The Pick List -- Week 9

Colton Helm (22) and Maize are seeking their first playoff berth since 2009. (Photo by Yee Mar)
By: Conor Nicholl & Matt Gilmore for
Oct 30, 2013

Share This Story:

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:

Wichita Heights (6-2) at 6A No. 1 Derby (7-1)

Tyler West, a Division I prospect, rolled up another big game with 29 carries for 247 yards last week, the state’s highest total among 11-man players. The big performance helped Derby to a 49-6 win against East. The only touchdown the Panthers allowed came on a fourth-quarter punt return.

West scored on runs from 32, 5, two one-yard runs and an 8-yard pass from Jeremy Dunham. Dunham finished with 63 passing and 69 rushing yards. Since a Week 1 loss, Derby has won every game by at least 28 points.

Wichita Heights lost 45-12 to Bishop Carroll in Week 1 and 20-7 to Kapaun Mt. Carmel in Week 4, but has responded with four straight victories. In those contests, Heights has allowed just 20 combined points.

Derby ranks No. 1 in 6A scoring offense with 393 points and stands fourth in scoring defense at 101 points. Heights is tied for second in scoring defense at 98 points allowed, but has scored just 234 points.

Both teams sit at 2-0 and have already qualified for the playoffs. The winner earns the district title. Derby is on a roll and delivers another big victory.

Our Pick:  Derby 42, Wichita Heights 21 (Nicholl)

Maize (7-1) at Hutchinson (4-4)

Maize already has a two-win improvement from last season and has enjoyed the school’s most victories since an 8-3 finish in 2006. Maize, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009, clinches the district outright with a victory.

The Eagles’ only loss was a 62-13 game to Derby, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A, in Week 3. Last week, Maize defeated Dodge City 17-14 on a quarterback sneak from Connor Lungwitz with 5:24 left. Chase White had another big game with 24 carries for 124 yards.

Hutchinson has lost four games after eight weeks for the first time since 1999 with a 35-24 road loss to Garden City last week. Hutchinson had trouble with injuries earlier in the season. Last week, it was two lost fumbles in the last 15 minutes and a dropped touchdown pass.

A Hutchinson win brings in other scenarios for the Class 6A district depending on the Garden City/Dodge City result. Hutchinson has struggled through the season and that continues with a Maize victory. The difference between the two teams comes in offense. Maize has outscored opponents 310-190, and Hutchinson has outscored teams 222-213.

Our Pick: Maize 30, Hutch 21 (Nicholl)

Blue Valley West (5-3) at No. 3 Blue Valley (6-2)

Blue Valley West will visit Blue Valley with the Class 5A, District 4 championship on the line. The Jaguars beat the Tigers 45-21 last year en route to a state quarterfinal appearance where they fell in double overtime to state runner-up Bishop Miege.

Both the Jaguars and Tigers, along with Miege, are considered among the favorites to reach the state title game on the eastern side of Class 5A.

Last Week, Blue Valley held off Pittsburg 35-14 thanks to a big night from Chance Nelson. The senior running back rushed for 222 yards and two touchdowns, while a third touchdown run was negated because he was ruled to have fumbled before crossing the goal line. For the season, Nelson has rushed for 1,155 yards and 14 touchdowns. Fellow senior Montana Brady also sees time in the backfield and has rushed for 520 yards and eight touchdowns. 

It was Brady’s 70-yard touchdown sprint immediately following a Pittsburg score that extended the Tigers’ lead to 28-14 going into halftime last week. Pittsburg’s option attack had success against the Blue Valley defense rushing for 354 yards on the night. 

Blue Valley West will try and duplicate some of that success with an offense led by senior quarterback Ryan Ralston. Ralston is the Jaguars leading rusher with 558 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. John Reams has added 430 yards and five more scores for Blue Valley West.

Ralston has added more than 1,200 yards passing with seven more touchdowns, while his Blue Valley counterpart, Logan Brettell, has thrown for nearly 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns. Brettell effectively controls the Tigers’ multiple diverse offense and can give the ball to Nelson or hit weapons like Mikey Henson and Tristan Perkins at wideout.

While both teams feature dynamic offenses, expect the defense that can come up with a timely stop to help its team prevail. Blue Valley West has been challenged with three losses (Blue Valley Northwest, Gardner-Edgerton, and Bishop Miege) by a combined 12 points.

Our Pick: Blue Valley 28, BV West 24 (Gilmore)

4A No. 5 Paola (7-1) at Louisburg (5-3)

Seemingly every season, Frontier League rivals Paola and Louisburg square off in Week 9 to decide a district championship.  The Panthers and Wildcats will do so again this season, but for the last time in at least a couple of years.  Louisburg hosts No. 5 Paola on Thursday night.

Beginning next season, the Panthers and Wildcats will be in different districts which will end this final week showdown.

