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Tigers' Cole earns MIAA soccer honor -9/30/2014, 3:10 PM

Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

KVA prep volleybal rankings, Sept. 24 -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS soccer falls at Great Bend -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS takes third at Salina South Invitational -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

No. 8 Washburn too much for Tigers -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Tiger defense continues to get stronger -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Two wins for TMP volleyball -9/24/2014, 10:27 AM

TMP soccer rolls to win -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Ventura dominates Indians as Royals push for postseason -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

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

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SPOTLIGHT
Game of the Week: Raliers making the most of their time

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Game of the Week: Raliers making the most of their time

Published on -10/18/2012, 12:01 PM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

ELLIS -- In 2011, Ellis High School junior running back Gage Younger had trouble getting touches in the backfield because of the running and passing threat of all-state quarterback Riley Hunsicker. Junior Jared Mick finished with the fifth-most receptions on a squad that passed for 1,855 yards. Younger collected 46 tackles, fifth-most for the Railroaders, and Mick finished with 12 stops on a 5-5 team.

“At the Buzzer - The HDN sports weekly podcast.”

This fall, Hayes offers plenty of superlatives for Mick, a starter at wideout and outside linebacker. Long known as either "J or J Mick" by the team, the school and even his own family, Mick leads the team with 17 catches for 172 yards and a score. He has 11 more catches than any other player. Defensively, Mick is tied for third with 29 tackles.

"He has improved the most of anybody that we have on our team from last year to this year," coach Butch Hayes said. "He has really stepped up his game. He practices hard, he is a leader on the field. He runs his routes hard every single time. He has stepped it up on defense, been making plays for us out there."

"Out of all the kids we have on our team, J Mick has helped this team more than any other player," Hayes added.

As well, Younger has enjoyed plenty of carries, put together four straight 100-yard games and is Ellis' best tailback in three seasons. Younger has 79 carries for seven rushing TDs and a team-high 640 yards.

He also is tied with senior Cadyn McCoy for the team lead with 36 tackles. Senior quarterback Blake Hudson has 95 carries for 582 yards and eight scores.

Ellis has averaged 190 rushing yards a game, 6.3 yards per carry and 26.7 points per game, all top-three in the six-year Hayes era.

Last year, the Railers averaged 155.2 rushing yards per contest, 5.4 yards per carry and 26.1 points per game.

"Gage has done a great job for us," Hayes said. "That's one area that I think we are better in this year compared to last year. Last year, it was pretty much Riley (who rushed for 1,056 yards). Riley was making plays for us running and passing the football. This year, we are a little more diverse with Gage and Blake."

Mick and Younger have helped Ellis start 3-4, 1-1 in Class 2-1A, District 7. The Railers host Oberlin-Decatur Community (3-4, 1-2) in a key district contest Friday night. Assuming Oberlin beats one-win Leoti-Wichita County in Week 9, Ellis needs a win this week to keep its playoff hopes alive.

In 2010-11, Ellis' top rusher had been its quarterback. Jacob Kinderknecht led the team with 1,120 yards two seasons ago, and Hunsicker had his big year last fall. As a sophomore, Younger collected 32 carries for 132 yards and two scores. As a junior, those numbers bumped up to 80 carries for 354 yards and three TDs. Hunsicker led the team with 177 carries, most of which came after Ellis switched to a spread offense in early fall. Hayes knew Younger had ability, but couldn't use him often.

"We didn't have enough time to put the plays in to allow him to be successful," Hayes said. "During the off season, that was one of the focuses that I had, to get Gage the ball."

Younger, who weighed around 150 pounds last year, put on nearly 10 pounds this season. He has thrived with more carries and has collected games of 93, 133, 133, 115 and a career-high 148 yards in the last five weeks. Younger credited a passing game that set a season best with 151 yards last week for helping in his 148-yard day.

"The line has been opening up some big holes," Younger said. "Once we do a lot of passing stuff, we open up the run game and then it's not as expected, and then it starts to work."

Mick has provided a consistent threat offensively. Hayes labeled Mick "in between" as far as speed compared to other athletes, but said the senior has always worked hard. Hayes recalled Mick dropping just one ball all year and that was on a tough play where the ball went off the receiver's fingertips.

"It's easy for me now to get open on offense and I have good hands," Mick said. "Just try to catch the ball and make a play."

"Our quarterbacks trust him and when the ball is in the air, he is going to make the catch," Hayes added.

Defensively, Mick has intercepted a pass and collected a pass defended at outside linebacker, a position where he has been able to wreak havoc for a defense that has allowed fewer than 19 points in four games.

"I like it a lot," he said. "Sometimes it feels like you are out there on an island alone, but you come in screaming and try to force everything inside, make some tackles for loss in the backfield. Sometimes, it's easy. You can just fly in there. You don't even have to make a tackle sometimes. If there is a fullback coming as a lead blocker, just try to blow it up."

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