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Broncos face Panthers in Homecoming

The Paola Panthers face another crossroads type game as they take on the Spring Hill Broncos on Friday at Panther Stadium. It’s homecoming for Paola, and this game comes just one week prior to the Panthers annual Tom-Tom matchup against Osawatomie.

WLH0014 The Panthers got back on the winning track last Friday, as they survived a close game at DeSoto, where the Wildcats tried to make it four in a row over Paola, but a last minute field goal sailed wide left and Paola escaped with a 7-6 victory. Following that game, Panthers Head Coach Mike Dumpert told his team that the victory might just be the thing needed to get the team on a roll. “This one was just a little turn of the ball,” Dumpert said. “I have a feeling that this win will get the ball rolling with more momentum.”

The Panthers will need all the momentum they can muster, not necessarily to defeat the Broncos, but to put themselves in the best position possible for the Trojans visit in a week. Osawatomie will, in all likelihood, come into the game undefeated, and ready to play. Add to that, the game will mark the opening of district play and the game next Friday takes on much significance.

But first, Paola must take care of business on Friday night against Spring Hill. The Broncos come into the with a 2-3 record, and off a 55-0 shellacking by the soon to be departed from the Frontier League, Gardner Trailblazers. You can discount any score this year by any team playing the Blazers, it’s not as if Gardner is trying to run the score up on the Frontier League, they’re really that much better than any other team, but they are trying to impress their new league and prove that they belong with the big boys.

No, you can’t tell much from Spring Hill’s loss to Gardner, but their other four games begin to paint a picture about the Broncos. Spring Hill’s two other losses have come against the two teams tied for second in the lead, the Eudora Cardinals and the Louisburg Wildcats. Against the top teams in the league, Spring Hill was outscored a whopping 77-7, falling 28-0 to Eudora in the first game of the season, and following that up with a 49-7 loss at the ands of the Wildcats. The Broncos two victories have come against the bottom two teams in the league, Baldwin and Ottawa, posting wins of 34-26 and 23-7.

The Panthers should be tied for the league’s runner-up position with Louisburg, but a surprising loss to the Eudora Cardinals at home a couple of weeks ago left the Panthers in third place a game behind Eudora and Louisburg. The Cardinals are the next victim for Gardner, so with a victory over the Broncos the Panthers and Cardinals will have identical 4-2 records heading into district play.

With the exception of the miss step against Eudora the Panthers are right where most would have picked going into the season, they have handled the lower teams in the league, albeit with some difficulty, the only game against the lower teams, Baldwin, Ottawa and DeSoto, which the Panthers cruised through was the season opener at Baldwin where the Panthers won 34-7. The other two games saw the Panthers down Ottawa 17-3 and DeSoto 7-6. The combine record of these three teams is 2-13.

While this game plays out by the records and stats as an easy win for the Panthers, they cannot afford to mark it down in the win column yet. They must play the game on the field, and not look too far down the road. The Panthers must defeat the Broncos before they even think about playing the Osawatomie Trojans.

Unbeaten Trojans to battle Vikings

The Osawatomie Trojans can all but wrap up the Pioneer League title this week as they will host the Central Heights Vikings at Lynn Dickey Field in Osawatomie. The undefeated Trojans have the Vikings (2-3 overall and 1-2 in the league) and the winless Prairie View Buffalos in the last regular season game of the year to play to complete the Pioneer League sweep.

DSC0131 The Trojans should be able to complete their sixth victory of the season and head to Paola on October 16th with an unblemished record to take on the Panthers in the annual Tom-Tom game. Of course, the Trojans can not look too far ahead, as they have had a penchant for playing in close games so far this year. Look no further than last week, as the Wellsville Eagles lead the Trojans late in the game only to see Andy French block a punt that set up the tying score and send the game to overtime, where the Trojans prevailed in two overtime periods by a 42-34 score. The Trojans have also had two close games early in the season, defeating Anderson County by four points and Tonganoxie by three points, both in come-from-behind fashion.

