Kpreps Game Day - Week 3

Pittsburg QB Chase Curtis will try to lead the Purple Dragons past Webb City. (by Derek Livingston)
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl, for
Sep 15, 2017

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One of the primary storylines surrounding Week 3 of the Kansas high school football season again this year is the number of games between Kansas schools and Missouri schools.

Most of the interstate games are in the Kansas City area where the second installment of the Sunflower-Suburban Showdown will take place. The Sunflower League of Kansas and the Suburban Conference of Missouri announced a two-year agreement to match teams from respective leagues in a football showcase. The showcase began last season with Missouri sweeping all ten games.

If you add in the other Kansas-Missouri Week 3 matchups, Missouri went 15-0 against Kansas in 2016.

Is the brand of football really that much better over the state line? Or is the fact that Missouri schools have each played two more games than Kansas schools this season, and are allowed much more freedom in the summer the deciding factor? 

Games in the Sunflower-Suburban Showdown include:

Class 6 No. 1 Park Hill (Mo.) (4-0) at 6A No. 2 Lawrence Free State (2-0)

The Park Hill Trojans have ascended to the top spot in Missouri Class 6 poll for the first time in school history after last week’s 28-25 win over Blue Springs. The Trojans intercepted Blue Springs in the end zone with :07 remaining last week to preserve the three-point win. Quarterback Billy Maples (6-3, 215) has passed for 1,125 yards and 21 touchdowns in four games without throwing an interception. Maples tied a national high school record with eight, first-half touchdown passes in a win over Lee’s Summit two weeks ago. Ronnie Bell is Maples’ primary receiving target, having hauled in 30 passes for 612 yards and 10 touchdowns. Free State has held its opponents to nine total points in two games. The Firebirds held Shawnee Mission South to 37 yards of total offense in last week’s 49-0 win. Jax Dineen rushed for 96 yards and three scores, while Jordan Preston passed for 139 yards and a score.

2016 Result: Park Hill 34, Free State 21

Class 6 No. 6 Lee’s Summit West (Mo.) (3-1) at Lawrence (2-0)
The Lee’s Summit West Titans have won two straight since their 19-6 loss to Blue Springs in Week 2. Phillips Brooks paces the Titan offense with 414 rushing yards and five scores and more than 300 yards receiving. Brooks rushed for 133 yards and two scores in the Titan’s win over Lawrence last season. Lawrence put up 69 points and nearly 450 yards of offense in last week’s win over Shawnee Mission North. Quarterback Dante Jackson rushed for nearly 200 yards and four touchdowns after running back Hunter Krom left with an injury. Jackson also passed for 85 yards and three scores. One matchup to watch is Lee’s Summit West receiver Mario Goodrich, a Nebraska commit, against Lawrence’s Ekow Boye-Doe who has received offers from Kansas and Kansas State.

2016 Result: Lee’s Summit West 28, Lawrence 7

Olathe East (1-1) at Class 5 No. 4 Liberty (Mo.) (4-0)
Liberty is up to No. 4 in the Missouri Class 5 poll and riding an offense that is averaging 47 points per game. Senior running back Robert Rawie leads the Blue Jays attack with 645 yards and 12 touchdowns. Rawie rushed for 286 yards and four scores in last week’s 55-35 shootout over Raytown. Rawie is over 4,250 rushing yards for his career after a 2,100-yard season in 2016. Last season, Liberty defeated Olathe East 21-14 with a touchdown and two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. Rawie led the Blue Jays with 207 yards and a touchdown. Olathe East fell 22-21 to Hutchinson in Week 1 as the Salthawks scored and converted a two-point conversion to edge the Hawks. East rebounded with a 29-12 win over rival Olathe North last week.

2016 Result: Liberty 21, Olathe East 14

Olathe North (1-1) at Blue Springs South (Mo.) (0-4)
After falling behind 18-0 to Wichita Heights, Olathe North scored 32 consecutive points and held on to beat the Falcons, 39-25 in Week 1. Olathe North couldn’t string together back-to-back wins, however, as Olathe East beat the Eagles 29-12 last week. North now takes on winless Blue Springs South. The Jaguars have lost to three ranked teams in Lee’s Summit West, Rockhurst, and Staley. Senior quarterback Brody Parker leads Blue Springs South with 751 passing yards and six touchdowns. Junior quarterback Zac Krause has thrown for 372 yards and four touchdowns for Olathe North.

2016 Result: Blue Springs South 34, Olathe North 7

Olathe Northwest (0-2) at Lee’s Summit North (Mo.) (2-2)
Olathe Northwest has opened with a pair of losses to difficult opponents in Goddard (No. 2 in Class 5A) and an improving Olathe South team. Meanwhile, Lee’s Summit North can say the same. The Broncos’ two losses have come to No. 1 Park Hill and No. 6 Lee’s Summit West. Christian Carter leads LS North with 486 rushing yards and five scores.

