It was a big week 7 for the MCL. Among the big events, Norton senior Tawni Griffey took an unbeaten record to the state tennis tournament and Phillipsburg tested its unbeaten football record.
Almost perfect. As a sophomore, Tawni Griffey won a Class 3-2-1A tennis championship with an unblemished record. Last year, she took another perfect record to the state tournament only to fall to Kansas City Christian's Sara Goodwin in two tie-break sets. Monday, Griffey again reached the state championship match with a perfect 34-0 record. This time, Goodwin made quick work of the Norton senior, downing Griffey 6-1, 6-3 to hold on to her title.
On her way to the championship match, Griffey remained dominant over the field. She blanked her first opponent, then surrendered only one game to Wichita Independent. In the semifinals, Griffey won 6-3, 6-2 against eventual fourth-place finisher Dani Schwarz from Marysville.
It may have been the most anticipated game in the entire state. Unbeaten Beloit, a team that has simply rolled over opponents in 2012, played host to unbeaten Phillipsburg, a good team that was getting its star quarterback back. The Panthers (6-1) led by as much as 14 before Beloit battled back for a 27-26 halftime score. The Trojans scored the only touchdown in the second half to remain unbeaten with a 32-27 win.
“It was a great high school game,” said Phillipsburg Coach J.B. Covington. “We got up on Beloit by 15 early in the second quarter but then they threw a touchdown on us on a fourth down play. It was a very unusual play. I believe it was fourth-and-six from inside the 10-yard line. They dropped back to pass. We hit their quarterback before he was able to throw the ball. On his way down, Vetter tossed it back to their running back and then he threw it to an open receiver in the end zone.”
Newlan made his impact known just 11 seconds into the game when he threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Seth Derr. The duo connected again early in the second quarter for a 37-yard strike and 20-6 lead.
Beloit added two long passes en route to the score before halftime. In the second half, the defenses shined as only one touchdown was scored.
We felt like we had to make some defensive adjustments in order to try and keep them out of the end zone the second half,” Covington said. “Our kids really did a good job with our adjustments. We forced two fumbles in the second half which gave us a chance to win it right at the end of the game. We just weren't able to get the ball in the end zone with about two minutes to go. I felt like Beloit really made some great adjustments at halftime to slow us down offensively, too. It was a great effort by our team but a disappointing outcome to a great game by both teams.”
Newlan finished the night with 183 yards and two scores on 6-of-11 passing, and lead the Panthers with 54 rushing yards on 15 carries, including a 33-yard touchdown. Derr had two catches for 101 yards, Tad Thompson had three receptions for 53 yards, and Grant Wickham added a 29-yard catch.
Coaches often speak of peaking at the right time. The Smith Center football team has peaked at the right time. After a rare 1-3 start, the perennial powerhouse has won three straight games—all in Class 2-1A, District 6. Friday, the Redmen downed Plainville 23-22 to move to 3-0, taking a one-game lead over Ell-Saline and Bennington.
Grant Lambert put the Redmen on the board in the first quarter with a 15-yard run. The defense put two more points on the board with a safety, but Plainville bounced back to tie things at 8. Lambert added a 34-yard touchdown to give Smith Center a 16-8 halftime lead. The Cardinals appeared to be taking control with back-to-back scores, but Kyler Atwood’s five yard touchdown tied the game in the fourth quarter. The Redmen have struggled with extra points and two-point tries on the year, but Zach Linn’s extra point went through the uprights for the win. Lambert paced the Redmen runners with 156 yards on 21 carries. Atwood added 115 yards on 18 attempts.
The Bulldogs took another big step toward a Div. I, District 4 title on Friday with a 66-56 win at Clifton-Clyde. Osborne (6-1) took a 32-16 lead into the half before the Eagles (4-2) outscored the Dogs 34-28 in the third quarter. Osborne still sits atop the district at 4-0, followed by 3-1 Rock Hills.
