District Preview: Class 2-1A

Oakley tight end Jace Ochs (88). (Photo by Rachel Martin)
By: Conor Nicholl & Matt Gilmore for Kpreps.com
Oct 11, 2016

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Three teams remain unbeaten in Class 2-1A through the season’s first six weeks. 

Troy, which reached the 2-1A title game last fall, is off to a 6-0 start and has been ranked No. 1 all season.  The Trojans have survived tough victories against Centralia (33-16) and Perry-Lecompton (25-22) in consecutive games in Week 3 and 4. 

Troy takes on No. 5 Washington County (5-1) this week in a game that will go a long way in deciding the Twin Valley League title.

The Trojans’ district test comes against unbeaten Jefferson County North in Week 8. The Chargers are unbeaten through six weeks, but are largely untested. Their opponents have posted a 13-23 record thus far this season.

Lyndon is the final unbeaten team entering Week 7.  The Tigers have survived a couple of close calls in beating Mission Valley (41-32), Council Grove (26-8), and Osage City (28-13). Junior Dexton Swinehart is the catalyst to the Lyndon offense having amassed more than 1,300 yards of total offense and 14 touchdowns this season.


District 1   (Gilmore)

  • Troy (6-0; 2-0) – The top-ranked Trojans have plenty of talent to get back to the 2-1A title game in Hays. Troy has only had a couple of challenges in their 6-0 start. Troy defeated Centralia 33-16 in Week 3, and Perry-Lecompton 25-22 the following week. Returning all-state QB Reid Greaser has played well, and fellow all-state selection Cuttar Huss continues to do everything on offense. The Trojans will battle No. 5 Washington County for the TVL title this week, while Troy’s district test may come in a Week 8 meeting at Jefferson County North.
  • Jefferson Co. North (6-0; 1-0) – The Chargers reached the playoffs last season but fell 24-14 in the opening round to Jackson Heights.  Jeff Co. North looks poised for another playoff positioning if they can take care of business in this district.  The Chargers are unbeaten on the season, but also largely untested. Boston Lane has thrown 10 touchdown passes with his primary targets being returning All-State selection Brayden Summers and Joe Abel. Ridge Robertson has 14 rushing touchdowns this season and Sam Larson has added eight rushing scores.  
  • Doniphan West (1-5; 1-1) – The Mustangs lost their first five games under new coach Rob Randall, but picked up a 24-point district win over Horton last week. For the Mustangs to have a shot at the playoffs, they must get past undefeated Jefferson Co. North this week.
  • McLouth (3-3; 0-1)McLouth had a three game win streak stopped in a 51-6 loss to Troy last week. The Bulldogs’ Jace Carlton has thrown eight touchdown passes on the season with four coming to Dimitri Tullis.
  • Horton (1-5; 0-2) – Horton’s one win came in a 64-12 rout of Immaculata-Maranatha.  The Chargers are led on the ground by junior Conner Dean who’s well over 550 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

Key Games: (Wk 8) Troy at Jeff Co. North should decide both playoff spots

Winner: Troy
Runner-up: Jefferson Co. North

District 2    (Gilmore)

  • Washington County (5-1; 2-0) – Washington County is in good position for a playoff spot with a 2-0 district record, but the next three weeks will be challenging.  The Tigers’ only loss came at Class 3A’s No. 1 Hoisington, 47-6 back in Week 4. The next three weeks include a non-district game at 2-1A No. 1 Troy, home with Wabaunsee, and at Valley Heights. Hunter Kier continues to be a standout back for the Tigers.
  • Valley Heights (5-1; 1-0) – The Mustangs have won five straight after a season-opening loss to No. 1 Troy.  Over that span, Valley Heights has averaged 44 points per game. Hunter Stevenson leads the Mustangs with 1,084 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, while Jordan Yungeberg has added 592 yards on the ground. Quarterback Logan Woodyard has rushed for 400 yards and 13 touchdowns and passed for 300 yards and five scores.
  • Wabaunsee (2-4; 1-1) – Wabaunsee is a dangerous team in this district. The Chargers entered district play with a 1-4 record, but have been well-prepared with their Mid-East League schedule. Wabaunsee fell 28-6 to Rossville in Week 4, then pushed Valley Heights in a 34-28 loss to open district play.  The Chargers rebounded by “upsetting” Jackson Heights last week 28-14. Kolby Droegemeier leads the Wabaunsee offense with more than 600 yards and six touchdowns prior to the win over Jackson Heights.
  • Centralia (1-5; 0-1) – Centralia is going through an unusually tough season. The Panthers are just 1-5 on the year, but the five losses have come against opponents that are a combined 26-4. In their win over Doniphan West, Trenton Flentie ran for 257 yards and five touchdowns.
  • Jackson Heights (4-2; 0-2) – The Cobras began the season 4-0 but have dropped their first two district games.  Jackson Heights will now need some help in order to get back to the playoffs. The Cobras have a talented backfield with quarterback Wyatt Olberding and backs Mason Thomas, Mason Hamliton, and Brady Holliday.   

