The Pick List - Week 4

Jafar Armstrong and 4A-I #1 Bishop Miege take on 5A #4 St. Thomas Aquinas. (Jeff Floyd, PrepsKC)
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Sep 24, 2014

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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:

5A No. 2 Wichita Heights (3-0) at 5A No. 1 Bishop Carroll (3-0)

It doesn’t get much better than this.

The top two teams in Class 5A will square off in a huge game that will likely go a long way in deciding the Wichita City League title and solidify a favorite in Class 5A.

Top-ranked Bishop Carroll has rolled to three victories behind an explosive offense and stout defense.

The Golden Eagles feature Kansas State commit Denzel Goolsby at running back.  Goolsby has rushed for 470 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He has caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt for another score.

Carroll quarterback Colton Howell has accounted for nearly 540 yards of total offense and seven scores. Howell has passed for 315 yards and four scores and rushed for 223 more yards and three touchdowns.

The Eagle defense has been exceptional in allowing only three meaningless, fourth-quarter touchdowns this season.

After allowing 180 yards rushing against Wichita Northwest in Week 1, Carroll has allowed only 52 rushing yards on 58 carries in the last two weeks.

Their challenge is to slow down a Wichita Heights’ backfield with several options.

Tre King leads the Falcons with 194 yards and six touchdowns. King scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter a week ago to lift Heights to a 26-21 win at Dodge City.

In addition to King, Trenton Autry and Armond McCray have contributed 169 and 168 rushing yards, respectively.

Quarterback Garrett Haskins can keep defenses honest. Through three games, Haskins has thrown for 266 yards and three scores. His top target is Arie Johnson who has seven receptions for 137 yards and three touchdowns.

Heights will have to be balanced on offense against a tough Golden Eagle defense, but Carroll will likely have too much.

Our Pick: Bishop Carroll 38, Wichita Heights 20 (Gilmore)

4A-I No. 1 Bishop Miege (3-0) at 5A No. 4 St. Thomas Aquinas (3-0)

Three weeks into the season, there are three unbeaten teams remaining in the Eastern Kansas League. While one of those teams, Bishop Miege, was expected to contend for a league title, the other two may be somewhat of a surprise to many.

Blue Valley Southwest and St. Thomas Aquinas are also undefeated and gaining momentum. Miege, ranked No. 1 in 4A, Division II, will travel to take on 5A’s fifth-ranked Aquinas Saints.

Much has been made about the departure of legendary coach Randy Dreiling from Hutchinson to Aquinas.  While many thought it would be a rebuilding process similar to Hutchinson, Dreiling and the Saints believe they are ready to contend this season.

The Saints have started with wins over Mill Valley (34-24), Blue Valley North (49-25), and Blue Valley Northwest (35-7).

Dreling’s flexbone offense is beginning to take shape at Aquians. James Cosentino leads the Saints with more than 400 yards rushing and four touchdowns, and Karter Odermann and Kyle Bollig have rushed for 231 and 226 yards, respectively.

Perhaps more impressive was the Aquinas defense in the win over Blue Valley Northwest. The Saints held Northwest standout back Miles Alexander to only 32 yards rushing in the game.

That defense will be tested this week with Miege’s talented and diverse offense.

Quarterback Ryan Willis has passed for 827 yards and eight touchdowns in the Stags’ first three games. His primary targets have been Jafar Armstrong with 14 receptions for 331 yards and Danny Murphy 15 catches for 244 yards.

Miege’s offense has has become more balanced with the emergence of Dawson Downing in the backfield. Downing has rushed for 521 yards and seven scores already this season. The Stags feature an experienced offensive line which has allowed the Stags to dictate whatever they want on offense.

Last week, Miege outscored Blue Valley 42-7 in the first half, which included a 28-0 second quarter, on their way to a 42-21 win. If Willis and Downing get rolling, Miege could stay unbeaten, but it should be much closer than last year’s 50-16 Stag win.

Our Pick: Bishop Miege 35, Aquinas 20 (Gilmore)

Abilene (3-0) at 4A-II No. 5 Wamego (3-0)

Wamego finished 5-0 in NCKL play in 2012 won its first outright conference football championship since 1981 with a 35-12 victory against Clay Center. The title ended a three-year run for Abilene and the Red Raiders finished undefeated in league play for the first time since 1977.  

Last season, Wamego replicated the feat before it lost twice in district play and missed the postseason with a 7-2 mark. On Friday, Wamego can take another step toward a third straight NCKL title when it plays host to Abilene.

This season, the Red Raiders defeated Rock Creek 34-10, beat Jefferson West 42-20 and blew out Marysville,55-9. Senior quarterback Kyler Alderson has thrown for 625 yards with a 13/2 TD/INT ratio, and senior Wyatt Totten has caught 15 passes for 316 yards and six scores.

Wamego has forced nine turnovers and finished plus-six in turnover margin.

Steve Simpson, a veteran coach most recently at Sublette, took over for Jeff Geist in the summer and has led Abilene to a 3-0 record. The Cowboys have outscored opponents 88-7 and delivered a quality 14-7 victory against Concordia in Week 3 in the school’s Homecoming game.

The Red Raiders had lost five in a row to the Cowboys before back-to-back wins against Abilene (41-20 and 49-35) the last two seasons. Alderson proves to be just a little too much for Abilene as Wamego pulls out the victory.

Our Pick: Wamego 21, Abilene 20 (Nicholl)

4A-II No. 4 Holcomb (3-0) at 3A No. 3 Scott City (3-0)

This game could decide the GWAC title, especially after Holcomb defeated Ulysses, 17-14 in overtime last week. Holcomb, which was outgained 318-165, won on a 31-yard field goal by Trey Teeter.

