The Pick List -- Week 7

Great Bend RB Jonathan Allende will try & lead the Panthers past Hays. (Photo by Joey Bahr)
By: Conor Nicholl & Matt Gilmore for
Oct 16, 2013

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Each Thursday throughout the regular season, The Pick List will feature six of the best match-ups across the state, and make our predictions on a handful of other games.

Feature Games of the Week:

6A No. 3 Topeka High (6-0) at Manhattan (5-1)

The Topeka High Trojans are coming off of the best season in school history.  Walt Alexander’s team finished 9-2 in 2012 and won the school’s first ever playoff game with a 42-13 win at Wichita Northwest before falling to Hutchinson 42-33 in the state quarterfinals.

The Trojans have developed a level of consistency under Alexander, but with only three offensive starters and four defensive starters returning, question marks remained. The Trojans graduated Kpreps all-state players in quarterback Raymond Solis (Washburn) and lineman Will Geary (Kansas State).

Those questions now have answers after a 6-0 start that has Topeka High ranked third in Class 6A.

The Trojans will take on a Manhattan team that has won five straight after a season-opening 26-21 loss to Mill Valley.

Coach Joe Schartz’s Indians returned 15 total starters from last season’s 6-4 finish including Winston Dimel (6-1, 215) who has verbally committed to Kansas State.

Quarterback Kellen Myers directs the Manhattan offense and has been a dual threat.  He passed for more than 170 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 85 yards in the Indians’ 41-24 win over Shawnee Heights last week.

For Topeka High, Alec Beatty has excelled at quarterback.  Beatty has produced more than 1,600 yards of total offense in the Trojan’s first six games.  He has passed for more than 950 yards, ten touchdowns and rushed for 675 yards. 

Austin Tillman has added nearly 400 yards on the ground for the Trojans and is a standout on defense at linebacker.

Our Pick:  Topeka 24, Manhattan 14 (Gilmore)

Great Bend (4-2) at Hays (5-1)

Hays High has surprised some people with its 5-1 start. Junior quarterback Alex Delton, already on list for Top 250 players in the Class of 2015, was significantly hobbled in one contest and missed two others with a groin injury.

Opponents have outgained Hays High in five of six contests and the Indians have allowed at least 373 yards in four games. However, the Indians have enjoyed a big season from Preston Weigel, including a 38-carry performance against Dodge City last week, and won or tied the turnover battle in all five victories. Weigel ranks second in the conference with 784 rushing yards.

Great Bend leads the WAC in rushing with 1,506 yards and Johnny Allende paces the Panthers with 629 yards. The Panthers are 2-1 in games decided by seven points or fewer with a 21-14 Week 2 loss to Ulysses, a 28-25 Week 3 victory at Garden City and a 43-36 win versus Liberal last week.

Great Bend had won eight straight in the series, but HHS is 3-1 against the rival Panthers since Ryan Cornelsen took over as head coach. According to Hays High broadcaster Dustin Armbruster, this is the 76th all-time meeting between the two schools; the teams have met every year since 1939. Great Bend leads the all-time series 40-34-1.

However, this marks the last season for at least the next two years Hays High and Great Bend will be in the same district. Hays High will drop down to Class 4A, Division I next fall.

These two teams run the ball well and have played several classics in the last couple years, including a 43-42 Hays win in 2011. Hays High has managed to come up with big plays, especially on turnovers and special teams, and earns another close victory.

Our Pick: Hays 24, Great Bend 21 (Nicholl)

4A No. 2 Andale (6-0) at 4A No. 4 Buhler (6-0)

Buhler star running back Riley Allen suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter last week, but senior fullback Denton Branscom rushed for 172 yards and two scores in a 41-13 victory against Winfield.

Buhler ran 59 plays for 370 yards, including 327 yards on the ground. In Allen’s last game, he collected 175 yards and four TDs in a win against El Dorado.

Andale collected a dominant 65-0 win against Wellington, a team that was 4-1 before last week. Hunter Knoblauch rushed for 172 yards and a TD and scored on an 85-yard punt return. Jared Smarsh tossed two TD passes.

Andale ranks first in Class 4A in scoring offense with 303 points, easily the classification’s best. The Indians stand fifth in scoring defense at 64 points allowed. Buhler has outscored opponents 228-93.

Since 2004, Andale is 7-0 against the Crusaders, including a 36-31 victory last season. Allen’s injury hurts Buhler, but even with him, the Crusaders don’t have the firepower that Andale brings.

Our Pick: Andale 35, Buhler 28 (Nicholl)

Wamego (6-0) at 4A No. 1 Holton (6-0)

Wamego will visit Holton in one of two games featuring a pair of unbeaten teams in Class 4A. This game will be key in a district that also features traditional contender Topeka Hayden (3-3).

The Red Raiders are off to a 6-0 start behind an offense that is averaging more than 42 points per game.

Junior quarterback Kyler Alderson has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for more than 1,600 yards. He’s thrown 18 touchdowns with only one interception. 

