Player Picks to Click - Week 4

Nemaha Central's Cooper Hajek (8) runs against Holton earlier this season. (by Dari Hilbert)
By: Sean Boston; Dion Clisso; Matt Gilmore; Chet Kuplen; Brent Maycock; Conor Nicholl
Sep 22, 2022

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In our Picks to Click, we feature several players or units from across the state that we feel will have breakout performances on Friday night.

This season, we’ve assembled a team of media members across the state to each select one player (or unit) each week.  We will track the cumulative statistics of our selections throughout the season similar to fantasy scoring.  

Picks to Click contributors for the 2022 season include: Sean Boston (Eagle Radio); Dion Clisso (; Matt Gilmore (; Chet Kuplen (Sports in Kansas); Brent Maycock (KSHSAA Covered); and Conor Nicholl (

Check back next Friday to see our picks for Week 5, and how the players performed that we picked the week prior. See the bottom of this article for details.

Blue Valley West Offensive Line (Clisso)

Blue Valley West has won two straight games since a season-opening loss to St. Thomas Aquinas. The Jaguars have defeated Blue Valley North (38-7) and Blue Valley Southwest (42-7) in consecutive weeks. Blue Valley West has produced 1,008 total yards this season for an average of 336 yards per game. The Jaguars have rushed for 531 yards and eight rushing touchdowns the past two weeks. The Jaguars will try to follow their offensive line to more success as they host Staley (Mo.) this week. The Falcons are 2-2 on the season.

Luke Gebhardt, QB, Southeast of Saline (Gilmore)

Gebhardt (6-0, 185) directs the offense for the top-ranked Trojans. The senior quarterback has completed 71 percent of his passes for 637 yards and six touchdowns while adding 193 rush yards and three scores. Gebhardt is coming off of a huge junior season in which he passed for 2,389 yards and 31 touchdowns and added 596 yards rushing and 12 scores. Gebhardt has plenty of weapons on offense including wideouts Landen Allen, Michael Murray and his twin-brother Jake Gebhardt. Juniors Nathan Friesen and Daniel Kejr have been the primary ball carriers this season along with Luke. Southeast of Saline has rolled to victories over Beloit and Minneapolis after a tough, season-opening win over Rock Creek. The Trojans will take on Halstead this week away from home for a third consecutive week.

Cooper Hajek, RB, Nemaha Central (Boston)

Hajek has been outstanding for Class 2A’s second-ranked Thunder. The senior back has rushed for 634 yards and 12 touchdowns through the first three weeks of the season. Hajek carried 27 times for 300 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 46-13 win over Perry-Lecompton. He also produced a 25-carry, 200-yard night with four touchdowns in the season opener against Holton. Nemaha Central will be heavy favorites as the Thunder open district play at Horton (1-2).

Jesse Jones, WR, Parsons (Kuplen)

Jones has eight catches this season, and seven of them have went for TDs from Viking standout quarterback Tra Mack. Jones has over 400 receiving yards in three weeks in Jeff Schibi’s quick strike offense. The Vikings (3-0) take on an improved Baxter Springs (3-0) team but may just have too much offensive firepower. Parsons is flying way under the radar but has been very impressive despite battling injuries to key players.

Keiondre Smith, QB, South Sumner County (Nicholl)

South Sumner Co. senior quarterback Keiondre Smith has been one of Kansas’ most explosive players in the last three seasons. South Sumner, ranked No. 5 in Eight-Man, Division I, has outscored opponents 168-12. The Outlaws are in their first year of a high school football co-operative agreement between Caldwell and South Haven.

After three contests, Smith has completed 6 of 12 passes for 174 yards with a score. He has 38 rushes for 521 yards and 14 rushing TDs. In the last three seasons, Smith has accounted for 71 offensive touchdowns. He rushed for 210 yards and seven scores versus Sedan last week. South Sumner will travel to 1-2 Udall on Friday and expect Smith to have another explosive game.

Ty Weber, LB, Washburn Rural (Maycock) 

Weber has been a tackling machine for Washburn Rural since joining the starting lineup and last year finished with a school-record 104 tackles. He's on pace to approach or top that mark this year, already having 38 tackles to lead the Junior Blues. That included a monster 24-tackle game two weeks ago against De Soto. Weber has four sacks, 4 tackles for loss and a pair of fumble recoveries. Weber and the Junior Blues have a huge matchup with No. 1 Manhattan this Friday, a team that leans heavily on the run to key its offense. Expect Weber to get his fair share of opportunities to have another huge game.

Week 3 Picks to Click results (scoring):

Dylan Gantz, QB, Stafford – Gantz passed for 199 yards and two touchdowns and added 51 yards rushing and two more scores in the Trojans’ 28-22 win over Hutchinson Central Christian.  (Gilmore – 48 pts)

Israel Garcia-Rotolo, WR, Liberal – Garcia-Rotolo caught seven passes for 82 yards in the Redskins’ 27-0 win over Topeka High. (Boston – 8 pts)

Creyo Koop, RB, West Elk – Koop rushed 36 times for 245 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots’ 28-6 win over Central Burden. (Maycock – 42 pts)

Maize Offensive Line – Maize’s OL paved the way for 414 total yards and 7 offensive touchdowns in the 49-0 win over Maize. (Nicholl – 29 pts)

Eddie McLaughlin, QB, Leavenworth – McLaughlin rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns and added 176 passing yards and two scores but the Pioneers fell 34-26 to Lansing. (Clisso – 62 pts)

Tre Richardson, RB, Topeka Highland Park – Richardson carried 17 times for 240 yards and four touchdowns and caught four passes for 65 yards and two scores in the Scots’ 63-36 win over KC Sumner Academy. (Kuplen – 66 pts)

Standings for the 2022 season through Week 3:

  1. Chet Kuplen, Sports in Kansas                                                     183 points
  2. Matt Gilmore,                                                            132 points
  3. Brent Maycock, KSHSAA Covered                                               121 points
  4. Dion Clisso,                                                            102 points
  5. Conor Nicholl,                                                             64 points
  6. Sean Boston, Eagle Radio                                                              62 points

 2022 Picks to Click

- The objective will be to have the most cumulative points over the course of the season.

- Participants may select a quarterback, running back, WR/TE, offensive line or a defensive player each week.

- Everyone must pick a WR/TE, offensive line and defensive player at least once.

- Points will be rewarded only for the player's offensive or defensive stats, depending on how you designate the player that week. For instance, if you pick a running back then you will not receive any of his points for defense.

Scoring system


- 1 point for every 10 yards passing, rushing or receiving from a quarterback, running back or wide receiver

- 6 points for every passing, rushing or receiving touchdown

Offensive line

- 1 point for every 50 yards gained as an offense

- 3 points for every offensive touchdown

Defensive player

- 2 points for every tackle

- 4 points for every INT, sack or fumble recovery


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