It’s playoff time and that means a closer look at our area 4A teams competing on Friday night. This Class 4A preview is brought to you by Merle Kelly Ford in Chanute.
Spring Hill @ Pittsburg
Purple Dragon offense v. Spring Hill defense. The Broncos will bring some of the leaders in the state in tackling with Bryce Scholze, Hunter Willyard, and Nolan Ewing. Spring Hill’s defense is averaging 21 points per game and has recorded 2 games with one score or less. They’ve faced off against the likes of Louisburg and Paola. Pittsburg’s offense boasts quarterback Ty Roark who has accounted for 1,500 yards passing with Dylan White receiving for 556 of those those yards. Spring Hill’s head coach is Jason Feeback, who is no stranger to the Purple Dragons as the former Chanute football coach. All season long Pittsburg has loaded their schedule to face some of the top teams in not only Kansas but Missouri as well. They will be tested right out of the gate with the Broncos.
Atchison @ Fort Scott
What a bounce back of a season for Fort Scott. After suffering one of the worst losses to Paola in Week 2, Bob Campbell’s team has since gone on to win 5 of their last 6, rallying late just to fall short against Pittsburg and win in overtime against Eudora last week. Atchison has faced a fairly balanced schedule of opponents this year with their opponents a combined 33-31. However, looking closer at their schedule there is no in between for the Redmen. They are either blowing teams out or losing in lopsided fashion. Fort Scott has played tight games for the most part this year, which should benefit them in the long run of the playoffs.
El Dorado @ Coffeyville
The Golden Nado are 1 possession away in their week 5 & 6 losses from being 6-2 and not 4-4. Slow starts, sluggish 2nd half defense has been some of the problems for Darrin Wegner’s team this season. No doubt about it though they have the talent and the draw to make some noise out of the gate in the playoffs. Quarterback Jaylen Logan has 1197 yards passing, 10 throwing touchdowns along with 804 yards rushing and 12 running touchdowns. With his five receivers, Trey Myrie, Adam Rutherford, Tajahn Thomas, CJ Kelley, and Brennan Graham, Logan and the Golden Nado have multiple ways to hurt an opponent. The Wildcats defense is giving up an average of 27 points per game, but it’s fair to say they haven’t faced an offense this talented since their week 3 match-up against McPherson.
Labette County @ Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege
Easton Dean has been a treat for Grizzly fans (and overall SEK area football fans as well) these past few years. The future Iowa State student athlete will for the second year in a row lead his time in to battle with one of the top teams in the state, Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege. Strictly speaking as a fan/observer of SEK area sports, it’s rare in our corner of the state we get to claim and brag about someone with the caliber of athleticism as Mr. Dean, but it’s been fun that we have been able to have that privilege. The Grizzlies haven’t quite had the season they were expecting and this is by far the toughest draw for them right out of the gate. Grizzly fans need to remember one thing, only one team can win it all and you would have eventually had to face Bishop Miege, so why not get it out of the way early on?
Chanute @ Tonganoxie
Chanute is on a 3 game losing streak. The Blue Comets have been hit hard with the injury bug which only complicates things for this talented team. On the opposite end, Tonganoxie started the year off 0-2 and has since rattled off 6 straight wins. There is one common opponent in Ottawa, in which Tonganoxie won 31-13 last week and Chanute won 28-6 in week 4. The Chanute is 3-1 on the road this season and Tonganoxie is 3-1 at home. Depending on the health of Chanute, this should be a closer ballgame than what some may perceive it to be by just glancing at it. The Blue Comets will need their offensive line to protect junior quarterback Ty Bowman and give him time to either make plays with his arm or scramble with his legs.
Independence @ McPherson
This has not been the year for the Independence Bulldogs. After struggling all year and letting games slip away late the Bulldogs have been unable to get any momentum. They are a young group of players and if there’s any team that knows how to springboard off a down year into a better start for years to come it’s the Bulldogs. They will travel to 8-0 McPherson who has only been scored on twice in one game all year, otherwise the BullPups are holding opponents to only one score. The Bulldogs will have their work cut out for them in this week 9 match up.