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TMP plays better, comes up short at Smith Center -9/20/2014, 3:03 PM

Prep FB scores, Sept. 19 -9/19/2014, 10:36 PM

Hays High outlasts Liberal -9/19/2014, 7:22 PM

HHS girls third on home course -9/19/2014, 11:15 AM

HHS soccer drops match to Dodge City -9/19/2014, 10:21 AM

FHSU soccer falls to NSU -9/19/2014, 10:58 AM

Tigers look for first home win -9/19/2014, 10:59 AM

TMP soccer rolls past Buhler -9/19/2014, 11:00 AM

TMP girls' golf second in Larned -9/19/2014, 11:00 AM

Auburn squeaks past K-State in Manhattan -9/19/2014, 11:02 AM

HHS volleyball loses twice in Garden City -9/19/2014, 11:03 AM

HHS tennis fifth in Dodge -9/19/2014, 11:03 AM

FHSU tennis tops Kansas Wesleyan -9/18/2014, 10:30 AM

Royals set up key series with Detroit -9/18/2014, 10:29 AM

Monarchs face first road test, Redmen -9/18/2014, 10:14 AM

Big game for 'Cats -9/18/2014, 10:13 AM

Hays High gets Liberal for home opener -9/18/2014, 10:14 AM

Royals fall to Chicago -9/17/2014, 10:59 AM

Tigers' Herman named MIAA Golfer of the Week -9/17/2014, 10:58 AM

Tuesday prep volleyball scores -9/17/2014, 10:52 AM

KVA volleyball rankings, Sept. 17 -9/17/2014, 10:50 AM

TMP suffers second loss to Garden City -9/17/2014, 10:46 AM

Hays High volleyball moves to 10-0 -9/17/2014, 10:47 AM

Tiger volleyball takes No. 4 UNK to five sets -9/17/2014, 10:53 AM

Tigers ride momentum of first win -9/17/2014, 10:45 AM

O'Brien earns MIAA weekly honor -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

Tigers' Bradley named MIAA Specialist of the Week -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

Hype continues to grow for K-State, Auburn -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

HHS soccer plays to draw -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

Parkey's FG lifts Philadelphia in Indianapolis -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

Royals walk off with win -9/16/2014, 10:13 AM

Peterson to play Sunday -9/16/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals slammed by Red Sox -9/15/2014, 4:42 PM

Keselowski wins at Chicagoland -9/15/2014, 4:42 PM

KSU defense ready for test -9/15/2014, 4:42 PM

Broncos escape Chiefs -9/15/2014, 4:42 PM

Tigers roll at NSU -9/14/2014, 10:23 AM

FHSU volleyball goes 2-2 in S. Dakota -9/14/2014, 7:53 PM

TMP boys second, girls third at Wamego -9/14/2014, 7:53 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
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Game of the Week: Oakley rallies around injuries

Published on -11/8/2012, 10:45 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

The Oakley High School football team opened the fall with a 20-15 loss to Class 4A Colby, a team that eventually finished 2-7. After a blowout 63-6 victory versus Sublette, one of Kansas' weaker teams, Oakley fell 54-6 to Phillipsburg in Week 3.

An inexperienced team with no stars lost arguably its best player in senior tailback/safety Cody Gabel, a three-year starter who earned all-league on both sides of the ball last year. Gabel tore his anterior cruciate ligament about six plays into the contest and has missed the rest of the year.

"It just deflated our kids in that game," coach Randall Rath said. "I think we hit an all-time low."

On the Monday following the Phillipsburg defeat -- one of the worst losses of the 15-year Rath era -- Oakley gathered for a meeting. Rath said the team wasn't going to dwell on injuries. They provided a detailed critique of the film from the Panthers' game.

"We called people to the table and we talked about, we've got to be accountable for our actions and we've got high standards and we all want to reach those, all of us," Rath said. "Coaches down to every kid on the team, and we have got to hold ourselves accountable to that, and we felt that we were a lot better than we showed there.

"Then, that's where I think every kid held themselves accountable and they also were trying to hold each other accountable, and I thought that made us a lot stronger as a unit," he added.

Since then, Oakley, which returned just four starters (including Gabel) from last year's 7-3 squad, has won six straight contests.

The Plainsmen, in a rare year where they haven't been ranked a single week all season, rode their power running game and traditionally strong defense to a 14-12 first playoff win against Johnson-Stanton County last Friday. Stanton County was 8-1 and ranked No. 5 in the classification.

On Friday, Oakley will travel to La Crosse, ranked No. 1 in Class 2-1A at 10-0. The Plainsmen have permitted just 12.9 points per contest after it allowed 21.8 points per game last season. Oakley has won at least seven games in eight of the last nine seasons - including five falls with double-digit victories.

"Extremely physical up front," La Crosse coach Jon Webster said. "Their front seven, front eight guys get off the ball well. They flow. Their defensive line really controls the line of scrimmage. Their linebackers come downhill very well and hit and they are always where they are supposed to be. I think that is just a hallmark of a Randall Rath-coached team that their guys are going to be in the right spot."

Oakley has produced some of the area's best players in recent years, including running back Aaron Racette and lineman Ethan Jirak, but this season's squad is unique. Senior Darius Herl is in his first year with the starting quarterback, while fullback Oscar Macias has been impressive, including a 35-yard TD against Stanton County.

"I haven't experienced it in the years I have coached, they are just a very strong group and we don't have any superstars," Rath said. "We have got a lot of kids with high morals and character that work hard. They kind of bring their lunch bucket to practice and just work. It's a good feeling.

"They are a lot of fun to coach," he added. "They are good kids and they expect a lot, and they know to reach that, they've got to do everything. They can't take any shortcuts, because talent-wise, we are not gifted enough to do that, and they understand that, and sometimes kids at this age don't get that."

Following the Phillipsburg loss, Oakley defeated Syracuse and Leoti-Wichita County before it had a month with four games with teams that significantly factored into the playoff chase: St. Francis, Oberlin-Decatur Community and Stanton County. Oakley won the first three 30-6, 16-6 and 18-12 in overtime to capture the district. Last week, Oakley delivered another strong team effort and advanced past the first round of the postseason since 2009.

"It was pretty evenly matched and I thought it was a defensive battle the whole game," Rath said. "Both teams I thought defensively played really well."

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