District Preview: Class 3A

Jake Beckmann will lead Frontenac into a competitive District 1. (by Derek Livingston)
By: Conor Nicholl & Matt Gilmore for Kpreps.com
Sep 25, 2019

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Class 3A


District 1 
Caney Valley (3-0)
Columbus (3-0)
Frontenac (3-0)
Galena (2-1)
Parsons (1-2)
Baxter Springs (0-3)

Galena won the District 1 championship last season and made a run all the way to the state semifinals before falling to eventual-champion Sabetha. But the Bulldogs graduated a lot off of that team, including all-state quarterback J.C. Shelton. Sophomore quarterback Brett Sarwinski has taken over behind center and leads an offense that is more pass focused than in past years. His brother, Nick, is one of his primary receivers. The Bulldogs struggled on the road last week in a 28-0 loss to Prairie View. An experienced Frontenac team is also a strong contender to challenge for this district. The Raiders have wins over Richmond (Mo.), rival St. Mary’s Colgan, and Commerce (Okla.). Senior quarterback Jake Beckmann guides the Raider offense. Beckmann has thrown and rushed for more than 250 yards each and combined for 8 total touchdowns. Frontenac travels to Galena for a huge showdown this week. Columbus and Caney Valley join Frontenac as the two other unbeaten teams heading into district play. The Titans have made a dramatic turnaround under new coach Blake Burns after going 1-8 last season. Columbus has some really nice skill athletes including quarterback Patrick Cassidy, wideout Clay Saporito, senior back Grayson Walden, and sophomore back Gabe Martin. Caney Valley is led by a multi-year starter at quarterback in Trey Richey. Richey took to the air in last week’ 47-6 win over Neodesha in passing for 130 yards and three scores. The Bullpups also features quality backs in Eryk Kyser and Ben Nunneley. Their matchup with Columbus will go a long way in deciding the order of finish in this district. Parsons had an incredible run to the state quarterfinals last season and finishing 8-3. The Vikings still have talent, but haven’t put things quite together yet. After a five-overtime win over Iola to start the season, the Vikings have struggled to stop the run in consecutive losses to Anderson County and Osawatomie. That doesn’t bode well in a district that has some teams capable of pounding the football. Baxter Springs enters winless with losses to Girard, Riverton, and Colgan. The Lions have shown flashes of being good on offense, but have given up 32 points per game thus far.

Playoff Qualifiers - Projected Order of Finish:
1. Frontenac, 2. Galena, 3. Columbus, 4. Caney Valley

District 2  
Prairie View (3-0)
Burlington (2-1)
Anderson County (1-2)
Girard (1-2)
Osawatomie (1-2)
Iola (0-3)

Prairie View is the lone unbeaten team entering district play. The Buffaloes are coming off of an impressive win against Galena, 28-0, last week. Prairie View has experience in some key positions including standout Hunter Boone, but sophomore Damion Kline turned heads in last week’s win over Galena with 143 yards and two scores on the ground. The health of Boone will be key as he reportedly left last week’s game with an injury. Burlington rebounded from a 42-0 week to thumping at the hands of Olpe with an 8-6 grinder over fellow Pioneer League member Wellsville. Cael Johnson is the Wildcats’ key offensive threat. The senior has 320 rushing yards and 220 passing yards through three games. Anderson County has been competitive in losses to Wellsville and Santa Fe Trail, but the Bulldogs lone win came against Parsons. Junior quarterback Bo Dilliner rushed for 353 yards and four touchdowns in the win over the Vikings. Girard has dropped consecutive games to Galena and Columbus after a season-opening win over Baxter Springs. The Trojans open district play this week with a key home game against Burlington. Osawatomie snapped an 11-game losing streak with last week’s 42-20 victory over Parsons. Senior Braden Bradshaw carried 45 times for 334 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Trojans to victory. Finally, Iola has struggled to rebound from the season-opening, five-overtime loss to Parsons. The Mustangs dropped a 33-21 decision to Wellsville before being shutout by Chanute last week. Iola opens with consecutive home games against Anderson County and Osawatomie with a chance to build momentum in district play.

Playoff Qualifiers - Projected Order of Finish:
1. Prairie View, 2. Burlington, 3. Girard, 4. Anderson County

District 3 
Jefferson West (3-0)
Topeka Hayden (3-0)
Santa Fe Trail (2-1)
Wellsville (2-1)
Perry-Lecompton (1-2)
Bishop Ward (0-3)

Just like a season ago, District 3 figures to be a competitive district where five teams will battle for four playoffs spots. Topeka Hayden is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2008 – the last time they won a state title.  The fourth-ranked Wildcats have the talent to challenge for a championship again this season. Hayden has is averaging 50 points per game while giving up a little more than seven points per game. Jefferson West may have the talent to challenge Hayden for the District 3 title. The Tigers have yet to allow a point through three weeks. After a 7-0 slugfest over Holton, Jeff West has consecutive blowouts of Royal Valley and Hiawatha. They will be heavy favorites again this week against Bishop Ward before traveling to Hayden in Week 5. Santa Fe Trail and Wellsville have each won two of three this season against Pioneer League competition. Santa Fe Trail has won two straight since a season-opening loss to Prairie View, while Wellsville dropped an 8-6 decision to Burlington last week. Perry-Lecompton is just 1-2, but that includes a 14-7 loss at Holton and last week’s loss to top-ranked Sabetha. The Kaws had Sabetha down 14-0 before the two-time defending champs rallied. William Welch has passed for 532 yards and 5 scores for the Kaws, while Thad Metcalfe has added 366 rushing yards and five scores. Bishop Ward is still struggling as the Cyclones’ losing streak reached 49 games last week. Ward has yet to play a Kansas team, having opened the season against fellow Crossroads Conference members from Missouri.

