The Pick List - Week 8

Safety Sam Daily will try & help Blue Valley West slow down Aquinas. (by Matt Gilmore,
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Oct 22, 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:

6A No. 4 Olathe South (6-1) at 6A No. 3 Blue Valley (6-1)

A showdown between the Sunflower League and the Eastern Kansas League will take place in suburban Kansas City on Friday when No. 4 Olathe South takes on No. 3 Blue Valley.

The Falcons and Tigers not only will battle for bragging rights for their league, but to likely decide the District 3.

Olathe South surprised many in the state with a dominating 24-2 win at Hutchinson in Week 1. The Falcons have rolled to a 6-1 record after finishing each of the past two seasons at 5-4 following their 2011 6A state title.

The Falcons are led by one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the state in Jake Seurer.  Seurer has passed for 892 yards and eight touchdowns while completing 61 percent of his passes. Seurer has also rushed for 420 yards and ten scores.

Olathe South’s leading rusher, Collin Fischer, was injured two weeks ago. Fischer had rushed for 448 yards and five scores on the year.

The Falcons have turned to DaeVonte Nance who has 502 yards and six scores on the season. Nance has rushed for more than 100 yards in three straight games, including a 245-yard, two-touchdown performance in South’s 29-21 win over Lawrence.

Olathe South’s lone loss came 27-26 in overtime to No. 2 Olathe North back in Week 3. The Falcons led that game 13-0 in the first half and a missed PAT in overtime proved to be the difference.

Blue Valley has four straight games since a 42-21 loss to Bishop Miege back in Week 3.

The Tiger offense is directed by quarterback Colton McCumber who has rushed for 448 yards and six touchdowns and passed for 744 more yards and eight touchdowns.

Williams Evans and A.J. Totta led the Tigers out of the backfield. Evans has rushed for 598 yards and eight touchdowns, while Totta has 590 yards and seven more scores.

Alec Nichols is the Tigers leading receiver with 17 receptions for 253 yards and two scores.

The Tiger defense is giving up only 14 points per game, while the Falcons are surrendering 17.

Blue Valley and Olathe South last met back in the 2008 and 2009 seasons when the Tigers were last in 6A. Blue Valley won both of those meetings 42-24 (’08) and 42-14 (’09).

Our Pick: Blue Valley 27, Olathe South 24 (Gilmore)

5A No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas (5-2) at 5A No. 5 Blue Valley West (4-3)

Another key game in the Eastern Kansas League and in the eastern half of the 5A bracket features No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas at No. 5 Blue Valley West.

The Saints and Jaguars will battle in a game that may decide the two playoff spots in the loaded 5A, District 4.

Last week, Aquinas scored 21 points in each of the first two quarters in rolling past Blue Valley Southwest, 48-7.

The Saints rushed for nearly 425 yards on the night behind James Cosentino’s 120 yards and Sam Ramaekers’ 100-yard night. Cosentino and Ramaekers each scored a touchdown on the ground.

Cosentino remains the Saints’ leading rusher with 816 yards and seven scores.

Karter Odermann leads the Saint offense and is a dual threat himself, rushing for 428 yards and eight touchdowns and passing for 445 yards and seven scores.

Blue Valley West fell behind 12-0 early before rallying to beat Pittsburg 14-12. The Jaguars rallied to take the lead by halftime and held off numerous Pittsburg scoring opportunities in claiming a key road win.

West quarterback Nathan Wiles continues to gain more and more momentum after stepping in for injured starter Zev Mallin in Week 2. The junior Oklahoma-baseball commit tossed his six and seventh touchdowns of the season in the win over Pittsburg.

Wiles has a talented group of receivers including Luke Curtis and 6-foot-7 tight-end Blaise Gammon. Curtis and Gammon each grabbed touchdown passes in the district opening win.

For West to beat the Saints, they’ll need to be solid up front with the likes of Hunter Saulsbury (6-4, 278). The Jaguars ability to run the ball with Tyler Cox will make Wiles and the passing game more effective.

Our Pick: Aquinas 28, West 21 (Gilmore)

4A-I No. 3 Buhler (6-1) at McPherson (5-2)

If anyone doubted whether or not Buhler had enough remaining talent for a run at a second consecutive state championship, the Crusaders answered those questions with a resounding yes last Friday night.

