Kpreps Helmet Stickers - Week 4

Artwork by Joe Wachter,
Sep 24, 2017

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Back to Kpreps this fall, our contributors will hand out helmet stickers to a team or individual that delivered the most important performance of the week in their opinion. Check back each Sunday to see that week’s helmet stickers, and follow @Kpreps on Twitter and Facebook to watch as the Kpreps helmet fills up with stickers as the season goes on.

Helmet sticker: Colby (Conor Nicholl – Kpreps)

Colby defeated Ulysses, 51-8, in GWAC play for the first win against the Tigers since 1992. The Eagles have opened 4-0 under first-year coach Rees McKinney, formerly at Moscow. From ’06-16, Colby had taken nine straight losses to Ulysses, a longtime 4A power. The first seven defeats came by at least 24 points, but the Eagles had lost 29-16 and 35-21 the last two meetings, part of the team’s big turnaround.

Colby is 13-6 in its last 19 games. Before then, the Eagles were 3-26 in its previous 29 contests, including a 16-game losing streak that stretched over parts of three seasons. Colby has made the playoffs the last three years and lost in the first round each time. The Eagles went 5-5 in ’16 and are close to their first winning season since a 7-3 mark in 2009. Last year, Colby opened 3-0 before the 14-point loss to Ulysses.

This time, Colby rolled behind junior Jordan Schippers, one of the state’s most electrifying players, and senior quarterback Zach Hart. Schippers recorded nine rushes for 89 yards and two TDs and caught seven passes for 81 yards. In 22 career games, Schippers has now accounted for 3,180 offensive yards and 44 offensive scores. Defensively, he tacked on seven stops with three TFLs. Colby forced four turnovers.

Sophomore Calvin Stapp hauled in six catches for 150 yards and two TDs, the first receiving scores of his career. He has 19 catches for 282 yards after he had eight catches for 68 yards and no touchdowns last season. Hart completed 17 of 22 passes for 274 yards with a 3/0 TD/INT ratio. Hart, who has tallied a 25/13 TD/INT ratio the last two seasons, recorded the highest passer rating (158) for his career.

The defense has allowed just 34 points in ’17 after 92 through the first four games of ’16. Juniors Tucker Branum (23 stops) and Xavier Slavens (seven sacks) have led the improvement. Branum paced the team in tackles in ‘16.

Colby travels to powerhouse Holcomb next Friday for another key conference/Class 4A, Division II matchup. After three straight home games, Colby now has three in a row on the road. A win there pushes the Eagles closer to a league crown and likely vaults Colby into the top-five in 4A-II. The Eagles could end another skid. Colby has lost seven straight to Holcomb dating back to 2010.

Helmet sticker: Concordia (John Baetz – Kansas Pregame)

Consecutive heartbreaking losses to Beloit (13-6) and Clay Center (28-26) ran the Concordia Panthers losing streak to eight straight games dating back to a Week 3 win against Chapman last season - the only win in a tough 2016 campaign.

A 35-14 win over Chapman two weeks ago broke the losing streak and Friday night the Panthers delivered a surprising upset of state-ranked Marysville, 22-16.

The Bulldogs were ranked in the top 5 of the Kpreps poll after impressive season opening victories against Rossville, Abilene and Wamego, and it appeared they might pull out a fourth consecutive win as QB Jack Blumer hit Jacob Backus for a 10-yard touchdown pass and completed the 2-point conversion pass to Gabe Pieschl to tie the game at 16 with just under 7 minutes to play.

But the Panthers would take the ball and drive 72 yards in 12 plays and score the go-ahead touchdown with just over a minute to go in the contest. The Panther defense held the Bulldogs out of the end zone in the final minute and Concordia secured their second straight home win to even their record at 2-2 on the season.

Senior running back Rope Dorman led the Panthers with 179 yards rushing on 33 carries and scored the winning touchdown as the Panther offense rolled up over 330 yards in the game. The Panther defense held the Bulldogs to their lowest point total in the last four games, dating back to last year's playoff loss to Norton.

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

Manhattan knocked off Topeka High 21-14 on Friday at Hummer Park in Topeka after starting the season with a 2-1 record. The Indians got it done on the ground with over 300 yards rushing including over 200 yards from Kevontae McDonald with two touchdowns.

The biggest story was the Manhattan defense who limited all-state candidate Ky Thomas of Topeka High to under 50 yards rushing. Thomas had well over 600 yards rushing entering the contest, averaging over 200 per game. The Manhattan defense has only allowed 21 points over the last three weeks.

The loss in week one may have been a surprise for Manhattan to lose to Shawnee Heights (21-18), but the loss doesn't look so bad right now. The T-Birds have quietly gone 4-0 to start the season and are the only undefeated team remaining in the Centennial League. Manhattan and head coach Joe Schartz will play host to Topeka Seaman (3-1) this week.

Helmet sticker:  Riley County (Matt Gilmore -- Kpreps)

This week is the matchup of the annual “War on 24” between Silver Lake and Rossville; a game that not only pits two bitter rivals but also typically decides the Mid-East League title. But if you look atop the MEL standings his week, you’ll find a different team sharing the top line.

The Riley County Falcons are off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2011, and, together with Silver Lake, sit atop the MEL standings. Riley County has opened with a league win over Wabaunsee (49-6), shutout Washington County (41-0), then posted a blowout of three-time defending champion Rossville (52-7) before racing past St. Marys 37-14 on Friday.

Veteran coach Steve Wagner has relied on a consistent running game to the Falcon’s 4-0 start. Riley County averages 338 yards per game on the ground and rushed for 316 yards on 52 attempts against the Bears on Friday when the Falcons nearly had three players break the century mark. Junior Mikey Waggoner led the way with 156 yards and a touchdown while also catching a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Tyler Halstead.  Halstead added 149 yards on the ground and two scores, while classmate Ty Nelson added 98 yards on nine attempts.

For the season, Halstead leads the Falcon ground game with 534 yards and eight scores. Waggoner has 412 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Halstead has only attempted 12 passes through four games, completing seven for 170 yards and three scores.

Riley County now gets set for a two-game home stand that will ultimately decide the Mid-East League title. The Falcons will host Rock Creek (2-2) this week before Silver Lake comes calling on October 6th. It’s been 20 years since Riley County claimed a portion of the Mid-East League title; sharing it with Silver Lake in 1997. The Falcons won the MEL title outright in 1996.

Wagner is in his 34th year coaching and his next victory will be the 230th of his career.


Helmet Stickers (2017 Season)

Week 1 – Burrton, Pittsburg, St. James Academy, Thomas More Prep, Wetmore

Week 2 – Ellsworth, Goddard, Hays, Maize South

Week 3 – Altoona-Midway, Lakin, St. Mary’s Colgan, Southern Cloud, Wellington


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