The big three CPL football teams again won by big margins, and the Central Plains girls claimed a Class 3-2-1A regional tennis title in Russell.
Last year, juniors Janae Hekele and Katie Hipp teamed up to finish third at the Class 3-2-1A state meet. This season has already been kind to the now-seniors. Saturday, the pair wrapped up a regional title, leading the Lady Oilers to the team title in Russell.
Hipp and Hekele never allowed more than one game in a set over the cold and wet weekend, going 4-0 and winning each match by a combined 12-1 score. In the finals, the pair defeated Ellinwood’s Danae Patten and Rachel Doll to improve to 28-1 on the year. Aubrey Kemkpe and Karli Beck are also headed to state. They won their first two doubles matches before falling to Ellinwood 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. The beat Ellsworth 6-4, 6-3 for third place and take a 25-4 record to state. Sophomore Breanna Schartz is also headed to Hutch after a fourth-place finish. After two wins, she had to play undefeated Norton phenom Tawni Griffey, falling 6-1, 6-0. In the consolation match, she fell to Ellinwood 6-2, 6-3.
The Leopard football teams plays in one of the weakest districts in Class 2-1A. Friday night, Inman provided perhaps the most resistance of all the district foes. The Leopards jumped out to a 28-7 lead after one quarter, finishing the Teutons off 56-13.
No. 1 LaCrosse (6-0) ran at will with 422 yards on just 34 carries. After Inman returned the opening kick, the Leopards dominated the game with 56-straight points kicked off by an 81-yard touchdown from Levi Morss. Morss ended the first quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Jack Garcia, then went 50 yards for a score in the second quarter. Kip Keeley added three rushing touchdowns, taking his longest run 64 yards in the second quarter. Morss finished with 194 yards on just 11 carries. Keeley needed just eight totes to run for 166 yards. Garcia finished his evening with 63 yards on 6-of-9 passing.
The No. 1 Eagles have two teams chasing their heels in Div. I, District 8. Atwood remains unbeaten at 6-0. Friday, Ness City, also 6-0, downed the other team, sending Hoxie to 4-2 overall, 1-1 in district with a 38-6 win.
Hoxie played the Eagles better than anyone has all year but still trailed 8-0 after one quarter, and 24-6 at the half. Ness City added the final two scores in the third quarter. Senior Dalton Gantz scored all five Eagle touchdowns, all on the ground, finishing with 177 yards on 22 carries. His two longest scores came in the first quarter on runs of 23 and 49 yards. Garrett Flax also crossed the century mark with 116 yards on 19 carries. Quarterback Tanner McMillen completed 1-of-5 pass tries with Will Frusher bringing in the lone reception for 14 yards.
The Cougars rattled off a third-straight win, and more importantly, a second district win with a 44-12 thrashing of Victoria on Friday. It didn’t hurt that it was Homecoming. The Cougars are now 5-1 overall, and the only unbeaten team in Div. II, District 7 play at 2-0.
Senior Dylan Wissman continued to put up significant numbers with five rushing touchdowns and another score on a fumble recovery. He finished with 274 of Otis-Bison’s 290 rushing yards on 41 carries, going 30 yards on his longest touchdown run to start the game. His 30-yard fumble recovery gave the Cougars a 14-0 lead, and Otis-Bison would eventually lead 44-6 in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Avery Urban completed just one pass in three tries for five yards.
The Coyotes picked their first district win of the year, ending a three-game skid with a 42-32 win over perennial power Macksville. Trailing 6-0 after one quarter, Kinsley (2-4 overall, 1-3 district) used a 24-point second quarter to lead 24-20 at the half.
Senior Tyson Espinosa was simply unstoppable, taking in all three Coyote rushing scores and finishing the night with a whopping 320 yards on 38 carries. Quarterback Nathan Frame also had a nice evening, running for 91 yards on 17 carries. The senior was even more effective in the air, completing 4-of-7 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Gustavo Chavez caught three passes, one a touchdown, for 63 yards. Weston Cross added a 19-yard touchdown catch. Espinosa led the defense with 14 tackles, and Frame recorded 13 tackles. The Frames also picked off three passes: Nathan Frame led the way with two, and junior Conner Frame also had a pick.
The Tiger football team took another step toward a district title on Friday, beating South Central 60-22. St. John and Fairfield now sit stop Div. I, District 6 with a 3-0 district, 5-1 overall record. The Tigers have a 28-point margin over the Falcons.
The Tigers used a balanced attack in the win. Quarterback Spencer Nusser threw for 221 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Schulyer Brown rushed for 185 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown. Zuriel Reyes caught three of those touchdown passes, and Omar Ramirez caught the other. Ethan Long added 81 rushing yards and a touchdown in the blowout.
The Knights had won two games in-a-row, including a district contest before heading south to take on perennial power Otis-Bison on Friday. Victoria had no answer for running back Dylan Wissman, falling to 1-1 in district play, 3-3 overall with a 44-12 loss.
Wissman scored six touchdowns on the night including two in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead before Eric McAlonan ran in from a yard out for a 14-6 score after one quarter. The Cougars, who have not lost a district game since 2008, pushed the lead to 44-6 before Sam Ottley scored the final touchdown of the game from a yard out. Ottley finished with 53 yards on 19 carries, and Clayton Roth added 50 yards on 10 carries. Ottley also completed 8-of-18 passes for 112 yards and an interception. Noah Dreiling had five receptions for 87 yards.
The Mustangs were still in the playoff hunt entering Friday’s game against Kinsley. Things looked good early as Macksville opened a 12-0 lead against the Coyotes, who had yet to win a district game. Eventually, Kinsley’s Tyson Espinosa would run for 283 yards to help the Coyotes down the Stangs 42-32. Macksville falls to 1-2 in Div. 1, District 6, 2-4 overall.
Junior quarterback Tanner Tranbarger continues to put up big numbers. Friday, he rushed for 269 yards and three touchdowns, adding another 89 yards and two scores on 5-of-15 passing. He did struggle along with three interceptions in the loss.