The Phillipsburg High School football team left little doubt early who the favorite team was in Class 3A, District 14 on Friday night.
Hosting Mid-Continent League rival Norton, the Panthers poured on 35 points in the first half, then never looked back in a 56-0 blowout to claim the 2017 district title. In the process, Phillipsburg moved to 8-0 with its third shutout of the season. Norton dropped to 6-2 and will face a play-in game for the playoffs in Friday’s contest at home against Thomas More Prep-Marian.
The Panthers jumped on the board on their first drive Friday when Kirk Coomes capped an 80-yard drive with a 5-yard score. It was one of three scores for the senior for the game. He added a 9-yard run in the second quarter, then a 41-yard burst in the third quarter that made it 49-0.
John Gower scored twice on runs of 3 and 12 yards, while Trey Sides threw a pair of TD passes to Braden Juenemann and Trey Thompson.
Treylan Gross and Coomes each finished in triple-digit rushing yards. Coomes had 14 carries for 100 yards with the three scores, while Gross had 11 touches for 121 yards and one score.
Norton was all but shut down. Quarterback Jace Ruder finished 4 of 14 for just 17 yards and threw three interceptions, while he and running back Tevin Petrie combined for just 23 of Norton’s 52 rushing yards.
The Panthers will take on Russell to close the regular season before playing host to a 3A first-round playoff game. Norton will play host to TMP, with the winner taking the second spot in the district.
Plainville 47, Ellis 14
In Ellis, the visiting Cardinals secured a 2-1A playoff spot by putting up 18 points in the third quarter to pull away, eliminating Ellis from playoff contention.
Cardinal quarterback Jordan Finnesy had 218 rushing yards and four scores, while Jared Casey rushed 14 times for 122 yards and three scores in the rout.
Ellis quarterback Joseph Eck completed 5 of 13 passes for 80 yards with a score, but did threw two interceptions. He also added Ellis’ other score, a 49-yard run in the third quarter. He finished with 67 yards on 12 carries.
Plainville won its fifth straight to move to 5-3 and will play host to La Crosse in Week 9 with the district championship on the line. The winner will get a home game in the first round of the 2-1A playoffs, while the loser will be on the road.
Ellis will take on Oakley in its final game of the season.
La Crosse 43, Oakley 23
In Oakley, the Leopards posted 22 fourth-quarter points to pull away from Oakley, securing the 2-1A playoff spot and setting up the title tilt with Plainville.
The Leopards’ Hunter Morgan completed 11 of 19 passes for 168 yards and threw two TD passes with one interception.
He also carried the ball 10 times for 43 yards and a score, while senior Zak Brown had eight carries for 70 yards and a score. Christian Suppes scored twice in the run game, carrying 16 times for 95 yards.
The Leopards have won six straight since an 0-2 start. Oakley dropped its sixth straight, but posted a season high in scoring heading into the season finale next week at home against Ellis.
Smith Center 70, Republic County 0
In Belleville, the visiting Redmen punched their ticket to the 2-1A playoffs by putting up 70 or more for the second straight game in shutout fashion.
The Redmen, since falling 23-0 to Phillipsburg, have outscored their previous six opponents 347-27 heading into a district title showdown at Brookville/Ell-Saline in Week 9.
Otis-Bison 64, Triplains-Brewster 0
The Otis-Bison Cougars will head to the Eight-Man Division II playoffs. The Cougars secured a playoff berth out of District 6 by blowing by the Titans with 42 first-quarter points and 22 in the second.
Blake Bahr returned a punt 43 yards for the Cougars’ first score. He also returned an interception for a score later in the quarter. He added a 30-yard receiving touchdown from Anton Foust in the rout. Foust accounted for five TDs, throwing four. He hit Maitland Wiltse twice, Bahr and Landon Hoopingarner for scores.
The Cougars (7-1) now will be at home to face Hodgeman County (7-1) with the district championship on the line. Hodgeman County defeated Dighton 46-6 in other district action Friday.
Northern Valley 66, Stockton 14
In Stockton, the Northern Valley Huskies wrapped up the district championship in Eight-Man Division II, District 5 with the victory.