Key Games:  All remaining games are crucial as this is a district that legitimately features five teams that could challenge for a playoff spot in any other 2-1A district. (WK 7) Centralia at Wabaunsee, Jackson Heights at Valley Heights; (WK 8) Valley Heights at Centralia, Wabaunsee at Washington County; (WK 9) Washington County at Valley Heights, Centralia at Jackson Heights

Winner: Washington County
Runner-up: Valley Heights

District 3 (Gilmore)

  • Lyndon (6-0) – The Tigers can put the wraps on an unbeaten Flint Hills League title with wins over Chase County and Northern Heights. Lyndon has posted quality wins over Mission Valley (41-32), Council Grove (26-8), and Osage City (28-13). Junior Dexton Swinehart leads Lyndon with 823 rushing yards (9 TDs) and 482 receiving yards (5 TDs). QB Rylan Burns has passed for 791 yards and nine scores.
  • Chase County (4-2) – Chase County’s two losses have come against 5-1 teams in Mission Valley and Council Grove. The Bulldogs wins have come against opponents that are a combined 4-20. Senior back Kraig Hatcher (6-1, 190) has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark
  • Olpe (3-3) – The Eagles have won two straight games in order to even their record at 3-3.  Olpe lost 20-14 at St. Marys in Week 1, and squandered a 33-7 fourth-quarter lead in a 35-33 loss to Osage City in Week 3. Those two games sandwiched a 14-7 halftime victory over Caney Valley that was called early due to weather. In last week’s win over Yates Center, QB Damon Schmidt hit Garrett Pimple on a touchdown pass to start a 27-point first quarter. Dylan Redeker, Justin Dieker, and Blaine Hinrichs also scored in the quarter.
  • Northern Heights (2-4) – Northern Heights two wins have come against 1-win teams in Central Heights and Yates Center. In their four losses, the Wildcats have given up an average of 44 points per game including 53 and 54 in the past two weeks.  

Key Games: (Wk 7) Olpe at Chase County; (Wk 8) Chase County at Lyndon; (Wk 9) Lyndon at Olpe  

Winner: Lyndon
Runner-up: Chase County

District 4   (Gilmore)

  • St. Mary’s Colgan (3-3) – Colgan returns to Class 2-1A after spending four seasons in Class 3A where the Panthers reached the state quarterfinals each season. Gone is a talented class from a year ago that fell 42-32 to eventual champion Rossville in the state quarters. But Colgan, though undersized and down some in roster numbers, has tremendous speed at the skill positions.  The Panthers’ three losses have comes to teams that are a combined 16-2 in Galena and ranked 4A-II schools Frontenac and Columbus.
  • Uniontown (2-4) – Uniontown makes the move back up to 11-man football after spending the past four seasons playing 8-Man. The Eagles graduated a talented class a year ago that combined to go 15-5 over the past two seasons. They also changed coaches this season when former Eagles standout Chad Hays replaced Chad Stroud. The Eagles have posted shutout wins over winless teams in Southeast-Cherokee (54-0) and Northeast-Arma (25-0). In their other four games, Uniontown has been outscored by a combined 166-36 in losses to Jayhawk-Linn, Christ Prep, Olpe, and Immaculata-Maranatha.
  • Yates Center (1-5) – After a winless season in 2014, the Wildcats played well enough to win a pair of district games last season. This season, Yates Center has joined the Three Rivers League and won their first TRL game 52-12 at Northeast-Arma.  Mikey Bruner is a standout player at the 2-1A level for Yates Center.  A Kpreps 2-1A All-State selection as a returner a season ago, Bruner totaled nearly 400 return yards and rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015. Bruner rushed for 153 yards and four touchdowns in Yates Center’s Week 2 win over Northeast, but the Wildcats have been shut out their last three games.
  • Oswego (1-5) – Justin Hurley takes over as head coach of Oswego after his brother, Travis, moved on to take the position at Parsons. Hurley’s Indians dropped their first four contests with losses against a physically huge Baxter Springs team, Neodesha (3-1), Jayhawk-Linn (4-0), and Greenfield (Mo.) (6-0). Oswego then beat Northeast-Arma before being shut out 55-0 on Saturday against Valley Heights.

