Each week, the HDN will pick five games to highlight as the 2017 prep football season rolls on. Week 5 features a visit from Logan-Palco to Victoria for the Knights’ homecoming in Eight-Man Division I, District 4 action. The winner will have a one-up in a loaded district. The loser will face a tough uphill battle.
Logan-Palco (4-0) at Victoria (3-1)
Friday’s homecoming matchup for Victoria pits two teams with playoff hopes in mind. The Knights missed the postseason a year ago, the first time Victoria missed the playoffs in 14 years. Logan-Palco, despite back-to-back 7-2 seasons, also missed a shot at the playoffs. Bennington, LP and Victoria finished in a three-way tie for second, with Bennington taking the spot on point differential.
Either team could be looking to leave no doubt early as district play begins.
Logan-Palco won last year’s meeting, 50-28, in Logan. The district slate is loaded yet again with five of the six teams combining for just three losses thus far.
Logan-Palco enters Friday 4-0 and has yet to be touched against four teams a combined 2-14 through four weeks. Victoria, though, is 3-1 against a tougher slate, winning 34-8 in Week 1 at Claflin-Central Plains (3-1), and falling 22-20 last week against Otis-Bison (3-1).
Logan-Palco’s David Thompson, a touchdown machine a year ago, hasn’t had quite the first four weeks he had last year, but still has managed 579 yards on 45 touches with 10 touchdowns. Riley Allen, who stepped in at quarterback with the graduation of Josh VanLaeys, has filled in nicely. He has nine carries for 200 yards with six scores. He has thrown just four passes, completing three for 89 yards and two scores.
Victoria is fueled by the play of Cooper Pfanenstiel, Collin Kisner and Cooper Windholz. Kisner, making the switch to tailback after starting the year at QB, has 548 yards and nine rushing scores.
Hoxie (4-0) at St. Francis (4-0)
At the beginning of the season, Hoxie set out with a goal of avenging its three losses from a season ago, two of which kept a talented young Indian team out of the playoffs. Following the 22-6 win against Atwood-Rawlins County, one of those is gone. The next comes this week, if Hoxie can get it done against arguably the toughest opponent it will play all season.
The winner, in all likelihood will claim the Eight-Man Division I, District 8 championship. The loser is still in pretty good position for a playoff berth.
The teams have been nearly identical through four weeks. Hoxie has outscored opponents 174-6, while St. Francis has put up a 208-12 margin. Hoxie’s lone score given up came last week in the win against Rawlins County.
Hoxie is 4-0 for the first time since 2007. That season, Hoxie and Rawlins County were still in 11-man. Ironically, St. Francis stopped Hoxie’s win streak that season, keeping the Indians from 5-0. They finished the season 7-3.
Wallace County (1-3)
at Otis-Bison (3-1)
The Wallace County Wildcats limped through a tough early season schedule that included three teams from Eight-Man Division I, District 8. Wallace County’s first three opponents have a combined 11-1 record. The Wildcats, under coach Kevin Ayers, broke through for their first win last week against Trego Community, and now for the first time play a team in Division II.
Part of an Eight-Man Division II, District 6 that doesn’t seem quite as strong as it did a year ago, the two teams still will be looking to get off on the right foot for district play.
The Cougars bounced back in a big way last week. After falling to CPL foe Central Plains on the road, the Cougars fought back for a 22-20 win against Eight-Man I Victoria at home.
Wallace County comes in with an 11-year playoff streak intact, and has made the sub-state championship game in Division II the last three seasons.
Otis-Bison enters district play seeking to get back to the playoffs after last year’s hiatus.
The Cougars have got it done with a heavy dose of Anton Foust, Daniel Scott and Blake Bahr out of the backfield.
Bahr and Foust have 321 and 252 rushing yards, respectively with a combined 10 touchdowns on the ground. Foust also has thrown five TD passes, four going to Maitland Wiltse on just five receptions.
Of the toughest teams in the district, Otis-Bison gets to play three of them at home this season in Wallace County, Jetmore-Hodgeman County and Dighton, two of which resulted in losses a season ago to the Wildcats and Dighton.
Solomon (3-1) at Osborne (3-1)
Following Osborne’s last-minute loss to Eight-Man Division II power Pike Valley, the Bulldogs enter district play still as the favorite in a loaded Eight-Man Division I, District 4. IN that district, the top five teams combined for just three losses outside of district play through four weeks. Two of those losses came from Osborne and Solomon, the other to Victoria.
Bennington and Logan-Palco are undefeated.
Osborne lost quite a bit to graduation from its undefeated Eight-Man I title from a season ago, but filled in nicely with Darnell and Darrien Holloway, junior and sophomore tandem at quarterback and running back. Plus, Denton Schurr returned in the backfield this season, along with Kade Miller on the line.
Scoring hasn’t been hard to come by for the Bulldogs. Darnell Holloway has 10 rushing scores from his QB spot, while the Bulldogs have rushed for 1,250 yards with Darnell, Darrien and Schurr each recording at least 300 yards. Darnell Holloway also has passed for 189 yards and two scores, but has thrown three interceptions. Solomon enters 3-1 after its 50-26 loss to Little River a week ago. Little River also moved to 3-1 with that win.
Colby (4-0) at Holcomb (3-1)
Save for a 14-12 victory against Hugoton in Week 3, the Colby Eagles have yet to be touched, posting a big 51-8 win last week at home against Ulysses, a perennial contender in the 4A and 3A ranks.
Now the Eagles will take their show to Holcomb, a team that finished 10-2 a season ago, not losing until the 4A Division II sub-state round of playoffs to Pratt, the eventual champion.
Junior Jordan Schippers has been phenomenal so far for Colby, racking up 465 yards on the ground with six touchdowns on just 46 carries, averaging 116.3 yards per game. Senior quarterback Zach Hart has been equally as impressive, completing 66 percent of his passes for 584 yards with five scores. He has spread the ball around to six different receivers, including Schippers, who has 17 catches for 215 yards and a score. Colby stared 3-0 a season ago, but losses to Ulysses and Holcomb were part of four straight setbacks.