Paola has rolled to six consecutive victories after a 28-9 loss to No. 3 Baldwin back in Week 2.

Mike Dumpert’s Panthers are showing a different wrinkle this season with their ability to throw the ball as opposed to their typical option-based offense.

Paola’s ability to throw the ball lies in the hands of quarterback Drew Henn who tossed a pair of touchdowns in last week’s 56-14 victory over Prairie View.  The Panthers have several offensive weapons in Mitchell Sloan, Jeremy Criddle, Corey Stallbaumer, and ExZavier Miller. Paola averages more than 42 points per game on offense.

Louisburg had to overcome tremendous adversity before the season began with the death of senior quarterback Auston McLellan. 

The Wildcats have responded under new coach Kyle Littrell and have qualified for the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season.

Louisburg ‘s 5-3 record may be a bit deceiving considering two of those losses came by one-point each to Eudora and St. James Academy.

Paola has won this meeting in each of the past two seasons, and has already clinched a playoff spot for the ninth straight season.

Our Pick: Paola 27, Louisburg 8 (Gilmore)

2-1A No. 1 Centralia (8-0) at Jackson Heights (7-1)

Centralia, the heavy favorite to win the Class 2-1A state title, has lived up to its billing all season. The Panthers have outscored teams 402-38 and ranks second in the classification in scoring offense and defense.

Jackson Heights has delivered another fine season under second-year coach Caleb Wick, a former Smith Center player. The Cobras have outscored teams 324-60 and is third in scoring defense.

Centralia has averaged 371 rushing yards per contest, led by Sam Steinlage with 917 rushing yards and 17 scores. Quarterback J.T. Rosine has passed for 367 yards and rushed for 701 yards and nine TDs.

Centralia has already earned a playoff berth and collects the district title with a win. Jackson Heights has to win to reach the playoffs since it lost 18-12 in overtime to Troy in Week 5. Since the loss, Jackson Heights has won games by 46-8, 64-0 and 40-6.

Jackson Heights has put together a good year, but Centralia is on a course to Hays and the state title.

Our Pick: Centralia 44, Jackson Heights 14 (Nicholl)

Hoxie (7-1) at 8M-I No. 5 Atwood-Rawlins Co. (8-0)

The two longtime Northwest Kansas League rivals have already clinched playoff spots and are undefeated in district play. The winner earns the district title, while the loser takes the runner-up spot. Last season, Hoxie won 54-8 in a winner-take-all matchup for the runner-up bid behind eventual state champion Ness City.

Hoxie has outscored opponents 366-98 and ranks No. 5 in scoring defense, while Atwood has a 404-58 margin with the No. 1 scoring defense. Hoxie senior quarterback Chase Kennedy, a multi-year starter, has completed 31 of 54 passes for 407 yards with a 7/2 TD/INT ratio and rushed 106 times for 634 yards and 13 scores. Senior running back Connor Katt has rushed 116 times for 1,042 yards and 18 scores. Senior nose guard Mitchel Johnson is a strong player with a team-high 59 tackles and five sacks.

For Atwood, senior quarterback Dylan Tiemeyer, in his third season under center, has completed 34 of 64 passes for 524 yards with  12/0 TD/INT ratio. Three players, including Tiemeyer, have rushed for between 621 and 688 yards and combined for 30 rushing TDs. Atwood has just one turnover all season, and is plus-24 in turnover margin. Senior Cameron Ginther is one of eight-man’s top linemen with 70 tackles, 14 for loss, five forced fumbles and three recoveries.

Both teams are very solid on both ends, but the difference is likely in strength of schedule. Hoxie was already tested in a great Week 2 game, a 36-28 loss to Wallace County. Rawlins County has yet to be tested this season. Hoxie has played Eight-Man, Division I’s No. 41 strength of schedule, while Atwood stands at No. 51 out of 52 teams, according to Hoxie’s tougher schedule and Kennedy’s playmaking gives the Indians a slight edge.

Our Pick: Hoxie 26, Rawlins County 24 (Nicholl)

The Pick List:

Junction City (5-3) at Manhattan (7-1) – Manhattan

Olathe South (5-3) at Olathe North (5-3) – Olathe North

Topeka High (7-1) at Washburn Rural (5-3) – Topeka High

Andover (8-0) at Newton (5-3) – Newton

No. 1 Bishop Carroll (8-0) at Liberal (5-3) – Carroll

Fort Scott (5-3) at Chanute (6-2) – Chanute

Eudora (5-3) at No. 3 Baldwin (8-0) – Baldwin

Topeka Hayden (4-4) at Wamego (7-1) – Hayden

Phillipsburg (7-1) at Norton (5-3) – Phillipsburg

No. 3 Rossville (8-0) at St. Marys (5-3) – Rossville

Centre-Lost Springs (6-2) at No. 3 Madison (7-1) –Madison


Use your Facebook account to add a comment or start a discussion. Posts are subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment.