Playoff Preview: Class 4A & 3A (Regionals)

Dylan Jordan and Pittsburg will try and slow down No. 1 Bishop Miege. (by Matt Gilmore,
By: Conor Nicholl & Matt Gilmore for
Nov 2, 2018

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Class 4A

VIEW: 4A Bracket

4A East

#9 KC Piper (5-4) at #1 Louisburg (9-0) – Louisburg

Louisburg will host KC Piper in a rematch of a 28-21 Wildcat win back in Week 4. In that meeting, Louisburg led 21-14 at halftime with both teams adding a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Dalton White rushed for 143 yards and two scores and passed for 74 more yards in that game. Piper also returned a Louisburg fumble for another scores. Louisburg advanced to this round with a 56-8 win over Ottawa – the Wildcats’ second victory over the Cyclones in three weeks. Brandon Cooper returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown to get the scoring started. Austin Moore rushed for a pair of touchdowns and returned an interception for a third score. Piper defeated Bonner Springs for a second consecutive week, although the Braves made things much closer this week. Piper broke a 40-40 tie with two minutes left as La’James White’s third touchdown gave the Pirates a 46-40 lead. The Pirates then held Bonner Springs on fourth-down inside the 10-yard line with under 30 seconds left in the game. The week prior, Piper beat Bonner Springs 69-20 behind 462 rushing yards. In that meeting Dalton White rushed for 202 yards and La’James White added 231 yards. This meeting saw Dalton White rush for 143 yards and a score, while La’James White added 148 yards and three scores. Dalton White also passed for 139 yards and three scores putting him over 1,000 passing yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Dalton White has rushed for 1,000 yards and 11 scores, while La’James White has totaled 970 rush yards and 11 scores.

#5 Bishop Miege (7-2) at #4 Pittsburg (8-1) – Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege will visit Pittsburg in a highly-anticipated matchup on the eastern half of Class 4A. The Stags are a heavy favorite, but many believe the Purple Dragons could provide the biggest resistance to Miege on the eastern half of 4A. Pittsburg enters this game dealing with some key injuries, which isn’t ideal against the depth and talent of the Stags. The Dragon offense has been performing more consistently of late, needing just two plays to score on the opening series against Spring Hill last week. The Dragons went on to beat the Broncos, 37-15. Pittsburg’s defense has been led all season by linebackers Dylan Jordan and Jerek Butcher. Against the Eastern Kansas League this season, Pittsburg has defeated defending 6A champion Blue Valley North (34-31) and lost to Mill Valley (35-12). Miege beat Blue Valley North 33-21 to open the season and Mill Valley, 40-7, two weeks later. Both teams have also defeated Labette County. Pittsburg beat the Grizzlies 43-8 to open the season, while Miege eliminated Labette County 76-8 last week. In that game, Miege quarterback Sam Pedrotti threw touchdown passes to three different receivers and added a touchdown on the ground. Pedrotti and the Miege receivers will look to attack a Pittsburg secondary that has been missing a couple of key pieces. On the other side, the Purple Dragons will try and have success against a tough Miege defense led by linebacker Dylan Downing. Downing scored two defensive touchdowns against Labette County last week, returning both an interception and a fumble for touchdowns.

#7 Fort Scott (7-2) at #2 Basehor-Linwood (8-1) – Basehor-Linwood

Fort Scott and Basehor-Linwood each advanced as expected to set up this round of 16 matchup. The Fort Scott Tigers won their fifth straight game by beating Atchison, 40-12. Dalton Colvin rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown and returned an interception for another score as the Tigers scored in each quarter. Fort Scott forced Atchison into four turnovers on the night. The Tigers two losses this season have come 4-seed Pittsburg (17-14) and 4-seed Paola (42-0). Now the Tigers get 2-seed Basehor-Linwood. Last week, the Bobcats shutout Eudora 23-0 in the second half to win 44-16. Basehor-Linwood’s lead was 21-16 at the break. Dylan Mussett passed for 250 yards and a score and Marlon McDaniel rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns. Mussett has now passed for 1,732 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 62 percent of his pass attempts. Senior Dylan Donnelly has 743 receiving yards with six scores. McDaniel pushed his season rushing total to 676 yards and 12 touchdowns with last week’s output against Eudora. Eudora forced Fort Scott into overtime the week prior before the Tigers escaped with a 21-14 win.

