Kpreps Helmet Stickers - Week 8

Artwork by Joe Wachter
Oct 22, 2016

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New to Kpreps this fall is our most important performance of the week powered by Athletic Strength Institute (ASI).  Each Sunday our experts will hand out helmet stickers to a team or individual that delivered the most important performance of the week in their opinion.

Check out Athletic Strength Institute (ASI) – building better athletes in Lawrence (Kan.) and the surrounding area.  If you mention Kpreps, you will receive a free initial screening and 15% off your initial training package. Check them out online at and follow ASI on Twitter @AthleticSI or Facebook

Athletic Strength Institute (ASI) – MOST IMPORTANT THING (Week 8)

Use a Neutral Grip for Presses In-Season

Heavy benching and overhead pressing are great lifts to improve upper-body strength. However, they may be putting athletes’ shoulders at risk of injury when performed with heavy loads for multiple reps/sets in-season.

Overuse of a pronated grip can shorten the pectoralis and subscapularis (a muscle of the rotator cuff) muscles. This, in addition to the overemphasis of the bench press in many programs, can lead to impingement of the shoulder.

Instead, use dumbbell press variations, which give the shoulders a bit more freedom since they’re not locked into a barbell. Using a neutral grip where the palms are facing in is much easier on the shoulders. If your training facility has a “multi-grip bar” or “football bar” I recommend using them for the same reason.

For more information on how to adjust training volumes contact

Helmet sticker:  Hays High  (Conor Nicholl – Kpreps)

While Garden City and Pratt certainly received statewide attention for their big wins, Hays High pulled off a big upset in Class 4A, Division I, District 8. Before the game, The Indians were 1-6, while Abilene was 7-0. However, Hays owned a win against Scott City (6-2) and played Valley Center (7-1) and Great Bend (7-1) close throughout those contests.

Hays High had played by far the toughest strength of schedule in 4A-I, according to Prep Power Index. Its SOS would have ranked second in both 5A and 6A, too. Abilene, one of two undefeated squads remaining in the classification entering Friday, had played the weakest SOS in 4A-I.

Even with the record disparity, PPI had Abilene as just a nine-point favorite. Additionally, Hays High senior standout Shane Berens returned after missing the last several weeks with injury. The Indians trailed early but took a 10-6 lead at halftime. In the second half, Hays had a 12-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard fourth down touchdown pass from Hunter Brown to Berens.

The win marked the first home victory for Hays in the two-year Randall Rath era. The Indians will travel to Wamego (3-5, 0-2) in Week 9.

Helmet sticker:  Ottawa (Matt Gilmore -- Kpreps)

The Ottawa Cyclones clinched the Class 4A, Division I, District 3 championship on Friday with a 48-28 win at Louisburg. It was the third consecutive victory for the Cyclones (6-2) with the last two wins coming over traditional playoff contenders Paola (38-7) and Louisburg (48-28).  This is the first season in recent years that Ottawa has been placed in a district with the Panthers and Wildcats.  The Cyclones are 22-15 in Rob Hedrick’s fourth season as coach.  Ottawa has now qualified for the playoffs in three of the past four seasons after going through a 9-year drought prior to Hedrick taking over as head coach.

On Friday, Ottawa raced out to a 21-0 lead at Louisburg behind junior running back Devion Bethea.  Bethea broke touchdown runs of 42 and 79 yards sandwiched around a 74-yard touchdown pass from Isaac McCullough to Blain Ray.  Louisburg pulled within 21-7 at halftime, but momentum swung right back to the Cyclones when Perry Carroll returned the second-half kickoff 86 yards for a score.

Louisburg would close within 14 twice in the third quarter on Thomas San Agustin’s second and third rushing touchdowns of the night. Each time, Ottawa would respond to extend the lead to 21. McCullough hit Cooper Diel on a 51-yard touchdown pass and Ray again on 30-yard score.  Diel then provided separation with a 35-yard interception return for a score.

