www.mozilla.com Weather Central

Season ends for FHSU men -3/3/2015, 10:20 AM

Claflin great Jackie Stiles inducted into NFHS Hall of Fame -3/3/2015, 10:19 AM

KU's Big 12 streak one for the ages -3/3/2015, 10:10 AM

FHSU's Keehn wins second MIAA title in track -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Wessel continues to spark Shockers -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Ronda Rousey's fast work, like at UFC 184, a big draw -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Minnie Minoso's love of baseball never waned -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

FHSU wrestling sending four to nationals -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Kansas State rallies late to put away Iowa State -3/1/2015, 9:33 AM

No. 8 Kansas holds on to defeat Texas, 69-64 -3/1/2015, 9:31 AM

Wichita State captures MVC crown by beating Northern Iowa -3/1/2015, 9:30 AM

Ellis' Younger cruises through Friday at 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Hays High's Deterding second in 4A -3/1/2015, 9:58 AM

Norton wins title with backside points -3/1/2015, 9:36 AM

Hoxie's Porsch repeats in 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:43 AM

FHSU splits at Northeastern State -3/1/2015, 9:41 AM

HHS girls win on senior night -3/1/2015, 9:40 AM

HHS boys roll by Great Bend -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Class 3-2-1A State Wrestling finals results -2/28/2015, 9:37 AM

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

Sports Scores


Prep basketball


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


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

myTown Calendar

[var top_story_head]

Football 2012: Nicholl commentary: A list of bold predictions for 2012

Published on -8/30/2012, 10:50 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

My annual area prep football predictions column starts in Quinter with sophomore fullback Brett Crist. Crist started the last 3.5 games of the season at quarterback last fall after an injury to starter Colton Corwin. This year, Crist will play fullback, Corwin is at running back and sophomore Tyler Waggoner is at quarterback for a program that has made the playoffs three of the last four seasons. Quinter has just three seniors and Crist understands the expectations from outsiders are a little different than normal for the Bulldogs.

"A lot of people are doubting us this year, that we are not going to be as good," Crist said.

Crist, like many athletes across the area who I've spoken with during the last few weeks, remains confident in his team. To me, that's the area's theme. While last season was built around speed -- Thunder Ridge's Joel Struckhoff, Smith Center's Truitt Kuhlmann, Osborne's Damon Schurr and Bird City-Cheylin's Jeremiah White all exceeded 2,000 rushing yards and Struckhoff and Schurr broke at least one state record -- this fall's theme is change, especially at quarterback.

With the exception of a loaded Ness City team, the area has no dominant team on paper, a change from last season. Some teams, especially Phillipsburg, Thunder Ridge, Otis-Bison, Sharon Springs, Plainville and La Crosse, still are expected to be state contenders. Ness City and Sharon Springs are my top picks to reach a state championship.

But virtually every squad has some big questions.

"I don't know who it is," Victoria coach Doug Oberle said of this year's top team in Eight-Man Divison II, a classification known for having a few dominant teams every year. "I really don't. Otis-Bison is going to be a solid football team. I think there are two or three teams out west that are going to be solid football teams."

Just three returning playoff teams, Ness City, Phillipsburg and Cheylin, return their starting quarterback (plenty more on this trend in today's Sports Ink). Like Quinter, many teams' success will hinge on young players in new positions. It's going to be a fascinating -- and different -- fall.

Who is this year's surprise?

The area has a remarkable streak of producing teams that enjoy massive one-season turnarounds. In the last six years, multiple squads have improved their win total by at least seven wins from one season to the next. Those include: Sharon Springs, Quinter, Otis-Bison, Osborne, Cheylin and Plainville (3-6 in 2010 to 10-2 last year). I don't think any squad in the area will have a seven-win improvement this season. However, I believe the winner of WaKeeney-Trego and Atwood, both Eight-Man, Division I teams, in Week 6 will make the playoffs and be this year's surprise.

Trego went 3-6 last season, but has faced Eight-Man, Division I's hardest schedule the last two years. Last season, the Golden Eagles averaged 32.4 points per game, a solid total. This fall, the schedule is easier and the program returns senior running back Cameron Staples (1,537 rushing yards, 22 scores), end Clayton Riedel and senior quarterback John Griffith, a three-year starter. Atwood, 4-5 in Class 2-1A last season, drops to the eight-man ranks and has big numbers out. Historically, the drop down in classes almost always means a wins increase. The winner of this game (my preseason pick is Trego, with its offensive firepower) will make the playoffs and win at least seven games.

Who will be this year's surprise player?

Last year, Jeremiah White shocked the area when he rushed for 2,006 yards for an 8-2 Cheylin team. White had less than 200 rushing yards as a junior. My picks for breakout player are Trego's Riedel (one of the faster, more athletic players in the area), Wheatland-Grinnell's Wade Buck (7.52 yards per carry, seven scores in limited action last season) and Ellis quarterback Blake Hudson. Hudson was all-league as a DB and WR last season, but will start under center for the first time this fall in the Railroaders' spread offense. All three will put up big numbers.

Huskies in playoffs?

Almena-Northern Valley will be back in the playoffs. The Huskies, one of the state's all-time dominant programs from 1982-90, had fallen on rough times recently. Northern Valley rebounded with a 6-3 season last year and will make the playoffs for the first time since 2005 under 37th-year coach Chuck Fessenden. Junior quarterback Hunter Chandler, junior running back Jordan Baird and senior lineman Ian Vincent are all-state caliber players.

The MCL title

The MCL championship will be decided in Week 1. The Plainville/Phillipsburg matchup is the de facto MCL title game. Not every MCL team plays each other this year, but Friday's contest will match the league's top two teams.

Wins will come in Logan

Logan will win more games than it won the last three seasons -- including a road contest. The Trojans have won three contests the last three seasons, none on the road. Logan is the lone area team that hasn't won a road game the last three seasons. The Trojans return a bevy of players, including quarterback Brett Pinkerton. Logan had big improvements, statistically, under coach Brandon Gehring last season. This year, Logan captures an elusive road win and wins four contests.

A few numbers

The area's most important statistic will be: yards per play and turnovers from the first-year quarterbacks. With so many teams, including La Crosse, Plainville, Victoria, Thunder Ridge, Otis-Bison, Ellis, Oakley and others starting first-year quarterbacks, the young signal callers will be expected to manage the game and not have turnovers. When the young QBs are called upon to make plays, they'll be expected to come through. For most teams, if the new QB is solid, then the team will likely have success.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos