ROZEL — Last year’s 6-man state football championship showed the Pawnee Heights Tigers they needed to improve if they wanted to capture a 2017 football title.
The Tigers (3-0) will measure their progress against Weskan (3-0) at 2 p.m. Friday at Ransom in a rematch of last year’s title game. Weskan downed the Tigers 36-18 in the inaugural Six-Man State Football Championship Nov. 4 at Dodge City. Weskan also defeated Pawnee Heights 36-25 in September, 2016.
Pawnee Heights TB Kade Scott has scored 10 touchdowns after a five-score, 329-yard game against Golden Plains. Caleb Karst scored two TDs and QB Trace Baker threw a TD pass to Jackson Henbest. All-state C-LB Caleb Karst, RB-DL Dalton Hamby, RB-S Trace Baker and DL Gabe Oddo also return for a high-powered offense.
In last year’s title game, Tiger tailback Scott scored a touchdown and rushed for 127 yards. Caleb Karst caught a 42-yard TD pass. The Tigers outgained Weskan 295-224.
All-state linebacker Scott was named Six-Man Defensive Player of the Year and Caleb Karst was named a Six-Man All-State center by Kpreps.com. Karst caught a one-handed interception in the title game.
The Tigers also return several experienced players — FB-NG Dalton Hamby, QB-DB Trace Baker, E-NG Gabe Oddo and OE-DE Jackson Henbest. E Shawn Peterson also starts.
“We’re going in with an underdog mentality, and we’ll have to battle for everything,” said Pawnee Heights coach Jeff Chambers. “Weskan has size and speed with a big-play capability. We’re the underdogs until we prove we can beat them.”
Scott has rushed for 618 yards and 10 touchdowns in two games.
“Our offensive front has done a great job blocking and getting downfield,” Chambers said. “They are the key for Kade Scott’s success.”
Weskan returns seven players with starting experience, keyed by all-state LB Bailey McQuillan. Two-way starters returning are RB-LB McQuillan, QB-DB Jace Mackley and E-LB Tracer Vincent.
“We’ve improved our overall team speed and strength in the off-season,” Chambers said. “We feel good about our chances.”
LARNED (1-2) at HALSTEAD (1-2)
Larned TB Anthony McConnell scored three touchdowns and rushed for 142 yards in a 56-35 loss to Hesston. The Indians rushed for 287 yards. QB Carson Smith completed a TD pass to McConnell. Wes Davis (101 yds) and Shevin Martin scored rushing TDs. Hesston gained 470 yards, 259 yards riushing and 211 yards passing.
Halstead QB Dalton Kraus (470-7 TDs) leads a balanced run game (168 yds) with RB David Schulte (144 yds), Kaden Lopez (126 yds) and Kaden Kraus (122 yds). WR Noah Mendez (8-239, 4 TDs) leads the receivers. Kaden Kraus averaged 14 tackles per game.
VICTORIA (3-0) at OTIS-BISON (2-1)
Victoria QB Cooper Windholz threw three TD passes and RB Collin Kisner scored two rushing TDs and on a TD reception in a 50-0 victory over Ellinwood. The Knights rushed for 180 yards and passed for 81 yards.
Otis-Bison RB Blake Bahr (264 yds-5 TDs) rushed for 117 yards and two scores in a 36-12 loss to Central Plains. The Cougars rushed for 211 yards. QB Anton Foust has passed for 169 yards. WR Maitland Wiltse (4-118 yds) leads the receivers.
CENTRAL PLAINS (2-1) at KINSLEY (0-3)
TB Alex Hickel rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns and Anthony Oberle and Devin Ryan added rushing touchdowns in a 36-12 victory over Otis-Bison. The Oilers gained 299 yards rushing and dominated the Cougars on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Outmanned Kinsley lost 62-6 to Macksville last week. RB Jacob Herrman is Kinsley’s top offensive threat.
MACKSVILLE (2-1) at ST. JOHN (1-2)
Macksville RB Jacob Rein (177 yds rushing) scored four TDs, two rushing, en route to 112 yards rushing in a 62-6 victory over Kinsley. QB Kody Mead (445 yds passing) threw TD passes to Rein and Karson Waters. Mead threw for five TD passes in Macksville’s opener.
St. John RB Keven Neri-Leon scored the Tigers’ touchdown against Ness City in a 56-6 loss. St. John QB Cashe McVey rushed for five touchdowns and Neri-Leon scored three touchdowns in week two.
St. John starts QB McVey, RB Eddy Ibarra, RB Neri-Leon, C Trevor Tanner, RG Jace Brittain, LG Jon Villanueva, TE Jorden Taylor and TE Conner Engel. Dalton Nemec and Andrew Miller provide depth and OL-DL Joel Ibarra will be ready this week.
NESS CITY (1-2) at ELLINWOOD (1-2)
Ellinwood’s Luke Wondra gained 12 yards and Drew Blake 10 yards in a 50-0 loss to Victoria. QB Kyler Doll threw two touchdown passes and RB Drew Blake scored two touchdowns in the Eagles’ opening victory over Kinsley.
Ness City’s QB John Pfannenstiel (375 yds passing) scored three TDs and threw a touchdown pass to Andres Rios in a 56-6 victory over St. John last week. WR Nate Gabel (8-152 yds) leads rthe receivers.
STAFFORD (1-2) at OXFORD (1-2)
Stafford RB Caleb Hildebrand rushed for 118 yards and a TD in a 64-16 loss to Hutchinson Central Christian. LB Hildebrand averages 12 tackles per game. QB D.J. Peak scored a touchdown. Nicholas Gift intercepted a pass and Hildebrand receovered a fumble. Oxford’s RB Dalton Silhan has rushed for 446 yards and five TDs. Sedan beat Oxford 46-0 last week.