Playoff Preview: Class 2A & 1A (Quarterfinals)

Humboldt QB Dagen Goodner (11) dives for a TD earlier this season. (by Kent Goodner)
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Nov 7, 2018

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Class 2A

VIEW: 2A Bracket


Humboldt (10-0) at Rossville (8-2) – Rossville

Humboldt has enjoyed a dominant 2018 season that has resulted in reaching the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2007. That season, Humboldt met another Mid-East League team, St. Marys, in the 2-1A quarterfinals with the visiting Bears coming out on top, 24-6. The Cubs’ 10 wins this season are the most since that 2007 team that finished 10-2. Humboldt has averaged a gaudy 54 points per game while giving up only 6.5 per contest. The Cubs are led by senior quarterback Dagen Goodner and junior running back Connor Haviland.  In nine game, Goodner (6-0, 205) has passed for 841 yards and 13 touchdowns, while adding 976 rushing yards and 18 scores. Haviland (6-0, 185) has been spectacular in rushing for 1,533 yards and 30 touchdowns this season. What’s incredible is Haviland has done so on just 116 carries, good enough for a 13.2 average per attempt. Last week, Humboldt led Osage City 8-0 at halftime and 8-6 in the third quarter before pulling away, 30-6.

Still the Cubs are somewhat of an unknown given their schedule ranks 45th out of the 48 teams in Class 2A according to In fact, Humboldt has played only three teams that finished with a winning record this season, and two of those teams lost first-round bracket games by a combined 115 points. By comparison, Rossville has played the 9th toughest schedule in the classification. Including Humboldt, Rossville will have played four teams that have reached the state quarterfinal round. Humboldt will be Rossville’s sixth opponent this season that has posted at least 8 wins.

Rossville reached the quarterfinal round with a 21-14 victory at Maur Hill-Mount Academy last week. Senior quarterback Garret Carver rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Carver, like many quarterbacks under coach Derick Hammes, has carried the load for the Bulldog offense. He has rushed for 1,163 yards and 18 touchdowns, while passing for 1,181 yards and nine more scores. Sophomore Tyree Sowers and senior Trevor Johnson have helped the ground game with 552 and 393 yards, respectively. Rossville averages 29.5 points per game, while giving up nearly 16 points per contest. Last week, the Bulldawgs gave up more than 300 yards passing to Maur Hill’s outstanding quarterback Jack Caudle, but well-defended his final pass into the end zone to preserve the 7-point win. Regardless what this classification is titled, it has been owned by Mid-East League members Rossville and Silver Lake, and Humboldt will have to play well to derail another potential War on 24 rematch next week.

Riley County (8-2) at Silver Lake (10-0) – Silver Lake

Two Mid-East League rivals will meet to decide who gets a trip to next week’s substate semifinal. Riley County hasn’t defeated Silver Lake in 22 years. The Falcons last bested the Eagles 28-20, back in 1996. The two teams met back in Week 3 this season with Silver Lake coming out on top, 31-12. In that meeting, Silver Lake’s lead was just 10-0 at halftime, but the Eagles scored three times in the second half behind a big night from senior quarterback Mason Griffin. Griffin passed for 247 yards and tossed touchdown passes to three different receivers, Tristan Stoner, Logan Matzke, and Reid Walker. Riley County slowed Silver Lake’s rushing attack to 79 yards on 24 attempts, while the Falcons rushed for 144 yards on the night. Riley County’s offense was hampered by turnovers as Silver Lake intercepted three Falcon passes.

On the season, Riley County junior quarterback Garrett Harmison has passed for 1,445 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Falcons are led on the ground by senior Mikey Waggoner’s 962 yards and 15 scores. Classmate Tristan Kulp has added 556 yards and 12 scores. Griffin has thrown for 1,758 yards and 25 touchdowns for Silver Lake, and has only been intercepted once. Senior Christian Stoner has rushed for 1,062 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season. Tristan Stoner is the Eagles’ leading receiver with 441 yards and 10 scores. Riley County will have to avoid turnovers and have success with Waggoner in the ground game in order to end its long losing streak against Silver Lake.


Hutchinson Trinity (9-1) at Hoisington (8-2) – Hoisington

Both teams are in the quarterfinals for the fifth time in school history. Trinity won a state crown in ’79 and also made the quarters in ’77, ’09 and ’10. Hoisington reached the semifinals in ’16 with quarterfinal finishes in ’90, ’07 and ’15. Trinity has outscored teams 276-70 with the No. 9 SOS in the classification. The Celtics have the No. 2 scoring defense in 2A and just a close loss (22-8) to undefeated and run-heavy Conway Springs. While Trinity has an average score of 28-7, Hoisington is at 36-19 versus the No. 24 SOS.

