The Pick List - Week 3

Olathe North LB Marcel Spears looks to lead the Eagles past Olathe South. (photo courtesy PrepsKC)
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Sep 18, 2014

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:

6A No. 5 Olathe South (2-0) at 6A No. 2 Olathe North (2-0)

After just two weeks, just eight squads are left with perfect records in Class 6A. One is Olathe North, which was preseason No. 1 and touted as Kansas’ best team.

Olathe North has won two close games against Rogers (Ark.) 18-13 in a late fourth quarter comeback and 14-7 in a strong win against Free State last week. Olathe South lost all-state lineman Braden Smith to Auburn but is a surprising 2-0.

These two, along with Shawnee Mission East, are the lone undefeated squads in the Sunflower League.

Both teams have allowed just 19 points, tied for seventh in scoring defense in Class 6A.

South’s Collin Fischer has surprised the Sunflower League with 27 carries for 184 yards and two scores last Friday and 282 yards and three scores for the year. According to Sunflower League expert Eli Underwood, Fischer has committed to play lacrosse for Rockhurst University.

Jake Seurer has thrown for 186 yards and two scores for Olathe South. Olathe South defeated Hutchinson 24-2 in Week 1 and rolled over Olathe East 46-17 last week.

The only Sunflower League running back with more yards than Fischer is Olathe North standout Venus Triplett, who has rushed for 296 yards and four scores. Triplett has needed to perform well after Olathe North has had injuries at quarterback.

In both contests, Olathe North has trailed at the half. First-string quarterback Cole Murphy was out with a leg injury against Free State.

North is 8-4 against South in the last 12 meetings, including the last two and six of the last seven.

This will be a rocking atmosphere and Olathe South has had a great start to its season, but Olathe North has just too much – especially on defense – and pulls out a low-scoring win.

Our Pick: Olathe North 17, Olathe South 14 (Nicholl)

6A No. 3 Blue Valley (2-0) at 4A-I No. 1 Bishop Miege (2-0)

In perhaps the marquee game in the state this week, Class 6A’s No. 3 ranked Blue Valley Tigers travel to take on 4A-I No. 1 Bishop Miege.

This game will likely be pivotal in determining the Eastern Kansas League championship.

After winning the Class 5A state championship last fall, Blue Valley had to replace several talented seniors – especially on offense. The Tigers have responded with a strong start.

Blue Valley shutout Shawnee Mission Northwest 29-0 in Week One before beating Blue Valley West 30-13 a week ago.

Colton McCumber has emerged as a threat at quarterback having scored multiple times in each of the Tiger’s first two games. McCumber has rushed for 182 yards and passed for 242 yards already this season. A.J. Totta has been the primary back in the first two games, racking up more than 230 yards and three touchdowns through two games.  

The Tiger offensive line is anchored by the state’s best in Missouri-commit A.J. Harris.

Blue Valley’s defense is the strength; however, having forced four turnovers, registered seven sacks, and returned an interception for a touchdown against Blue Valley West.

That defense will be tested this week as Miege brings in a high-octane offense led by probably the state’s best quarterback.

Ryan Willis (6-4, 205) has completed 70 percent of his passes this season for 542 yards and four touchdowns. The Kansas-commit threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns a season ago despite missing some time due to injury. Willis has developed a favorite target in Jafar Armstrong who has ten receptions for 208 yards and a score.

The Stags feature a veteran offensive line which has been key in the emergence of Dawson Downing at running back. Downing leads the EKL in rushing with 394 yards and five touchdowns through the first two games. He’s averaging more than seven yards per carry.

However, this will likely be the best defense the Stags face this season. A defense that will have revenge on its mind after Miege won at Blue Valley 24-15 a year ago.

Our Pick: Blue Valley 27, Bishop Miege 24 (Gilmore)

4A-I No. 2 Topeka Hayden (2-0) at Manhattan (2-0)

A key match-up that could decide the Centennial League race will take palce at Bishop Stadium when Topeka Hayden visits Manhattan.

