Saturday Playoff Preview: Class 3A

James Jones will try and help Marion avoid a second loss to Sedgwick this season. (Janae Rempel)
By: Mark Schremmer and Conor Nicholl for
Nov 9, 2013

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Class 3A

3A East: Hiawatha (7-3) at No. 4 Silver Lake (9-1)

The Redhawks enter the matchup against Silver Lake on a five-game winning streak, not allowing more than 13 points in any one of those games. Hiawatha focused on its ground game with Brendan Steele to defeat Riley County 25-8 on Tuesday.

Hiawatha boasts one of the top individual talents in the state with defensive lineman Peyton Newell, who has verbally committed to play at Nebraska.

Silver Lake’s only loss of the season came 27-21 to rival Rossville in the War on 24 on Oct. 11. Since then, the Eagles have won four straight in dominating fashion against Pleasant Ridge, Atchison County, Maur Hill and St. Marys.

The Eagles scored 28 points in the third quarter to pull away in a 35-0 win over St. Marys on Tuesday.  Senior quarterback Dailin Kruger passed for 116 yards and a touchdown in the win, but he completed only 50 percent of his passes and threw one interception.

Kruger, who injured his knee earlier in the season, has thrown for 1,410 yards with 19 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Cody Renfro leads Silver Lake in rushing with 653 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Silver Lake 21, Hiawatha 12 (Schremmer)

3A East: Humboldt (8-2) at Cherryvale (7-3)

This second-round playoff game will be a rematch of a Week 5 Tri-Valley League game that Cherryvale won 47-31.

Humboldt is on a four-game winning streak since falling to Cherryvale and Caney Valley in the fifth and sixth weeks of the season. The Cubs rolled through district then held on to beat Central Heights 13-6 in the first round of the playoffs.

Humboldt has boasted a strong passing game this season with quarterback Alex Murrow, and Cherryvale has shown it can be susceptible to the pass at times.

Cherryvale advanced to the second round of the playoffs with an impressive 32-18 win over Galena. The Chargers took advantage of the sloppy field conditions at a soaked Abbey Field in Galena.

Cherryvale’s 5-foot-7 and 204-pound fullback Tristan Thornton flourished in the conditions, rushing for 183 yards and a touchdown, including 138 yards in the second half.

The Chargers boast a strong offensive line, which could pose some problems for the Cubs.

Cherryvale 38, Humboldt 20 (Schremmer)

3A West: Scott City (9-1) at Phillipsburg (9-1)

Scott City is the defending Class 3A state champion, while the Panthers are looking to enjoy the best season in school history. The Beavers lost nearly all of its key players off last season’s squad, but have again posted its trademark strong defense under veteran coach Glenn O’Neil.

The Beavers stand sixth in 3A in scoring defense (99 points allowed).

Phillipsburg, the No. 1 3A defense earlier in the year, has allowed 124 points.

Junior quarterback Trey O’Neil, the coach's son, has completed 58 of 101 passes for 928 yards and a 9/4 TD/INT ratio. Scott City has won at least nine games in the last six years.

Phillipsburg has made the round of 16 three times in 2002, ’05 and ’11 and the round of eight just once, in ’04.

Senior quarterback Riley Juenemann has completed 55 of 91 passed for 1,178 yards and a 10/4 TD/INT ratio and helped the Panthers defeat Sacred Heart, 27-20, in the first round of the playoffs last week.

This is the first meeting between the Panthers and Scott City in the last decade. Phillipsburg is 6-0 on the road and just 3-1 at home, but the Panthers all-around talent and experience allow Phillipsburg to advance in a low-scoring contest.

Phillipsburg 20, Scott City 16 (Nicholl)

3A West: Marion (9-1) at Sedgwick (9-1)

Sedgwick is one of Kansas’ most explosive, balanced offenses with 249 rushing yards and 248 passing yards per game. Sedgwick ranks No. 2 in 3A with 500 points. Marion has tallied just 314 points, but has permitted just 83 points, 3A’s No. 1 defense.

Sedgwick junior quarterback Brylie Ware has completed 142 of 226 passes for 2,358 yards and a 23/3 TD/INT ratio. Senior Dalton Brandt has rushed 162 times for 1,490 yards and 27 TDs.

These two teams, while much different, are virtually identical in terms of strength of schedule and total margin of victory. Sedgwick, though, is 4-0 in the last decade against Marion; the last victory was a 34-14 win on Sept. 13 of this season. Since then, Marion has reeled off eight straight victories, including two wins against Hutchinson Trinity. On Tuesday, Marion defeated Trinity 10-0 in the first round of the playoffs and limited the Celtics to 67 yards in sloppy weather.

The first score came off a safety from a bad punt snap. Warrior quarterback Taylor Heidebrecht rushed for 107 yards and a TD. Marion is 6-0 at home and 3-1 on the road.

Sedgwick’s high-powered offense has a slight edge against Marion’s tough defense. A Cardinal victory gives Sedgwick three straight 10-win seasons under veteran coach Jeff Werner.

Sedgwick 30, Marion 14 (Nicholl)

The rest of our 3A second-round picks:
Wellsville (8-2) at St. Mary’s Colgan (8-2)
No. 3 Rossville (10-0) at Nemaha Valley (9-1)
No. 2 Conway Springs (10-0) at Kingman (7-2)
No. 1 Beloit (10-0) at Holcomb (7-3)

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