Key Games:   (Wk 7) Oswego at Uniontown; (Wk 8) Uniontown at Yates Center; (Wk 9) Yates Center at Oswego

Winner: St. Mary’s Colgan
Runner-up: Yates Center



District 5   (Nicholl)

  • Inman (2-4; 2-0)Inman was competitive in its first month with losses to Hutchinson Trinity (46-33), Marion (46-21), and Sterling (41-18). The Teutons won, 10-7, at Medicine Lodge to start district play and edged rival Moundridge 17-14 last week. Inman has dealt with adversity throughout the season as senior quarterback Keaton Case was lost for the season in a Week 3 game against Sterling. Case had rushed for 231 yards and passed for 616 yards in three games this season. The Teutons have not reached the playoffs since 2003.
  • Sedgwick (4-2; 1-0) – Sedgwick has delivered a solid season under first-year coach Doug Mabry, a former assistant for the last decade. Through five games, sophomore Hooper Schroeder had completed 80 of 134 passes for 906 yards with eight scores against eight interceptions. Sedgwick has averaged 3.7 yards per rush with the top three rushers all non-seniors. Junior Brayden Francis has 29 catches for 420 yards and six scores. The Cardinals have committed 17 turnovers and are minus-8 in turnover margin. Outside of Sedgwick, none of the teams in this district have made the playoffs since 2010.
  • Moundridge (1-5; 1-1) – The Wildcats were solid defensively with a 26-0 season-opening loss at Marion and a 14-8 home loss against Hutchinson Trinity. Moundridge has scored zero, eight, 12, 20 and 34 points in each of its contests. Moundridge was 9-3 in the last 12 meetings against rival Inman, but the Teutons pulled off a 17-14 victory last week.
  • Whitewater-Remington (0-6; 0-1) – Whitewater-Remington opened with a 34-30 district loss to Moundridge last week before being beaten by Meade 58-12 in a non-district game. In the first month, the Broncos lost by 42, 31, 24 and 48 points. Remington is 1-13 in the last two seasons after a 4-5 record in 2014.
  • Medicine Lodge (0-6; 0-2) – Medicine Lodge opened district play with a 10-7 loss versus Inman then dropped a 61-28 decision to Sedgwick. The Indians also fell, 42-39, to Douglass at home in Week 1. The Indians are 1-8 in its last nine contests, though they did go 4-5 last year.

Key Games:  (Wk 7) Inman can sew up a playoff spot with a win at Remington. (Wk 9) Sedgwick at Inman could decide both playoff spots.  

Winner: Sedgwick
Runner-up: Inman

District 6  (Nicholl)

  • Smith Center (4-2) – Smith Center opened with road losses versus ranked teams Plainville and Phillipsburg and has played the majority of the season without starting quarterback Thayne Benoit. The experienced Redmen, 10-2 a year ago, earned a key 20-17 overtime road win versus rival Norton two weeks ago. Since 2004, Smith Center is 6-0 versus Republic County, 2-0 against Sacred Heart and 3-1 versus Ell-Saline, though that loss came in districts two years ago and cost the Redmen a playoff berth.
  • Ell-Saline (3-3) – Ell-Saline, 2-1A runner-ups two seasons ago, slipped back to 3-6 last season behind a team that averaged 16 points a game and permitted 29. This year, the Cardinals have matched last season’s win total behind a team that has an average score of 31-16. Senior fullback Jake Funk, a starting tight end on the state runner-up team, has been the Cardinals leading rusher. The Cardinals had one of the better scoring defenses in the classification before last week’s 55-12 loss to Sterling.
  • Republic County (2-4) – Republic County enjoyed a 4-5 season last fall after years of struggling. This season, former assistant Kevin Couture has guided the offense to 26 points per contest, though the defense has allowed 34 a game. After earning Kpreps All-District honors last fall, junior Nick Allsman had more than 550 yards rushing in the Buffaloes’ first five games.
  • Sacred Heart (2-4) – Sacred Heart is dealing with key injuries to standout backfield of Jacob Faerber and Abel Alvarez. The Knights have lost four straight games since outscoring their first two opponents 72-8. Faerber missed the game with a concussion, and Alvarez was hurt and taken to the hospital. Quarterback play was a key question entering the season, and the Knights have thrown one touchdown pass against four interceptions. Faerber and Alvarez have combined for 566 rushing yards or 80 percent of the Knight’s rushing yards in the first five games.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Ell-Saline at Republic County; (Wk 8) Sacred Heart at Ell-Saline; (Wk 9) Republic County at Sacred Heart will decide the runner-up spot.