Junior running backs Kenton Ubelaker and Maverick LeRock had a monster night, combining for 376 of Osborne’s 383 rushing yards. Ubelaker took 26 carries for 240 yards and four scores, and LeRock added 137 yards and four more touchdowns on 20 carries. Freshman quarterback Jake Tiernan also had a nice night, completing 8-of-9 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Brandt Wolters caught two passes, both for touchdowns, for 46 yards. Ubelaker had four catches for 60 yards to put him at 300 offensive yards in the win. Ubelaker was also the defensive star, leading the Bulldogs with 12 tackles and picking off two passes. Colin Clark also had an interception.
After a 3-1 start, the Golden Eagle football team has lost three straight-district games. Not that they’ve had it easy against three teams with a combined 19-2 record. Friday night, Trego fell to No. 1 Ness City 52-6. The Golden Eagles fall to 0-3 in district play, 3-4 overall.
Ness City (7-0) dominated both sides of the ball, allowing just 84 yards from Trego all night. More than half (48) of those yards came on two plays. Trailing 16-0 in the second quarter, quarterback John Griffith hit Devon Ghumm for a 33-yard strike for the only Golden Eagle points of the night. Trego rushed the ball 26 times for 32 yards. Griffith and Cameron Staples split 22 of those yards and Ghumm added the other 10. Griffith completed 2-of-7 passes for 51 yards, a score, and a pick. The good news for Trego is the next two games will feature two teams with a combined 4-10 record, including 1-6 Hill City on Friday.
The Tiger football team had its work cut out for it in district play. Not only is Div. II, District 5 a large seven-team group, but the top three teams thus far have a combined 18-3 record. The bottom four squads sit at 6-22 overall. Friday, the Tigers (2-5) fell to Northern Valley (6-1, 4-1) 64-14.
The Tigers stayed with Northern Valley for a while. Jaden Williams caught a six-yard pass from Koby Beougher for a 6-0 lead. After Valley answered, Beougher broke a 64-yard run for a 14-8 lead. From there, it was all Huskies. Northern Valley went on to lead 22-14 at the half, and outscored the Tigers 42-0 in the second half.
Class 2-1A, District 7 is still up in the air. After Friday, Oakley stands out at 3-0, followed by two teams at 1-1, and another at 1-2. All three of those teams are 3-4 on the year. Ellis is in the middle of that pack, falling to 1-1 in the district and 3-4 overall after a 38-22 loss to St. Francis (1-2, 3-4) on Friday.
St. Francis scored the only two touchdowns in the first half to lead 12-0. Both offenses came out of the half and put up two touchdowns, but the Indians again outscored the Railroaders in the fourth quarter to hold on for the win. Senior running back Gage Younger was able to move the ball with 148 yards on 18 carries. He scored two of the touchdowns on runs of 19 and 45 yards. Sophomore Eli Lohrmeyer threw a 27-yard strike to Harley Wright for the other Ellis touchdown. Lohrmeyer completed 6-of-19 passes for 107 yards and three interceptions. Blake Hudson completed 3-of-5 passes for 44 yards. Jared Mick led the receivers with 50 yards on three catches.
After dominating in 2011, the Cardinals are down to their last straw. Still in the playoff hunt Friday afternoon, Plainville lost a fourth quarter lead to fall to Smith Center 23-22 Friday evening. The Cardinals fall to 1-2 in district play, and will have their work cut out for them with three teams ahead of them.
Smith Center (4-3 overall, 3-0 district) led 8-0 in the second quarter before Hadley Gillum completed an 11-yard pass to Dalton Werner for the tie. The Redmen went on to take a 16-8 lead into the half. Plainville stole back the momentum in the second half. Harrison Gilliland punched it in from a yard out to tie the game in the third quarter. In the final quarter, Trevor Axelson’s 16-yard run gave the Cardinals a 22-16 lead. The two-point try failed. Smith Center would eventually tie things up, using the extra point to stay unbeaten in the district. Axelson had a monster game with 179 yards on just 17 carries. Gillum added 86 yards on 13 carries, and threw for 38 yards on 4-of-12 passing.