Caden Kinderknecht rushed for 253 yards and six touchdowns on 20 carries, fueling the win. Caden Bach added 13 carries for 66 yards and two scores, while Nick Stutsman added a touchdown on 114 yards with 15 carries.
Sylvan-Lucas, by virtue of a 44-8 win at Thunder Ridge, wrapped up the second spot, regardless of what happens in the final week. Sylvan-Lucas will take on Wilson in the final week, while Northern Valley will play host to Thunder Ridge.
Osborne 32, Bennington 16
The defending Eight-Man Division I state champions wrapped up the district title in District 4 with the victory, moving to 7-1 in the process. The Bulldogs will close the regular season on the road at Lincoln before taking on Clifton-Clyde in the opener of the Eight-Man I playoffs.
Denton Schurr had 106 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while Darrien Holloway had 127 yards and a score. Darnell Holloway added a rushing score on eight carries for 55 yards.
Bennington was unbeaten to start district play but since has dropped three straight to Victoria, Solomon and Osborne — three teams still alive in the playoff race.
Victoria 52, Lincoln 0
The Knights, at home for the final time in the regular season, set up a play-in game out of Eight-Man Division I, District 4 with the victory. Victoria will play at Solomon in the final week, with the winner heading to the Eight-Man Division I playoffs and then on the road in the first round to face Burlingame.
Victoria got three passing touchdowns from Cooper Windholz — one to Caden Oberle, one to Wyatt Dreiling and one to Collin Kisner. Kisner added a rushing score, carrying just four times for 82 yards. Cooper Pfanenstiel added just two carries for six yards and a score.
The Knights moved to 6-2, while Solomon is 5-3, but is still in the playoff hunt despite a 64-16 loss to Logan-Palco.
Victoria still can get into the playoffs with a loss in Week 9, however, if Logan-Palco wins at Bennington.
Logan-Palco 64, Solomon 16
Despite the win, Logan-Palco will miss the playoffs again and looks as though it could happen for a third straight season where the Trojans finish with just two losses.
The Trojans are out of the playoffs with losses to Osborne and Victoria. They still can finish in a three-way tie for second place if Solomon beats Victoria and Logan-Palco wins. However, they can’t make up enough points. Victoria sits at plus-57, while Logan-Palco is at 0 and Solomon at minus-12.
St. Francis 54, Quinter 6
Hoxie 52, Hill City 6
For St. Francis and Hoxie, things are simple. If the teams win in Week 9, they secure the top spots in Eight-Man Division I, District 8. Losses, though, and things get a little more convoluted with Rawlins County and Hill City still in the mix.
St. Francis blew by Quinter behind 30 second-quarter points to end the game early. Brady Dinkel accounted for five touchdowns (three rushing, three passing) in the victory for St. Francis. Tate Busse had two receiving TDs, while Jordan Raby added a rushing score.
Wylie Weems had 144 rushing yards and two scores on the ground, while Latham Schwarz had 128 yards and three scores rushing for Hoxie. Jared Kennedy also completed 3 of 4 passes for 64 yards and two scores.
St. Francis closes the regular season at home against WaKeeney-Trego, while Hoxie is at home to face Oberlin-Decatur Community.
Rawlins County 46, Trego 0
The Buffaloes kept their playoff hopes alive by ending the game near the end of the third quarter on a 19-yard run by Braden Leitner, one of four TDs for the senior. Maverick Green finished with two passing scores as well. The Buffaloes will face Hill City in the final week of the regular season, needing losses from Hoxie and St. Francis to have any chance at the playoffs.
Ness City 80, Satanta 50
Scoring 52 unanswered points, the Ness City Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive in Eight-Man Division I, District 7. Spearville already has won the district, sitting 8-0, but Ness City, South Gray and Satanta all sit in position for the second spot, and all are close in points.
South Gray holds the lead in the playoff race with a win against Ness City, but the Rebels take on Satanta in the final week. A win by Satanta coupled with a Ness City win against Wichita County (3-5) would force a three-way tie that would come down to points. South Gray sits at plus-22, Ness City at plus-13 and Satanta at 0. If South Gray wins, the Rebels take the second spot, regardless of Ness City’s result.