Each week during the 2018 prep football season, The Hays Daily News will highlight five games of interest from the area.
Plainville (3-2) at La Crosse (2-3)
Though the two teams have developed a friendly rivalry as opponents, the odds have shifted in recent history in Plainville’s favor.
The Cardinals own three straight wins in the series, and none of the three have been all that close in Plainville’s recent success.
The last win for La Crosse came in 2014 when La Crosse won 28-6 in Plainville in a year the Cardinals finished 3-6.
Struggling with a numbers crunch, the Leopards are off to a 2-3 start that includes losses to Ellis, Salina-Sacred Heart and Russell. However, La Crosse owns wins against Ellinwood and Republic County.
Friday is the Class 1A, District 6 opener for both teams.
Hunter Morgan has had success and struggles as the Leopards’ QB. He has completed 42 of 75 attempts for 632 yards with nine scores, but has thrown seven interceptions. Colby Stull, a freshman, leads the run game with 379 yards and two scores, while Morgan has added 234 yards and three scores.
The Cardinals’ Jordan Finnesy is putting together a solid second season as Plainville’s signal caller. He has completed 55 percent of his passes for 634 yards, eight scores, and has just three picks. He also has 275 rushing yards and a score, and leads the team in carries. Jared Casey has 66 carries for 300 yards and four scores. Casey also has 11 catches for 141 yards, but has yet to find paydirt in the passing game. Those TDs have mainly been split among Cody Crawford and Kobe Spiess, who have 27 catches and seven TDs combined.
South Barber (5-0) at Otis-Bison (4-1)
It might not mean much in terms of district play, but Eight-Man Division II powers South Barber and Otis-Bison will tangle Friday night with bragging rights on the line. Neither has been really touched in the Division II ranks, but South Barber did have to survive a three-overtime thriller against Hutchinson-Central Christian in Week 3. Otis-Bison’s only blemish is a 28-14 loss to Eight-Man Division I Victoria, a game the Cougars played most of with a backup quarterback.
Since, the Cougars have posted four straight blowouts with three shutouts, and haven’t played past the early portion of the third quarter. Last week, Otis-Bison went on the road and won 58-12 against Minneola.
Aside from getting heat exhaustion in the Week 1 loss to Victoria, Otis-Bison quarterback Anton Foust has been phenomenal.
He has 315 passing yards and nine scores with no interceptions, and has rushed 32 times for 477 yards with eight scores. He also has two kick return scores. Bevan Grading has provided a solid two-punch in his first year in the Cougars’ backfield. He has 341 rushing yards and four scores.
Ness City (4-1, 2-0) at Spearville (4-1, 2-0)
In a the gauntlet that is Eight-Man Division I, District 6, wins and losses can make or break a season. Ness City, which gave Claflin-Central Plains all it could handle in Week 1 before losing 30-14, gets another juggernaut in Spearville this week. The Lancers are 4-1 after dropping a 24-8 contest to South Central in Week 2.
Like Ness City, Spearville hasn’t had a close contest outside of its loss. The Eagles roll into Spearville as winners of four straight where they have put up 46 points per contest, and have allowed no more than 28, including shutouts against St. John and Kinsley.
Spearville has won three straight.
Ness City has a variety of weapons as the Eagles have accumulated 1,034 rushing yards and 21 rushing scores to supplement Angel Guzman’s 395 passing yards and six scores. Guzman adds 261 yards on the ground and is tied for the team lead with seven rushing TDs. Hector Rodriguez leads the club with 425 rushing yards and seven scores.
Similarly, Spearville has got it done with a bevy of ball carriers. The Lancers have 1,190 yards from eight different backs, most notably Carson Rich, who has 55 carries for 500 yards and nine scores.
Neither team has played unbeaten Hodgeman County, which sits atop the district.
Dodge City (2-3) at Hays High (2-3)
It would appear Hays High has found a bit of a groove in its first year under Tony Crough. Though the Indians have won just twice, the Indians have been in every contest and two of the losses are by just one score.
Last week, running back Hayden Brown exploded for five rushing scores and a kickoff return for a touchdown in a 53-20 blowout win against Wichita South, and now get 2-3 Dodge City for homecoming. The Red Demons are coming off a 27-14 loss to Wichita West and a 35-15 loss to Great Bend after winning two straight games.
Last week’s performance put Brown among the leaders in the Western Athletic Conference as he leads the pack with 440 rushing yards, and sits tied for second with six rushing scores — tied with teammate and quarterback Palmer Hutchison. Hutchison sits second in the WAc in passing yards with 708, and has five TD passes.
Dodge City’s Ja’iel Johnson has 416 rushing yards and five rushing scores.
St. Francis (5-0, 2-0) at Wichita County (4-1, 1-1)
Last week, St. Francis proved it was the team to beat by thumping Eight-Man Division I defending champion Hoxie, 64-30. Wichita County bounced back from its loss to Hoxie with a 58-12 win against WaKeeney-Trego.
The Indians, who have now handed Hoxie their only two losses the last two seasons, have scored at least 50 points the last three games and are averaging 46.8 points per game. Outside of the 16-point road loss to Hoxie, Wichita County has scored at least 54 points in each blowout win, not allowing more than the 12 points it game up against Trego last week.