Saturday Playoff Preview: Class 3A

Colgan RB/LB Austin Commons will try & lead the Panthers to a second win over Galena. (Matt Gilmore)
By: Conor Nicholl & Mark Schremmer for
Nov 7, 2014

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Class 3A

3A East: Centralia (9-1) at No. 1 Rossville (10-0)

Two of the top teams in Class 3A will meet in the second round of the playoffs.

Centralia’s only loss of the season came 42-6 to top-ranked Rossville in Week 6. Last year’s Class 2-1A state champion Panthers have won every other game by 29 points or more.

Centralia averages more than 400 yards of total offense per game, with about 380 of it coming on the ground.

Senior Darrian Turner leads the Panthers offense with more than 1,500 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns. Quarterback Wyatt Van Dorn has rushed for more than 800 and passed for more than 300.

Van Dorn opened its previous game against Rossville by scoring on a 59-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to go up 6-0. Rossville went on to score 46 unanswered points.

The Bulldogs limited Centralia to 242 yards of offense in that game. Meanwhile, Rossville racked up 300 yards on the ground and more than 200 yards passing.

Quarterback Tucker Horak gained 425 yards of total offense in the game.

Horak is a dual-threat player with exceptional speed and play-making ability. The junior has rushed for 1,482 yards and 20 touchdowns and passed for 1,277 yards and 18 more scores.

Rossville 42, Centralia 22 (Schremmer)

3A East: St. Mary’s Colgan (8-2) at Galena (6-4)

St. Mary’s Colgan opened the season with a close, 16-12 victory against Galena, but a lot of time has passed since that Sept. 4 game.

Colgan’s only losses of the season came to Class 4A Division II playoff qualifiers Columbus and Frontenac.

The Panthers are coming off a lopsided victory against Jayhawk-Linn in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday.

Colgan’s Josh Hayes, Austin Commons and Andrew Stewart all rushed for more than 60 yards in the victory. Quarterback Ryan Cedeno passed for about 170 yards.

The Colgan defense held Jayhawk-Linn to negative-6 yards of total offense. The Jayhawks’ only touchdown came on a 97-yard fumble return in the fourth quarter.

Galena is on a five-game winning streak after opening the season with a 1-4 record.

The Bulldogs rushed for almost 400 yards in a 26-0 victory over Neodesha on Tuesday.

Galena’s Blake Perry and Zach Bankson rushed for more than 100 yards in the game. The Bulldog defense held Neodesha to less than 100 yards rushing.

Perry, Gabe Helton, P.J. Sarwinski, Logan Johnson and others left the Neodesha game with injuries. The extent of their individual injuries was unclear.

Colgan 21, Galena 16 (Schremmer)

3A West: Meade (8-1) at No. 2 La Crosse (8-1)

Hoisington was 4-13 all-time entering the postseason this year, but continued its strong season under first-year coach Zach Baird.

The Cardinals hadn’t won a playoff game since 2009 and a victory Saturday ties the furthest advancement in school history with the 1990 and 2007 squads. Baird has led the Cardinals to a five-win improvement to 9-1 on the season.

Hoisington has won nine in a row since opening the season with a double-overtime loss to Larned. The Cardinals stand No. 5 in scoring defense in the 64-team classification with just 78 points allowed.

Hoisington’s offense is very one-dimensional with 316 rushing yards and 24 passing yards a contest. Sophomore Hunter Hanzlick has 169 carries for 1,347 yards and 20 scores.

Sophomore Landen Urban has 16 TFLs to lead the defense.

Minneapolis was 5-9 entering the postseason and a victory would also tie its furthest advancement in school history with the 1972, 2001 and 2007 squads.

First-year coach Jhon Haehn took over for Jeff Giles, the longtime wrestling and football coach after Giles passed away in February.

Minneapolis, which had its season end with a 68-13 loss to Beloit a year ago, knocked off the Trojans twice this year. The Lions defeated Beloit 27-26 in the regular season and 59-34 in the playoffs last week
to improve to 7-3.

Eric Yoxall has played well at quarterback with more than 1,200 passing yards and Colton Baker, Cannan Smith, Yoxall and Gage Mortimer have paced the running game.

Jake Fleming has spearheaded the defense. Minneapolis will score, but Hoisington’s defense and run game will be just enough.

Hoisington 30, Minneapolis 24 (Nicholl)

3A West: No. 2 Scott City (10-0) at Norton (10-0)

One of Kansas’ top matchups involves two teams at the top of the 3A rankings virtually all season.

Norton had won nine games twice previously in the nine-year Lucas Melvin era, but is 10-0 for the first time in his tenure. Norton stands No. 4 in scoring defense with just 70 points allowed and Scott City ranks third.

The Bluejays have enjoyed a five-win improvement from last year, and Scott City has now collected double-digit victories for seven straight seasons.

Both squads are battled-tested in their respective conferences; Norton in the Mid-Continent League, Scott City in the Great Western Athletic Conference.

Norton has averaged 353 yards per contest and Jordan Dole has continued to do a fine job under center after he stepped in for injured quarterback Jace Ruder.

Norton has collected thrown 14 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Dole and senior Jared Tallent have combined for 22 rushing scores.

Sophomore Jacob Green has delivered a fantastic season with 70 tackles, 21 for loss. As a team, Norton has 64 tackles for loss and 22 sacks.

Scott City has collected 360 yards a game behind senior Trey O’Neil, who has thrown 19 scores against just two interceptions. Junior Cooper Griffith has 980 rushing yards and 16 TDs.

The Beavers’ defense has accounted for 372 interception yards, within range of the 493 interception yards set by Chanute in 2005. The Beavers have picked off 17 passes and forced 26 turnovers. Scott City has three non-offensive scores.

These two teams are virtually identical, but the difference will come in the quarterbacks. While Dole has played admirably, O’Neil is one of the state’s best.

Scott City 24, Norton 17  (Nicholl)
The rest of our 3A second-round picks:
Sabetha (8-2) at No. 3 Silver Lake (9-1)
Caney Valley (9-1) at Wellsville (8-2)
Chaparral (9-1) at Halstead (8-2)
No. 5 Hesston (10-0) at No. 4 Wichita Collegiate (9-1)


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