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Tigers fall, need win to host first round -2/27/2015, 10:20 AM

Tiger women, MIAA champs, hang on -2/27/2015, 10:29 AM

Monarchs survive on senior night -2/27/2015, 12:17 PM

With KU back in control, Jayhawks prepare for 'high drama' -2/27/2015, 10:19 AM

Nino Williams takes long road to success at Kansas State -2/27/2015, 10:18 AM

Sub-state basketball pairings -2/26/2015, 10:37 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Younger part of youth movement for Railers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

Big 12 reprimands K-State after court-storming -2/26/2015, 10:53 AM

Hays High's top four headed to Salina -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- HDN area state qualifiers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Porsch seeks a repeat in state finale -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Freshman Hutchinson leads young group of Redmen -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Norton steps up again to have shot at 3-2-1A state crown -2/26/2015, 10:50 AM

Shockers fight past Indiana State, set up big Saturday -2/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Rhoades back at state -- this time in 4A -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP survives Plainville -2/25/2015, 11:26 AM

K-State issues apology -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

HHS swept at Dodge -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/25/2015, 10:21 AM

Royals still hoping for Starling to break out -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Penske revels in Logano's victory at Daytona 500 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcat's win throws a roadblock at Jayhawks -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Feb. 23 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcats get it done -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

No-name Hahn wins Northern Trust Open -2/23/2015, 10:24 AM

FHSU softball splits on Sunday in Minnesota -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Logano wins first Daytona 500 -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Lutz: VanVleet has another day to remember -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

VanVleet takes Wichita State's assists title in win -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

'Cats seek confidence before game with KU -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

Perry Ellis, No. 8 Kansas rebound from loss, beat TCU -2/22/2015, 12:47 PM

Baylor drills K-State -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

Monarch girls run away from Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:38 PM

TMP wins physical game at Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Mathews all-state for HHS -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

HHS wins at Garden, jumps back into WAC race -2/22/2015, 12:41 PM

Wrestling roundup -- Hays High sends four to 4A state -2/22/2015, 8:19 PM

Victoria puts together complete game in win at Ness City -2/22/2015, 12:40 PM

HHS girls fall down early, lose at Garden -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Earnhardt Jr. makes Duel history, Patrick qualifies -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

HHS sends relays to state -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Tiger baseball takes two from UCM -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Gene Stephenson says he's filed his own appeal -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

TCU takes out K-State -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Bohuslavsky keys win for Tiger women -2/19/2015, 10:59 AM

Tiger men rally for MIAA win -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women No. 1 in Central Region -2/18/2015, 5:04 PM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/18/2015, 11:22 AM

Barton's Hensley named Player of the Week -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

TMP boys win, girls fall in Great Bend -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

K-State hopes to build some momentum at TCU -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

Two in a row for HHS girls -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

Hot early, HHS boys get win at Abilene -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

All is possible at Daytona -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

WVU tops Jayhawks in wild finish -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chiefs can find impact receiver in NFL draft -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Defense a constant for Shockers -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

FHSU, UCM series moved to Hays -2/16/2015, 10:55 AM

KU prepares for full-court press -2/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Foster lifts Kansas State past Oklahoma on Saturday -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Three Tigers crowned MIAA champs -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Bowyer, after crash, slams qualifying format -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Phillipsburg girls knock off TMP at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Hays High girls snap losing skid -2/15/2015, 2:21 PM

Hays High stunned by Liberal at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger women's streak halted at Pitt State -2/15/2015, 10:26 AM

Tiger softball 1-3 to start season -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger men fall at Pitt -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tigers drop to 0-2 with losses to Mines, Regis -2/15/2015, 1:10 AM

KU coach kicks off tour in Hays -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

K-State guard Johnson laughs off hecklers at W. Virginia -2/13/2015, 10:13 AM

The Tigers' do-it-all Shaw -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

Samac staying on court, providing big games for Tigers -2/13/2015, 11:09 AM

Wichita State baseball players see winning as antidote to distractions -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals, Herrera agree -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals purchase contract of Derek Gordon -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

KU's Ellis near 1,000 points -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Hoxies' record just a matter of time? -2/12/2015, 3:26 PM

New coach, new season for FHSU softball -2/12/2015, 11:25 AM

Tigers look for better pitching in 2015 -2/12/2015, 10:14 AM

Shox roll to win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

Kansas State rally again falls short at W. Virginia -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

FHSU wrestling rolls to dual win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

2015 Eight-Man All-Star rosters -2/11/2015, 11:54 AM

Indiana State backcourt thrives with new characters -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Scott City rolls over TMP -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Jayhawks cruise past Texas Tech -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Kansas State braces for Mountaineers' full-court press -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Salina Central outlasts Hays High -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Tigers' Lehman earns seventh MIAA honor -2/9/2015, 1:56 PM

