District Preview: Class 3A

St. Marys QB Mitch Flanagan (7) will lead the Bears into a competitive district. (William Layton)
By: Conor Nicholl, Mark Schremmer, & Matt Gilmore for Kpreps
Oct 12, 2016

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Just like a season ago, ten teams remain unbeaten in Class 3A entering district play. Nine other teams are 5-1 entering this week.  And like every year, there are some districts loaded with teams with potential for significant playoff runs, and other districts with just a handful of wins combined among all the members.

The most impressive resume of any Class 3A team to date is arguably that of the Hoisington Cardinals.  Hoisington is unbeaten, and ranked No. 1 entering Week 7.  Among the Cardinals’ resume are victories over Class 4A-II No. 5 Wichita Collegiate (3-3), Class 2-1A No. 5 Washington County (5-1), Pratt (5-1), and Nickerson (4-2).

Silver Lake is ranked second and holds a 36-28 victory over two-time defending champion Rossville to its credit. The Eagles are 6-0 and have pulled legendary coach C. J. Hamilton to within four victories of No. 400 for his incredible career.

Defending Class 2-1A champion Phillipsburg has adjusted well in its return to 3A.  The Panthers are unbeaten through a tough Mid-Continent League schedule, but are battling some injuries that could impact the remainder of their season.

Meanwhile, Garden Plain rounds out the unbeaten ranked teams at No. 5.  The Owls, led by do-it-all back Nate Pauly, have impressive wins over Hesston and Kearney Catholic (Neb.).  Garden Plains travels to rival Conway Springs (5-1) this week.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the unbeaten Jayhawk-Linn Jayhawks.  Jayhawk-Linn posted three consecutive shutouts this season, though the Jayhawks’ opponents have a combined record of 8-38.

The Week 7 schedule in 3A features a pair of unbeaten showdowns. In District 1, Nemaha Central travels to rival Sabetha, while District 12 features Southeast of Saline at Marion.

The other unbeaten team in Class 3A is Chaparral.  The Roadrunners host Central Plains League rival Cheney (5-1) this week.


District 1   (Gilmore)

  • Nemaha Central (6-0) – The Thunder are 6-0 behind thanks to a late two-point conversion to beat Holton 43-42. Nemaha Central has now defeated the Wildcats for a second straight year after a drought dating back to 1995.  Ryan Hasenkamp has rushed and passed for at least one touchdown in every game this season.  Back Jacob Koelzer has rushed for 16 touchdowns, including 12 in the Thunder’s last three games.  
  • Sabetha (6-0) – Sabetha entered district play at just a 2-4 last season and advanced to the 3A state quarterfinals, including a 34-28 win over Silver Lake along the way.  This year, the Blue Jays are unbeaten behind a loaded backfield that includes Zach Edelman, Blake Plattner, and Trae Snyder. Snyder leads the team with 719 rushing yards with 9 touchdowns, while Plattner has 688 yards and a team-high 14 scores. Edelman adds 225 yards and five touchdowns. Sabetha averages 362 yards rushing per game and has attempted only 16 passes all season.
  • Hiawatha (3-3) – The Redhawks broke a 16-game losing streak last season with a district win, but still finished 1-8.  Now, Hiawatha is 3-3 with wins over Royal Valley (2-4), Doniphan West (!-5), and Atchison County (0-6).  Coin Sample leads the Red Hawks with 498 rushing yards and three scores. Fellow senior Joseph Kunkel has added 375 yards and four touchdowns, while freshman Manny Flores has nearly 300 yards and three scores. Kunkel has also passed for 574 yards and seven touchdowns.   
  • Riverside (3-3) – The Cyclones enter district play having lost three of their last four games. Riverside is led by sophomore Dawson Dick who has rushed for 653 yards and ten touchdowns this season.  Senior Gaige Olivero has added 401 yards and six scores on the ground.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Sabetha at Nemaha Central will likely decide both playoff spots

Winner: Nemaha Central
Runner-up: Sabetha

District 2    (Gilmore)