#6 Tonganoxie (7-2) at #3 Paola (8-1) – Paola

Tonganoxie has now won seven straight games since opening the season with losses to Basehor-Linwood and Louisburg. The Chieftains advanced to the second round with a 48-36 victory over Chanute. Tongy senior running back Korbin Riedel had a huge game in the victory over the Blue Comets. Riedel (5-6, 150) carried 47 times for 352 yards and three scores to lead the Chieftains to victory. Chanute led 21-19 at halftime thanks to a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown by Lane Harvey on the final play of the first half. Tonganoxie would score the first 23 points in the second half to take a three-score lead. Riedel pushed his season rushing total to 1,395 yards and 16 touchdowns. Riedel has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of Tonganoxie’s seven wins. He wasn’t the primary ball carrier in the first two weeks with only 10 total carries in those two losses. Drake Pray also eclipsed the 100-yards mark in the Chantue victory with two rushing scores. Quarterback Hayden Robbins’ 154 passing yards and two scores last week gives him 876 yards and seven scores on the season. Paola rebounded from its loss to Louisburg with a 45-6 win over Baldwin. It was the Panthers’ second victory over the Bulldogs this season. Paola’s Brendan Ohlmeier, Connor Hasz, and Seth Richmond each rushed for two touchdowns in the win. Paola’s strength has been its running game and defense. Meanwhile, Tonganoxie allowed only five total rush yards against Chanute last week. The Panther defense has only allowed 56 points all season and have five shutouts. If Paola can get a consistent run game and slow down Riedel, Paola can punch its ticket to the quarterfinals.

Class 4A – West

#9 Ulysses (4-4) at #1 McPherson (9-0) – McPherson

The Bullpups have enjoyed their best start since 1927 and have rolled through 4A’s softest schedule. McPherson leads 4A in scoring offense and rank second in defense with totals of 479-66. The Bullpups are the only 4A team to exceed 365 points. Only Paola (56 points) has allowed fewer. Kyler Hoppes has thrown for 1,985 yards and is one of the state’s top passers. He has a 28/2 TD/INT ratio. Jace Kinnamon has rushed for 1,309 yards and 27 scores, and Gabe Hoover has 1,066 receiving yards with 16 TDs. Ulysses is on its fourth straight long road trip and is 2-1 in those contests. The Tigers won at Labette County, and then split meetings with Abilene, including a win last week. Ulysses has a three-win improvement after the tragic passing of longtime coach/AD Jason Kenny.

#13 Ark City (3-6) at #5 Coffeyville (5-4) – Ark City

Last week we said not to be surprised if Ark City gave Mulvane all they could handle. Well, Ark City pulled the upset of the Class 4A bracket last week as the 13-seed Bulldogs took down 4-seed Mulvane, 29-26. Mulvane lost quarterback Tab Creekmore to a serious leg injury on the first play of the game. The Wildcats turned to freshman quarterback Mason Ellis who passed for 265 yards and two scores to give Mulvane a 26-14 lead in the third quarter. Ark City would respond with a touchdown run by Cevin Clark to pull within 26-21. Clark later connected on a fourth-down completion that set up Ike Abrams’ short touchdown run with three minutes left. Clark hit A.J. Wilson on the two-point conversion to lead 29-26. Clark passed for 305 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Ike Abrams added 52 yards rushing and a score along with a 65- yard touchdown catch. Coffeyville has now won three straight after last week’s 46-12 victory over El Dorado. The Golden Tornado led 16-6 at halftime and traded touchdowns with El Dorado in the third quarter. A Trey Myrie catch and long run gave the ‘Nado a 28-12 lead and Myrie added a touchdown catch in the fourth quarter as Coffeyville began to pull away. Jaylen Logan leads a Field Kindley offense that averages 32 points per game. The victory was Coffeyville’s first in the playoffs since the ‘Nado finished as the 4A state runners-up in 2013. This should be an even contest with a lot of potential play makers. If Clark can have another solid game, Ark City can pull off another surprise and reach the state quarterfinals.

