Yep, it’s the weekly installment, and I’m running behind, at least three hours behind my usual posting time. Let me apologize up front.
OK, moving on. We’ve got Thanksgiving this week, so where will you be?
We also have state championship football! this Saturday, will you be going to a game?
Let’s talk about it:
Let’s hit Thanksgiving first. Will you be hosting or attending? I’m hoping to be attending, although it may be just my little family with me making the turkey. Thankfully, a mouse could make a yummy turkey, so I’m in luck. Hopefully it will be a good day for flag football. My kids have become enamored of playing flag football — I’m not sure if it’s because they like my play calling ability or just trying to keep me from winning. Whatever, it’s fun. And since the NFL games on Thursday look absolutely terrible, we need to keep my families’ tradition of playing ourselves alive.
Onto high school football.
We’ve got some awfully good games this week.
I will be heading to Class 3A in Hutchinson, where Conway Springs will play Silver Lake. Conway has beaten Silver Lake three times (three straight years). Silver Lake is in its seventh straight title game, while Conway hasn’t been there since 2004.
I’m picking Conway Springs in this game, but the Cardinals will be tested with Silver Lake’s passing game. Quarterback Tyler Roberts has completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,470 yards. Silver Lake will struggle with Conway’s running game — the tandem of Jaydan Bird and Caleb Brill. But Silver Lake has played against similar run-first teams, including Riverton and Rock Creek.
In Class 5A, the only other area team, Hutchinson, will be playing at Emporia State against St. Thomas Aquinas. I don’t think there’s anyone in the western half of the state that thinks Hutchinson will lose. Probably plenty on the east side, too. Hutchinson’s offense that includes Josh Smith and Deveon Dinwiddie is way too tough, and the defense has just been shutting teams down. I don’t think that will be any different on Saturday. Frankly, I don’t think it would matter who is on the east side of the bracket.
In Class 4A, Topeka Hayden and Perry-Lecompton will meet. I’m taking Hayden in this game. TJ McGreevy is an outstanding quarterback with a sweet arm. He’s got some nice receivers — I really liked Christian Rabe (he’s a big dude) — and they can run enough. Perry-Lecompton is no joke, though. I talked to coach Mike Paramore today — he used to coach at Canton-Galva and Bluestem. Perry runs the spread offense with QB Shane Gimzo, who’s got more than 1,500 passing and rushing. Nice.
In Class 6A, it’s Junction City playing Lawrence Free State. It’s Free State’s first time in the championship game, and it’s on its third-string QB. How about that? Turns out that Free State lost its top two QBs to injury after the first week. Coach Bob Lisher said they needed to find someone, which is when Camren Torneden raised his hand and said he could play, that he’d played all the while growing up in Texas — in the spread offense. Lisher laughed because he didn’t know that. Torneden had started the season at WR. Torneden is just 5-6, 150, but Lisher said he packs a punch. He’s rushed for more than 1,000 and thrown for nearly 1,000.
As for Junction City, that’s a big team, with a nice stable of running backs and a talented quarterback in Ty Zimmerman running the show. I think I’ll take Junction City in this game, but it’s a toss-up. As Lisher told me, Free State has been an underdog in every playoff game this year.
In Class 2-1A, Smith Center will play Olpe while it tries to win its 67th game — which would be a state record. I just don’t see anyway that Smith Center doesn’t win this game. This team is so dominant, and no one has been able to stop the Redmen. I don’t think it starts now. Smith Center has several nice backs, including Colt Rogers, and then there’s a lineman named Justin Nixon who is 6-foot-1, 345 pounds. Oof.
So who will win? You pick ‘em. Where will you be on Thanksgiving? Where will you be on Saturday?
Are you ready for basketball to start?