  • Maur Hill-Mount Academy (4-2) – MH-MA has seen a resurgence in their football program having won 17 games over the past three seasons. The Ravens are 4-2 this season and appear to be the District 2 favorite. Freshman QB Jack Caudle (6-2, 160) has completed 61 percent of his passes for 1,070 yards and 14 TD this season. Colten Kocour has 343 receiving yards and four touchdowns, while Arthur Rocha adds 294 receiving yards and four scores. Ronald Faulk-Tindal leads the ground game with 628 rush yards and ten scores to go along with his 190 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
  • Immaculata-Maranatha (1-5) – The Raiders got their first win of the season with a 40-30 performance against Uniontown last week.  After only scoring six total points in their first three games, the Raiders have averaged 24 per contest over their last three games. Senior Micah Webb leads a young Raider team that features several freshmen contributing,  including QB Nate Burdette.
  • Pleasant Ridge (1-5) – Pleasant Ridge graduated a good class last season that led the Rams to an 8-2 record and a playoff appearance. The Rams have lost five straight since a season-opening shutout of Horton this season. Over those five losses, Pleasant Ridge has scored just 8 points per game. Seven different backs have rushed for more than 100 yards through six games, led by sophomore Hunter Wagner’s 216 yards.
  • Atchison County (0-6) – The Tigers have struggled to an 0-6 start with only one game played within 40 points.  ACCHS has surrendered nearly 58 points per game on the season while scoring only 32 total points.   

Key Games: (Wk 7) Immaculata-Maranatha at ACCHS; (Wk 8) Pleasant Ridge at ACCHS; (Wk 9) Pleasant Ridge at Immaculata-Maranatha

Winner: Maur Hill-Mount Academy
Runner-up: Pleasant Ridge

District 3    (Schremmer)

  • Silver Lake (6-0) – Led by the state’s all-time winningest coach in C.J. Hamilton, the Eagles are once again one of the favorites to bring home the Class 3A crown. Silver Lake is ranked second in the state and already boasts a 36-28 win over a Rossville team that was on a 32-game winning streak. Senior quarterback Dalton Dultmeier is a dual-threat quarterback for the Eagles. Wyatt Heiman, Ryan Wagner, Keenan Baird and Dillon Byrne represent an effective group of receivers. Junior Joshua Boyd leads a defense that has held three teams to eight points or fewer.
  • Oskaloosa (4-2) – Coach Scott Whaley will try to lead the Bears to their first postseason appearance since 2013. However, it won’t be easy. Oskaloosa’s four wins are against teams with a combined 6-18 record. The Bears’ games against teams with current winning records – Jackson Heights and Jefferson Co. North – ended in lopsided losses. Sophomore quarterback Jaxson Webb has passed for 574 yards and eight touchdowns. Sophomore Hunter Reed has 30 receptions for 442 yards and six touchdowns.
  • Perry-Lecompton (2-4) – The Kaws enter district competition on a three-game losing streak. Mike Paramore’s squad must turn things around if it expects to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Kaws are led by their running game, rushing for 229.3 yards per game. Running backs Cole Kellum has rushed for 584 yards and nine touchdowns, while Michael Kellum has rushed for 489 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Royal Valley (2-4) – The Panthers are coming off a 24-8 win over Jefferson West. However, Royal Valley has had a difficult time producing a consistent offense this year. The Panthers were shut out by Hiawatha, Nemaha Central and Sabetha, and scored only seven points against Holton. The perennial 4A team hopes to end a long playoff drought under third-year coach Jake Lott.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Royal Valley at Perry-Lecompton; (Wk 8) Oskaloosa at Royal Valley; (Wk 9) Perry-Lecompton at Oskaloosa

Winner: Silver Lake
Runner-up: Perry-Lecompton

District 4     (Schremmer)

