For the fourth straight season, Central Plains and Spearville match up in the second round of the Eight-Man, Division I state football playoffs.
Three of their five combined losses the past four years have been against each other. State champion Central Plains won 42-40 in 2014 and 2015 state champion Spearville dominated 58-28 and 58-26 last year.
No. 1-ranked Spearville (10-0) is 44-2 and Central Plains (9-1) is 41-4 the past four years. The No. 3-state ranked Oilers have dominated since losing 34-8 to Victoria, winning by an average score of 55-6 with five shutouts.
“That’s our goal every year to be in this situation,” said Central Plains coach Chris Steiner. “We’re a disciplined defense. We like to fly around and get guys to the football. Everyone has to do their job — no more or no less. We’ve got good kids and they do things right. Everyone knows their job.”
Oiler QB Myles Menges (979 yards, 19 TDs; 316 rushing) helps the Oilers average 104 yards passing. RB Alex Hickel (476, 14 TDs), and WR Alex Barton (496 yards, 9 TDs) lead the offense. Barton averages 22 yards per catch.
Nose guard Dylan Lemieux averages a stunning 10 tackles with eight sacks. LB Dalton Beck averages nine tackles. The Oilers beat playoff teams Ness City (44-20), Otis-Bison (36-12) and Little River (52-12). The Oilers are plus-seven in turnover margin.
The Oilers start QB Myles Menges, C-DE Philip Donecker, RG-DE Lee Letourneau, LG Mason Doll, E-DE Brett Liebl, DB Kade Beck, E-S Alex Barton, RB-LB Dalton Beck, RB-LB Alex Hickel, RB-LB Jerred Bieberle, NG Dylan Lemieux and DB Devin Ryan.
Spearville’s single wing run-oriented offense averages 222 yards rushing and 88 yards passing. QB Kolby Stein has completed a stunning 32 of 35 passes for 794 yards and 12 scores. RB Bailey Sites (901 yards, 23 TDs). Stein (539 yards, 8 TDs) lead the backfield. RB Alex Fisher (300 yards, 5 TDs).
“A lot goes through their quarterback and linebacker Kolby Stein,” Steiner said. “He runs the show back there. He’s also a lead blocker and linebacker.”
Spearville is plus 19 in turnover margin. The Royal Lancers have 16 interceptions and Sites has five interceptions.
The Royal Lancers built big playoff leads the past two years.
“We’ve put ourselves in a hole the past two years,” Steiner said. “We’ve got to capitalize when we’re on offense in the red zone. Two-point ccnversions are huge. We believe we have an advantage in special teams.”
W—Ness City 44-20
W—Little River 52-12
W—St. John 56-0
W—Hill City 48-0
W— Hodgeman Co. 64-34
W—South Gray 48-21
W—Ness City 58-8
W—Wichita Co. 46-0
W—St. Francis 42-20