#7 Buhler (5-4) at #2 Wellington (7-2)Wellington

Both teams are nicknamed Crusaders and have enjoyed unique seasons in recent history. Buhler, a longtime traditional power, returned no starters this season and will, at worst, clinch a .500 season. Buhler has not won fewer than seven games since 2005, the year before Steve Warner took over the program, according to Kansas Football History. Wellington continues to make an impressive climb with alum Zane Aguilar. The Crusaders were 0-9 two years ago, the first winless season in school history, and 5-5 last fall. Wellington has enjoyed its most wins since a 7-4 season in 2009. Wellington has an average score of 29-15, and Buhler is at 25-21. Last week, Jordan Hawkins had 21 carries for 147 yards and a TD for Buhler. The Crusaders held Winfield to 87 total yards. Wellington quarterback Michael Ledbetter has passed for 1,055 yards, Grey Hatfield has rushed for 965, and DeAndre Washington has 630 receiving yards. This is the first matchup since 2011. Buhler has won two straight with Wellington last winning in 2007.

#6 Andover Central (5-4) at #3 Goddard (7-2)Goddard

Goddard defeated Andover Central, 17-16, in overtime at home in Week 3. The Lions scored on a Kyler Semrad to Carter Morrow touchdown pass in overtime. Andover Central answered the Goddard score and tried to with the game with a two-point conversion, but the Lion defense stopped the attempt short. Goddard reached the 5A state title game two seasons ago and was the 5A sub-state runner-up to eventual champion Bishop Carroll last year. Andover Central has played multiple close games this season. The Jaguars have two, 10-point wins, and three consecutive victories by margins of two, three, and nine points. Their losses have been equally as close. Other than the overtime loss to Goddard, Andover Central has dropped a 1-point decision to Maize South and lost by a touchdown to Eisenhower. These two teams have played virtually identical schedules with Goddard with the No. 10 SOS in 4A, and Andover Central with No. 9, according to Prep Power Index. However, the Lions hold edges in offense and defense. Goddard has an average margin of 26-13, and the Jaguars is at 17-16. Goddard quarterback Kyler Semrad has thrown for 1,498 yards and Blake Mitchell has 470 receiving yards. Goddard’s defense has forced 25 turnovers, led by five interceptions from senior Gentry Cole. Last season, the Lions averaged 41 points a contest. Goddard has typically had a stingy defense the last three falls. Goddard permitted 13.7 points per game last year after it led 5A in scoring defense in ’16 with 16.6 points permitted. This year, the Lions are fifth in 4A in scoring defense. Andover Central is extremely non-senior heavy at the skill positions and two quarterbacks – junior Shomari Parnell and sophomore Chase White - have combined for a 10/5 TD/INT ratio.


Class 3A

VIEW: 3A Bracket

Frontenac (6-3) at Galena (9-0) – Galena     

These two CNC League rivals will meet for a second time this season. Galena won the district opener back in Week 4 at Frontenac, 47-0. The Bulldogs limited Frontenac’s offense to ten total plays in the first half in building a 32-0 lead. Galena’s standout fullback Joseph Helton scored three touchdowns in the first half, but was lost for the season with a knee injury. The Bulldogs have continued to dominate without Helton as senior quarterback JC Shelton, back Kooper Lawson and Nick Sarwinski make up a talented backfield. In last week’s 40-0 win over Anderson County, Shelton rushed for two short touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass to Blake Booth as the Bulldogs led 28-0 at halftime. On the first play of the third quarter, Shelton hit Nick Sarwinski on a 66-yard touchdown pass and Sarwinski later scored on a short touchdown. Booth, Jacob Wheelen, MJ Jones, and Logan Henderson all have the capability to make big plays for the Galena offense. Frontenac went on the road and picked up a dominating 33-6 victory at Burlington. The Raiders intercepted three Wildcat passes in eliminating the runner-up finishers from District 2. Frontenac quarterback Jake Beckmann hit Ryan Raio on a 14-yard touchdown pass then rushed for a 4-yard score in the first quarter. The Raiders then scored on the final play of the first half on a 30-yard reverse-throwback pass from Raio to Beckmann. The Raiders scored twice in the second half on an Alex Johnson short touchdown run and a 63-yard sprint by Beckmann. 