A lot of this contest likely rides on the play of Hoisington junior tailback Wyatt Pedigo. He is one of the state’s top rushers with 170 carries for 1,764 yards and 25 scores. Senior Xavier Robinson has stepped up with 61 carries for 659 yards and nine scores. Hoisington averages 370 rushing yards a game and eight yards a carry. Pedigo paces the Cardinal defense with 82 tackles and eight TFLs. Hoisington has averaged eight yards per play. Trinity Catholic has averaged 6.3 yards per play. Senior Kaleb Hammeke has passed for 684 yards with a 7/4 TD/INT ratio and has accounted for 18 scores. Trinity has just seven turnovers and 25 turnovers forced with a plus-18 turnover margin. Hoisington has committed six turnovers but is just plus-six in turnover margin.

Phillipsburg (10-0) at Conway Springs (10-0) – Phillipsburg

This could end up being the de facto Class 2A state championship game. This is just the second meeting between the squads. The first was a 49-6 Conway win versus Phillipsburg in the 2004 playoffs, a year Conway Springs went 13-0 and won the state title. While Conway Springs has faced some more resistance, both teams have dominated multiple strong teams. Conway Springs has a total margin of 434-121, while Phillipsburg is at 482-91.

Phillipsburg features four-year starting quarterback Trey Sides and a host of other playmakers, such as running back Treylan Gross, wide receiver Ty Sides, and lineman Jaret Shelton and Kasen Keeten. Kicker Jonathan Hunnacutt broke the all-time state record for career kicking points earlier this fall. Conway Springs counters with one of the best lines with Chase Ast and Daniel Becker. Collin Koester has been the primary rusher for Conway Springs, with Peyton Winter and Zach Mercer playing key roles.

Last week, the Cardinals defeated Chaparral for the second time this fall. The Cardinals rushed for 293 yards versus Chaparral last week. Koester tallied 28 carries for 138 yards. Chaparral had 290 total yards, and Conway has had several key wins this season when the opponent has outgained them. While Phillipsburg has played very well up front, the entire defensive line is new from a sub-state title game showing last year. This game could very well come down to Conway Springs’ veteran offensive line versus Phillipsburg’s relatively inexperienced defensive front.

Class 1A

VIEW: 1A Bracket


Jackson Heights (9-1) at St. Mary’s Colgan (8-2) – Colgan              

Jackson Heights will make the long trip to Pittsburg to take on St. Mary’s Colgan at Hutchinson Field. The Cobras are 9-1 in coach Caleb Wick’s seventh season to improve his overall record to 47-20 at the school. Wick, a Smith Center alum, has built the Cobra program into a contender with a familiar wishbone offense.

Jackson Heights is led by a big, but still relatively young offensive line that averages 250 pounds. Left guard Curtis Niehues (6-0, 230) is the lone senior starter up front. Niehues is joined by junior guard Riley Watkins (6-0, 240) and tackle Carson Williams (6-2, 240) on the right side, while sophomore Taylor Wamego (5-9, 270) starts at left tackle and sophomore Colby Doyle (5-10, 260) is the center. The wishbone backfield features senior Cooper Williams who made the switch from quarterback to running back this fall and has averaged nearly 9 yards per carry while scoring 17 touchdowns. In last week’s 35-20 win over Valley Heights, Williams rushed for 135 yards and two scores as the Cobras took advantage of a couple of early turnovers. Fullback Conlan Bruggeman and quarterback back Cable Wareham join Williams in the backfield along with Kolby Rethman, a running back that returned from injury last week.

The typically ground-dominated Cobra offense went to the air off of play-action last week as Wareham threw two touchdown passes to tight end Lane Thomas (6-0, 160) and another to Joel Kennedy (6-4, 170). The Jackson Heights defense has been stingy in allowing only 10.5 yards per game, but struggled a bit against the pass in the first-round win over Northern Heights (2-7). The Wildcats passed for 315 yards in building a 20-8 lead before Cobras rallied for a 36-28 win. Bruggeman leads the Jackson Heights defense from his linebacker position with more than 110 tackles. He’s joined at linebacker by Watkins, and freshman Hudson Roles (6-3, 330) is an imposing figure on the defensive line.

Despite playing without 4-5 injured starters last week, Colgan was dominant in a 31-0 first-half against Hillsboro. The Panthers score twice more in the second half to cruise to a 45-20 victory with Hillsboro adding a touchdown in the closing seconds. Colgan rushed for 338 yards in the game led by Cade Simmons’ 175 yards and four scores. Senior Connor Price added 87 yards and a score in the first significant action of his career at running back. Simmons also passed for 99 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the game to give him 731 passing yards and eight touchdowns on the season. The Panthers have averaged more than 270 yards per game on the ground. This is appears to be an evenly-matched game, but Colgan may be the slight favorite at home.

Olpe (10-0) at Centralia (8-2) – Centralia

Two of the top teams in the classification will meet in a game that has the feel of a semifinal or even state title game. Olpe is unbeaten on the season riding a stout defense that has only allowed double digits in one game. That game, a 20-18 victory over another quarterfinalist Jackson Heights, it also the Eagles closest contest of the season. Olpe also has a 13-8 victory over Christ Prep Academy. The Eagles have posted four shutouts and given up only 44 points all season – best in Class 1A.

Last week, the Eagles rolled to a 52-8 victory over Pleasanton. Olpe scored three times in the first quarter and added two touchdowns and a Ted Skalsky 27-yard field goal to lead 37-0 at halftime. Quarterback Colby Hoelting rushed for two touchdowns and hit his brother Camden on a touchdown pass in that first quarter. Olpe once again played without senior all-state FB/LB Blaine Hinrichs who is believed to be out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Without Hinrichs, Olpe will rely on the Hoeltings and sophomore back Kynden Robert who is a talented player that had a strong season carrying the ball as a freshman a year ago.

Centralia advanced to the quarterfinal round with a by defeating Troy for a second time this season. The Panthers rushed for 355 yards in extending a 21-12 halftime lead into a 41-18 win. Kamble Haverkamp rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns for the Panthers, while senior Isaac Gore added 75 yards and three more scores. Centralia has now won eight straight games since consecutive losses to Rossville (26-14) and Riley County (26-21) – two Class 2A quarterfinalists – to open the season. The Panthers will want to establish the run behind a talented offensive line that includes Derek VanDorn (6-2, 280), and tight end Daegan Steinlage (6-6, 230).


Smith Center (9-1) at Sedgwick (8-1) – Smith Center

This is the second all-time matchup between the schools. Smith Center captured the first one, 48-21, in the 2015 playoffs. Smith Center has outscored teams 380-75 and stands second in 1A in scoring defense versus the No. 9 SOS. Sedgwick has played the third-easiest SOS and had a bye. The Cardinals have a 379-98 margin and one of just four 1A squads to allow under 100 points this year.

Both teams achieve success in much different ways. Smith Center has rushed for 312 yards a game and passed for 24. Seniors Ethan Peterson and Colby Benoit lead the offense with 936 and 880 yards, respectively. They have combined for 30 rushing scores. Senior fullback Hesston Maxwell has a team-high 98 carries for 415 yards. Smith Center has just five turnovers and is plus-20 in turnover margin. The top-three tacklers are seniors, led by 105 stops from Logan Zabel.

Sedgwick allowed 25.4 points a game last fall and has dropped that to 11 this season mainly because of foreign exchange student Eric Kohncke, who leads the team with 126 tackles and 16 TFLs. The senior linebacker is from Germany. Senior quarterback Hooper Schroeder has thrown for 2,035 yards with a 21/3 TD/INT ratio. Sedgwick has passed for 250 a game and rushed for 205. Sedgwick lost 27-13 to Ell-Saline, while Smith Center defeated Ell-Saline, 15-8, in the final seconds.

Elkhart (9-0) at Plainville (8-2) – Plainville

One of the top 1A stories all season has been the improvement of Elkhart. The Wildcats have made the playoffs the last three years but took big playoff losses versus Mid-Continent League’s Plainville and Smith Center the last two. A significant question throughout the fall has been whether Elkhart can beat an MCL power. Since 2009, Elkhart is 0-5 with Smith Center, Plainville and Oakley (currently an MCL school) in the playoffs despite having some solid teams. Just one of the games is closer than 35 points.

Elkhart has rolled through easily the softest schedule in 1A, according to Prep Power Index. The Wildcats defeated Cimarron, an 8-2 squad, in Week 1 in a weather-shortened contest and outscored teams 455-98 with a bye. The Wildcats easily lead the classification in scoring offense and are top-four in fewest points allowed. Senior Lane Whisennand has passed for 1,005 yards with a 12/2 TD/INT ratio in his second straight big season. He has rushed 144 times for 1,543 yards and 25 scores. Seniors Elian Prieto and Javier Gomez have combined for 11 receiving scores.

Plainville, 2-1A runner-up two years ago and sub-state runner-up last fall, lost, 21-10, to Smith Center in a game it led most of the way. Last week, the Cardinals came back to beat Ell-Saline, 31-28, with a last-second field goal from senior Tanner Copeland. Junior quarterback Jordan Finnesy has accounted for 27 scores with 1,325 passing and 821 rushing. Junior Jared Casey has 837 rushing yards and 13 TDs, along with a team-high 78 tackles. Copeland is 40 of 41 on extra points with seven field goals.



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