Here’s a look at key area matchups for Week 4 of the high school football season.
PLAINVILLE (3-0) AT SMITH CENTER (3-0)
Class 1A has a pair of monster showdowns this week, none bigger than No. 1 Smith Center vs. No. 2 Plainville. Both are serious state title contenders with Smith Center having won two straight championships. The Redmen handed Plainville two of its three losses last year, 21-10 in the regular season and 49-7 in the state semifinals. Both teams have beaten last year's 2A champion Phillipsburg this year. Smith Center is averaging 397.7 rushing yards per game led by Jaden Atwood's 535 yards and five TDs. Plainville has a pair of backfield standouts in senior back Jared Casey (330 yards, 2 TDs) and senior quarterback Jordan Finnesy (298 passing, 189 rushing, 5 total TDs), but Casey is expected to miss the game with a hand injury he suffered last week against TMP-Marian. The Cardinals needed a late score to beat Phillipsburg 21-14 while Smith Center rolled to a 27-7 win over the Panthers.
GARDEN CITY (0-3) vs. HAYS HIGH (1-2) AT LEWIS FIELD STADIUM
The Indians got into the win column last week with a 13-12 overtime victory at Liberal. Hayden Brown made a leaping grab in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard TD in overtime, and moments later Hays High stymied the Redskins' two-point try to seal the win. Hays will look to keep the momentum going for its homecoming matchup with the winless Buffaloes. Garden City has losses to Derby (48-19), Valley Center (38-26) and Hutchinson (21-12). Hays quarterback Dylan Dreiling threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns last week, both to Brown. Garden City's Carlos Acosta has thrown for 421 yards on the season while Josh Janas has rushed for 274 yards and six touchdowns for the Buffaloes.
TMP-MARIAN (1-2) at HOISINGTON (3-0)
TMP will be facing a stiff test on the road against the Cardinals, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A. The Monarchs defense hung tough last week against Plainville but TMP was shutout for the second time this season, falling 16-0. Hoisington is led by senior standout Wyatt Pedigo, who has rushed for 567 yards and eight touchdowns. Hoisington has wins over Pratt (37-13), Nickerson (40-13) and Larned (41-19). Colby Dreiling led the Monarchs with 12 tackles last week.
NORTON (1-2) at PHILLIPSBURG (1-2)
Phillipsburg will be looking to bounce back from a pair of rare regular-season losses for the Panthers. Norton picked up a 41-0 win over Oakley last week. Kade Melvin has passed for 516 yards on the season for Norton while rushing for 334. Phillipsburg quarterback Ty Sides rushed for 90 yards last week against Smith Center.
OBERLIN (3-0) AT ST. FRANCIS (3-0)
Oberlin was just 4-5 last year but already has picked up three lopsided victories to start this season, including shutouts of Quinter and Sharon Springs. That start will get a major test in St. Francis, which is ranked No. 2 in Eight-Man Division I and returns the bulk of last year's 11-1 squad that reached the state quarterfinals. The Indians have a 1-2 backfield punch in Shadyron Blanka (403 yards) and Brady Dinkel (310 yards) that have led the Indians to 51.3 points per game this year. The Indian defense has been stellar, shutting out all three opponents. Oberlin relies almost exclusively on the run and has three backs with 200 or more yards led by Dawson Kempt's 345 yards and Colton Ketterl's nine touchdowns. St. Francis blanked Oberlin 50-0 last year.
The Topeka Capital-Journal's Brent Maycock contributed to this article.