St. John High School will be playing a few freshmen tonight against Fairfield.
The Tigers have suffered three key injuries.
Pat Prescott, St. John’s starting tailback and a threatening kickoff returner that returned a kick for a 70-yard score against Western Plains, will be a game time decision. Schuylar Brown, a 5-foot-5, 140-pound freshman, is slated to start for Prescott if the decision is made to hold him out.
Both of St. John’s tight ends, Zack Minnis and Dace Mercer, were injured in the Tigers’ game against Skyline last week.
During the game, the Tigers gave up 201 total yards including 100 rushing yards to Brennan Stotts.
“We have improved at defending the run,” Tigers head coach Nick Garcia said. “Skyline’s got a pretty good running back, Stotts, and we held him below his average.”
Both of Skyline’s touchdowns were scored via the air by wide receiver Brandon Broce, who caught two of the Thunderbirds three completions of the game.
The Tigers also got four turnovers — two interceptions thrown by Easton Burngardt and two fumbles.
St. John’s defense has been off and on all season, but it has improved considerably against the run since it gave up 416 rushing yards to Otis-Bison in Week 1.
The Tigers gave up 212 passing yards and four passing touchdowns to Gunner Phelan in their Week 3 match up against Quivira Heights, but in Week 2, the Tigers defense shut out Western Plains.
Fairfield began its season strong, blanking Burrton, 20-0. The Falcons had three rushing touchdowns from three separate players in the game.
“They do a really good job running the football,” Garcia said. “They run the ball a lot, so we have been working on getting off of our blocks and attacking the ball.
“Who knows? They could come out and throw the ball and surprise us, but they run the ball a lot and I don’t think Friday will be any different.”
The Falcons’ defense allowed Burrton 80 yards of total offense in the shut out.
In Fairfield’s second win, it scored 48 points, the highest total so far this season. But since then, the Falcons have only been able to score 16 points over two games while the defense has given up 58 to Macksville and 54 to Kiowa County.
Ellinwood (2-2) at
The 2-2 Ellinwood Eagles travel to Brookville to face the Ell-Saline Cardinals, who are 1-3 with a shut out win over Bennington in Week 1.
Ever since, the Cardinals haven’t kept their opponents under 50 points.
Eagles head coach Monte Doll said that the Cardinals are still looking for an identity on offense.
“Studying film, I would say they are going to run a flexbone style offense with the ability to also go to a gun formation,” Doll said. “It makes it very difficult to scout when you are not sure what they will run.”
The Cardinals offense has rested on senior QB Tate Omli for the past two years.
Last season, Omli threw for 1,095 yards, 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Omli rushed for another 307 yards, placing him 13 yards short of the team’s leading rusher.
In the 2008 season, Omli threw for 1,442 yards, 20 touchdowns and three interceptions, and he ran for 647 yards.
This season, Omli has thrown for 274 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and only five incomplete passes, but he has been out with an injury and won’t be playing against Ellinwood.
Doll said that the Cardinals will likely run a 4-3 defense against the Eagles.
“Defensively, I think they will run a four-man front,” Doll said. “They will probably run a 4-3 to try to help on our perimeter game. We will have to establish the inside run if we are to be successful (tonight).”
The Eagles are still without one of their biggest offensive threats, but quarterback Kyle Corbett has stepped up, scoring three of the four Ellinwood touchdowns last week in the Eagles’ win against Haven.
“We have not tried to put any more pressure on Kyle, but I think Kyle has taken it upon himself to help the team in any way possible,” Doll said. “He has shown improvement all season long and I believe he will continue to do so, which will give us a decent shot in our district.”
South Gray (3-1) at
Pawnee Heights (2-2)
Pawnee Heights athletic director Mark Pywell said that due to injuries, the game between South Gray and Pawnee Heights has been cancelled. The Tigers will be back in action against Chase on Oct. 8.
Claflin (0-4) at
Claflin will travel to Canton to face the 1-3 Canton-Galva Eagles tonight.
The Wildcats are still searching for their first win after a heart-breaking 60-58 defeat suffered at the hands of Goessel.
In their loss to the Bluebirds, the Wildcats defense was able to slow the running game to only 70 yards on 24 carries, but the Bluebirds beat the ’Cats in the air.
Goessel quarterback Neal Brubaker threw for 321 yards and six touchdowns to edge the Bluebirds over Claflin.
Offensively, the Wildcats are coming off of their best game in terms of points scored. In their first three games, the Wildcats only scored 28 points. They beat that by scoring 30 in the first quarter against Goessel.
The Eagles, whose only loss came against Central Christian to open the season, are returning home after being shut out by Lincoln on the road.
Lincoln was able to find success both on the ground and in the air against Canton-Galva’s defense. The Leopards quarterback threw for 189 yards and four touchdowns and Lincoln had 108 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Prep-Marian (2-2) at
The Hoisington Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season last week on the road against Ulysses, losing 46-10.
The Tigers found a way to stop the Cardinals’ high-powered offense, holding two of Hoisington’s three running backs under 65 yards rushing and holding the Cardinals out of the end zone in three of the four quarters.
The Monarchs gave up 340 rushing yards in their 55-28 loss to La Crosse last week.
La Crosse quarterback Tayler Stull completed 6 of 9 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
Western Plains (0-4) at Otis-Bison (4-0)
Otis-Bison remains undefeated and will host winless Western Plains tonight.
The Bobcats, who have only scored 18 points in four games, will be up against the Otis-Bison defense that has only given up six points this season.
Cimarron (2-2) at
Cimarron has two wins this season, both shutouts.
The Bluejays beat Satanta, 41-0, and Sublette, 34-0, both on the road. Now they travel to Larned.
The Indians look to bounce back against Cimarron after being held off of the scoreboard last week in Beloit, and they will likely turn to their speedy quarterback Brady Keith, who leads the Indians with 221 rushing yards and three of the Indians five touchdowns this season.
Macksville (3-1) at
Pretty Prairie (5-0)
The Macksville Mustangs travel to Pretty Prairie for what will likely be a shoot out against the Bulldogs.
“They will be an extremely tough opponent,” Mustangs head coach Jeff Kuckelman said. “They are very good and have a lot of weapons which probably makes them the deepest and most dangerous team we have played so far. But the teams we have played have also been very good and hopefully, have prepared us for a challenge like this.”
Macksville has yet to score under 30 points in a game and the Bulldogs have not finished a game under 37 points.
Pretty Prairie began its season by shutting out Norwich, Cedar Vale-Dexter and Cedar Vale. Last week, the Bulldogs gave up only two points to South Barber of Kiowa.
Kuckelman said that preventing turnovers will be key in the game.
“We want to concentrate on playing well and not turning the ball over,” Kuckelman said. “If you turn the ball over against a great team like them, it makes it very hard to stay in the game let alone win.”
Beloit-St. John’s (0-4) at Quivira Heights (3-1)
Quivira Heights squares off against St. John’s/Tipton Catholic at home tonight.
The Thunderbirds are 3-1 after a road win against Central-Burden, 44-24.
The Bluejays are still looking for their first win and have only scored 34 points this season, all coming last week at home against Word of Life of Wichita.
Cunningham (0-3) at
Stafford looks to pick up the pieces after a crushing defeat at the hands of Otis-Bison.
Tonight’s game against Cunningham is the Trojans’ first home game since their Week 1 loss to Skyline, 50-14.