Buhler scored 28 consecutive points in the first half to pound previously-unbeaten Hays, 55-21.

The two teams traded first-quarter touchdowns before the Crusaders scored four consecutive times to take a 35-7 lead. Hays tacked on a touchdown before half to pull within 35-14. But Buhler sustained a long third-quarter drive that resulted in a Dillon Engelland touchdown to put the game away.

Hays had no answer for Buhler junior quarterback Jace Williams. Williams rushed for 321 yards and three touchdowns and passed for another 168 yards to lead the Crusaders.

Engelland added 81 yards rushing but rushed for three touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass.

Buhler now has a leg up in the District 8 standings, but must try and slow down another talented dual-threat quarterback this week in McPherson’s Kyler Kinnamon.

Kinnamon rushed for two touchdowns last week in the Bullpups’ 17-6 win over previously-unbeaten Abilene.

For the season, Kinnamon has rushed for 775 yards and nine touchdowns, while passing for 812 yards and seven more scores.

Ty Hart is McPherson’s second leading rusher with 360 yards and seven scores.

The Bullpups have won five straight games since opening the season with losses to 5A No. 3 Salina South (61-32) and 4A-II No.1 Andale (42-21).

By comparison, Buhler fell to Andale a week earlier, 41-20

Our Pick: Buhler 48, McPherson 17 (Gilmore)

4A-II No. 4 Frontenac (7-0) at 4A-II No. 3 Columbus (7-0)

The CNC League championship and a district championship will be on the line as unbeaten Frontenac travels to take on unbeaten Columbus.

Frontenac is enjoying its best season in coach Mark Smith’s (18-9) third year. The Raiders are unbeaten and will likely reach the postseason for a fifth consecutive season.

This season, Frontenac won three consecutive games by single digits spanning Week 4 through Week 6. The Raiders stopped Galena on a 4th-and-goal at the 2-yard line in the third quarter to preserve a 30-26 win in Week 4. Frontenac then followed that up with a 14-7 win over rival St. Mary’s Colgan, and then rallied to beat Girard 16-13 in the mud in Week 6.

Quarterback Austin Seward has been solid at directing the Raider offense. Backs Ryan Menghini and Keaton Bolinger have done a lot of the damage out of the backfield, although Bolinger was injured in the Girard game.  His younger brother, Cadin, relieved him and broke a 63-yard touchdown run to get Frontenac on the board.

Receiver John Barrows hasn’t caught many passes, but he does have six touchdown receptions.

On the other side, the Columbus Titans have only had to survive one close game – a 14-12 win over St. Mary’s Colgan in the mud in Week 6.

Jace McDown rushed for 212 yards and two scores in the game, including the deciding touchdown and two-point conversion mid-way through the fourth quarter.

McDown is the Titans leading rusher with 878 yards and 12 scores. His backfield mate, senior Zane Roark, was lost for the season in the Week 1 win over Chanute. Quarterback Nate Bole is the Titans second-leading rusher with 333 yards and seven scores.

The Titans use a two-quarterback system with Bole and junior Trey Robinson. Robinson is known to be more of the thrower, although Bole has four more pass attempts than Trey on the season. Robinson has thrown for 406 yards and two scores, but has thrown five interceptions. Bole has passed for 252 yards and two scores with three interceptions.

The Titans have athletes at receiver in juniors Jovan Morrill and Zack Roark, and freshman Keenan Stanley.

For Columbus to make a deep playoff run, they will have to continue to develop consistency in the passing game.

The Titan defense is good enough to keep them in most games led by a pair of state-champion wrestlers at linebacker in McDown and Taylor Watkins. Garrett Brittain has seemingly an endless motor on the defensive line and has registered seven sacks.

How even are these two teams? Frontenac has scored 216 points this season to Columbus’ 215. The Titan defense gets the slight nod having surrendered 75 points to Frontenac’s 85.

Our Pick: Columbus 22, Frontenac 14 (Gilmore)

Beloit (5-2) at Norton (7-0)

Class 3A is easily the most top-heavy of all the classifications.

Norton, which has not played a close game en route to a 7-0 start, has had trouble even entering the rankings because of the depth of the classification.

The Bluejays have already won two more games than they did last season and are a win away from their most victories in four years.

