Some big matchups on the gridiron are set to kick off tonight…
-But there’s none bigger, in Northeast Kansas or elsewhere, than The War on 24, as #2 Silver Lake visits #1 Rossville in our Game of the Week on Country Legends 106.9. The Bulldawgs have won three straight games in the series and 32 straight overall during their reign as two-time 3A state champions. It’s rare for CJ Hamilton‘s Eagles to be chasing the Bulldawgs – the current three-game losing streak for Silver Lake is their longest in the series since Hamilton began coaching in 1973. Hamilton is 38-14 all-time against the Bulldawgs, including a 15-game winning streak that spanned the 2003 playoffs to the 2012 postseason, but 1-4 against Derick Hammes since he took over for Steve Buhler in Rossville prior to 2013. Both teams field outstanding dual threat QBs, as per usual. Silver Lake’s Dalton Dultmeier has thrown for 648 yards and rushed for 272 while Rossville’s Jacob Bradshaw has thrown for 531 and rushed for 732.
-Washburn Rural hopes to rebound from the disappointment of last week’s one-point loss to Junction City as they trek to Hayden tonight. The Wildcats snapped their three-game losing skid with a 55-14 win at Topeka West last week, and the offense seemed to be given new life with the return of junior QB Sampson Huston from injury that cost him two games. Rural’s quarterback battle has been a story in the first half of their season but they may have found their man in sophomore Preston Williams, who ran the show last week and nearly engineered the upset of the Blue Jays.
-Topeka High will host Shawnee Heights tonight and may be without their star quarterback Corey Thomas for a second straight week. If he can’t go, freshman Ky Thomas proved to be more than up for the challenge under center last week at Manhattan as he accounted for 274 yards of total offense and did not commit a turnover. Heights was nipped by Seaman last week on a field goal with three seconds left and will try to bounce back behind their own standout signal caller, Trey Brown, who leads the city in total offense.
-The Seaman Vikings might be the city’s best story at the season’s halfway point. Under new head coach Glenn O’Neil the Vikings look reborn, and have doubled their win total from last season in their 4-0 start. This week they face their toughest test yet as fellow unbeaten Manhattan comes calling. The Indians steamrolled a shorthanded Topeka High team last week and have the Centennial League’s top rushing QB in Ian Trapp. A win tonight would certainly get the Vikings some further state-wide attention as a 5A contender.
-Topeka West treks to Emporia in search of their first win of the season. The Chargers gave up the first 55 points of their loss to Hayden last week but finished the game strong thanks to two Chris Ellis touchdowns. The electrifying junior caught a TD pass and returned a punt for six as well. They’ll try and get off to a better start tonight and deny the Spartans a chance to go over .500.
-The improvement the last two weeks has been tangible for Highland Park but they still don’t have any points to show for it. Perhaps this will be the week their evolving offense, led by sophomore running back Jacquez Barksdale, finds the end zone. But it won’t come easily on the road against unbeaten Junction City.