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Morning Sun
  • Traditional powers Colgan, Silver Lake clash Friday

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  • State championships in 1974, 1975, 1984, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. State championships in 1981, 1984, 1989, 1991, 1997, 2006 and 2010. Of course, we're talking about St. Mary's Colgan and Silver Lake, two of Kansas' most perennially successful high schools. The Panthers will host the Eagles at 5 p.m., Friday at Hutchinson Field in a Class 3A sectional, their first gridiron meeting. "It is big," Colgan head coach Chuck Smith said. "I'm real proud of the kids. They won two big games against Caney and Wellsville and this game's even bigger. I didn't realize it . . . Eddie (Lomshek) told me today they've played in 10 of the last 11 state championships. Man, they've got a good thing going. Boy, they're really well-coached and they've got a lot of good players. We're going to have our hands full but we're real glad to be in the game." Silver Lake owns the state record for most playoff wins (85) and Colgan holds the record for most undefeated seasons (7). This year's Eagles squad comes into Pittsburg with a 10-1 record, balanced offensively between 169.1 passing and 189.6 rushing yards per game. "Even though it is (balanced), I still think they like to throw," Smith said. "They keep you honest with the run but they definitely like to throw the ball. They're a big-play team. Even last week against Hiawatha, the game's real close, they break a big run and break it open. We're going to have our hands full." Senior quarterback Dailin Kruger has thrown for 1,635 yards and 22 touchdowns — balanced against only four interceptions — on 99-for-177 passing. Colgan picked off Wellsville five times last week. Kruger can keep defenses honest, mixing in 339 yards and six scores on 33 carries. Jace Freeman leads Eagle receivers with 34 grabs for 729 yards and 11 scores, while Isaac Pridey has 29 catches for 505 yards and seven TDs. Cody Renfro and Ryan Matzke lead the ground attack with 726 yards and 15 TDs for Renfro, 582 yards and 10 scores for Matzke. In that 41-7 win last week for Silver Lake over Hiawatha, the Eagles scored two touchdowns in the final 62 seconds before halftime, breaking open a close game into a 28-7 halftime advantage. Meanwhile, Colgan (9-2) gutted out a 17-8 win over Wellsville, a game where the Eagles dominated time of possession but not the scoreboard due to six turnovers — five interceptions and one fumble recovery by the opportunistic Colgan defense. "I think it's (controlling the ball) been key all year long," Smith said. "I really do. I think if you control the ball, the other team can't do anything. Maybe, it's key even more so for this game. We've got to keep their offense off the field. It's going to be tough because we've got three sophomores starting on that line, so it's going to be hard to control the junior-senior line that they have. We'll do the best we can." The Eagles are led on defense by Jonathan Dallman (102 tackles), D.J. Redmon (9.0 sacks), Freeman (five interceptions), Matzke (four INTs) and Chayse Saia (four INTs). Tate Schenkel and Zach Boyd each add 4.0 sacks. Colgan scored 30 points in the first playoff game against what had been a stout Caney Valley defense. In fact, those 30 points were the most Caney surrendered all season, nine more than what Conway Springs scored on the Bullpups in Week 2. In the win over Wellsville, Drew Dawson opened the scoring with a 1-yard run, set up by a Tully Yoakam kickoff return into Wellsville territory and a 39-yard pass play on the first play from scrimmage from Luke Marquardt to Tucker Hoffman. The Panthers blanked Wellsville after halftime and went ahead on a 9-yard TD pass from Marquardt to Ian Duncan in the corner of the end zone. Senior kicker Aaron Twarog, cool and calm under pressure, proved to be a good neighbor with a 39-yard insurance field goal, closing out the scoring. The Panthers have the opportunity for one more home game at historic Hutch Field. "It's the best," Smith said. "This is the best field in high school football that I've seen. It really is wonderful and I think the kids are lucky to be able to play on it. It's just first-class all the way. It's just great being at home. I'm kinda excited about playing at 5:00, I think that's a good deal, too."

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