Each week during the 2018 prep football season, The Hays Daily News highlighted five games of interest from the area. This week, all of the area’s playoff teams are highlighted.
Phillipsburg (10-0) at Conway Springs (10-0), 6 p.m.
It’s arguable the Phillipsburg High School football team has yet to see a test all season. Friday should prove to be that first such occurrence for the Panthers.
For just the second time, Phillipsburg, a power the last decade, will meet up with longtime state contender Conway Springs — also 10-0 — to decide which team will play next week for the sub-state championship.
The last meeting between the two teams resulted in a 49-6 victory for Conway Springs. That year resulted in a 13-0 run to the 3A state title in Conway.
Phillipsburg defeated Lakin last week 41-0, continuing its string of domination. The Panthers haven’t allowed more than 21 points in a game this season. Only 24 points have been put up this season in the first half against the Phillipsburg defense.
Smith Center (9-1) at Sedgwick (9-1), 6 p.m.
Friday’s game in Sedgwick will mark just the second meeting between the two teams with Smith Center winning that contest in the 2015 playoffs.
Smith Center’s run game is right on par with its teams that put up a state record for consecutive wins and won five straight 2-1A state titles from 2004 to 2008.
The Redmen this season have posted 3,123 rushing yards from 13 different ball carriers, most notably senior Colby Benoit, who has 880 yards and 19 touchdowns, and Ethan Peterson, who has 936 yards and 11 scores.
The winner will face either Elkhart or Plainville for the sub-state title.
Elkhart (9-0) at Plainville (8-2), 6 p.m.
Last week, Plainville had to get a last-second 37-yard field goal by Tanner Copeland to hold off Ell-Saline 31-28. This week, the Cardinals will take on an unbeaten Elkhart team that has put up big numbers en route to its 9-0 mark.
The Wildcats — out of the Hi-Plains League — haven’t had a close game since defeating Cimarron 27-20 to open the season. That includes winning their last three games a combined 174-40. However, Cimarron and Inman are the only two teams on Elkhart’s schedule that finished with a winning record. And the Wildcats own two wins against winless Sublette.
Plainville — out of the Mid-Continent League — has two losses, one to Phillipsburg and the other to Smith Center.
The Cardinals are fueled by Jordan Finnesy and Jared Casey, their quarterback/running back combo that runs behind an experienced line.
Finnesy has 821 rushing yards and 1,325 passing yards with 27 total touchdowns. Casey, a bulldozer, has 837 rushing yards with 13 TDs. He rushed for a season-high 202 yards in the win against Ell-Saline.
Friday’s winner will face either Smith Center or Sedgwick for the sub-state title.
Eight-Man Division I quarterfinals
Central Plains (10-0) at Hoxie (9-1), 7 p.m.
This game has Eight-Man Division I state championship written all over it. Hoxie is the defending Eight-Man Division I state champion and last week knocked off previously unbeaten Clifton-Clyde without starting quarterback Jared Kennedy (concussion).
This week, the Indians will take on a Central Plains team that has taken domination to a new level. The Oilers haven’t given up a single point since Week 2, and hasn’t had a game last past halftime since beating Victoria 32-8 in that game. That stretch included pounding Ness City 50-0 last week, a team that took the Oilers to the wire in Week 1.
Hoxie has had its ups-and-downs this season, but came through last week to knock off title hopeful Clifton-Clyde 22-20 on the road.
Hodgeman County (9-1) at St. Francis (10-0), 7 p.m. (CT).
Hodgeman County saw its unbeaten season snapped in a thriller at Ness City in the final week of the regular season. St. Francis is looking much the part of its team that took an unbeaten record into the Eight-Man Division I state title game in 2016.
Otis-Bison (8-1) at Dighton (8-2), 7 p.m.
These two teams have developed somewhat of a rivalry the past three seasons. In 2016, Dighton picked up a 36-30 victory on its way to finishing as runner-up in Eight-Man Division II, while the loss kept Otis-Bison out of the playoffs in a loaded district slate. Otis-Bison won 54-8 last year and eventually played for the sub-state championship.
Each team plays with minimal players, but Dighton holds the edge there, featuring just nine players on its roster.
Otis-Bison quarterback Anton Foust has 1,113 rushing yards to go along with 20 scores as the undeniable team leader. He also has thrown for 596 yards with 21 scores and has yet to throw in interception.
South Barber (9-0) at Osborne (9-1), 6 p.m.
South Barber enters 9-0 with one tie from its game called at halftime due to weather against Otis-Bison. Osborne, since falling to Hoxie in Week 2, has been on a tear. The Bulldogs have outscored opponents 582-202.
Quarterback Darnell Holloway has passed for 709 yards and rushed for 1,222 yards with 35 total scores while younger brother Darrien has 1,212 rushing yards and 26 scores. Often an unsung key to the Bulldogs’ club, Kade Miller has 215 rushing yards and 324 receiving yards to go along with eight total TDs. He is also the team’s leader on defense with 91 tackles.