2016 Result: Lee’s Summit North 21, Olathe Northwest 16

Olathe South (1-1) at Lee’s Summit (Mo.) (1-3)
Olathe South opened with a 28-6 loss to now No. 1 Shawnee Mission East before beating Olathe Northwest last week. The Falcons’ challenge this week will be to slow down Lee’s Summit sophomore quarterback Darrias Pearsall. Pearsall has passed for 821 yards and four scores in the Tigers’ four games. Preston Whitworth leads the Tiger ground game with 429 yards and four scores.

2016 Result: Lee’s Summit 42, Olathe South 24

Shawnee Mission Northwest (0-2) at Grandview (Mo.) (1-3)
Grandview enters Friday’s contest 1-3 having lost two consecutive road games at Kearney and William Chrisman. Grandview is averaging only 14 points per game and giving up nearly 30 a game. Shawnee Mission Northwest has lost five consecutive games and 18 of its past 20. The Cougars’ last win over a non-Sunflower League opponent came against KC Wyandotte in October of 2011.

2016 Result: Grandview 50, SM Northwest 14

Shawnee Mission West (0-2) at Class 6 No. 4 Blue Springs (Mo.) (2-2)
Despite losing their last two games, Kelly Donohoe’s Blue Springs Wildcats remain ranked No. 4 in Missouri Class 6. The Wildcats have close losses against Fayetteville (Ark.) 22-17, and at No. 1 Park Hill, 28-25. Shawnee Mission West, on the other hand, has also dropped two straight. The Vikings were blown out by Lawrence Free State in the opener (56-9), and lost late to Leavenworth 16-14 last week.

2016 Result: Blue Springs 35, Shawnee Mission West 21

Winnetonka (Mo.) (0-4) at Shawnee Mission South (1-1)
SM South opened the season with a 22-19 win over SM North to end a 9-game losing streak, but managed only 37 yards of total offense in last week’s 49-0 loss to Lawrence Free State. Winnetonka has scored just 27 points in four games, but the Griffin defense is giving up more than 52 points per game, including 61 in each of their last two games. Last season, the Raiders and Griffins entered this contest winless and Winnetonka came away with a 7-point win. It was Winnetonka’s only win of the 2016 season, while SM South finished 0-9.

2016 Result: Winnetonka 21, SM South 14

North Kansas City (Mo.) (0-4) at Leavenworth (2-0)
The Pioneers are 2-0 for the first time in a least 15 years. Leavenworth has leaned on its defense the first two weeks in beating Lansing 13-6 and Shawnee Mission West, 16-14. The Pioneers have kept things on the ground with senior Devin Johnson leading the way with 177 yards and two scores. Leavenworth has benefitted from forcing five opponent turnovers in the first two games. North Kansas City has scored 67 points in its last two games after scoring 20 total points the first two weeks. The Hornets issues has been on the defensive side where North KC is giving up nearly 45 points per game.

2016 Result: North Kansas City 27, Leavenworth 18


Since the Sunflower League has 12 members, two schools, Shawnee Mission East and Shawnee Mission North will not participate in the showcase this season.  Shawnee Mission North will travel to Lansing, while Shawnee Mission East will take on Rockhurst (Mo.) in another high-profile showdown.

Class 6 No. 7 Rockhurst (Mo) (3-1) at 6A No. 1 Shawnee Mission East (2-0) – at SM North
It’s not part of the Sunflower-Suburban Showdown, but Shawnee Mission East will host Rockhurst in one of the week’s most anticipated games. The Lancers moved up to No. 1 in the Kansas Class 6A this week after a Derby loss, while the Hawklets are the No. 7 team in Missouri Class 6. Rockhurst opened with a 17-14 loss at Columbia-Rock Bridge before wins over Blue Springs South, Bentonville (Ark.), and Raymore-Peculiar. The Lancers have beaten Olathe South and Shawnee Mission Northwest to open the season.

Pittsburg (2-0) at Class 4 No. 1 Webb City (Mo.) (4-0)
A pair of unbeatens will matchup when Pittsburg makes the short trip across the state line to take on Missouri power Webb City. The Cardinals are ranked No. 1 in Missouri Class 4, while the Purple Dragons knocked off defending Missouri Class 4 champion Harrisonville 37-21 to open the season two weeks ago. Pittsburg followed that up with a 54-7 thrashing of Chanute. Webb City has posted wins over Class 4 No. 2 Carl Junction and Carthage which has been ranked in Class 5. The Cardinals are giving up just over 7 points per game. Webb City’s offense averages 305 rush yards per game led by senior quarterback Cash Link’s 363 yards. Durand Henderson and Will Larson have contributed 290 and 222 rushing yards, respectively. Pittsburg is led by senior quarterback Chase Curtis. Curtis passed for 260 yards and three scores in the win over Harrisonville and rushed for three scores in last week’s win over Chanute. While Webb City has been the model for success in much of the Midwest, the Cardinals hold a slight 15-14 lead in the series over the Purple Dragons. Last year’s 28-7 win by Webb City was the first meeting between the two schools since 2007.