FHSU's Samac earns MIAA men's honor -2/9/2015, 1:56 PM

KBCA rankings, Feb. 9 -2/9/2015, 1:47 PM

Big day for Plainville grad Dani Winters -2/9/2015, 11:24 AM

Cowboys' Forte plays through flu -2/9/2015, 10:17 AM

At KU, Smith played on scout team -2/9/2015, 10:16 AM

North Carolina coaching icon Dean Smith dies at 83 -2/8/2015, 5:19 PM

Wichita State easily beats weakened Missouri State -2/8/2015, 4:52 PM

FHSU men hold off Hornets -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

TMP's Rhoades third in Phillipsburg -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
Game of the Week - Norton hopes to repeat

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Game of the Week - Norton hopes to repeat

Published on -10/30/2013, 10:39 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

In Week 9 of the 2012 season, a 6-2 Norton High School football team traveled to its rival, 7-1 Phillipsburg, in a winner-take-all playoff contest for the runner-up spot in Class 3A, District 14.

Phillipsburg, with two future NCAA Division I players in quarterback Sean Newlan and kicker Justin Juenemann, had nearly defeated powerhouse Beloit two weeks prior. The Panthers also had one of Kansas' top defenses.

Norton delivered a terrific contest and won 20-7. Jubilation occurred on the Bluejays' side well after the final buzzer sounded, and Norton coach Lucas Melvin enjoyed one of the happiest moments of his career. Phillipsburg's seniors sat stone-faced and still outside of the locker room more than 20 minutes after the game concluded.

"That was an exciting game, because everybody pretty much just didn't think that we were going to win," Melvin said. "Obviously, our guys really wanted to win that game, really prepared to win that game, and that's what made it so special."

A year later, the Panthers and Bluejays match up again, this time Thursday at Norton's Travis Field. Phillipsburg carries a 7-1 record, while Norton is 5-3. Both teams have lost to Beloit -- Phillipsburg kept the game closer -- and the runner-up spot goes to the winner. Melvin brought up last season's game a little bit this week.

While the ramifications are the same as 2012, one area has significant change: Norton's personnel. The Bluejays returned just one offensive and two defensive starters from a 7-3 squad.

Norton opened 0-2 and didn't settle on a starting quarterback until sophomore Jordan Dole earned the job over junior Kendall Miller in Week 3. Melvin said the squad has done a "tremendous job" of turning the year around.

Norton, the defending MCL champion, can split the conference title with Smith Center and Phillipsburg with a victory. The Panthers earn the crown with a win. Norton has won six of the last nine meetings between the teams, but seven are within 16 points, four within seven.

"Kids are improving, which you always want them to," Melvin said. "But there is such a discrepancy from the beginning of the season until now as far as just kids just figuring it out, kind of understanding what we are trying to do and doing a better job each week of preparing and getting better."

Norton has 51 players, one of the area's biggest rosters and a team strength. Plus, Melvin said the Bluejays have many players with similar talent levels. The result is more than 20 players seeing consistent playing time on defense.

Melvin, either an assistant or head coach with Norton since 1997, said it's probably the most Bluejays he has ever had play consistently on defense. Eight to nine defensive linemen, four to five linebackers and five to six defensive backs have rotated to help Norton stay fresh.

Sixteen players have at least 10 tackles and three others have nine. Last season, just 15 players reached 10 stops.

Sophomore linebacker Gavin Lively leads the team with 62 tackles and Melvin pointed out strong play from three seniors: lineman Cole Renner, defensive back Austin Hager and linebacker Toby Nickell (43 tackles, second-most). After a 34-13 season-opening loss to Smith Center, Norton had trouble with Goodland's passing spread and lost 30-7 in Week 2. The Bluejays made some secondary changes after the defeat and then rolled off five straight wins.

"We are still making too many mistakes, just not as many," Melvin said. "We are also playing good enough to cover up some of our mistakes."

The Bluejays have allowed just 173 points, 28th-best in the 64-team Class 3A, despite forcing just eight turnovers and having a poor minus-3 turnover margin.

Last season, Norton allowed 179 points, eighth-best in the classification, with 25 turnovers forced and a plus-9 margin.

Last week, the Bluejay defense kept Beloit, Kansas 11-man's No. 2 scoring offense, to just 354 yards and 6.6 yards per play. Overall, Beloit averages 477 yards and 8.1 yards per play. But Norton lost 46-7 because of mistakes. In the first quarter, Norton fumbled twice, once at the five-yard line and another time the Trojans returned it for a score.

"After that, I thought our defense played really well," Melvin said. "... Offensively, we just never really got anything going. There were a couple of times that we drove down and we had turnovers."

Offensively, senior running back Tanner Furbush has rushed for more than 800 yards. A fullback last season, Furbush put in more time in the summer and gained confidence. He had three carries for 33 yards in Week 1. Then, he had 19 or more carries in five of the next six contests and went over 150 yards three times.

At quarterback, Dole has displayed a stronger arm and better running ability than Miller.

Miller has seen some time at wide receiver and even led an option play for a touchdown when Dole left with a cramp against Colby three weeks ago.

"He runs hard," Melvin said of Furbush. "I feel like our offensive line has gotten better, which helps, too. He really wants to do well, and he really wants the team to succeed."

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