There were no upsets in the opening round of the six-man playoffs, leaving all of the top eight seeds to slug it out over the coming weeks. The top half of the bracket features a pair of regular season rematches, while has two intriguing contests. The lower seeded teams will host this quarterfinal round.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY OT SPORTSCHECK
#1 CHEYENNE WELLS (10-0) AT #8 PRAIRIE (7-4) SATURDAY 1PM
After having a bye to close out the regular season, Cheyenne Wells showed no rust in the opening round. The Tigers got out of the gates fast in their match-up with Mountain Valley and had the running clock less than two minutes into the second quarter. They rolled to a 73-14 victory.
Ty Scheler, Cade Mitchek, and Evan Worley each had two rushing touchdowns, and Mitchek added another score on a punt return. Blake Gilmore was only called upon to throw the ball twice and he completed both attempts for 41 yards, including a 26-yard TD to Kody Ryser.
Defensively, the Tigers got five tackles apiece from Mitchek, Worley, Scheler, and Rogelio Rangel. Worley recorded two sacks, pushing his total to 18 on the season, while Bryson Hyle registered his first. Mitchek and Gilmore each picked off a pass, while the trio of Scheler, Worley, and Jesse Harlow each recovered a fumble. Harlow was also good on six of his seven PAT kicks.
Prairie had some early struggles in its match-up with Genoa-Hugo/Karval, but a pair of long TD passes in the second quarter helped the Mustangs build a 28-0 halftime advantage. That was more than enough offense to put them into the next round, as they eliminated the Pirates 47-15.
Andy Long threw for 282 yards and four scores, with four different players each catching one. David Speicher hauled in two passes for 112 yards, while Carter Jaeger (92 yards) and Parker Jaeger (78 yards) each had three catches for a combined 170 yards. Maverick Mertens also had a TD catch. Claytin Hove powered the ground attack with 154 yards and two touchdowns, and Mertens added 82 yards and another score.
Carter Jaeger tied for game-high honors with 14 tackles, and the freshman also forced a fumble. Parker Jaeger added a dozen tackles, including three sacks. Mertens and Hove each registered nine tackles, and Speicher, eight. Speicher added a fumble recovery, while Isaac Doll tallied a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
Cheyenne Wells closed out the regular season with a 79-14 victory over Prairie, with the Tigers rushing for 427 yards. Mitchek had 219 of those, with five touchdowns, and Worley added 102 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Prairie was held to 10 yards on 12 carries, while Long threw for 118 yards and two scores. Cheyenne Wells also ousted the Mustangs in last season’s opening round, 43-22.
#4 IDALIA (8-2) AT #5 FLEMING (9-2) FRIDAY 5PM
Idalia held an 8-7 lead over Briggsdale after each team had possessed the ball once in their opening round contest. By the half, the Wolves were leading 48-7. A touchdown on their first series of the third quarter put the mercy clock into effect and the Wolves went on to a 62-13 victory.
Kye Towns led the Wolves on the ground with 117 yards and four touchdowns, including a 74-yarder on the final play of the first half. Yahir Enriquez added 87 yards and three more scores in the ground game. Dustin McGinnis also got into the end zone in the rushing attack. Tarek Glanz hit on five of his eight passes for 105 yards, with Towns catching two for 64 yards.
Eduardo Estrada had a team-high nine tackles, and also made a wild interception in the back corner of the end zone to prevent a Briggsdale touchdown. Towns and Kagen Hoyda each added six tackles, and McGinnis tallied five. Enriquez and Colin Hardwick added a fumble recovery apiece. The Wolves also excelled in special teams, with Estrada going a perfect seven-for-seven on PAT kicks, and Enriquez recording touchbacks on all seven of his kickoffs.
Fleming did not get to take the field last week, as its game with Hanover officially went down as a forfeit victory for the Wildcats after Hanover had COVID concerns. Nolan Japp leads their offense with just over 1000 yards on the ground, as well as 19 touchdowns. Blake Feather is just short of 400 on the year. Braylen Feather has added 1087 yards and 15 touchdowns through the air. Joel Muller is the top target with 26 catches, 486 yards, and eight scores.