The Wildcats and Indians have not met since the 2010 and 2011 seasons; both close games won by Manhattan. The Indians won 7-6 in 2010 and 22-17 in 2011.

Hayden will take to the road for the first time this season after dominant home wins over Topeka Seaman (56-7) and Washburn Rural (43-0) to begin the season.

The Wildcats are led by senior quarterback Jacob Head (6-2, 185). After throwing for 1,450 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, Head’s completed 60 percent of his passes for 336 yards and four scores this season.He’s connected with six different receivers thus far, including Connor Schumacher and Noah Huston who have six receptions a piece. Tight end Marcus Meier (6-3, 240) also has four catches for 43 yards on the season.

Schumacher is the Wildcat’s leading rusher after a 111-yard, two-touchdown performance in last week’s shutout of Rural. Daniel Gaito has nearly 100 yards on the ground thus far, and six other players have at least 40 yards rushing.  

Manhattan, meanwhile, scored 20 points in the fourth quarter last week to beat Seaman 41-13.

Daniel Izquierdo Jr. rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown. The Indians have a threat in Chris Martin who rushed for a score and also caught a touchdown pass last week.

In all, the Indians rushed for more than 250 yards in the game.

The Manhattan defense was opportunistic as well, scoring two touchdowns by virtue of a fumble return and an interception return – both by linebacker Adam Al-Soltani.

The Indians have won or shared the Centennial League title in each of the past five seasons, but look for Hayden to pull out a close one on Friday night.

Our Pick: Hayden 20, Manhattan 17 (Gilmore)

4A-I No. 4 KC Piper (2-0) at Louisburg (2-0)

The Piper Pirates take on a Frontier League opponent for the second consecutive week when they travel to traditional-power Louisburg.

The Pirates have slugged out a pair of victories over Lansing (20-14) and Baldwin (2-0) so far this season. Chris Brindle’s team is built on defense and rightfully so. The Pirates returned players with starting experience at every position on that side of the ball.

Colton Beebe (6-3, 252) leads the defense from his linebacker position and has already registered 30 tackles in two games.

On offense, Beebe, Travon Jones, and Sterling Owens make up the primary ball carriers along with quarterback Ty Banes. Jones has rushed for a team-high 92 yards and two scores this season. Banes has been efficient in completing 13 of 19 pass attempts for 179 yards and a score.

Louisburg opened with a 19-0 shutout of Ottawa and followed that up with a rally to top Eudora 14-7.

Grant Harding directs the Wildcat offense from under center and has capable backs behind him in Cole Kramer and Alex Dunn. It was Dunn who gave the Wildcats the lead against Eudora with a short touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Louisburg remains a defensive-minded team led by linebacker T.J. Smith.

Fans of these two teams should expect another close game this Friday night.

Our Pick: Piper 20, Louisburg 14  (Gilmore)

3A No. 5 Wichita Collegiate (2-0) at 4A-II No. 1 Andale (2-0)

Among large class teams, perhaps no one has delivered two quality wins like Andale, which rolled over defending Class 4A champion Buhler and high-octane McPherson in the first two weeks.

Andale defeated rival Buhler 41-20 and McPherson 42-21 and solidified itself as the favorite in Class 4A, II. But the scores were deceiving: Andale was dominant in both games.

Last Friday, Andale led 35-7 after three quarters and limited star McPherson quarterback Kyler Kinnamon to 11 of 20 passing for 112 yards with one score against one interception. Senior running back Hank Eck, overshadowed by all-state standout Hunter Knoblauch, finished with 10 touches for 195 yards and two scores.  Eck scored on runs of 44 and 76 yards. Knoblauch did have a 44-yard score and a 90-yard run and finished with 168 rushing yards.

Collegiate delivered emphatic victories against Rose Hill (35-6) and Circle (28-6).