  • Council Grove (5-1) – The Braves’ only loss came to an unbeaten Lyndon team, which is ranked No. 4 in Class 2-1A. The running game is Council Grove’s strength with senior Braden Reddick rushing for 568 yards and junior Treyser King rushing for 553. Council Grove has posted a winning record in each of the past three seasons but hasn’t made the playoffs since 2011.
  • Mission Valley (5-1) – Like the Braves, the Vikings’ only loss so far was to Lyndon. However, Mission Valley enters districts on a four-game winning streak. The winning streak included a 38-36 overtime victory at Osage City. Coach Cody Witte is attempting to lead the Vikings to the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
  • Rossville (5-1) – The defending state champion Bulldawgs are ranked fourth in 3A after suffering a 36-28 loss to rival Silver Lake in Week 5. The loss snapped a 32-game winning streak for Rossville. The Bulldogs bounced back with a 56-7 win over Burlington last week. Senior quarterback Jacob Bradshaw has passed for 789 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he’s rushed for 1,017 yards and 13 touchdowns. Bradshaw’s top receiver is Cole Schumacher with 25 catches for 477 yards. Sheldon Hulbert leads the defense with 68 tackles.
  • St. Marys (3-3) – The Bears enter districts after a 35-7 loss to a previously winless Rock Creek squad. The loss dropped St. Marys to an 0-3 record in the Mid-East League. Junior Taegan Schoenfeld leads the Bears with 649 rushing yards on 99 carries.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Rossville at Mission Valley; (Wk 8) Mission Valley at Council Grove

Winner: Rossville
Runner-up: Mission Valley

District 5    (Gilmore)

  • Wellsville (5-1) – The Eagles reached the state semifinals last fall before being blown out by Rossville, 49-0. This season, Brad Burkdoll’s Eagles’ lone loss came in Week 5 as Santa Fe Trail scored with 12 seconds remaining to win 26-21. Trajen Smith has led the offense with 808 passing yards and six touchdowns, while Reece Williams has a team-high 500 rushing yards with six scores. Williams is also the leading receiver for the Eagles with 365 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Osage City (2-4) – Osage City’s four losses have come against FHL opponents that are a combined 20-4 on the season. The Indians are no strangers to close games.  Osage City has a two-point win over Olpe in a game which they trailed 33-7 mid-way through the fourth quarter.  The Indians also have lost to Council Grove 21-20, and Mission Valley 38-36 in overtime. QB Tucker Kimball has thrown for 593 yards and five scores, while senior Brett Sage has 437 rush yards and seven touchdowns. Sage is also among the state’s leading tacklers with 128 stops through six games.
  • Central Heights (1-5) – The Vikings 0-5 in their first season in the Flint Hills League. Central Heights’ only win came 47-6 back in Week 2 over a winless Eureka team.  The Vikings have been shut out twice, and have only scored 26 total points in their five losses.
  • West Franklin (1-5) – The Falcons have struggled on offense this season having scored only 30 total points outside of their one win over Northern Heights. West Franklin defeated Northern Heights 53-34 in Week 5. The Falcons have lost to quality Flint Hills League opponents Council Grove (5-1), Mission Valley (5-1), Lyndon (6-0), and Chase County (4-2). Sophomore Brayden Singer leads the Falcons with nearly 600 rushing yards, while junior Brady Altic has more than 450 yards on the ground.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Wellsville at Osage City will likely decide both playoff spots.

Winner: Wellsville
Runner-up: Osage City

District 6  (Schremmer)

  • Jayhawk-Linn (6-0) – The Jayhawks have been dominant throughout most of the season, pitching shutouts in half of their games. But only two of their wins came against teams with a winning record – Neodesha and Drexel (Mo.). Second-year coach Randy Leach has already led the Jayhawks to six victories this season after finishing 5-5 in his first year. In the five seasons before Leach became the head coach, Jayhawk-Linn earned a combined 8-38 record.
  • Humboldt (2-4) – Junior Jacob Barker leads the Cubs’ rushing attack with 652 yards and seven touchdowns on 111 carries. Wyatt Seufert has been a big-play receiver with 155 yards and a touchdown on only four catches. Sophomore Dagen Goodner leads the Humboldt defense with 82 tackles. Humboldt will try to avoid missing the playoffs for the third year in a row.
  • Erie (1-5) – The good news is that the Red Devils enters districts on a strong note, defeating Eureka 32-8 last week. The bad news is that they lost their first five games and failed to score as an offense in four of them. Second-year coach Sterling Hudson hopes to take the Red Devils to the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
  • Northeast-Arma (0-6) – The Vikings have scored only 12 points all season, and all 12 came in a 40-point loss to Yates Center in Week 2. To make things worse, that is Yates Center’s only win of the season. Phil Hobbs’ Vikings have taken a step backward since finishing 6-4 in 2014 and 3-6 last year.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Erie at Humboldt; (Wk 8) Humboldt at Jayhawk-Linn; (Wk 9) Jayhawk-Linn at Erie