Defensively, Hayden Burr has recorded 126 tackles, second most in the classification. Japp is tied for fifth in the state with 100. Kolten Houser (62) and Muller (58) are the next two on the team standings. Muller has been the big play-maker on that unit, intercepting five passes and recovering two fumbles. He’s returned one of each for touchdowns. Japp has also added two kick return touchdowns to help the Wildcats. Kenny Bandy is one of the better place kickers in the state, having knocked 53 of 63 PATs between the uprights.
Idalia won the regular season match-up, 32-24, with Enriquez running for 155 yards and two touchdowns, and catching one of two touchdowns thrown by Glanz. Towns caught the other. Estrada got the Wolves off to a fast start by returning an interception for a score on the opening series of the game. Japp finished the game with 92 yards and one touchdown on the ground, and Burr scored on two of his six carries. Bandy was good on all three of his PAT kicks.
#3 GRANADA (8-1) AT #6 SIERRA GRANDE (9-0) SATURDAY 1PM
Turnovers played a big role in Granada’s 52-14 win over Hi-Plains in the opening round, as the Bobcats came up with four interceptions and a fumble recovery. One of the interceptions was returned by Dominic Coleman for a touchdown as Granada built a 52-0 halftime advantage.
Coleman completed all five of his passing attempts for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those went to John Hainer, who also had a rushing TD. Maddox Coleman caught the other one, giving the freshman 22 on the season, on just 37 catches.
Luis Cano led the defense with seven tackles, one more than Oryan Hainer and Bailey Hernandez. M. Coleman added five. D. Coleman finished with two of the Bobcats’ four interceptions, with Adolfo Garcia and Brandon Gonzales each recording one. Elijah Rodriguez had the fumble recovery.
One week after recording a 51-8 blowout of Branson/Kim, Sierra Grande had its hands full with the same Bearcat squad. The Panthers were able to build a 27-22 halftime edge this time around, and they were up 39-22 in the fourth before Branson/Kim tried to rally. The gap would close to just three points, 39-36, and that’s how the game would end.
Granada won last year’s meeting with the Panthers, 81-33. Dominic Coleman threw for 133 yards and five touchdowns, and also ran for 120 yards and two more scores. Gonzales threw for two touchdowns and caught two from Coleman. Isiah Chairez scored twice for Sierra Grande in that loss, one on the ground and the other as a receiver. Tyler Kester also had a receiving TD for the Panthers.
#2 STRATTON (9-1) AT #7 CHERAW (7-4) SATURDAY 1PM
Stratton saw its shutout string come to an end when Eads scored a first quarter TD last week, but that would be the only points their defense would allow in a 73-8 victory. The Eagles had blanked four straight opponents heading into that first round contest. Stratton’s defense would balance out the touchdown allowed by scoring one of its own on a pick-six by Clayton Craig.
The offense only attempted two passes, failing to complete either attempt, while rolling up 246 yards on the ground. Riley Shean ran for 85 yards and two scores on just two carries, and Charlie Clapper added 76 yards and four touchdowns. Alex Cruz, Cyler Notter, and Riggin Williams all scored one time.
Cruz, R. Shean, Joe Shean, and Stockton Fye each had six tackles, while Craig added five to go with his pick-six. Cruz tallied two sacks, a forced fumble, fumble recovery, and a blocked punt. Notter also had two sacks, and Charlie Tagtmeyer recorded a fumble recovery.
Cheraw had few problems in its opening round game with Arickaree/Woodlin, as the Wolverines built a 54-6 lead through three quarters and walked away with a 54-22 victory. Cade Phillips tossed three touchdowns in the win, giving him 32 on the season. That’s one behind Dominic Coleman for the lead in the classification.
Micah Reece, Tim Provost, and Braeden Harris were each on the receiving end of one of those TD passes. Harris also had one on the ground, as did Daniel Escareno and Wade Goodrich. Escareno (94) and Harris (86) combined for 180 rushing yards.
Escareno was one of the defensive standouts, as he recorded 14 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Marcus Reece added two sacks, and Micah Reece had one, along with a forced fumble. The Wolverines recovered seven fumbles in the contest.