Playoff Qualifiers - Projected Order of Finish:
1. Topeka Hayden, 2. Jefferson West, 3. Perry-Lecompton, 4. Santa Fe Trail

District 4   
Marysville (3-0)
Sabetha (3-0)
Wamego (3-0)
Holton (2-1)
Hiawatha (0-3)
Royal Valley (0-3)

District three has some legitimate state title contenders this season and what better way to open district play than with a showdown of No. 1 Sabetha hosting No. 3 Marysville. These two met in the 2017 Class 3A state championship game and last season the Blue Jays won 36-12. Sabetha has won consecutive state championship, but the Blue Jays did take a heavy hit to graduation off of last year’s team. Despite that, Gabe Garber has led the Blue Jays to a 3-0 start. Sabetha has won 24 consecutive games. Garber has rushed for 280 yards and passed for 320 more this season. Marysville has an explosive offense led by standout back Atreyau Hornbeak who is among the state’s leading rushers. Senior quarterback Brandon Schroedl has the ability to throw it too. The Bulldogs’ challenge is they open with consecutive road games against district favorites Sabetha and Wamego. Wamego has burst on to the seen this year with the addition of Manhattan Isiah Childs. Childs, an Akron commit, has 544 yards and six touchdowns this season. The Red Raiders also feature one of the state’s top return men in Taybor Vetter. Vetter also has rushed for nearly 350 yards and four scores. Holton is another team to be reckoned with in this district. The Wildcats have grinded out consecutive wins over Perry-Lecompton (14-7) and Nemaha Central (28-14). Holton gets two of the three unbeatens at home when they host Sabetha in Week 6 and Wamego in Week 8. Those home games are sandwiched around a trip to Marysville. Hiawatha is looking for its first playoff appearance since 2013. The Red Hawks have given up 107 points the past two weeks after a 14-13 loss to Riverside to open the season. Standout Michael Moreno is a great player, but likely won’t be enough to put the Red Hawks in the top four in this district. Royal Valley has scored only 14 points this season – all coming in last week’s loss to Riverside. The Panthers are giving up an average of 50 points per game. This district has some real firepower and don’t be surprised if it comes down to a points tie-breaker.

Playoff Qualifiers - Projected Order of Finish:
1. Sabetha, 2. Marysville, 3. Wamego, 4. Holton


District 5 
Halstead (3-0)
Hesston (3-0)
Chapman (1-2)
Clay Center (1-2)
Rock Creek (1-2)
Smoky Valley (1-2)

This was arguably the state’s best district in ’18 with Smoky Valley at 5-0, while Chapman, Hesston and Halstead were all 3-2. Chapman finished plus-42, Hesston plus-27 and Halstead plus-21. Both Halstead and Hesston had key injuries in ’18, notably with Halstead standout linebacker Kaden Kraus and Hesston quarterback Cameron Cox. Kraus is back, while Hesston graduated Cox and running back Parker Roth. Halstead has outscored teams, 132-22, and ranks fourth in 3A in scoring offense and in the top-seven in scoring defense. The Dragons have rushed for 277 yards and passed for 12 yards a game. Senior Scott Grider has 47 carries for 302 yards with seven rushing scores, while Kraus is at 186 and two rushing TDs, and junior Lakin Farmer stands at 163 and three. Junior Carter Hiebert has already recorded 140 interception return yards on three interceptions – two for pick-sixes. Junior Doug Grider leads with 33 tackles, seven for loss. Hesston senior Jacob Eilert, who played well in Cox’s stead last year, has run the read-option offense effectively. Hesston has been solid in wins against Hillsboro (43-14), Larned (26-18) and Pratt (26-0). The Swathers have a balanced backfield with senior Max Arnold, and senior Garrett Slater and junior Jadyn Medina have paced the defense. Chapman and Clay Center have played a brutal schedule and the No. 10 and No. 11 SOS in the classification, according to Prep Power Index. Chapman and Clay Center have both lost to Wamego and Marysville, teams that are a combined 6-0. Chapman junior Trevor Erickson has passed for 203 yards and rushed for 348 with four total scores. Senior Zach Ferris and Erickson pace the team with 28 and 27 tackles, respectively. Senior lineman Kel Stroud has committed to South Dakota. Rock Creek ended a 10-game losing streak with a 44-6 victory against St. Marys in Week 2. Smoky Valley finished 10-1, though graduated more than 92 percent of its rushing offense from ’18. All of the Vikings’ games have been within 16 points or fewer.

