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Tiger softball picked fifth in MIAA -1/29/2015, 11:27 AM

Tiger women win at Emporia -1/29/2015, 10:29 AM

FHSU men pick up needed win at Emporia -1/29/2015, 10:30 AM

No. 12 Wichita State survives Loyola's challenge -1/29/2015, 10:23 AM

KU wins ugly game -1/29/2015, 10:31 AM

Graham enjoying KU life -1/28/2015, 11:03 AM

Mountaineers take down Wildcats -1/28/2015, 11:03 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -1/28/2015, 11:03 AM

Belichick, Patriots focused solely on Seattle, Super Bowl -1/28/2015, 11:02 AM

MVC strong at the top -1/28/2015, 11:02 AM

Former Tiger, HHS coach named new FB coach at Mac -1/27/2015, 6:57 PM

Tiger women vault to No. 6 in poll -1/27/2015, 2:39 PM

James Shields remains a free agent, but Royals 'not sure there's a fit' -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

Pats' owner defends Belichick, Brady -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

Alexander newcomer of the week -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

KSU's Edwards finding success as the sixth man -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

FHSU wins Kansas Cup after scoring error -1/27/2015, 10:17 AM

FHSU wrestling takes second in Kansas Cup -1/26/2015, 10:27 AM

WSU baseball starts second season under Butler -1/26/2015, 10:36 AM

No. 14 WSU hammers Drake -1/26/2015, 10:37 AM

Stafford named Offensive MVP in first Pro Bowl -1/26/2015, 10:27 AM

TMP boys, girls claim MCL title; HHS boys fall -1/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Brand tops Deterding in Bob Kuhn Classic -1/25/2015, 8:41 PM

Tiger wrestling falls short of No. 3 UNK -1/25/2015, 8:41 PM

No. 17 Tigers dominate No. 4 Pitt State -1/25/2015, 8:41 PM

FHSU men fall short of Pitt State -1/25/2015, 8:41 PM

Friday's area prep basketball boxscores -1/25/2015, 2:45 PM

-1/25/2015, 2:00 PM

TMP girls use overtime for semifinal win -1/24/2015, 3:13 PM

Young key in Indians' semifinal win -1/24/2015, 1:22 PM

Defense lifts TMP boys to MCL title game -1/24/2015, 12:27 PM

HHS wrestling picks up dual win -1/23/2015, 10:31 AM

Finney takes step toward NFL -1/23/2015, 10:31 AM

Indians pick up first-round win -1/23/2015, 10:22 AM

K-State agrees to series with Vandy -1/23/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women win 16th straight -- Pitt State next -1/23/2015, 10:13 AM

Huge second half fuels Tigers -1/23/2015, 10:13 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
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Weskan a big surprise

Published on -10/4/2012, 10:26 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

For three years, the Weskan High School football team had Matt Kuykendall at quarterback, where he earned all-state honors. In the offseason before 2011, veteran coach Marc Cowles was uncertain who was going to play the position. Sam McKinney, formerly an end, talked with Cowles and said "I want to do this." McKinney took over and passed for 718 yards with a 14/4 TD/INT ratio last season. Weskan won four games after winless seasons in '08 and '09 and three victories in '10.

This season, McKinney is one of nine juniors and seniors, many who are returning starters, for arguably the state's biggest surprise. Weskan is 5-0, 2-0 in Eight-Man, Division II, District 6 and is ranked No. 4 in the statewide media poll.

"We had some expectations," Cowles, 51-51 in his 11th year, said. "I think we all kind of thought this was a possibility, but not that we expected it."

Of the 35 squads ranked in the statewide media poll, 30 of them won at least seven games last season. The five that didn't all won four games -- Class 6A Topeka High, Class 5A Salina South and St. Thomas Aquinas, Eight-Man Division I Atwood and Weskan. However, South and Atwood were each among the favorites in their respective classes in the preseason, while Aquinas is a longtime state power. Topeka was expected to be much improved. Weskan has enjoyed the program's best start since reaching the second round of the playoffs in 2005.

The Coyotes have outscored opponents 250-46 and rank fourth in scoring offense and second in scoring defense.

"They have a lot of good athletes," Rexford-Golden Plains coach Travis Smith said.

On Friday, Weskan travels to Bird City-Cheylin (3-2, 2-1) in a key contest that could decide a playoff berth.

"Weskan, they are doing some good things, some good kids back," Cheylin coach Max Keltz said. "Cowles is a really good coach, so we will have our work cut out for us, for sure."

This season, though, had roots in the winless records of '09 and '10. In one of those years, the Coyotes had just 12 players out. Weskan had just 14 boys in the whole school. One class had two girls and no boys. Many current seniors, including McKinney, had to play as freshman.

"Really, Fridays were miserable. Fridays were no fun," Cowles, who led the Coyotes to the 2004 sub-state championship, said. "But with that group, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, you couldn't tell if we were 0-8 or if we were 8-0. They never got down. They came and they worked hard and a lot of it was just a product of numbers."

Weskan put in a spread option offense under Kuykendall and has ran it often with McKinney, one of the Coyotes' bigger players at 170 pounds and a natural leader. McKinney, also a starter at defensive end, has completed 37 of 60 passes for 750 yards with an 18/0 TD/INT ratio and has a team-high five rushing TDs. Junior left end/cornerback Hayden Walker leads the eight-man ranks with 19 catches for 484 yards and 12 scores, according to maxpreps.com.

The Coyotes also start senior tailback/free safety Brandan Escamilla, senior end/cornerback Jared McKinney, junior fullback/linebacker Tyler Compton, senior guard/defensive end Nick Smith, junior center/nose guard Leyton Miller and junior guard/linebacker Robert Martin for a team that now has 16 players.

"We've kind of tried to watch or mimic what K-State is doing with Collin Klein," Cowles said.

"That's kind of what we like to do with our quarterback. Because he is a big kid and we don't have many big kids. ... He is tough and he is willing to run like a fullback when he needs to and step back and throw when he needs to."

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