Winner: Smith Center
Runner-up: Republic County

 District 7   (Nicholl)

  • Plainville (5-1) – The Cardinals have already exceeded its win total from last season after back-to-back 3-6 years. Plainville earned statewide attention after the first two weeks with close home wins against Smith Center and Norton. Senior quarterback Hayden Friend continues to deliver an elite season. He has cut down on his turnovers and completed 82 of 151 passes for 1,159 yards with a 16/5 TD/INT ratio. Riley Nyp has 505 rushing yards and nine rushing scores, while Friend has 479 and six. Ryan Buresh and Justin Reif have combined for 55 catches and 11 scores. Freshman Jared Casey has made a huge impact on defense with a team-high 53 tackles. The Cardinals have permitted 17.2 points per contest after they allowed 36 last season.
  • Ellis (3-3) – Ellis, which took runner-up behind Oakley in the district last season, opened 3-0 before three consecutive losses to Valley Heights, Phillipsburg, and Smith Center. The Railroaders have significant injury issues, including running backs Clay Feik and Joseph Eck easily the team’s top two rushers. Ellis senior quarterback Easton Smith broke MCL career passing records for completions and yards in the last three weeks. This season through five games, he had passed for 645 yards with an 8/1 TD/INT ratio. Ellis’ health will likely determine the runner-up spot in the district.
  • La Crosse (2-4) – The Leopards opened up 0-4 before shutout wins against Sublette and Stanton County. In Week 1, La Crosse lost 18-12 to Elkhart, the No. 3 scoring defense in 2-1A. Then, the Leopards had trouble with three standout running backs in losses: Colby’s Jordan Schippers, Washington County’s Hunter Kier and Ellsworth’s Kaden Davis. La Crosse has moved the ball well with 280 rushing yards and 84 passing yards a contest but has struggled with turnovers. Senior Clayton Herdman has passed for 500 and rushed for 648 yards with 15 TDs accounted for. La Crosse has 10 turnovers on the season.
  • Oakley (1-5) – In the last two seasons, Oakley has struggled through the first five games of Mid-Continent League play but then come on strong in districts. The Plainsmen have reached the quarterfinals the last four seasons. However, Oakley has uncharacteristically struggled on defense with 37.2 points allowed a contest. Last season, the Plainsmen allowed 15.9. In 2014, coach Ty Pfannenstiel’s first season, Oakley allowed 23.3.

Key Games: (Wk 7) La Crosse at Ellis; (Wk 8) Oakley at La Crosse; (Wk 9 ) Oakley at Ellis

Winner:  Plainville
Runner-up: Ellis

District 8    (Nicholl)

  • Meade (5-1) – Meade has averaged 46 points per game and has scored 58 points in three of its wins.  Senior quarterback Lawson Luetters has completed 31 of 58 passes for 613 yards with a 11/5 TD/INT ratio and leads the team with 106 carries for 765 yards and 14 TDs. Meade’s standout running game has averaged 265 rushing yards and 7.1 yards per carry, down from 317 and 8.3 yards a carry in 2015. Meade is 3-0 at home and 2-1 on the road, including a 20-14 road loss to Cimarron in Week 4. The Buffs have made the playoffs every year since 2005.
  • Elkhart (4-2) – Elkhart has already matched last season’s win total and has been a relative surprise in 2-1A. The Wildcats have tallied just 119 points, but have permitted just 95. Senior quarterback Tyler Sklenar has passed for 757, rushed for 213 and accounted for ten scores.
  • Stanton County (1-5) – Stanton County has scored just 36 points but did defeat Southwestern Heights, 21-18, in Week 4. The Trojans have been shut out in four of their six games this season.
  • Sublette (0-6) – Sublette has scored just 22 points and lost every game by at least 48. The Larks have dropped 11 straight games.

Key Game: (Wk 8) Elkhart vs. Meade will decide both spots.

Winner: Meade
Runner-up: Elkhart


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