Playoff Qualifiers - Projected Order of Finish:
1. Halstead, 2. Hesston, 3. Chapman, 4. Clay Center

District 6  
Andale (3-0)
Clearwater (3-0)
Wichita Collegiate (3-0)
Cheney (2-1)
Haven (2-1)
Wichita Trinity (0-3)

Last year, Andale finished 5-0, followed by Collegiate at 4-1, Clearwater at 3-2 and Cheney at 2-3. This fall, Andale continues to roll and has not lost in the regular season in the three-year Dylan Schmidt era. The Indians have a significant amount of talent, including defensive back Scotti Easter and linebacker Mac Brand. The Indians have won every contest by at least 28 points. Andale has outscored teams, 141-14, and ranks second in scoring offense. Clearwater, led by quarterback Tanner Cash, has pulled off two close wins against Rose Hill (22-15), and Mulvane (13-12) and then won at Wellington (31-7). Clearwater was 4-5 last year after a 1-2 start. Clearwater has not had a winning record since a 5-4 mark in ’13, and off to its best start since ’11, according to Kansas Football History. Wichita Collegiate was expected to be much improved after a 6-3 season in ’18. The Spartans averaged 30 points a game and permitted 24 points a contest. This year, Collegiate has delivered 32 points a contest and allowed just 9.3 points a contest. Cheney is one of the state’s biggest surprises after a 2-7 mark last fall. The Cardinals, led by running back Riley Petz, ranks third in 3A in scoring offense with 138 points. Cheney lost 35-19 to Garden Plain, and then defeated Conway Springs (49-19) and Chaparral (70-3). Conway Springs was ranked third in Class 2A at the time. Haven has typically struggled with no more than two wins in any of the last six years. The Wildcats have not posted a winning record since a 6-3 mark in ’01. Wichita Trinity has just six points scored.

Playoff Qualifiers - Projected Order of Finish:
1. Andale, 2. Wichita Collegiate, 3. Cheney, 4. Clearwater

District 7 
Holcomb (1-2)
Kingman (1-2)
Larned (1-2)
Nickerson (1-2)
Hugoton (0-3)
Pratt (0-3)

This district will likely have far different results than ’18 – and likely with a lot of defensive-minded games. Holcomb leads the district with 24 points a contest, Larned has averaged 23 points a game and no other squad averages more than 10.3 points. Defensively, Kingman is first at 18 points a game, and Holcomb and Hugoton are both at 19.7. In ’18, Pratt, the defending 3A runner-up, won the district with a 5-0 mark, while Hugoton went 4-1, and Kingman, Nickerson and Holcomb were all 2-3. The Greenbacks suffered significant graduation losses, namely Top 11 all-classes Travis Theis, and have a new coach in Brent Hoelting, formerly at Lyndon. Hugoton has been competitive in all three games with losses by 14, six and 15 points, including road losses to Scott City and Colby. Holcomb sophomore Kolby Johnson leads with 27 carries for 201 yards and three scores. Sophomore Levi Knoll paces with 34 tackles. Kingman has first-year coach Tanner Hageman, a former wide receiver at Fort Hays. Larned has had close road losses to Hoisington, ranked No. 1 in 2A, and Hesston, both 3-0 squads.

Playoff Qualifiers - Projected Order of Finish:
1. Larned, 2. Hugoton, 3. Holcomb, 4. Pratt

District 8   
Scott City (3-0; 1-0)
Colby (3-0)
Beloit (2-1)
Concordia (1-2)
Russell (0-3)
Goodland (0-3; 0-1)

In ’18, Scott City won the district with a 5-0 mark, followed by Colby (4-1), Beloit (3-2), and Concordia (2-3). It’s likely that could be the same finish this year. Scott City is ranked fifth in Class 3A. The Beavers moved quarterback Parker Gooden to running back, and also has Cale Goodman and Hunter Yager in the backfield. Scott City has captured 34 straight district games and 17 in conference play. The Beavers are ranked first in scoring defense with just three total points allowed. Colby, an 8-2 squad last year, returns several key players with all-purpose threat Calvin Stapp, lineman Aaron Kurth (KU offer) and Hagan Booi. Colby has outscored teams, 91-29. Beloit has outscored teams, 74-53. Last year, Beloit quarterback Hudson Gray suffered a season-ending fibula injury in Week 3. This season, Gray has passed for 263 yards with three touchdowns against three interceptions. He has also rushed 27 times for 167 yards and a score. Senior Grant Arasmith delivered 41 carries for 219 yards and a score. The top-three and five of the top-six tacklers are seniors, and Carson Cox leads with 22 stops. Concordia lost to Wamego and Marysville, both 3-0 squads, and defeated Abilene, 13-7, in Week 2. Junior Hunter Schroeder has already intercepted two passes with 136 interception yards and a blocked field goal. Both of Schroeder’s INTs went for pick-sixes. Concordia has four offensive touchdowns. Russell has standout sophomore Jesse Whitmer, though has scored just 44 points. Goodland has dropped all three games by at least 42 points.

Playoff Qualifiers - Projected Order of Finish:
1. Scott City, 2. Colby, 3. Beloit, 4. Concordia


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