The cupboard is not bare for the Vikings. On offense, the Vikings are lead by Dalton Schwab who torched the Buffalos for 269 yards last week, as Central Heights rolled up nearly 400 yards of total offense against the hapless Buffalos. Defensively, the Vikings are lead by Max Wiederholdt and Devin Greiner who have both racked up some impressive tackle totals for the Vikings on the season.

The Trojans are of course paced by quarterback Seth Jones and running back Jameson Greenwood, who have passed and run over every opponent they have faced this year. Jones has hit 55 of 99 passes on the season for 613 yards and 14 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Brandon Oakes is Jones’ favorite target, catching 19 balls for 230 yards and seven touchdowns. Greenwood has 107 carries for 870 yards and nine touchdowns on the season, he is averaging 217 yards per game on the ground for the Trojans.

Defensively for the Trojans, Andy French, fresh off the punt block in last Friday’s game, is leading the team in tackles with 54 stops on the season, Ryan Warner has 43 tackles, Brant Johnson has 34 and Jedd Froggate 32 for the Osawatomie defense. In the turnover department, French, Johnson and Trever Stroud have three fumble recoveries each for the Trojans. Four players have pass interceptions on the season.

On special teams, Oakes and Greenwood make a lethal one-two punch for the Trojans on kick returns, with Oakes averaging nearly 40 yards per kick return, and Greenwood averaging over 30 yards per return with on kick returned for a touchdown.

On paper, the Trojans should have no problem with this game, but anything can happen, especially with the two biggest games looming on the horizon for the Trojans. Say what you want about winning the Pioneer League, the Trojans have that goal wrapped up, the true goal for Osawatomie is to get through district play and advance to post season play. With a final game against Prairie View a given, the Trojans know they must step up and win at least one of two games against Paola and Louisburg. The Trojans know, if they were to lose both of those games all the warm fuzzies they might get by running through the Pioneer League undefeated will be lost as they watch the Panthers and Wildcats continue to post season, while they stay home.

The Trojans can not afford to look ahead though, they must stay focused and be prepared to play Central Heights on Friday night.

Bulldogs are 'Cats Homecoming date

It’s the annual Fall Homecoming, fun for the students, exciting for the candidates and their families, and a football game. Friday nights do not get much better in communities with school districts. Coaches are patient with the natural distractions but they obviously want to get on with the game.

WLH0081 What’s up with Baldwin this year? Typically “in the hunt” with a well coached and organized team, they are still looking for their first win. The Bulldogs dropped their first two games of the season, falling to Paola 34-7 in a game were their were not very competitive, and followed that up with a 56-0 pasting in their stop on the Gardner swan song tour of the Frontier League

The past two week the Bulldogs have at least been in the game, but have managed to give DeSoto and Ottawa their first, and only wins of the season. Against the Wildcats, Baldwin fell by a touchdown in a 14-7 defensive struggle, and then the Bulldogs followed that up with an 18-7 home loss to the Cyclones. Most notably, the loss to the Cyclones enabled Ottawa to snap a 33 game losing streak, that’s a trivia answer no team wants to be part of. It must be one of those nightmare cycles all high school coaches dread when they simply do not have the talent to compete.

Louisburg is coming off a win against an evenly matched and undefeated Eudora team. It was a good win after experiencing a forgettable defeat against an overmatched Gardner-Edgerton. After Eudora scored first, the Wildcats showed character and got stronger as the game progressed. Again the defense demonstrated the ability to handled Eudora. In the fourth quarter the Cat’s were either better conditioned or the Cardinals had had enough of the Wildcats. It was a good win!

The Wildcats have a couple lineman that standout every game, Ross Dvorak and Ashton Dover. Normally the guys in the trenches do not get much attention or ink but these two players deserve recognition. They are good size high school players who have played with “big motors” every game. They have enough speed to close on the opposition quickly and create big plays. Tyler Ewing is a load also and has made some memorable plays. I like watching them!

The Wildcats should prevail with their running game. Baldwin just does not bring enough to the table to defeat Louisburg on their field, on their Homecoming.

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