2016 Result: Webb City 28, Pittsburg 7

Other Kansas versus Missouri games on the Week 3 schedule:

KC Harmon (0-2) at Hogan Prep (Mo.) (4-0)

Sarcoxie (Mo.) (4-0) at Southeast-Cherokee (0-1)

Greenfield (Mo.) (3-1) at Marmaton Valley (2-0)

Other games featuring out-of-state competition this week:

Garden Plain (2-0) at Kearney Catholic (Neb.) (3-0) Saturday

Moscow (0-1-1) at Tyrone (Okla.) (1-0)


High Stakes in the Hi-Plains

From 2008-15, Meade lost just one contest in Hi-Plains League action, a ’14 defeat to Elkhart. However, the Buffs still won the league crown when Elkhart finished 4-2. Last fall, Cimarron broke through, defeated Meade and won the conference.

This year, Friday’s Elkhart-Lakin matchup could help decide a new league titlist – and propel one of the teams to a 3-0 start. Both teams will play Cimarron (1-1) in October, while Elkhart gets Meade (0-2) in district play.

A win Friday would mark Elkhart’s best start since 6-0 in 2013. Lakin has not been 3-0 since a 7-0 start in 2007.

Once the Elkhart-Lakin series resumed in 2010, Lakin holds a 4-3 lead, but the average margin of victory in those seven games is just 11.7 points.

In ’14, Lakin won, 14-12. Elkhart won, 15-14, in ’15 and Lakin earned a 28-13 victory last season.

Lakin went 2-7 and 5-5 in coach Chris Bamberger’s first two seasons before a 2-0 start this year that included a massive second-half comeback to beat Meade, 30-28. It marked the Broncs’ first victory versus Meade since ’07. In the opener, Lakin defeated Hugoton, 28-20, in three overtimes.

Lakin has an offense by committee with no player with 100 rushing yards yet this season but five players with at least 44 yards. Senior Hunter Kirby has completed 12 of 20 passes for 143 yards with a 4/1 TD/INT ratio, including three scores to Khai Hernandez.

Lakin has already forced nine turnovers (seven interceptions) and is plus-five in turnover margin. Last year, the Broncs forced 18 turnovers all year (13 INTs) and finished plus-5 in turnover margin.

Elkhart graduated quarterback Tyler Sklenar, a three-year starter, but junior Lane Whisennand has stepped in superbly. He has completed 12 of 23 of passes for 240 yards with a 2/0 TD/INT ratio. He has rushed 37 times for 472 yards and six scores. Elkhart has forced two turnovers this fall with second-year coach Chris Hattabaugh.

West Elk rolling with big plays

Last year, West Elk, the Eight-Man, Division I, District I runner-up, rolled over Oxford, the District II champion, in the regular season and again in the first round of the playoffs. Oxford returns a bevy of running backs, while the Patriots lost several standout offensive linemen and returned dual threat quarterback Cade Miller. West Elk won, 56-6, with a massive amount of big plays.

Miller rushed six times for 104 yards and two scores. He completed 4 of 5 passes for 109 yards with two TDs. The Patriots ran just 19 offensive plays but gained 302 yards, or 15.9 yards per play. Junior Conery Noll returned a fumble 78 yards for a score. Oxford ran 49 plays for 183 yards, 173 on the ground.

This year, Miller has completed 10 of 13 passes for 328 yards with a 6/0 TD/INT ratio. He has 16 carries for 249 yards and six scores. West Elk averages 14.7 yards per play. Last year through two games, the Patriots were 1 of 3 passing with a 52-yard score and 10.5 yards per play.

Oxford (1-1) faces Sedan (2-0) this week, another strong District 1 team. Oxford has lost 10 straight to West Elk and three in a row to Sedan. Collectively, District 1 teams are 11-1 this fall.

Otis-Bison & Central Plains key eight-man matchup

A key Central Prairie League matchup between Otis-Bison, 2-0 and ranked third in Division II, and Central Plains (1-1) in Claflin. A key factor in Central Plain’s comeback 40-28 win last season was depth. This year, Otis-Bison has not played a full game and has run just 40 offensive plays. Junior quarterback Anton Foust has completed 6 of 7 passes for 191 yards and a 4/0 TD/INT ratio. The Cougars have just 14 players on their roster.

Central Plains features 26 players and has 100 offensive plays in two contests. Myles Menges, a transfer from Ellinwood, has taken over at quarterback and completed 14 of 27 passes for 229 yards with a 3/1 TD/INT ratio. Central Plains has won 35 straight regular games against non-Victoria teams dating back to a 38-34 season-ending loss to Little River in 2012.

A big matchup you’re not considering?

The Kansas Christian Athletic Association (KCAA) title may be previewed again this Friday as St. Mary’s Academy travels to take on the Wichita Homeschool Warriors. St. Mary’s has won 11 straight games including a 38-14 win over the Warriors in the 2016 regular season, and a 30-24 overtime victory over Wichita Homeschool in last year’s KCAA title game. St. Marys has opened with blowout wins over Axtell (60-12) and Sunrise Christian Academy (50-6), while Wichita Homeschool has won at Veritas Christian (66-28) and Cair Paravel (50-28). The Warriors are led by sophomore Luke Johnson who has rushed for 207 yards and four scores in two weeks, while Elliott Langhofer has added 197 rush yards and four more scores. Junior Marshal Masterson has passed for 300 yards and five scores. 

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