Both Holcomb and Scott City have veteran quarterbacks (Teeter for Holcomb, Trey O’Neil for the Beavers) whose dads are the coach.

Few teams are more consistent than the Beavers, which continue to win games by big margins. The Beavers have won at least 10 contests every year since ’07 and have outscored opponents 161-31 this season.

O’Neil, has completed 39 of 55 passes for 521 yards with six scores against no interceptions. Scott City is also plus-five in turnover margin and O’Neil has picked off three passes.

Teeter has completed 32 of 71 passes for 451 yards with four TDs against one interception. Holcomb has had some trouble running the ball and has averaged just four yards a carry.

Scott City is 10-1 in its last 11 matchups with Holcomb and hasn’t lost in the last seven tries, following a 13-12 defeat in 2007. Last season, Scott City held on to win 31-28, the closest game in the winning streak. Holcomb managed to squeak out a win last week, but the Beavers are stronger across the board.

Our Pick: Scott City 21, Holcomb 10 (Nicholl)

2-1A No. 5 Smith Center (3-0) at Norton (3-0)

This storied rivalry will likely decide the MCL championship this season. Both teams are undefeated – Norton in big wins against Ellis, Phillipsburg and Oakley, Smith Center in big victories versus Plainville, Oakley and a comeback home win versus TMP last week.

Smith Center lost three fumbles and narrowly won, 30-22, against the Monarchs, a school known much more for basketball than football. However, TMP, 2-10 in its last 12 games, has played Hoisington, Ellis, Smith Center and Clay Center to a combined 37 points in the last two seasons.

Smith Center is paced by a backfield that includes Nick Lehmkuhl and Brody Frieling; they combined for 269 rushing yards against TMP last week.

Norton freshman quarterback Jace Ruder has received plenty of attention for throwing seven touchdowns against one interception (on a drop) to a variety of targets.

No Bluejay has 100 yards rushing or receiving any of the wins. Three players have rushed for scores and five have caught a TD pass.

The defense has also been impressive, holding the first two opponents to under 100 yards in total offense and Oakley under 160 last week. That included just 84 yards against Phillipsburg.

The teams have split the last four meetings in this longtime matchup and have alternated victories in the last five occasions. The last two meetings went 34-13 Norton in 2012 and 34-13 Smith Center in 2013.

Norton’s weapons and all-around talent will be too much.

Our Pick: Norton 35, Smith Center 21 (Nicholl)

8M-II No. 1 Chetopa (3-0) at Uniontown (2-1)

The Three Rivers League title is likely on the line this Friday when Chetopa visits Uniontown.

Chetopa, the top-ranked team in Eight-Man Division II, has rolled through their first three games this season winning by a combined score of 186-6.

The Green Hornets feature a high-octane offense led by senior running back Derrick Cassell. Cassell (6-1, 195) has rushed 41 times for 522 yards and 12 touchdowns already this season. For his career, Cassell has amassed 3,676 rushing yards and 69 scores.

But the ground game isn’t the only thing opposing defense must account for when scouting Sean Price’s team.

Quarterback Philip Moses has completed 67 percent of his passes for 375 yards and seven scores already this season. A year ago, Moses passed for more than 2,000 yards and 31 touchdowns, and is approaching the 4,000-yard mark for his career.

Chetopa also benefits from a dynamic athlete in Sherrick Rogers (6-0, 180) who transferred from Pittsburg High School. Rogers has ten receptions for 269 yards and five scores in his first three eight-man games.

Uniontown will provide perhaps the only challenge on the Hornets regular-season schedule. Chetopa’s nine opponents are a combined 6-20 thus far this season with one of those wins coming by forfeit. Four of Chetopa’s five remaining opponents after Friday night are winless.

Uniontown will no doubt be formidable.

The Eagles (2-1) have posted dominating wins over Altoona-Midway (64-0) and Colony-Crest (58-22) sandwiched around a 48-22 loss to Madison.

Against Madison, the Eagles led 16-0 before the Bulldogs scored 40 consecutive points to take control.

Against Crest last week, Uniontown rushed for nearly 450 yards led by Jacob Duffey’s 130 yards and three scores.

Cole Schafer and Tommy Joles also topped the 100-yard mark against the Lancers with 127 and 102 yards, respectively.

Quarterback Gavin Fry directs the Eagles offense behind a strong offensive line.

Last season, the Green Hornets outscored the Eagles 72-54. Expect another high-scoring affair on Friday night.

Our Pick: Chetopa 46, Uniontown 34 (Gilmore)

The Pick List:

Blue Valley Southwest at Blue Valley – Blue Valley

Topeka High at Emporia – Topeka High

Pittsburg at Chanute -- Pittsburg

Shawnee Heights at Topeka Hayden -- Hayden

Coffeyville at Fort Scott – Fort Scott

Independence at Caney Valley – Caney Valley

Galena at Frontenac -- Frontenac

Fredonia at Cherryvale -- Cherryvale

Meade at Cimarron -- Meade

Bennington at Sedgwick -- Sedgwick

Oakley at Phillipsburg -- Phillipsburg

Lincoln at Osborne -- Osborne

Little River at Udall -- Udall

Satanta at Hodgeman County – Hodgeman County

Victoria at Ness City -- Victoria

Hoxie at Sharon Springs-Wallace Co.  – Wallace County

Pratt-Skyline at Argonia-Attica – Pratt-Skyline

South Barber at Stafford -- Stafford


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