Marysville (7-2) at Topeka Hayden (7-2) – Hayden

To get back to a second consecutive state championship game, Marysville will have to win at Topeka Hayden. The Bulldogs advanced to this round with a 40-17 win over Santa Fe Trail last week. Marysville led 24-17 at halftime and added single touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to pull away. Brandan Schroedl passed for 148 yards and a score and added 66 rushing yards and two touchdowns for Marysville. Junior Atreyau Hornback had his biggest game of the season with 165 yards rushing and two scores. The Marysville defense gave up 325 rushing yards to Santa Fe Tail and will be tested against Hayden. Wildcat sophomores Will DeVader and Desmond Purnell lead the Hayden ground game. DeVader has rushed for 482 yards and seven touchdowns after scoring three times in last week’s 28-13 win over Holton. Purnell has added 429 yards on the ground this season. Quarterback Brady Bohannon has passed for 1,076 yards and seven touchdowns passes with Trey Pivarnik being his primary target.

Parsons (7-2) at Prairie View (8-1) – Prairie View

It has been a great season for Parsons under first-year coach Kurt Friess. The Vikings picked up their first playoff victory in 42 years by beating Girard, 6-0, last week. The game was scoreless for much of the night until Parsons quarterback Gage Friess lined up next to DaQuan Johnson on a fourth-and-2 play, and broke three tackles for a 45-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. Friess is the Vikings leading rusher with 610 yards and six scores. He’s also passed for 1,520 yards and 20 touchdowns against only five interceptions. Patrick Loadholtz leads Parsons with 34 receptions for 645 yards and eight touchdowns. Johnson, Davonte’ Yates, and Deriq Williams all have the ability to make big plays for the Vikings, but Parsons has been trying to piece together a young offensive line due to injuries. Prairie View, on the other hand, delivered a 27-7 victory over Caney Valley in their first playoff game in 20 years. The Buffaloes rushed for 370 yards in the victory led by Hunter Boone’s 164-yard effort. Gavin Cullor added 94 yards and a score for Prairie View. Boone and Cullor are the Buffs top two rushing options, while quarterback Justin Scott has kept opponents honest as a dual threat. Mason Walker is Prairie View’s leading receiver and caught a touchdown pass form Scott in the win over Caney. Prairie View’s ability to control the ball and the line of scrimmage may be the difference in this one; however, the Buffs must limit the Vikings big plays.

Perry-Lecompton (7-2) at Sabetha (9-0) – Sabetha

This will be a rematch of one of the season’s top games. Sabetha defeated Perry-Lecompton, 35-33, back in Week 3 when both teams were ranked in the top five. In that meeting, Sabetha led 35-19 late in the third quarter after an incredible Gabe Garber touchdown run. Perry-Lecompton would respond with senior Dalton Kellum breaking a 68-yard touchdown run and later scoring on a 7-yard run with less than a minute to go to pull the Kaws within 35-33. Perry-Lecompton’s two-point conversion attempt was knocked down and Sabetha survived. Kellum rushed 31 times for 236 yards and four touchdowns in the first meeting. Garber rushed for 160 yards and three scores for Sabetha, while Mason Engelken added 102 yards and a score. Sabetha has since lost Engelken for the season with an injury. Last week, second-ranked Sabetha won its 16th consecutive game by beating Jefferson West, 32-7. The defending 3A-champion Blue Jays led 18-7 at halftime and added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away. Joe Gruber rushed for 160 yards and two scores, while Garber added 133 yards and a touchdown. Garber has rushed for 809 yards and 13 scores while passing for 633 yards and nine touchdowns. Gruber leads the Blue Jays with 880 yards on the ground and has scored ten times. Kellum leads Perry-Lecompton with 1,335 rushing yards and 19 scores after last week’s 35-carry, 193-yard, three-touchdown performance in the Kaws’ 34-20 win over Wamego.   Kellum has also passed for 551 yards and six scores, while sophomore William Welch has passed for 526 yards and seven touchdowns. Colton Mallonee leads the Kaws with 25 receptions for 501 yards and five scores.


