeping their opponents to 6.4 points per game, including two shutouts. Quarterback Lance Hoffsommer is also having a great season for Sedgwick, who find themselves ranked fifth currently in the Kpreps Class 1A Rankings. Inman has fallen off the trail a bit, coming in at 2-3 on the season, however the record of the three opponents that they have lost to is 11-4. Inman returns six offensive starters and nine defensive starters from last years’ team that went 6-4, their best record since 2013. In their final year playing 11-man football, Meade will look to have a strong showing. The Buffaloes have played tough Hi-Plains league opponents, including undefeated Lakin and Cimarron, and one loss Elkhart. Sublette has broken their losing streak. The Larks defeated Syracuse in Week 4 to break a 35-game losing streak.

Projected Order of Finish:
1. Sedgwick, 2. Inman, 3. Meade, 4. Sublette


District 8   
Elkhart (4-1)
Stanton County (1-4)
Syracuse (0-5)

After falling to Cimarron in the season opener, Elkhart has won four consecutive games. The Wildcats graduated seven seniors from last year’s 9-1 team, including all-state quarterback Lane Whisennand; and have a new head coach in former Minneapolis head coach Jhon Haehn. Emmanuel Moreno has filled well at quarterback and Chance O’Hair has rushed for 1,019 yards and 17 touchdowns in five games including three-straight games over 230 yards. Stanton County delivered their first victory of the season last week versus Sublette, 22-20. The Trojans will take on Hooker (Okla.) to fill in their district off-week since District 8 only has three members. Syracuse has gone winless so far this year, with two losses being less than eight points, and the other three losses being over 30 points. Junior Kolbey Brummett leads the Bulldogs with 228 yards rushing, while Joe Mitchell has added 187 yards.


Projected Order of Finish:
1. Elkhart, 2. Stanton County, 3. Syracuse
 

 

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