Each week during the 2018 prep football season, The Hays Daily News will highlight five games from the area of interest. This week, the HDN heads to Victoria for a classic Central Prairie League Clash.
Otis-Bison (0-0) at Victoria (0-0) (Game of the Week): Two points separated last season’s meeting in Otis. It was one of just three losses suffered by the 2017 Victoria High School football team. The two meet up in a Week 1 CPL showdown at 7 p.m. Friday in Victoria. Otis-Bison handed the Knights a 22-20 Week 4 defeat last season, then went on to a sub-state appearance in Class 1A Division II and 10-2 overall record. Victoria finished the season 7-3 and lost in the first round of the Eight-Man Division I playoffs.
Otis-Bison is led into the year by returning quarterback Anton Foust, along with receiver Maitland Wiltse and lineman Luke Higgason. Victoria counters as well with a returning quarterback in Cooper Windholz and what longtime Knights coach Doug Oberle said should be a pretty solid run game.
In the last seven meetings, Otis-Bison owns a 4-3 advantage and has won the last two seasons.
Central Plains (0-0) at Ness City (0-0): Another CPL matchup highlights Week 1 as Ness City hopes to continue its climb back in arguably the toughest eight-man league in Kansas. Central Plains remains an eight-man powerhouse in Claflin. Since making the switch to eight-man in 2010, Ness City has yet to defeat Central Plains. However, the two teams have only met three times even though they are league opponents.
The last two meetings have resulted in 44-20 and 54-8 wins for Central Plains, and the first meeting was won 32-0 by the Oilers in the playoffs in 2014, ending Ness City’s season at 9-3.
Friday’s game is slated for 7 p.m. in Ness City.
Hays High (0-0) at Junction City (0-0): The Tony Crough era begins at Hays High School as the Indians travel east for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Blue Jays. Led by veteran coach Randall Zimmerman, the Class 6A Blue Jays are coming off a 5-4 campaign, while Hays High limped through a difficult schedule a year ago to a 3-6 mark.
Palmer Hutchison steps in at quarterback for the Indians to replace Hunter Brown, who is now at Fort Hays State, while the Indians could rely on shifty Will Sennett at receiver and Hayden Brown at running back.
It will be the first meeting since 2013 between the two teams when Hays High, coached by Ryan Cornelsen, won 27-22 in Hays. Now the smallest school in Class 5A, Junction City is one of four 6A teams in the Indians’ schedule this season.
Norton (0-0) at Plainville (0-0): Norton will have a new look without the services of former standout quarterback Jace Ruder, the all-time leading passer in the MCL. But, it’s not that much different. Jonah Ruder, Jace’s younger brother, steps in to lead the Bluejays in 2018. The Bluejays will be looking to find a new identity after graduating loaded senior classes the past two seasons. Plainville counters with Jordan Finnesy at quarterback after his stellar 2017 sophomore performance in his first year as a starter. Plainville also boasts Jared Casey — also a junior — and arguably one of the most versatile players in the state, being able to play on the line or in the backfield.
The two MCL foes have split the last two meetings, Plainville winning 20-14 in 2016 and Norton winning 40-10 a year ago.
Stockton (0-0) at Trego (0-0): Stockton made its only eight-man playoff appearance two seasons ago, but had just a 1-8 mark last year. Outside of its victory against Wilson, a 40-34 overtime loss to Trego was the closest game the Tigers played all season. That was in the season opener. Trego, after that victory, went on to a 2-7 mark in a loaded Eight-Man Division I district schedule. The two teams boasts returning quarterbacks, Trego with Keagan Shubert and Stockton with Brady Beougher.
On another note, both schools have had to build new press boxes in the past year. Trego lost its press box in a storm, while Stockton’s suffered severe fire damage.