A few CPL teams finished their seasons last week in state competition. Several other CPL schools will enjoy at least one more week of football as their teams enter the playoffs.
The Lady Tigers have built a tradition as one of the Class 1A powers in both volleyball and basketball each year. This year, St. John was without big hitter Teresa Wade, who went on to play at Hutchinson Community College. Still, the Lady Tigers finished the year on Saturday, falling just short in the state championship match and finishing the year at 35-8.
Eventual state champions Olpe dominated the Tigers in pool play 25-14, 25-11. St. John bounced back to down Cedar Vale 25-17, 25-16, and take down Pike Valley 25-14, 25-11. As the No. 2 team in the pool, St. John had to face Pool 2 winner Centralia in the semi-finals. Central had went three sets in all three pool matches, and the Tigers needed three sets to win 25-15, 20-25, 25-11. That set up a rematch with Olpe, who had lost just one set in its first four matches. The Eagles took the first set, an epic battle, 32-30. St. John bounced back to win the next set 25-20, but Olpe outlasted the Tigers 25-22 in the decisive set to take the state title. Tiger seniors Morgan Osborne and Jamie Waters end their decorated volleyball careers. St. John now has three state titles, a second place, and a third place finish in the last five years.
The Eagle runners picked up an individual state title at the Class 2A state cross country meet in Wamego on Saturday. The teams fell a little short. The boys, led by junior Dray Carson’s win, placed fourth with 96 points, five points shy of Kansas City Christian and 40 points behind the winners from Ellinwood. The girls finished with 157 points for fifth place, just two spots behind Oberlin.
Dray more or less ran away with things, taking the title by 12 seconds in 16:13. Ellinwood junior Pedro Montoya finished second in 16:25, 22 seconds ahead of the bronze medalist. Ness senior Wyatt Beckman rounded out the top five in 16:57, two seconds behind the runner in front of him. The rest of the Eagle scorers finished in a pack, led by freshman Connor Hawkins in 43rd with a time of 18:33. Junior Dallas Winter placed 45th in 18:37, and sophomore Tyler Morgan finished a half-second behind him. For the girls, junior Jessi Rubottom claimed fourth-place in a time of 15:41, just 10 seconds behind three-time champion Jenna Farris of Lincoln, who won again. Junior Taylor Gabel placed 29th in 17:09, freshman Abbie Beutler ran a 17:50 for 50th, and sophomore Ashley Moore finished 57th in 18:08.
The Leopards finished out a perfect regular-season on the gridiron on Friday with a 56-8 thrashing of Medicine Lodge. LaCrosse (9-0) led 21-0 after one quarter, and 41-0 at the half. LaCrosse takes a No. 1 ranking into Friday’s playoff game at home against 7-2 Ell-Saline. The winner will get the winner of the Stanton County (8-1) at Oakley (6-2) game.
With senior back Levi Morss still healing an injury, senior Kep Keeley again took over. After scoring six touchdowns last week, Keeley scored three more times on Friday. Two of those came on the ground where he ran for 135 yards on 11 carries, and he also caught a 70-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jack Garcia. Garcia had a nice night with 169 yards, four scores, and an interception on 6-of-13 passing. Garcia also ran for a touchdown, as did William Storie, who finished with 58 yards on just three carries. Marshall Jay caught three passes, two for scores, for 77 yards, and Taylor Yohe added a 10-yard touchdown reception for his lone catch. Lucas Moeder led the defense with two sacks.
The Knights clinched a spot in the playoffs with a 56-8 win against Wilson on Thursday. Victoria needed just three quarters to close out the regular-season after leading 50-8 at the half. The Knights take a 6-3 record into the playoffs at Fowler (8-1) on Tuesday. The winner will see the winner of the Beloit-St. John’s (8-1) at Wallace County (8-0) game.
Dalton Dreiling and Sam Ottley were just too much for Wilson on Thursday. The duo connected for a 54-yard strike from Ottley for the first score, then Ottley ran in from two yards out. Dreiling’s 13-yard score put the Knights up 20-0, then Ottley tacked on a 51-yard score for a 28-0 first quarter lead. Ottley picked up where he left off in the second quarter with a 50-yard touchdown run, then answered Wilson’s lone touchdown with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Dreiling. Ottley capped off his huge night with a 41-yard interception return. In the second half, Clayton Roth’s 24-yard run put the mercy rule into effect.
It would have been difficult for Cougar senior Dylan Wissman to turn in his best performance of the year in week nine of the year. He came close, running for 235 yards and six touchdowns to lead Otis-Bison to a 76-26 win against Sylvan-Lucas. Otis-Bison (8-1) hosts Rolla (7-2) on Tuesday to open the playoffs.
Wissman had games of 307 and 276 yards earlier in the season. Thursday’s performance gives him 1,674 yards in the regular-season. The Mustangs fought back in the first quarter with two scores, but Wissman scored twice and Jordan Hoffman added a 37-yard score. Wissman scored twice more in the second quarter, including a 24-yard run, to give the Cougars a 36-20 halftime lead. Wissman scored his final two touchdowns in the third quarter, Hoffman added a 33-yard interception return, and Kole Urban ran in from 28 yard to give Otis a 62-26 lead. Justus Bartonek scored from five yards out in the fourth quarter, and Urban ended things with a 46-yard strike to Hoffman. The junior Urban completed 2-of-5 passes for 96 yards and added 78 yards on seven carries. Wissman had the other catch for 49 yards.
The Oilers were riding high following a week eight upset against previously unbeaten Solomon. They needed all the momentum they could heading into 6-2 Little River on Thursday. A win meant a possible playoff berth. A loss ended the season for both squads. In the end, the Redskins hung out to win 38-34.
After a Little River score on the first drive, the Oilers closed out the first quarter on a eight-play, 68 yard drive that ended on a three-yard score from Chris Woolf. The Central Plains defense avoided disaster on the next drive, then the offense marched 44 yards on 10 plays as senior quarterback Bryce Steiner’s five-yard pass to sophomore Layne Bieberle gave the Oilers a 12-8 lead. Trailing 16-12 at the half, Central Plains opened the third quarter with another big drive, capped by Woolf’s 13-yard run for their last lead of the night at 20-16. Little River scored, then recovered a short kick and scored again for a 32-20 lead. Steiner scored from three yards out late in the third quarter, and again from a yard out with just 40 seconds to play in the game. Trailing 38-34, the Oilers were unable to recover the all-important onside kick.
The Mustangs needed a win to stay alive in the playoff hunt. Fairfield had other plans, handing Macksville a 64-18 thumping. The Mustangs finish the season at 4-5.
“We were not as physical as we needed to be against a very physical team,” said Mustang Coach Jeff Kuckelman. “They pushed us around and we did not respond very well to it.”
Fairfield took the opening kick 71 yards for a score. Macksville stayed close in quarter one with an eight-yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Tanner Tranbarger, and a 24-yard strike from Tranbarger to Peter Penner. Leading 18-12, the Falcons took over from there, scoring the next 38 points in the game to lead 56-12 after three quarters. Fairfield rushed for 384 yards in the win.
“We knew we needed to be able to stop their running game and we just could not find a way to get it done,” Kuckelman said. “They just ran it right at us and we could not stop it.”
Tranbarger ended the drought in the third quarter with a 37-yard score. He finished with 127 of the team’s 168 rushing yards, adding 98 yards and three interceptions on 4-of-15 passing. Tranbarger will return next season after a monster 2012 campaign. Replacing longtime quarterback Seth Filbert, Tranbarger finishes the year with 1,325 yards and 27 scores on the ground, and another 12 scores and 1,021 yards on 59-of-141 passing.