Each week, the HDN will pick five games to highlight as the 2017 prep football season rolls on. Week 5 features the defending state champions visiting Logan for a key matchup in district play.
Osborne (4-1) at Logan-Palco (4-1)
Coming off a road loss where it had to battle back from a 24-0 deficit against perennial contender Victoria, the Logan-Palco High School football team is nearing a must-win situation this week.
It will be a pretty tall task.
The Trojans, who suffered their first loss 50-26 last week, play host to defending Eight-Man Division I state champion Osborne on Friday night. Each team now has a loss, Logan-Palco’s coming in the powerful Eight-Man Division I, District 4.
And each is hoping not to fall behind in the race that saw three teams tie for second place a year ago.
A loss by either team might mean the end of playoff hopes for the 2017 season, while a win keeps a firm grip on the postseason chances.
Osborne heads to Logan after picking up a 58-40 win against Solomon to open district play last week.
The Bulldogs got a huge game from senior running back Denton Schurr, who racked up nearly 500 yards on the ground and scored seven times. The Bulldogs played without starting junior quarterback Darnell Holloway and sophomore running back Darrien Holloway, frequent contributors, leaving the door open for Schurr’s big game, which pushed his career mark with the Bulldogs to 3,044 rushing yards and 59 rushing scores.
Osborne’s only loss came in Week 4 when the Bulldogs lost a fourth-quarter lead and fell by two points at Scandia-Pike Valley. Schurr leads the way for the Bulldogs with 807 yards and 14 scores, while Darnell Holloway has 501 rushing and 189 passing yards and 12 combined TDs. Darrien Holloway has 300 rushing yards and five scores.
Logan-Palco enters the game hoping they don’t see a third straight season end with just two losses, yet short of the playoffs. The last two years have seen the Trojans go 7-2 while being part of a loaded district. One of those losses last year was against Osborne when the Trojans lost 84-44.
Bruising senior running back David Thompson has 673 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns to lead the Trojans while first-year senior quarterback Riley Allen has 296 on the ground with seven scores and 250 through the air with four TDs. Until last week’s loss, the Trojans had only allowed 22 points through four games — the Division II portion of its schedule.
Bennington (5-0) at Victoria (4-1)
Entering this week, Bennington is the only one that remains unbeaten in Division I, District 4. Last season, Victoria went 3-2 in the district and Bennington was one of the teams it beat, while it suffered losses to Logan-Palco and Osborne that kept the Knights out of the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. The Knights will be looking to stay on top with a win as they will have to travel to Osborne in Week 7.
Victoria jumped out to a 24-0 lead against Logan-Palco last week only to see that lead dwindle to 24-20 by early in the third quarter. Then, the Knights came up with two big plays that helped them jump back on top and eventually put some points on the board for point differential, should it come down to that again this season. The Knights missed the playoffs by one point on the scoreboard last year.
Rawlins County (3-1) at St. Francis (5-0)
Coming off a bye week, the Rawlins County Buffaloes need a win to stay in the hunt for the playoffs in Eight-Man Division I, District 8. St. Francis already owns a win against Hoxie, which defeated Rawlins County 22-6 two weeks ago. On paper, it seems Rawlins County’s only hope would be to force a three-way tie by beating the Indians on their home field this week. St. Francis, the defending Eight-Man I runner-up, defeated Hoxie 16-8 last week in what could have been a sub-state title preview.
However, albeit a 52-6 win for St. Francis a year ago, Rawlins County was the only district team to score on the Indians, and that was the closest district contest.
Maverick Green, the Buffs’ dynamic senior quarterback, has 475 rushing yards and eight scores to his credit, while passing for 447 more with six TDs, averaging more than 220 yards of offensive per game to drive the Buffs. St. Francis’ trio of Brady Dinkel, Tate Busse and Jordan Raby have shown the ability to score in many different ways, and the Indians have allowed just 20 points through five games.
Colby (4-1) at Norton (4-1)
Travis Field will play host to last season’s 52-41 shootout won by the Norton. The Bluejays are coming off a 56-14 win against Southwestern Heights at home, while Colby suffered its first loss in blowout fashion, 27-0, at Holcomb. It was the first shutout the Eagles suffered since 2014, which also was a loss to Holcomb by the exact same score. Friday’s game will be the final tune-up before each team begins district play — Norton in Class 3A and Colby in 4A Division II.
The Eagles bring a big-time playmaking backfield duo in senior Zach Hart and junior Jordan Schippers. Hart has thrown for 648 yards and five scores, but also has five interceptions. He also has 169 rushing yards on 38 attempts with five scores. Schippers leads the Eagles’ ground game with 471 yards and six scores, averaging 9.4 yards per carry. The Colby defense is fueled by the play of junior Xavier Slaven, who has 21 tackles and has seven sacks through two games.
Norton counters with senior Jace Ruder, now the all-time passing leader in the Mid-Continent League. The University of North Carolina commit has 635 through the air with seven TDs to three interceptions. He also has racked up 509 yards on the ground with eight scores, second behind senior Tevin Petrie, who has averaged 7.2 yards per carry to put up 136.6 per game with nine scores.
Last week, Norton’s starters only played until halftime.
Hays High (2-3) at Dodge City (2-3)
Hays High is looking to snap a two-game skid. Dodge City has yet to win a game in the WAC, but the Red Demons have only had one. It came against Great Bend at home, a team Hays High beat in overtime, 21-20 in Week 2. The Panthers went on to beat Dodge City, 38-13 in Week 4.
It’s been a wild year thus far in the Western Athletic Conference. Great Bend has a loss to Hays High, a win against Dodge City, while Liberal lost to Hays High.
The Indians enter this week having lost to unbeaten Garden City 7-3 and unbeaten Valley Center 24-7 the last two weeks. Dodge City quarterback Beau Foster has 759 passing yards and seven scores, and leads the DC ground game with 290 yards. Hays High’s Hunter Brown has 135 passing yards with two scores and 225 on the ground to lead HHS in both categories. A win by Hays High would mean a 3-1 WAC record and at least second place in the conference.