Senior Jaques Williams is off to a strong start with 44 carries for 318 yards and five rushing TDs.

The Spartans have averaged 257 rushing yards per game and 5.9 yards per carry.

Collegiate and Andale have split the last four meetings, but three of them have been close. Andale won 30-28 in 2013, while Collegiate picked up 41-27 victories in 2012 and a 41-0 win in 2011. Andale earned a 33-21 victory in 2010.

Andale delivers another resume-building win and continues to assert itself as a state championship favorite.

Our Pick: Andale 35, Collegiate14 (Nicholl)

8M-I No. 1 Hanover (2-0) at Wakefield (2-0)

This is the first of several huge games in Eight-Man, Division I, District 4 that includes Osborne, Hanover and Wakefield. Hanover is ranked No. 1, Osborne No. 2 and Wakefield is just out of the top-5. Wakefield, which went 5-4 and averaged 44 points per game in 2013, has a chance to assert itself with a huge win – possibly the biggest in school history. The Bombers haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 and have just two postseason wins in school annals.

Wakefield’s standout speedy running back Zack Melius had 11 total touchdowns (nine rushing, two receiving) and 66 points, which tied the single game 8-man record for TDs and points in a contest in last week’s 96-46 victory against Solomon. Melius has 33 carries for 490 yards and 12 rushing TDs, including 324 yards against Solomon.

Wakefield is Kansas’ highest-scoring team with 146 points and is led by a four-year stater at quarterback in Keenan Westerman. He is seven of eight with 145 yards and a 4/0 TD/INT ratio. Westerman has a 22/4 TD/INT ratio since his freshman year.

This marks Wakefield’s third straight home game to start the season; the Bombers opened with a 56-0 victory against Blue Valley-Randolph in Week 1. Wakefield is 5-1 at home in the last two years, 2-3 on the road.

Hanover, up from a great run in Eight-Man, Division II, has rolled through its first two games with a 52-12 victory against Axtell and a 58-12 win versus Frankfort. The Wildcats have now won eight in a row against Axtell – all by at least 20 points – and three straight versus Frankfort with each victory by the 45-point margin.

The Wildcats tallied 38 points in the second quarter last Friday. Andrew Bruna threw four touchdown passes and rushed for two others. Hanover limited Frankfort to 19 yards on 17 carries. Hanover features arguably eight-man’s best lineman in senior Ethan Fritschi at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds.

Hanover is 4-0 against Wakefield in the last ten years, but none of the meetings have come since 2007. When Hanover has lost, it’s usually come against teams that have great speed, physicality and the ability to run and pass. Hanover will have trouble with Wakefield’s speed and playmaking.

In the preseason, I picked Wakefield to be my surprise team in Eight-Man, Division I. I am sticking to my preseason nod. Wakefield, also playing at home, pulls the upset.

Our Pick: Wakefield 44, Hanover 40 (Nicholl)

The Pick List:

Blue Valley Northwest (1-1) at St. Thomas Aquinas (2-0) – Aquinas

Mill Valley (0-2) at Derby (1-1) – Derby

5A No. 4 Salina South (2-0) at Hutchinson (1-1) – Salina South

Fort Scott (2-0) at 5A No. 5 Pittsburg (2-0) – Pittsburg

5A No. 2 Wichita Heights (2-0) at Dodge City (2-0) – Wichita Heights

Chanute (0-2) at Coffeyville (1-1) – Chanute

Concordia (2-0) at Abilene (2-0) – Concordia

Kingman (2-0) at Larned (1-1) – Kingman

3A No. 3 Conway Springs (2-0) at Garden Plain (1-1) – Conway Springs

Norton (2-0) at Oakley (1-1) – Norton

Ell-Saline (2-0) at Sedgwick (1-1) – Sedgwick

Hodgeman County (2-0) vs. Linn (2-0) (at Tescott)Hodgeman County

Pratt-Skyline (2-0) at Pretty Prairie (1-1) – Pratt-Skyline



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.