Winner: Jayhawk-Linn
Runner-up: Humboldt

District 7   (Schremmer)

  • Cherryvale (4-2) – The Chargers have boasted a balanced offense this year, averaging 142.8 yards through the air and 154.3 yards on the ground. Sophomore quarterback Cade Addis has passed for 833 yards and 12 touchdowns. Trevor Raida leads the rushing attack with 372 yards and three touchdowns on only 59 carries. Coach Harry Hester is poised to lead Cherryvale to a winning record for a fourth consecutive season.
  • Galena (4-2) – The Bulldogs’ only two losses came to a pair of teams – Frontenac and Columbus -- that are ranked in Class 4A Division II. Last week’s loss was especially heartbreaking as Galena fell 36-35 at Columbus. Coach Beau Sarwinski aims to take the Bulldogs to the playoffs for a sixth straight year. Galena hopes to make a run in the postseason after being eliminated by St. Mary’s-Colgan, which is now in 2-1A, in each of the past two seasons.
  • Riverton (0-6) – The Rams have failed to find their groove under first-year coach and former Missouri Southern State University offensive coordinator H.T. Kinney. The Rams have scored 12 points or fewer in five of their six games. Meanwhile, Riverton has allowed at least 42 points in each game. The Rams haven’t finished a season above .500 since coach Derrick Rider led the Rams to a 5-4 mark in 2012.
  • Southeast-Cherokee (0-6) – The Lancers are on an 18-game losing streak and have a 3-21 record since Jerrad Hansen became the head coach in 2014. Southeast has scored only seven points all season. And that touchdown came in a 53-7 loss to Columbus.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Galena at Cherryvale will likely decide both playoff spots

Winner: Galena
Runner-up: Cherryvale

District 8    (Gilmore)

  • Fredonia (5-1) – In the first season under Marc Svaty, the Fredonia Yellow Jackets have won five straight games since a season-opening loss to Labette County. The Jackets feature Isaac McPherson in the backfield who has already rushed for 1,459 yards this season.  Fredonia averages 42 points per game aided by a 74-58 victory over Douglass in Week 2. The Yellow Jackets haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2006 season.  
  • Caney Valley (4-2) – Caney has won four straight since beginning the season 0-2.  The Bullpups opened with a 41-17 loss to Independence, then fell 14-7 at Olpe in a game called at halftime due to weather. The Bullpups’ best performance came last week in a 61-26 victory over Cherryvale.
  • Neodesha (4-2) – The Bluestreaks’ two losses have come to unbeaten Jayhawk-Linn (26-12) and Cherryvale (15-6). Neody’s wins have come against opponents that are a combined 6-18 on the season. Neodesha is trying to get back to the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
  • Eureka (0-6) – Eureka is winless on the season with their closest game coming in last week’s 32-8 loss to Erie. The Tornados have scored 40 total points this season, and have only reached double digits in their 56-12 loss to Leon-Bluestem.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Neodesha at Fredonia; (Wk 8) Caney Valley at Neodesha; (Wk 9) Fredonia at Caney Valley

Winner: Caney Valley
Runner-up: Fredonia

WEST ---------------

District 9    (Nicholl)

  • Leon-Bluestem (2-4) – The Lions, one of the state’s traditionally struggling programs, have already doubled their win total with first-year coach Jordan Echer, the program’s third head coach in as many years. Bluestem defeated Erie, 21-13, at home in Week 2, and then won versus Eureka, 56-12, two weeks later. Last year, in district play, the Lions lost 14-6 to Douglass 57-0 versus Wichita Independent. The Lions made the playoffs with a 4-6 record in ’14 before slipping back to one victory last season.
  • Belle Plaine (1-5) – Belle Plaine ended its 31-game losing streak earlier this season with a Week 4 victory against Northeast-Arma. Belle Plaine hadn’t won a contest since Oct. 19, 2012. The Dragons lost 56-20 to Garden Plain the next week, though the Owls outgained Belle Plaine just 396-310. Last week, Belle Plaine lost 61-8 at Wichita Trinity.
  • Douglass (1-5) – Douglass opened with a 42-39 victory at Medicine Lodge before losing its last five contests, including the final four by at least 30 points. The Bulldogs went 2-7 last season but returned 10 offensive and 11 defensive starters. Douglass has scored 158 points but has permitted 346, second-most in Class 3A.
  • Wichita Independent (0-6) – Independent has scored just 72 points but has also allowed 202 with the No. 3 hardest SOS in the classification, according to Prep Power Index. Independent has reached the playoffs four of the past six seasons, including a playoff win against Cheney last season.

