Derby, Salina South set for Cox Friday Night Live

Salina South RB Mike Jones (28) leads the Cougars against Derby. (Photo by Yee Mar)
By: Mark Schremmer for
Sep 6, 2013

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Sure, it’s a big game. Class 6A’s top-ranked Derby Panthers open the season at home against Class 5A’s top-ranked Salina South Cougars on Friday. The game will be televised statewide at 7 p.m. Friday on Cox Kansas 22.

Even so, don’t expect the players from either team to have a lot of pregame jitters. Each team reached the state semifinals in its respective class last year.

“Our kids have been in big games before,” Derby coach Brandon Clark said. “A lot of these kids have started in big games, so the whole big game on TV thing isn’t new to them. But there are some expectations this year, and our kids have heard of them. We really don’t talk about those expectations. We take the approach of where we’re going to outwork everybody and keep the underdog mentality and get better each day. Our team has done that so far.”

Much of the same applies to Salina South coach Sam Sellers and his top-ranked Cougars.

“If there is, we haven’t really seen it,” Sellers said of whether there has been any added anxiety heading into Friday’s season opener. “The last few years, we’ve been in a lot of big games and been on Cox 22 a lot. So the kids are used to that whole process and everything that goes with it. More than anything else, I think they’re just excited. The kids on both teams are just fortunate to play in this type of atmosphere and a game like this on TV. I’m sure the stadium will be packed. Both teams have pretty big aspirations, and it’s a pretty cool way to start the season.”

Derby enters with an abundance of talent back from a Panthers squad that finished 10-2 in 2012. Both losses came to 6A state runner-up Hutchinson by a combined total of four points.

In tight end DeAndre Goolsby, offensive linemen Tanner Anderson and Cole Hansen, defensive back Travis Young, linebackers Caleb Arnold and Jose Delgado, running back Tyler West and kicker Kavan Mark, the Panthers boast eight players who are listed by as being recruited by Division I schools.

“I’ve coached a team with a lot of talent, but not with this size,” Clark said. “We’ve had a lot of kids with the talent to play D-I, but they were 5-8 or 5-9 kids. This year, we’re blessed with kids who are 6-3, 6-4 or 6-5. Size-wise, we’ve never had a team this big.”

Goolsby, in particular, causes some mismatches because of his size and athleticism. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end is considered the No. 3 college football recruit in the state and has reportedly received offers from such schools as Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

“He’s a special talent,” Sellers said. “He’s a kid who’s not only a great receiver, but I think last year he became a great blocker. A dynamic player, especially at the tight end position, can really create a lot of matchup problems. If he gets matched up with linebackers and safeties, it really puts a lot of pressure on your defense. If you try to sell out and stop him in the pass game, you’re going to get burned with their run stuff. If you focus on the run stuff, he’s going to make you pay.”

Salina South returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense from a team that finished 10-2. The Cougars’ only two losses last season were to Derby and eventual 5A state champion Bishop Carroll.  

With Mike Jones, the Cougars return a running back who rushed for 1,781 yards and 17 touchdowns last year. The speedster ran for 411 of those yards in a win over Great Bend.

“Speed obviously is the blatant thing that stands out to you,” Sellers said. “He’s a good trackster. Some times that doesn’t always translate to football with pads on. But with Mike, he might even be faster, I don’t know. The thing about him is that when he started he was always fast, but his growth as a running back has just been phenomenal. And I’m not saying he was bad when he first started off … But even now as a senior, it still seems like from practice to practice he keeps getting better and better. He keeps doing crazier and crazier things, and it’s been fun to watch him grow as a football player.”

Justin Stonebraker returns at quarterback after rushing and passing for more than 800 yards last season.

“Salina South is one of the best teams we’ll see,” Clark said. “We see four or five hard teams each year, and they’re one of them. We know how good they are. Our kids are pretty excited, and they’re going to be tested in the first game.”

The game will be rebroadcast on Cox Kansas 22 at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 and at 7 p.m. Sept. 12.




OL Cole Hansen, 6-4, 284, sr.

OL Tanner Anderson, 6-4, 248, sr.

OL Matt Kissinger, 5-10, 230, sr.

OL Kyle Haugh, 5-8, 232, sr.

OL Quentin Cox, 5-10, 230, sr.

RB Tyler West, 6-0, 210, sr.

RB Garrett Xanders, 5-6, 157, so.

TE DeAndre Goolsby, 6-5, 225, sr.

WR Luke Palmer, 5-9, 155, sr.

WR Alex Knoblock, 5-7, 137, sr.

QB Jeremy Dunham, 6-1, 167, sr.


LB Jose Delgado, 5-11, 190, sr.

LB Brice Merz, 5-8, 161, sr.

LB Nathan Emrich, 6-0, 175, sr.

S Travis Young, 6-1, 191, sr.

S Caleb Arnold, 6-0, 205, sr.

CB Shane Fowler, 6-3, 191, sr.

CB Alec Martin, 5-10, 155, sr.

NG Blake Bradford, 5-7, 200, sr.

DE Kavan Mark, 6-3, 200, sr.

DE Jonah Packard, 6-0, 174, so.



QB Justin Stonebraker, 5-11, 171, sr.

RB Mike Jones, 5-10, 171, sr.

FB Ryan Fox, 6-0, 220, sr.

WR Zach Nachbar, 6-2, 179, sr.

WR Mitch Roets, 6-3, 163, sr.

TE Walker Vinson, 6-3, 215, sr.

LT Doug DeWindt, 6-2, 251, sr.

LG, Seth Allen, 6-1, 243, jr.

C Trey Turner, 6-1, 204, jr.

RG Collin Salmans, 6-1, 290, jr.

RT Kevrick Cox, 6-2, 261, sr.


FS Cade Calvert, 6-0, 163, sr.

OLB Garrett Mortimer, 6-0, 186, sr.

OLB Richard Walters, 5-10, 172, sr.

CB Aaron Mar, 5-9, 163, sr.

CB Zach Nachbar, 6-3, 179, sr.

LB Cole Hoover, 6-0, 194, jr.

LB Dalton Harman, 6-2, 230, sr.

DE Ethan Mitchell, 6-3, 246, sr.

DE Braden Burlew, 5-11, 214, jr.

DT Alex Parker, 5-10, 225, jr.

DT Kole Smith, 6-3, 279, sr.

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