Alderson’s top receiver has been Trenton York who has 25 receptions for 548 yards and nine scores. Senior John Ten Eyck has 21 catches for 353 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The Red Raiders run the ball less than 45 percent of the time. Alderson is also the leading rusher with 60 carries for 257 yards and ten scores.  Kameron Quinn has rushed for 240 yards and four scores.

The Wamego defense is led by Logan Stoddard who has registered 65 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two interceptions in six games. After surrendering nearly 30 points per game last season, the Red Raider defense is giving up less than 10 points per outing this season and has posted three shutouts.

Wamego will need a stellar defensive performance against the ground attack of Holton. The Wildcats are averaging more than 360 rushing yards per game. 

Senior Brenden Hampton leads the Wildcats with 708 yards and ten touchdowns on just 75 carries. Drake Ewing, last year’s team leading rusher, has carried 40 times for 316 yards and six scores. Quarterback Ethan Holaday is second on the team with 327 yards and three touchdowns.

The Holton defense has given up just 56 points all season. Sophomore Mason Barta, coach Brooks Barta’s son, leads a balanced defense with 35 stops.  Hampton has picked off two passes on the season, but he and the Wildcat secondary will be tested by Alderson.

Our Pick: Holton 46, Wamego 21 (Gilmore)

Fairfield (5-1) at 8M-I No. 2 Kiowa County (6-0)

Kiowa County went 6-4 last season, but is in contention for a state championship this year.

The Mavericks have rushed for 314 yards per contest and senior quarterback Trever Powell continues to have a huge season with 117 carries for 1,331 yards (1,621 all-purpose) and 19 TDs. Powell has also passed for 107 yards with three scores, picked off four passes and defended two others.

Fairfield went 6-3 last year with coach Chuck Bisbee, now at Russell.

This season, coach Lee Odell, formerly at Triplains-Brewster, has the Falcons in position for their first playoff berth since 1995 and second in school history.

Fairfield has outscored opponents 327-90, while Kiowa County has a margin of 308-64 and is tied for the second-best scoring defense. Kiowa County is 4-0 in district play, while Fairfield stands at 2-1. South Central is 3-1.

Kiowa County is 3-0 against Fairfield since the school was formed four years ago, but the margins have closed each season: 46, 44 and 14 points.

Fairfield will keep the game close, but Kiowa County has seemed to put it all together this season.

Our Pick: Kiowa County 44, Fairfield 30 (Nicholl)

Clifton-Clyde (5-1) at 8M-I No. 3 Osborne (6-0)

These two teams are already well-established as the top two teams in Eight-Man, Division I, District 4. Clifton-Clyde is 4-0 in district play, while Osborne stands at 3-0. Everyone else has at least two losses.

Osborne has outscored teams 360-98 and ranks second in Eight-Man, Division I in scoring offense, 10 points behind Solomon. Clifton-Clyde has outscored teams 318-146.

Osborne sophomore quarterback Jake Tiernan continues to be nearly perfect. He didn’t throw an incomplete pass until Week 4 and has completed 27 of 31 passes for 517 yards with an 11/2 TD/INT ratio. Senior running back Kenton Ubelaker has 1,164 all-purpose yards (705 rushing) with 22 touchdowns.

Clifton-Clyde qualified for the playoffs every season from 2005-10, but is 18-5 since with no playoff appearances.

In a 62-14 victory versus Wakefield last week, the Eagles rushed for 410 yards and eight scores. Caleb Gelino carried 13 times for 203 yards and four scores, passed for 15 yards and had a 63-yard punt return.

Osborne won a wild game 66-56 last season, the only eight-man contest between the two schools in program history.

This should be a wild, high-scoring offense featuring two dynamic offenses. The Bulldogs have improved defensively and more weapons.

Our Pick: Osborne 54, Clifton-Clyde 42 (Nicholl)


The Pick List:

6A No. 5 Gardner-Edgerton (5-1) at Olathe South (4-2) – Gardner-Edgerton

Garden City (4-2) at Maize (5-1) – Maize

Washburn Rural (5-1) at Junction City (4-2) – Junction City

Pittsburg (6-0) at Blue Valley West (3-3) – Blue Valley West

5A No. 4 Salina South (4-2) at Salina Central (2-4) – Salina South

Wichita West (4-2) at Kapaun Mt. Carmel (5-1) – Kapaun

Smoky Valley (6-0) at McPherson (3-3) – McPherson

Ulysses (5-1) at Larned (5-1) – Ulysses

Wichita Trinity (5-1) at Wichita Collegiate (3-3) – Collegiate

Caney Valley (5-1) at Cherryvale (4-2) – Caney Valley

Sacred Heart (5-1) at Southeast of Saline (5-1) – Sacred Heart

2-1A No. 1 Centralia (6-0) at Troy (4-2) – Centralia

Uniontown (5-1) at 8M-I No. 4 Marais des Cygnes Valley (5-1) – MdCV


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