Key Games: All games will be key in a competitive district.

Winner: Wichita Independent
Runner-up: Douglass

District 10    (Nicholl)

  • Chaparral (6-0) – The Roadrunners have dominated against weaker opponents and have quality wins versus its two hardest teams: 41-21 versus Wichita Trinity in Week 4 and 49-33 at Clearwater last week. Chaparral opened 6-1 last season before losses to Cheney and Conway Springs. In 2014, Chaparral behind a standout defense, went 9-2 with wins against Garden Plains, Cheney and Conway Springs by a combined 39 points. Chaparral is the classification’s No. 2 offense with 285 points.
  • Garden Plain (6-0) – Nate Pauly is one of the state’s most multi-faceted players. The Owl quarterback, Pauly is also an elite returner. The Owls opened with three straight home wins against quality opponents: Hesston (33-27), Wichita Trinity (33-14) and Kearney (Neb.) Catholic (29-20). Last week, he passed for 61 yards and a score, rushed for 134 yards and a pair of scores and returned a punt in a 59-14 win versus Douglass.
  • Cheney (5-1) – Quarterback Micah Grover and running back Austin Ray have led the Cheney attack to five straight wins following a 36-21 season-opening loss at Wichita Trinity. Cheney finished 7-3 last season, its best year since 2005.
  • Conway Springs (5-1) – Conway Springs, long known for its single-wing running game, has opened the offense with some rare passing. The Cardinals won, 54-14, versus Wichita Trinity two weeks ago and then lost at high-octane Mulvane, 67-27, last week. Against Trinity, Trenton Jones had 82 rushing yards, five catches for 151 yards and three scores. Colton Terhune threw for 166 yards against Trinity.

Key Games: This is one of the state’s best districts for all classes. All four teams are playoff-caliber.

Winner: Garden Plain
Runner-up: Conway Springs

District 11   (Nicholl)

  • Halstead (5-1) – Halstead has still posted a solid season following the graduation of standout quarterback Eli McKee and elite running back Blake Beckett. The Dragons won their first five, including a 26-24 home win versus Hesston in Week 2, before a 34-6 loss at Pratt last week. The Dragons have made the playoffs the last three seasons. The Dragons have an average score of 34-12. Last season, Halstead advanced to the 3A semifinals with an average score of 40-9. Halstead has 318 rushing yards a game, led by three rushers between 554 and 616 yards. Layke Heimerman leads the team in carries (92) and rushing yards and has 75 tackles, more than twice of any other player.
  • Hutchinson Trinity (4-2) – Trinity has delivered a much improved offense and has already exceeded its win total from a 3-6 season last year. The Celtics averaged 9.4 points per contest in 2015 and 21.7 this year. Trinity’s 130 points have already exceeded last season’s point total.
  • Sterling (4-2) – Sterling, which went 0-9 in 2014 and 4-5 last season, has continued to improve under second-year coach Tyson Bauerle. The Black Bears’ offense has produced at least 34 points in five games, including a one-point loss versus Sedgwick in Week 2. Sterling has an average score of 43-25. Last season, the Black Bears averaged 20 points a contest and permitted 34.
  • Haven (1-5) – The Wildcats, on its fourth coach since 2010, returned 10 offensive starters from a 1-8 team, but have struggled with a one-win season. Haven took big opening losses versus Nickerson (57-16) and at Pratt (49-13) before two losses within 16 points. Haven won at Lyons, 55-21, and then lost at Hillsboro, 36-30. The victory ended an 11-game losing streak.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Hutch Trinity at Sterling; (Wk 8) Halstead at Hutch Trinity; (Wk 9) Sterling at Halstead

