Class 2-1A Semifinal Preview

Sam Sage (33) & Nate Prewitt (6) hope to lead Phillipsburg to its first title game (by Jean Stapel)
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Nov 20, 2014

Share This Story:

Class 2-1A

2-1A East: No. 2 Troy (10-1) at No. 3 Olpe (10-1)

The Olpe Eagles will host the Troy Trojans with the opportunity to play for the Class 2-1A state championship on the line.

Olpe advanced to the sub-state semifinals for the first time since 2010 with a 33-22 win at Onaga. The Eagles trailed 14-0 early before rattling off 33 unanswered points.

Quarterback Bo Krueger tossed three touchdown passes and rushed for a fourth score in the win. On the season, Kruger has surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark and has thrown for nearly 800 more yards. He has scores 21 times on the ground and passed for 16 more scores.

Andrew Burenheide and Dylan Redeker share the carries out of the backfield with each rushing for more than 650 yards.

On the other sideline will be the Trojans who look to continue advancing to the school’s first ever state football title game.

Troy is led by senior quarterback Tristan Speer who has thrown for 2,294 yards and 35 touchdowns with only two interceptions. Speer, also a state-champion wrestler, has also rushed for nearly 400 yards and nine scores on the season.

Seniors Derek Franken and Alex Schmille lead the Trojans in rushing with 706 and 448 yards, respectively.

The Trojans have been incredibly balanced on offense this season as 52 percent of their total yards have come through the air.

Three receivers have put up really solid numbers. Collin Jasper and Cuttar Huss each have grabbed 48 receptions. Jasper has 787 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, while Huss has totaled 710 receiving yards and nine scores. Senior Jake Ross has 36 catches for 537 yards and eight touchdowns .

As impressive as Troy’s offensive numbers are, the story last week was the Trojan defense which shutout a powerful Lyndon offense in a 23-0 win. Troy held Lyndon to 99 yards of total offense – all on the ground. Lyndon rushed for 334 of their 422 total yards in a 36-28 loss to Olpe back in Week 7.

Jay Whetstine leads the Troy defense with 104 tackles. Whetstine earned Kpreps 2-1A All-State honors as a junior last fall when he registered 124 stops.

Aside from Lyndon, the Eagles and Trojans share a common opponent in Onaga. As mentioned above, Olpe held off the Buffaloes 33-22 last week, while Troy beat Onaga 38-3 back in Week 4.

Troy 28, Olpe 27 (Gilmore)

2-1A West: No. 4 Ell-Saline (8-3) at No. 1 Phillipsburg (10-1)

Since the mid-90s, just five teams - Claflin, St. Mary’s Colgan, Smith Center, Meade and Centralia - have won titles in the classification. Each of the above winning at least two titles in that span.

In addition, La Crosse had played in the state championship game two of the past three years and been a longtime power.

But Ell-Saline and Phillipsburg have helped break that trend this season. Ell-Saline and Phillipsburg knocked Smith Center off in district play, and Ell-Saline upset La Crosse last Friday.

Phillipsburg, down to 2-1A after a longtime run in 3A, have enjoyed the best season in school annals. Before 2014, the Panthers had made the quarterfinals just once, in 2004.

The Cardinals have long been a solid program under veteran coach Terry King, including winning records in each of the last three years. This marks Ell-Saline's second best season in school history, just behind a state championship in 1989.

Phillipsburg defeated Ell-Saline 20-14 in Week 8 in a contest it led 14-0 after the end of the first quarter. That's the lone loss in the Cardinals' last six contests. In that span, Ell-Saline has allowed just 87 points, including 32 in big wins against high-octane offenses Sedgwick and La Crosse in the playoffs. Against a similar slate of opponents, Phillipsburg has allowed 81 points in the last six games. Offensively, quarterback Louie Arceo leads the Cardinals' attack.

Panther senior Stuart Lennemann, the star of the Panthers' 3A winning track team last spring, has enjoyed a breakout year with 111 rushes for 1,323 yards and 20 rushing scores. His 11.9 yards per carry stands third in Kansas behind Rossville quarterback Tucker Horak and Holton standout Indie Allen.

Senior linemen Ian Chestnut and Luke Jacobs each have eight sacks and six tackles for loss. Chestnut is also one of the state's best punters with a 39-yard average and seven kicks inside the 20. His leg could be key in what should be a tight, low-scoring game.

Opponents have contained Lennemann at times, including six carries for eight yards in a Week 2 loss to Norton, and 20 carries for 73 yards against Sacred Heart in a two-overtime, first-round playoff win. Lennemann had 17 carries for 128 yards and a score in the first matchup with Ell-Saline.

The Cardinals slow the Panthers down, but not enough. Phillipsburg wins in a close one.

Phillipsburg 21, Ell-Saline 14 (Nicholl)


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.