Class 4A Quarterfinal Preview

Coffeyville-Field Kindley QB Nathan Finley will try and lead the 'Nado past Baldwin. (David Jackson)
By: Conor Nicholl, Mark Schremmer, & Matt Gilmore for
Nov 13, 2013

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Class 4A

4A East: No. 5 Paola (10-1) at KC Piper (7-4)

KC Piper has reached the state quarterfinals for the second consecutive season by virtue of wins over Jefferson West and Spring Hill.

Chris Brindle’s Pirates rallied from a 24-7 hole in the fourth quarter to top Jefferson West 28-24 in the first round.

Piper is led by senior quarterback Tanner Eikenbary who has passed for more than 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season.

The offense is balanced with junior Travon Jones leading the team in rushing with 559 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Sterling Owens has contributed 542 yards rushing and four scores, while junior Colton Beebe has 354 yards rushing and ten touchdowns.  

Eikenbary spreads the ball around as five different receivers have at least 150 receiving yards.

Beebe (6-3, 235) leads the team with 140 tackles, including eight tackles for loss and two sacks.

Paola has won nine straight games since a Week 2 28-9 loss to No. 3 Baldwin. The Panthers are in the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season and have reached the state semifinals four times during that span.

Paola reached the Sub-State round three consecutive seasons from 2009 to 2011.

The Panthers feature more balance than in past seasons under Mike Dumpert.

Andrew Henn has the ability to be a dual threat at quarterback. Henn rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s 42-13 win over Independence. He also passed for 141 yards and a touchdown on just five completions.

Paola is loaded with talent including ExZavier Miller who ran the ball 12 times for 86 yards and one touchdown in the win over Independence.  Corey Stallbaumer, Jeremy Criddle, and Mitchell Sloan all have the ability to make big plays on offense.

Paola will control this game and reach the semifinals for the fourth time in five years.

Paola 34, Piper 18  (Gilmore)

4A East: No. 3 Baldwin (11-0) at Coffeyville-Field Kindley (10-1)

Baldwin enters this quarterfinal playoff game with an 11-0 record and an impressive 6-0 record in the Frontier League. That record becomes all the more meaningful when you realize the Frontier League has had a representative in the Class 4A state championship game in each of the past three seasons.

The Bulldogs have scored the third most points in all of Class 4A with 502, while allowing the third fewest with 110.

Baldwin’s Cornell Brown ran for more than 120 yards during the Bulldogs’ 28-10 win against Tonganoxie on Saturday

As a team, Baldwin rushed for more than 300 yards.

Coffeyville’s only loss came to 5A’s Pittsburg during the sixth week of the season.

Coffeyville has scored the second most point in 4A with 521. The Golden Tornado rushes for 254.6 yards per game and passes for 183.5 yards per game.

Nathan Finley passed for 177 yards and three touchdown passes during Saturday’s 42-21 win against Chanute.

Finley has passed for 1,922 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. LaDarrius Johnson has rushed for 1,391 yards and 24 touchdowns. James Newton has 40 catches for 736 yards and six touchdowns. Darron Deffebaugh has 22 catches for 700 yards and seven TDs.

Baldwin enters as the favorite, but Coffeyville is dangerous as it boasts some of the fastest players in the state. Limiting the big play and keeping Coffeyville in check on special teams will be keys for the Bulldogs.

Baldwin 28, Coffeyville 21 (Schremmer)

4A West: No. 2 Andale (11-0) at No. 1 Holton (11-0)

Perhaps the biggest game in the state on Friday features the top two teams in Class 4A. Andale will travel to Holton in a match-up between two programs that next season will highlight the new Class 4A, Division II.

Both programs have reached the playoffs each year for the past ten seasons. During that time, Holton has posted a record of 112-12, while Andale is 103-18 including a 5-6 mark in 2011. They each have been crowned state champions during that time span. Andale won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, while Holton is the defending 4A champion and claimed the title in 2005 and 2003.

This season both teams are unbeaten behind strong rushing attacks.

Andale features four outstanding backs that can go the distance on any play. Junior Hunter Knoblauch leads the Indians with 1,667 rushing yards, including a 148-yard performance against McPherson on Saturday. Knoblauch also returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

Joining him in the backfield is senior quarterback Jared Smarsh, junior Hank Eck, and freshman Anthony Capul. Smarsh rushed for 90 yards and three scores in the win over McPherson.

Holton, on the other hand, continues to win on the strength of their ground game. The Wildcats average 396 yards per game on the ground. Brenden Hampton leads Holton with 1,374 yards and 17 touchdowns, while last season’s leading rusher Drake Ewing has totaled 790 yards and 16 scores.

Senior quarterback Ethan Holaday (560 yards, 6 TDs), senior Andrew Rieschick (484 yards, 4TDs), and sophomore Mason Barta (332 yards, 2TDs) have also gathered significant carries for the Wildcats.

The key to this game may be Holton’s defense which has held 2,000-yard rushers in check in consecutive games. Hesston’s Ryan Schadler finished the season with 2,423 yards and 35 touchdowns, but managed only 107 yards on 24 carries against Holton. Michael Mason of Mulvane finished his senior season with 2,232 yards and 27 touchdowns; only 77 of which came against Holton.

In what should be a great game, the slight edge goes to Holton at home.

Holton 22, Andale 16 (Gilmore)

4A West: Topeka Hayden (7-4) at No. 4 Buhler (10-1)

Buhler dominated last week’s contest against Abilene leading 56-7 midway through the third quarter en route to a 56-22 victory. Buhler didn’t surrender a first down until midway through the second quarter.

The Crusaders rushed for 408 rushing yards, including 183 by Riley Allen and 105 from Denton Branscom, who had three TDs.  Allen finished with two scores.

Hayden has now won three in a row and tallied 57, 48 and 35 points in those contests. The two playoff victories were a 48-45 overtime win against Maize South and a 35-27 victory last week against Winfield.

Except for last season, Hayden has advanced at least three rounds deep in the playoffs each year since 2006, the year before current coach Bill Arnold took over.

J.C. Menke has rushed 183 times for 1,132 yards with 23 scores for Hayden, according to Hayden statistician Patrick Macfee. Zach Smith has 117 carries for 722 yards.

Quarterback Jacob Head has completed 94 of 176 passes for 1,198 yards with 10 TDs.

Hayden is 3-1 all-time against Buhler, including matchups in the playoffs every year from ’08-11. Buhler has scored just 48 points in those four games. This time, Buhler’s offense proves too much for Hayden.

Buhler 40, Hayden 30 (Nicholl)

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