Winner: Halstead
Runner-up: Sterling

District 12    (Nicholl)

  • Marion (6-0) – Marion, long known for great defense, ranks fourth in the classification with 62 points allowed. The Warriors, led by quarterback Jack Schneider, have upped their offense to 41 points per game. Last season, the Warriors went 7-2 with an average score of 29-20 while a member of Class 2-1A.
  • Southeast of Saline (6-0) – Southeast of Saline won the NCAA title with a 48-26 home win against Beloit last week. The Trojans are known for its passing offense from senior quarterback Bryce Banks and senior wide receiver Ben Murray, but opened up the running game versus Beloit. Southeast of Saline outran Beloit 337-208, including 174 rushing yards from Murray. Overall, SE Saline has passed for 212 yards and rushed for 160 per game. Banks has accounted for 19 scores, while Murray has 17 touchdowns, including three in special teams. Southeast of Saline is 7-3 in each of the last three seasons.
  • Hesston (3-3) – Hesston dropped just five games in coach Clint Rider first three years, including an 8-2 record last season. However, the Swathers are 3-3 with three losses by a combined 17 points. Hesston opened with a 33-27 loss to Garden Plain, followed by a 26-24 defeat at Halstead. In Week 4, Hesston lost 36-27 at Nickerson. The Swathers have an average score of 32-20. Last season, the Swathers had an average score of 33-9. Hesston has averaged 202 passing yards and 154 rushing yards a game. Senior Zach Esau has thrown for 1,005 yards with a 10/7 TD/INT ratio and has averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
  • Hillsboro (2-4) – Hillsboro opened with a 35-0 victory versus Lyons and then defeated Haven, 36-30, last week. In Week 2, the Trojans lost 31-30 at Kingman in overtime. Hillsboro was 2-16 the previous two seasons, including winless last fall.

Key Games: (Wk 7) SE Saline at Marion; (Wk 8) Hesston at SE Saline; (Wk 9) Marion at Hesston

Winner: Hesston
Runner-up: Southeast of Saline

District 13   (Nicholl)

  • Beloit (5-1) – Beloit, known for its powerful rushing attack, lost the NCAA title with a 46-28 road loss at Southeast of Saline last week. The Trojans has averaged 46 points per contest, while allowing 31 a game. Beloit has averaged 325 rushing yards a game. Senior Hunter Budke leads the team with 145 carries for 1,058 yards and 19 scores. He has exceeded 100 yards in every game this year. The Trojans do have 10 turnovers and are just plus-1 in turnover margin.
  • Marysville (4-2) – Coach Dustin Heuer has done an excellent job of turning around the Bulldogs. He opened his tenure with back-to-back winless seasons and then went 4-6 last fall. Remember Marysville ended a 32-game losing streak last season. Marysville defeated Riley County, 34-18, in Week 9 last season and ended a five-game losing streak against the Falcons. The Bulldogs have permitted just 65 points and are one of just 12 squads in the 64-team classification who has allowed under 100 points.    
  • Riley County (2-4) – Riley County, from the Mid-East League, has played the No. 12-hardest SOS in the classification, the best of the four district squads. The Falcons have averaged 30 points a game but allowed 23. Senior quarterback Wes March, senior running back Garrett Staten and juniors Tyler Halstead and Ty Nelson have led the offense.
  • Minneapolis (1-5) – Minneapolis is 1-14 in the last two seasons with just a 22-13 home win versus Lyons in Week 3. That contest ended a 12-game losing streak.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Beloit at Marysville; (Wk 8) Riley County at Beloit; (Wk 9) Marysville at Riley County

Winner: Marysville
Runner-up: Beloit

District 14  (Nicholl)