The Cyclones’ two losses have come 28-27 to De Soto in the season opener, and 33-12 to Spring Hill in Week 5.  Both the Wildcats and Broncos sit atop the Frontier League standings. Ottawa has posted three straight league wins to finish in the top three in the standings. The Cyclones host Fort Scott (3-5; 0-2) in Week 9.

Helmet sticker:  Lawrence Free State (Matt Gilmore -- Kpreps)

Why not dole out a second helmet sticker this week?  This one goes to the Free State Firebirds for blasting cross-town rival Lawrence High 56-7 to earn a share of the Sunflower League title with Shawnee Mission East.  On Friday night, the Firebirds overwhelmed the Lions behind a great night from senior quarterback Dallas Crittenden.  The Topeka Hayden transfer completed 8 of 17 passes for 257 yards and five, first-half touchdowns.  Crittenden tossed three touchdowns in the first quarter as Free State jumped out to a 28-0 lead. 

The Free State defense got the scoring started as Zack Sanders returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game. Crittenden then tossed touchdown passes of 46 yards to Daniel Bryant, 68 yards to Sanders, and another 30-yard connection with Bryant.  Free State would add a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter as Crittenden hit Bo Miller on a 30-yard TD pass and Sanders again from 33 yards out. Trey Moore led Lawrence High with 156 rushing yards and the Lions’ only score.

While separated by just 5 miles across town, the Firebirds and Chesty Lions are on different sides of the state in terms of the Class 6A playoffs. Lawrence (6-2) is the No. 3 seed on the east side and will host Blue Valley West (2-6). Free State (6-2) earned the No. 6 seed on the west side of the Class 6A Bracket and will face Wichita South (4-4) next week.  The Firebirds have won five consecutive games since a 34-21 loss to Park Hill (Mo.) in Week 3.  Free State’s other loss came 41-40 in a non-league game against Shawnee Mission West in the season opener.

Helmet sticker: Pratt (John Baetz – Kansas Pregame)

Pratt upset top-ranked Holcomb 35-28 to improve to 7-1 on the season and claim the District 8 championship. Hunter Kaufman rushed for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter that put the Greenbacks up seven. Down a touchdown late, Holcomb had to hold off the Greenbacks at the goal-line leaving the Longhorns with only 29 seconds to try and force overtime. Travis Theis rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown, while Landon Studer rushed and passed for a score for Pratt.

Holcomb, the defending 4A-II champs, were the top ranked team all season and had won 16 consecutive games. Pratt's only loss this season came 32-14 to Class 3A’s top-ranked Hoisington Cardinals.  Since the Hoisington loss, the Greenbacks have won three straight against quality opponents in Halstead (34-6), Hugoton (31-28), and Holcomb. Pratt’s Noah Myers kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to beat Hugoton last week. The Greenbacks will host Kingman (3-5; 0-2) in Week 9.

Helmet sticker:  Riverton (Chet Kuplen -- Sports in Kansas)

The Riverton Rams have battled injuries and low numbers in losing their first six games this season, but have quickly put that behind them with consecutive district wins in the last two weeks.  The Rams guaranteed themselves a playoff spot in 3A with wins over Southeast-Cherokee (42-0) and an upset of Cherryvale. Led by first year head coach H.T. Kinney, the Rams upset the Chargers 17-14 on Friday to set up a district championship game with CNC League rival Galena (6-2) next week. The two schools are separated by less than 4 miles on Route 66.

Helmet Stickers (2016 Season)

Week 1 – Atchison, Holcomb, Mill Valley, St. Francis

Week 2 – Hoisington, Junction City, Plainville, St. Marys

Week 3 – Central Plains, Great Bend, Topeka Seaman, Valley Center

Week 4 – Clifton-Clyde, Coffeyville, Lawrence, Osborne

Week 5 – Logan-Palco, Phillipsburg, Pittsburg, Santa Fe Trail

Week 6 – Frontenac, Spring Hill, Thomas More Prep, Topeka Hayden

Week 7 – Dighton, Goddard, Lakeside-Downs, St. Paul

Week 8 – Hays, Lawrence Free State, Ottawa, Pratt, Riverton

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