Class 4A Semifinal Preview

ExZavier Miller (7) will try & get Paola to its first 4A title game since 2006.(Nick Smith, PrepsKC)
By: Mark Schremmer & Matt Gilmore for
Nov 21, 2013

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Class 4A

4A East: No. 5 Coffeyville-Field Kindley (11-1) at No. 4 Paola (11-1)

Coffeyville’s 35-27 win over previously undefeated Baldwin delivered the Golden Tornado their first trip to the semifinals in school history. It is the first time a Southeast Kansas League school has advanced this far since Fort Scott reached the Class 4A semifinals in 2003.

The Golden Tornado’s quick-strike offense was on display against Baldwin as Coffeyville scored 35 consecutive points after falling behind 14-0 early.

Coffeyville puts up more than 400 yards per game with an average of 247.3 yards rushing and 182.9 yards passing.

Quarterback Nathan Finley has thrown for 2,099 yards and 20 touchdowns with nine interceptions. Finley is surrounded by offensive weapons. LaDarrius Johnson has rushed for 1,473 yards and 25 touchdowns. Destin Downing has rushed for 919 yards and 20 touchdowns. James Newton has 46 catches for 794 yards and six touchdowns. Darron Deffebaugh averages more than 30 yards per catch with 25 receptions for 799 yards and eight touchdowns.

Elijah Jones leads the Coffeyville defense with 141 tackles. Jackson Fuhrman has 120 tackles.

Paola’s only loss of the season came 28-9 to Baldwin in the second week of the season. Since then, the Panthers have rattled off 10 consecutive wins, including a 27-21 quarterfinal victory against KC Piper.

Paola led KC Piper by as much as 24-7 in the third quarter before holding on for the win. Andrew Henn rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown. Corey Stallbaumer added 87 yards and a touchdown. Paola’s kicker Luke Wilson proved that he can be a factor in close games as he made field goals of 48 and 30 yards.

Coffeyville’s only loss of the season came 42-14 to Class 5A’s Pittsburg, which like Paola is a predominantly running team.

Still, Coffeyville’s offense will be difficult to contain.

Coffeyville 35 , Paola 28 (Schremmer)


4A West: No. 1 Holton (12-0) at No. 3 Buhler (11-1)

Defending champion Holton will face another tough test as they travel to Buhler in the semifinal on the west side of the 4A bracket.

The Wildcats outlasted No. 2 Andale 24-14 last week thanks to a big second half.  Andale led 7-3 at halftime, but Holton turned the tide in the second half thanks to its trademark running game and strong defense.

Holton stopped Andale on fourth-down twice in the second half and turned both occasions into touchdowns.

Brenden Hampton scored on a 14-yard run to make it 17-7, and later iced the game with a 57-yard touchdown run mid-way through the fourth quarter.  The senior finished with 160 yards on the ground, two touchdowns, and kicked a 28-yard field goal. He leads the Wildcats with 1,374 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Drake Ewing has added 790 yards rushing and 16 scores after missing some time earlier in the season. Ewing gave the Wildcats the lead for good against Andale with a short touchdown run early in the third quarter.

Buhler had to travel in the first two rounds of the playoffs before returning home last week. The Crusaders gutted out a 14-7 win at Ulysses in the first round before blowing out Abilene in the second round.

Last week, Buhler trailed Topeka Hayden 10-7 at halftime before senior running back Riley Allen broke free in the third quarter. Allen scored on touchdown runs of 19 and 68 yards to give the Crusaders a 21-10 lead.

After battling a late-season ankle injury, the speedy Allen appears to be at full strength. He has produced rushing performances of 202, 183, and 175 yards in the Crusaders’ three playoff wins.

Complementing Allen has been all-purpose back Denton Branscom and quarterback Jace Williams.

The last time the Crusaders and Wildcats met in the state semifinals was 2010 when Holton won 42-7.

Holton 30, Buhler 14 (Gilmore)

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