  • Phillipsburg (6-0) – The Panthers, the defending Class 2-1A champion, has won 13 straight contests. However, lineman Drew Stapel and running back Mark Coomes each suffered significant injuries last week. Coach J.B. Covington has been fought malignant melanoma on his face, too. Sophomore QB Trey Sides and junior RB Kirk Coomes lead a young offense that returned just one lineman up front.
  • Norton (4-2) – Norton scored just 31 points in losses versus Plainville and Smith Center by a combined nine points in Weeks 2 and 4. However, the Bluejays have averaged 52.3 points per contest in their wins. Junior Jace Ruder has thrown for 888 yards with an 8/5 TD/INT ratio and rushed for 390 yards and seven scores. Junior Tevin Petrie has 102 carries for 885 yards and 10 rushing TDs. He has cleared 100 yards five times. Junior Collyn Auker has joined senior Jacob Green has a force up front; the duo has combined for 11 sacks.
  • Russell (2-4) – Russell quarterback Alex Windholz has delivered a strong season, but the Broncos’ problem has been defense with 35.2 points allowed per game. Last year, Russell allowed 32 points a contest, easily the program’s best since 2010. Russell did open with a 28-20 victory versus Ellsworth, who has now won four straight contests.
  • Thomas More Prep (1-5) – The Monarchs ended a 12-game losing streak with a 21-20 last-second win at Oakley last week. TMP was 0-9 in 2014 and 1-8 last year and is now under first-year coach Jason Cauley.

Key Games: (Wk 8) Phillipsburg at Norton

Winner: Norton
Runner-up: Phillipsburg

District 15     (Nicholl)

  • Hoisington (6-0) – Hoisington has won 23 straight regular season contests and risen to the No. 1 team in Class 3A with multiple high-profile, quality wins over Wichita Collegiate, Washington County, Pratt, and Nickerson. Senior running back Hunter Hanzlick exceeded 4,000 career rushing yards this season. He has 127 carries for 1,011 yards and 15 rushing scores. Hanzlick has exceeded 100 rushing yards in every contest. Senior Cam Davis has emerged as a dynamic threat with 40 rushes for 683 yards and eight TDs, and senior quarterback Tyler Specht has again ran the offense effectively. Hoisington has rushed for 373 yards a game.
  • Ellsworth (4-2) – Ellsworth opened with a pair of close road losses versus Russell (28-20) and Beloit (58-50) before four straight victories. Junior Zac Schneider has thrown for 1,122 passing yards and has a 13/6 TD/INT ratio. He has rushed 63 times for 463 yards and 10 scores. Senior Luke Oberle has 61 rushes for 645 yards and eight scores. Senior Kaden Davis has 51 offensive touches for 1,019 offensive yards with 15 scores.
  • Larned (0-6) – Larned went 4-5 each of the last two seasons and has not won this year. The Indians have averaged 10.3 points per contest. Only one game is within 15 points, a 19-12 road loss at Smoky Valley. The Indians have bumped down from Class 4A-II.
  • Lyons (0-6) – Lyons has been competitive in just one contest, a 22-13 road loss at Minneapolis in Week 3. The Lions have lost eight straight contests.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Hoisington at Ellsworth

Winner: Hoisington
Runner-up: Ellsworth

District 16    (Nicholl)

  • Cimarron (4-2) – Cimarron is 6-4 in each of the past two seasons. The Bluejays have experienced big highs and lows, including a coaching change just before the season started, several big blowout early losses, a key win against rival Meade and then standout quarterback Nick Ast getting banged up in Week 5. Cimarron fell 55-13 to Holcomb in the season opener and then lost 52-7 in Week 3 to Scott City. The Bluejays bounced back with the 20-14 win against Meade in Week 4 before a 14-0 victory against struggling TMP the next week. It marked the first win versus Meade since 2005.
  • Lakin (3-3) – The Broncs were expected to improve under second-year coach Chris Bamberger, and they have exceeded last season’s win total. Lakin has not played a close game this season with wins by 15, 78 and 40 points and losses by 28, 46 and 33 points.
  • Syracuse (3-3) – Coach John Guerrero has turned around the Bulldog program. Syracuse opened 0-5 last season and then finished 4-1 with a Class 3A playoff berth. This season, Syracuse has opened 3-3 with big wins versus Beaver (Okla.), Stanton County and Sublette.
  • Southwestern Heights (1-5) – SW Heights opened with a 62-6 victory versus Sublette before losing five straight, including a 21-18 road loss to Stanton County in Week 3. SW Heights is 2-9 in its last 11 games.

Key Games: (Wk 7) Cimarron at Lakin;

Winner: Cimarron
Runner-up: Lakin

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