Week 4 Football Preview - Hi-Plains
Each week, we are going to attempt to preview all of the games involving at least one of the leagues each week. This week, we will focus on teams that are members of the Hi-Plains League.
District week begins this week for Class 2A teams in the league, so it's a big week of action.
Cimarron (3-0) at Southwestern Heights (2-1)
Two of the favorites – along with Lakin – in the Class 2A District 7 race will look to tangle Friday night in Kismet.
The Bluejays, who want to bounce back from an early playoff exit in 2018, have All-State pick Tate Seabolt as the anchor of their double-wing attack, which creates balance and deception with its option handoff system. Cimarron has controlled each game they have played this season by consuming the clock and owning time of possession.
Southwestern Heights returns eight starters on both offense and defense and relies on a three-headed backfield for the bulk of their yardage, which is mostly a ground attack. Quarterback Hever Mercado, and fullbacks Demetrio Flores and Memo Flores have the bulk of the yardage gained by the Mustangs offense. The trio led by Demetrio Flores (320 rush yards) has combined for 641 yards on the ground and has contributed to all seven touchdowns scored.
Mercado has scored three TDs on the ground and passed for two more, both by Sergio Puentes.
Demetrio Flores has collected a team-high 29 tackles from his middle linebacker position and accounted for three tackles for loss. Walter Ramirez is also among the leaders for SWH in total tackles (23) and interceptions (2) on defense. Puentes leads the team with four tackles for loss. Also look for Izak Castro (23 TT) and Juan Torres (22 TT, 3.0 TFL to make an impact on defense.
Clayton, NM (1-4) at Elkhart (2-1)
The Wildcats will look for their third straight win this season as they face a Clayton team which comes in with a 1-4 mark.
Elkhart is led by senior standout Chace O’Hair, who leads the team with 539 yards rushing. That, by the way, leads all of Kansas 1A players, and is 5th in the state among all 11-man classes, according to MaxPreps. O’Hair is also a defensive standout, ranking 9th in tackles in the state with 36 total tackles, an average of 12 per game.
The key may be the continued solid play of quarterback Emmanual Moreno, who has hit on better than 50 percent of his passes for 159 yards and two TDs, plus rushed for 80 yards on 32 attempts.
Elkhart is looking for its third straight trip to the 1A state quarterfinals.
Lakin (3-0) at Ellinwood (1-2)
Arguably the co-favorites in the Class 2A District 7 race, along with Cimarron, the Broncs have a tough test on the road Friday at Ellinwood, who has struggled out of the gate.
Lakin returns nine starters on both sides of the ball from last season, including a talented offensive line led by Hadley Panzer, who has verbally committed to Kansas State. That O-line keys a rushing attack which has posted nearly 1,000 yards as a unit in its first three games.
Senior standout back Kayden Christiansen (285 yards rushing, 5 TDs) and sophomore quarterback Servando Gonzalez (283 yards rushing, 3 TDs) lead the pack in the rushing attack, each averaging an astonishing 10-plus yards per carry. Gonzalez has only had to throw 14 passes this season, completing seven for 91 yards and a touchdown, with an interception.
As a team, the Broncs have amassed 984 yards rushing, accounting for 90.5 percent of their offense.
Christiansen also leads the team in total tackles (28). The Lakin defense has allowed just 21 points, including a 50-0 blanking of Syracuse last week.
The homestanding Eagles have been outscored 130-76 in their first three games, including a 50-7 loss to Ellis last week. Ellinwood averages 337.5 yards of offense per game, in the two games reported to MaxPreps as of Thursday.
Stanton County (0-3) at Meade (0-3)
As Booger McFarland referenced during the ESPN broadcast of Monday Night Football this week, promoting the next week’s game between two winless teams – two teams come in with a zero, only one will walk away with one.
That’s a reference to a phrase used in boxing to describe two unbeaten boxers, but the same can be said for a pair of Hi-Plains contests where winless teams face off, including the battle between the visiting Trojans and homestanding Buffaloes in Meade.
The Trojans have been outscored 116-24 in their first three games, including a 32-16 loss to Cimarron, in which the Bluejays raced out to a 32-0 lead.
Meade has averaged just 160 yards of offense per game and will look to bust out in a big way this week. Greyson Haynes leads the Buffaloes in rushing and has two of the three TDs scored this season.
Sublette (0-3) at Syracuse (0-3)
The Larks are looking to end a 34-game losing streak, and now search for their first win in a while on the road, against a Syracuse squad which has struggled to move the ball.
The Bulldogs, coming off a 50-0 loss to Lakin last week, have relied on Kolbey Brummett for the bulk of their offense this season. Brummett has gained 170 yards on the ground and has scored two of the three touchdowns Syracuse has accounted for this season.
Junior Uriel Diaz is one of seven players with double-figure total tackles this season, leading the team with 17.
Sublette freshman Miguel Hernandez has taken over the starting duties at quarterback, tossing two TD passes in the loss to Elkhart last week. Hernandez has passed for 296 yards and three scores against two interceptions. The Larks leader on the ground is junior Anthony Morales, who leads the team in rushing. Senior Albie Perez has hauled in two of Martinez’s 3 TD passes. He’s also one of five pass-catchers who have six or more catches in the first three games.
Senior Tyson Lunblade has collected 20 tackles to pace the Larks, who have seven players who have collected double-figure total tackles.
Hoxie (2-1) at Wichita County (3-0)
A game that shows up on the Kpreps pick list this week will take place in Leoti, where the homestanding Indians finally get to play on their own field when they take on Hoxie in a battle of Indians in 8-Man Division I.
Wichita County is led by senior quarterback Kayde Rietzke, who accounts for over 230 total yards per game. That includes 436 yards passing and nine touchdowns, while running for 258 yards and another five scores. Junior back Jesse Gardner also have rushed for more than 200 yards and shares the lead in rushing scores with Rietzke with five tallies.
Junior receiver Sheldon Whalen leads the Indians in receiving yards (208) and TD receptions (3). Six different players have caught a pass, and five of them have at least one touchdown apiece through the air. The Indians have a kickoff return and a punt return for scores as well this season and have found the end zone 23 times in the first three games, outscoring their opponents, 212-14.
One big key – the turnover battle. The Hoxie Indians have three turnovers and have forced three turnovers. Wichita County, meanwhile, have forced seven turnovers while not yielding a single miscue.