Area teams looking to punch tickets to semifinals
Buhler (6-3) at McPherson (9-1)
Part II of this great rivalry will determine one of the four teams who make the Class 4A Semifinals.
McPherson defeated Buhler, 18-6, back on Oct. 9. McPherson quarterback Dylan Rinker threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Both team’s defenses stepped up to the occasion. The Bullpups held the Crusaders off the scoreboard the entire game outside of a 28-yard rushing touchdown from Sam Elliott in the second quarter.
Elliott is nearly impossible to shutdown, but the Bullpups were able to contain him, keeping him to 140 yards and the one score. The McPherson defense also held Buhler quarterback Bradley Neill in check, as the junior quarterback threw for 149 yards and an interception.
The Buhler defense also did well against a McPherson offense that averages 44 points a game. The Bullpups rushed for just 66 yards on the game and Rinker was sacked seven times.
The McPherson offense has scored at least 31 points in every game this season outside of the Buhler game. For the Crusaders to have a chance in this one, they will need a similar defensive performance.
McPherson has not been tested since Buhler. The Bullpups are on a five-game winning streak and have defeated Abilene and Augusta by a combined 130-34 in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Buhler has rebounded well from back-to-back losses against McPherson and Wellington with three straight victories. The Crusaders opened the playoffs with a 47-0 win over Circle, then picked up an impressive 42-8 road win at Rose Hill last week.
The winner of this game has a great opportunity to advance to the state championship as the other 4A Semifinal West game pits Ark City (4-6) against Wamego (6-4).
Beloit (4-6) at Haven (8-2)
For the first time this season, Haven hosts a playoff game.
The Wildcats are one win away from the Class 2A Semifinals. After impressive wins over Kingman and Hutchinson Trinity on the road the past two weeks, the Wildcats are in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1976.
Haven has a favorable matchup in the quarterfinals against a Beloit them with a record below .500. Beloit entered the playoffs on a four-game losing streak, but a dominating 55-14 upset win at Thomas More Prep (7-2) likely turned some heads in the area.
The Trojans were scheduled to travel to Phillipsburg last week, but Phillipsburg had to cancel because of COVID-19. Beloit went 2-6 in the regular season with wins over Concordia (36-7) and Ellsworth (48-20).
Although Haven will be the favorite, it will be important for the Wildcats not to overlook their opponent. The winner of this quarterfinal will have a very tough semifinal game against the winner of Garden Plain (9-1) and Hoisington (10-0).
Inman (8-2) at Conway Springs (8-1)
Inman has eight dominating wins this season and two close losses en route to the 1A Quarterfinals.
The Teutons opened the season with a 26-20 loss at Hutchinson Trinity, then rebounded with six straight wins. Inman fell to Smith Center, 29-22, but has since responded with back to back wins over Stanton County and Whitewater-Remington in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Teutons will now turn their attention to a road matchup with traditional power Conway Springs with a trip to the semifinals on the line.
After a one-point loss at Garden Plain to start the season, Conway Springs has responded with eight straight wins. The Cardinals were a 14-7 winner over Plainville last week after receiving a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
The winner of this game will face the winner of Smith Center (8-1) and Oakley (8-2). The Teutons have already played both teams, including a 39-13 win over Oakley on Sept. 25.
Madison (10-0) at Canton-Galva (10-0)
In a rematch of last year’s 8-Man Division I Semifinals, Canton-Galva and Madison will look to stay undefeated this season.
On their way to an undefeated state championship season, Canton-Galva defeated Madison 46-6 in last year’s semifinals. The two teams meet in this year’s quarterfinals with identical 10-0 records.
Canton-Galva has been dominant this season and has not been tested in its 10 games. In nine of Canton-Gavla’s 10 wins, the Eagles defense held their opponents to under singe digits. In all 10 games, the CG offense has scored at least 46 points.
Madison has allowed a combined six points the last four weeks and should provide a formidable test for the defending state champions.
In last year’s semifinal game, Canton-Galva quarterback Landon Everett injured his shoulder in the second half of the game, leaving freshman Garrett Maltbie to take over. Maltbie and company did not miss a beat, cruising to a victory.
Now, Everett is graduated and Maltbie has helped lead the Eagles to an exceptional season.
The winner of this game will face the winner of Chase County (8-2) and Little River (8-2) in the semifinals.