Norton ranks as the No. 8 offense with 276 points and No. 2 defense (34 points allowed), trailing only Silver Lake, the No. 1 ranked team in the classification.

Norton standout freshman quarterback Jace Ruder hurt his collarbone in Week 4, but the Bluejays’ offense has still  played well. Junior Jordan Dole has moved back to quarterback after he played under center as a sophomore and then started at fullback to open the season.

Norton, albeit against weaker competition in the last three weeks, is 14 of 31 passing for 234 yards with four scores against one interception in wins against Plainville, Colby and Russell since Ruder was hurt.

The offense averaged 369 yards in the first four wins, 382 the last three weeks.

Senior Jared Tallent leads Norton with 82 carries for 563 yards and eight rushing scores. Sophomore Jacob Green has 54 tackles and 16 for loss and four forced fumbles, both team-highs.

Beloit, the reigning Class 3A runner-up and historically Kansas’ highest-scoring 11-man offense in recent history, has started slowly this season.

The Trojans lost 26-0 to Concordia in the season opener, but have the No. 7 offense at 276 points and is tied for 11th in defense at 79 points. Beloit fell  27-26 to Minneapolis in overtime back in Week 6.

Jace Adams has rushed 123 times for 734 yards and 11 scores. Hunter Budke and Levi Robison each have at least nine tackles for loss on defense.

R.J. Jackson, the Trojans’ leading receiver, is one of Kansas’ top players.

Beloit is 4-3 in the last seven matchups against the Bluejays and has won the last three in a row.

But Norton’s overall talent level, especially on defense, leads to a victory and a district championship.

Our Pick: Norton 31, Beloit 21 (Nicholl)

Hutchinson Trinity (7-0) at Kingman (6-1)

Kingman and Hutchinson Trinity are two of the biggest surprises – not only in Class 3A, but across the entire state.

After some early-season injuries, Kingman has made its entire focus on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles shut out their first four opponents 20-0, 13-0, 3-0 and 7-0 before a 21-7 defeat to one-loss Hoisington. Kingman has won the last two contests by at least 22 points.

The Eagles are now 13-4 in the last two seasons under coach Curtis Albin after not posting a winning season in the previous eight years.

Kingman averages just 54 passing yards per game (on 27 of 74 passing for the season), but has 30 tackles for loss and 13 sacks on defense. They have scored on a fumble recovery and are 11 of 14 on extra points and 2 of 4 on field goals behind junior kicker Sven Hempen. S

Senior Parker Maloney leads the defense with 71 tackles. Senior Cody New has 457 rushing yards and five TDs. The teams have split the meetings in the last two seasons, including a 35-6 victory by Kingman last fall.

Hutchinson Trinity remains undefeated and has won the Heart of America title behind quality wins against Sedgwick and Marion under first-year coach Jordan Bell.

The Celtics won the first six games by at least 24 points before a 33-22 district victory against Garden Plain last week.

Trinity has outscored opponents 250-56.

Elias Jasso-Cardenas leads the running game for the Celtics. He rushed 11 times for 100 yards and three scores in last week’s win over the Owls.

Kingman has been great, but Trinity has the better quality of victories and stronger offense.

Our Pick: Trinity Catholic 24, Kingman 17 (Nicholl)

The Pick List:

Lawrence Free State (4-3) at Manhattan (6-1) – Manhattan

Andover (5-2) at Kapaun Mt. Carmel (5-2) – Kapaun Mt. Carmel

Bishop Carroll (7-0) at Maize South (6-1) – Bishop Carroll

Abilene (6-1) at Hays (6-1) – Hays

Holton (6-1) at Perry-Lecompton (4-3) – Holton

Smoky Valley (4-3) at Wamego (6-1) – Wamego

Caney Valley (6-1) at Neodesha (6-1) – Caney Valley

Elkhart (5-2) at Meade (7-0) – Meade

Oberlin-Decatur Co (6-1) at Atwood-Rawlins Co. (5-2) – Oberlin

Udall (7-0) at Cedar Vale-Dexter (5-2) – Udall

Wakefield (6-1) at Osborne (7-0) – Osborne

Thunder Ridge (5-2) at Beloit St. John’s-Tipton (6-1) – Thunder Ridge

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