Each week, the HDN picks five games to highlight as the 2017 prep football season rolls on. In Week 2, Class 3A title hopeful Phillipsburg tangles with Smith Center in an MCL matchup at Hubbard Stadium in Smith Center. Both teams picked up key Week 1 wins.
Phillipsburg (1-0) at Smith Center (1-0)
Coming into the season, the Smith Center High School football team had just five losses the previous two years. Three of those came at the hands of Phillipsburg. Two seasons ago — Phillipsburg’s Class 2-1A title year — the Panthers defeated the Redmen twice, ending Smith Center’s season in the sub-state title round. They were the lone losses for the Redmen in 2015. Last season, Phillipsburg again got the best of Smith Center, a 29-16 Panther win.
Again this year, each MCL team has its eye on a potential state title run — Phillipsburg in Class 3A and Smith Center in 2-1A.
The Redmen are coming off a 16-7 win against Plainville, a team that handed Smith Center its other two losses the previous two years.
Phillipsburg steamrolled Clay Center, 54-8, in a game most of the starters didn’t play past the start of the third quarter.
That was enough time for the Panthers to put up five rushing touchdowns from its starting backfield.
Kirk Coomes had 111 yards and two scores, John Gower 45 yards and two scores and Treylan Gross 56 yards and a score. Cha’ron Ellis tacked on the Panthers’ other two rushing scores in the second half.
Smith Center relied on the legs of senior Jesse Staples for the win against Plainville. Staples rushed for 127 of Smith Center’s 236 yards on the ground and scored both touchdowns. The Redmen also took advantage of a backed up Plainville team when senior Dalton Kuhn sacked Cardinal quarterback Jordan Finnesy in the end zone for the game’s final two points.
Smith Center hasn’t beaten Phillipsburg since 2011, a 46-17 victory for the Redmen. Phillipsburg finished 7-3 that season and Smith Center 8-2 when both were in Class 3A.
Macksville (1-0) at Victoria (1-0)
Each Central Prairie League team picked up big wins in Week 1. Macksville took out Ness City, 60-20, at home, while Victoria defeated perennial Eight-Man Division I power Claflin-Central Plains on the road 34-8. Victoria’s game was moved back a day after weather delayed the game in the first quarter Friday night.
Knights’ quarterback Collin Kisner had 110 rushing yards and a pair of scores, while completing both of his passing attempts for 34 yards. Meanwhile, Cooper Pfanenstiel had 115 rushing yards and a pair of scores, while the Knights’ defense contained Central Plains to just a fourth-quarter touchdown. That effort was highlighted by 11 tackles for Cole Schmidtberger, and an interception and fumble recovery by Kisner.
The Mustangs, under coach Chet Skinner, a recent Montezuma-South Gray graduate, got 244 yards passing and four scores from quarterback Kody Mead, while five different backs combined for 147 rushing yards in the win against the Eagles.
Macksville hasn’t defeated Victoria since 2011, a 34-32 win, but the CPL teams also haven’t played each other every year. During that year, Macksville finished 10-1, falling in the playoffs to Osborne, the eventual sub-state runner-up.
TMP-Marian (0-1) at Ellis (1-0)
Midway through the week, TMP quarterback David McFarland’s mark of 648 passing yards and 63 passing attempts from Week 1 were confirmed as state records by the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. The Monarchs, though, ended up on the short end in a 32-27 loss to Abilene on a game that came down to the final play.
The Monarchs will face an Ellis team that captured an 18-12 win against Syracuse on the road. In that game, senior quarterback Joseph Eck rushed for 125 yards and two scores, and threw for 24 yards and one score that went to freshman Konner Pfeifer.
The two teams have met the last three years since TMP switched to the Mid-Continent League, and Ellis has won two of those contests — both wins coming in Hays. TMP won the lone home matchup in Ellis, 38-16 in 2015. Last year, Ellis won 42-32.
Plainville (0-1) at Norton (1-0)
Plainville had some big shoes to fill on offense with the graduation of quarterback Hayden Friend, running back Riley Nyp and receiver Ryan Buresh. The Cardinals, though, answered some questions in a close 16-7 loss to Smith Center in Week 1. Behind a solid defensive effort, Plainville was in position to tie the game late, but had a few miscues offensively that thwarted any come-from-behind effort against the Redmen.
In his first start, sophomore quarterback Jordan Finnesy carried the ball 26 times for 67 yards and completed 6 of 19 passes for 71 yards with an interception. Chase Cellmer had the Cardinals’ lone touchdown.
The Cardinals will look for their first win against a Norton team they defeated 20-14 a year ago in Plainville.
Norton is coming off a 37-34 victory at Goodland last week, a game where the Bluejays had to score 21 fourth-quarter points to grab the win. Senior quarterback Jace Ruder, a North Carolina commit, completed 22 of 45 passes for 271 yards with three TDs, then added 85 rushing yards in the victory. In addition, senior Tevin Petrie collected 20 carries for 71 yards.
Great Bend (1-0) at Hays High (0-1)
Throw records out the window each season these two Western Athletic Conference foes get together. Hays High and Great Bend always have enjoyed a good rivalry. Hays High will be seeking its first win against Great Bend since 2014 when the two teams meet Friday night at Lewis Field Stadium. The last win was a 49-6 Week 2 victory that season, part of a 7-2 campaign for Hays High.
Hays High is coming off a 29-8 loss to Scott City to open the season, while Great Bend picked up a 41-18 victory on the road against Coffeyville.
Hays High had just 120 total yards of offense in its Week 1 loss, led by 52 yards passing and 29 rushing for senior quarterback Hunter Brown.
Great Bend posted 418 yards of offense in its win with Gage Fritz racking up 205 yards to lead all WAC rushers in the first week.