Hesston (6-3) at Smoky Valley (9-0) – Smoky Valley

Two Central Kansas League teams match up again. In Week 4, Smoky Valley defeated Hesston, 28-0, at home. Hesston had missed its standout pair of quarterback Cameron Cox and running back Parker Roth early with injury, but they played in the first meeting against the Vikings. The Vikings have had three wins by a combined 16 points. Smoky Valley went 9-2 last year with an average score of 29-13. This year, Smoky Valley’s average margin is 33-8. Hesston has averaged 32 points a contest but has permitted 29 a game. The Vikings have rushed for 332 yards a contest behind its excellent line with Ethan Wampler and Konrad Peterson. Tim Lambert has 1,241 rushing yards, Cort Elliott has rushed for 813, and Lane Schrag has rushed for 713 with 297 passing against just one interception. They have combined for 30 rushing touchdowns, and Schrag has six passing scores. A victory gives Smoky Valley its first 10-win season since 1992.

Colby (8-1) at Pratt (9-0) – Pratt

Pratt is one of six 3A unbeaten teams, along with Andale, Scott City, Sabetha, Galena and Smoky Valley. They all rank in the top-seven in scoring defense, permitted less than 73 total points, and rarely have they had a test. Pratt, the 4A-II champions two years ago, has its first 9-0 start since a 9-1 mark in 2000, according to Kansas Football History. Colby has enjoyed its most wins since before 2004 for second-year coach Rees McKinney. The Eagles have produced big seasons from quarterback Jordan Schippers, all-purpose threat Calvin Stapp and end Xavier Slaven. Colby only lost a competitive game at Scott City and has a 372-148 margin. Pratt has tallied 412 points. Travis Theis has enjoyed an exceptional season since he moved back to quarterback with 605 passing yards, an 8/0 TD/INT ratio and 129 carries for 1,749 yards and 28 scores. This is third meeting between the schools. Pratt won 49-26 in the ’16 playoffs, and the Greenbacks defeated Colby, 27-20, in the ’97 postseason.

Chapman (7-2) at Andale (9-0) – Andale

Andale has been ranked No. 1 all season in Class 3A and leads the classification in scoring offense and defense with a total score of 433-33. The Indians have a bevy of weapons, including tight end Mason Fairchild, a South Dakota commit. Andale is the defending Class 4A, Division I runner-up. Chapman is one of the state’s biggest surprises. The Fighting Irish have a six-win improvement off last season with second-year coach Kurt Webster. Last week, Andale defeated Halstead, 35-0, for its sixth shutout this fall. Two weeks ago, Halstead beat Chapman in overtime, 30-22. Sawyer Simon rushed for 106 yards for Andale, and Mac Brand and Ethan Baalmann both tallied a pair of rushing TDs in the Halstead victory. Chapman has rushed for 319 yards a game with its hard-nosed ground attack. Senior Dalton Harvey has 216 carries for 1,257 yards and 15 scores. Senior Kobey Stroud has enjoyed a big year with nine TFLs. The Fighting Irish has its most wins and first winning record since 2007.

Beloit (6-3) at Scott City (9-0) – Scott City

In Week 6, in a game moved to Thursday because of possible inclement weather, Scott City rolled over Beloit, 55-12. The Beavers are one of seven 3A teams to allow eight points a game or fewer this year. Scott City has outscored teams 394-60. Beloit has suffered injuries, mainly to quarterback Hudson Gray, and has a total margin of 286-179. The Trojans had a well-played shutout 28-0 road win versus Hugoton last week. Scott City has multiple experienced standouts, led by running back Wyatt Hayes. The Beavers have started 9-0 nine times in the last 13 years, according to Western Kansas News. Senior running back Tate Ahlvers paces Beloit with 143 carries for 818 yards and 14 scores.


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