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TMP settles for split -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

Shields strikes out 12 as Royals complete sweep -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

Indian swimmers seventh in Salina -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

HHS softball splits with Salina South -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

HHS baseball swept at Salina South -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

Final home games for Tigers -4/18/2014, 10:14 AM

Tiger softball No. 8 in first region rankings -4/18/2014, 10:13 AM

Indian track competes at Valley Center -4/18/2014, 10:13 AM

Hayes is KSU's next big 'Cat -4/17/2014, 10:44 AM

New group for Plainville track -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Otis track team deals with injuries, illness -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Jets land former Titan Chris Johnson -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

HDN Area Track & Field honor roll, April 17 -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Freeman winds up with N.Y. Giants -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Tigers win on grand slam -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Weber gets extension at K-State -4/17/2014, 10:15 AM

HHS' Weigel becomes a Cowboy -4/17/2014, 10:15 AM

Humburg jumping well for Ness City -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Doubles team rolls at HHS Invitational -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

HHS soccer improves to 6-2, beats Great Bend -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Prep golf results, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Tiger tennis ends MIAA season in loss -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Tiger golfers ninth in St. Charles, Mo. -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Track results, Redmen Relays, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP boys win at Ellsworth -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP softball sweeps Ellis -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP soccer suffers loss at Garden City -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP boys' golf third at Goodland -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP baseball rolls past Ellis -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

HHS baseball splits with Junction City -4/15/2014, 9:53 AM

TMP softball swept at Colby -4/15/2014, 10:10 AM

TMP golf begins season today -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

HHS soccer rallies for victory -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Rare time off for Tiger softball -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

KSU, WSU Barnstormers coming to Hays -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Watson wins Masters -4/14/2014, 10:08 AM

Royals swept by Twins -4/14/2014, 10:07 AM

Harvick wins at Darlington -4/13/2014, 6:51 AM

Royals ace James Shields struggles in loss to Twins -4/13/2014, 6:42 AM

K-State's Deante Burton feels ready to take his game up a notch -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

Former Jayhawks address football team about facing struggles -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

HHS basketball camp May 27 to 29 -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

Tigers’ Wolf second at K.T. Woodman -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

FHSU tennis drops pair of MIAA outings -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

FHSU softball 3-1 in weekend -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger offense shines in Spring Game -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger baseball 1-3 in series -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

Mattheyer jumps onto scene at Ellis -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

HHS golf finishes second in Garden City -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

HHS pitcher, catcher share chemistry -4/13/2014, 7:56 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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