Here’s a look at key area matchups for Week 5 of the high school football season.
LA CROSSE (5-0) AT PLAINVILLE (4-1)
In its last year playing 11-man football before dropping to eight-man for the next two-year cycle, La Crosse is doing its best to go out with a bang. The Leopards are coming off a 34-6 win over Sacred Heart and pulled out a pair of close wins over Russell (14-12) and Republic County (21-14) earlier this season. Colby Stull has run for 810 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Hunter Morgan has thrown for 775 yards and seven scores. Plainville suffered its only loss to Smith Center two weeks ago and has played the last two weeks without standout Jared Casey, who was averaging 110 rushing yards per game. Jordan Finnesy has thrown for 492 yards and run for 335, tallying nine total touchdowns. Freshman Kyle Werner filled Casey's void nicely last week, rushing for 199 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-22 win over Republic County.
LEOTI (5-0) AT ST. FRANCIS (5-0)
The Northwest Kansas League title will be decided in a clash of two of the remaining seven unbeatens in Eight-Man Division I. St. Francis, ranked No. 2, survived a big-time scare from Hoxie last week, holding on for a 30-28 victory after Hoxie drove inside the 5 in the final minute and had three cracks at the end zone, including one with six seconds left at the 2 that resulted in a fumble. Leoti has yet to be challenged, with its closest win a 56-26 rout of Hoxie in Week 4. The Indians have topped 70 points twice this year and are averaging 65.6 points per game. Senior quarterback Kayde Rietzke is a standout dual threat, rushing for 637 yards and 10 touchdowns and throwing for 716 yards and 14 scores. Jesse Gardner has added 433 yards and 9 TDs rushing and four TD grabs. Brady Dinkel and Shadryon Blanka are both over 600 yards rushing for St. Francis this season.
NORTON (3-2) VS. TMP-MARIAN (1-4) AT LEWIS FIELD STADIUM
After an 0-2 start, Norton has won three straight including a 13-12 nail-biter over Minneapolis last week. Norton quarterback Kade Melvin has rushed for 463 yards with six touchdowns, while Luke Wahlmeier has 414 yards on the ground with a pair of TDs. Both Melvin and Wahlmeier are averaging 7 yards per carry. TMP-Marian is coming off a 21-7 loss to Phillipsburg last week. Senior running back Colby Dreiling rushed for 82 yards last week, while freshman quarterback Kade Harris added 75 yards on the ground. Harris threw a 12-touchdown pass to Jace Wentling.
HAYS HIGH (2-3) AT DODGE CITY (5-0)
Hays High rolled to a 45-20 win over Wichita South last week, while Dodge City remained unbeaten with a 35-14 victory over Wichita West. Dodge City quarterback Beau Foster leads the Western Athletic Conference in passing with 848 yards. Foster has seven touchdowns passes on the season. Hays High’s Jaren Kanak ranks third in the WAC with 354 receiving yards, while Hayden Brown leads the Indians with 387 yards rushing. Gavin Meyers leads the WAC in tackles with 69, while Hays High teammate Gaven Haselhorst ranks second with 57.
SPEARVILLE (4-1) AT NESS CITY (5-0)
Ness City will put its undefeated mark on the line against Spearville. The Eagles cruised to a 46-0 win over Kinsley, while Spearville picked up a 46-16 win against Kiowa County. Hector Rodriguez and Nate Gabel each ran for two touchdowns last week for Ness City.
Brent Maycock from The Topeka Capital-Journal contributed to this article.