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  • Balanced would be one word to define the 2012 high school football season in Crawford County: five teams with winning regular season records (Girard, St. Mary’s Colgan, Southeast, Pittsburg, Frontenac) and three playoff teams (Girard, Colgan, Frontenac).

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  • Balanced would be one word to define the 2012 high school football season in Crawford County: five teams with winning regular season records (Girard, St. Mary’s Colgan, Southeast, Pittsburg, Frontenac) and three playoff teams (Girard, Colgan, Frontenac).
    Girard finished with the best overall record of 9-2. Colgan advanced to the Class 3A quarterfinals and ended its year 8-4. Frontenac made its third straight playoff appearance (its third straight first round exit) and ended 5-5. Pittsburg finished second in the Southeast Kansas League and finished 5-4. Southeast improved five games from last season in finishing 6-3. Northeast won four more games than all of 2010 and 2011 combined in going 4-5.
    Girard won its first Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League title since 1999, ended a losing streak against Colgan dating back to 1999, blanked two of the best offenses in the CNC (Colgan, Southeast) in consecutive weeks, won nine consecutive games, and won its first playoff game since 2006. Leon Miller won CNC Coach of the Year.
    Colgan made its 14th consecutive state playoff appearance and won playoff games against Neodesha and Humboldt during its first Class 3A appearance. Against the pass-delirious offense of the Humboldt Cubs, Colgan tied a state team record with eight interceptions; Humboldt quarterback Nathan Whitcomb attempted over 60 passes.
    Like the previous season, Frontenac overcame a 0-3 start and won five consecutive games before a close loss in the district title deciding last game of the regular season. Frontenac ended its lengthy losing streak against Colgan (since 1997) by winning an overtime thriller, 26-25. Mark Smith was the lone first-year head coach in the county.
    Southeast improved leaps-and-bounds from a 1-8 season in 2011, returning 22 starters for head coach Clint Rider’s second year on the Lancer sidelines. The Lancers relied on two three-game winning streaks for their 6-3 record and their losses were against playoff teams Girard, Galena and Colgan. Southeast finished 2-3 against playoff teams.
    Pittsburg scored a ridiculous amount of points in consecutive wins over Parsons and Coffeyville, 136 points to be precise. These were the first back-to-back 60-point games in school history (at least with records dating back to 1920) and the 136 points scored establish a new PHS standard for points scored in consecutive weeks. The previous standard was 126 in 1924. Pittsburg lost three of its four games to playoff teams Fort Scott, Blue Valley West and Blue Valley.
    Northeast ended its 19-game losing streak with a win over Fredonia and then won three more games against Eureka, Jayhawk-Linn and Bluestem. The Vikings won their first-ever Three Rivers League football game since joining in 2010 and played Oswego in the regular season finale for a league title.
    County schools finished with a combined 37-23 record (.620 winning percentage).
    Josh Thompson, Southeast
    A converted running back, Thompson played a central role in the emergence of the Lancers as a playoff contender this season. Thompson passed for 1,503 yards and 17 TDs, completing 92 of 183 attempts his senior year. His best night was 14-for-16 for 249 yards and four TDs against Erie. Thompson passed for 298 yards and three scores in the season opener at Columbus.
    Page 2 of 5 - Thompson, only playing offense his senior year, rushed for 563 yards and nine TDs on 116 carries. His ability to run made defenses more honest. Thompson rushed for over 100 yards against Oswego and Riverton and scored three touchdowns against Frontenac and Oswego.
    J.T. Richardson, Northeast
    Richardson had a mixed bag season for the Vikings behind center: No. 5 led the Vikings and all Crawford County quarterbacks with 1,095 yards rushing and 13 TDs on 156 carries. However, Richardson threw 17 interceptions and only completed 37.3 percent of his 153 pass attempts. His rushing numbers earn him an All-County spot.
    Over two weeks of the season alone, at home against Fredonia and on the road against Eureka, Richardson gained 485 yards and scored nine TDs on 43 carries. He gained 329 yards and scored five TDs against Eureka, one of the best individual performances of the season.
    Anthony Scholes, Girard
    Scholes, a back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher and All-County performer, had rushed for 1,482 yards and 20 TDs on 196 carries after 10 games, despite not being at full strength his last two games.
    No. 21 rushed for 100 yards seven consecutive and 200 yards three consecutive times during his senior year: 240 against Riverton, 221 against Columbus, 237 against Southeast, 150 against Colgan, 141 against Galena, 116 against Independence and 163 against Parsons. He scored four TDs against Galena and three each against Columbus, Southeast, Independence and Parsons.
    Scholes finished with 144 points in the regular season. On defense, Scholes intercepted four passes.
    Alex Barnes, Pittsburg
    Playing running back full-time for the first time in his high school career, sophomore Barnes emerged as one of the most electrifying backs in the area. No. 34 finished with 1,126 yards and 17 TDs on 128 carries, as well as 62 receiving yards and 364 return yards. Barnes averaged 8.8 yards per carry.
    Barnes made All-County his freshman year at linebacker and his sophomore year, No. 34 led Pittsburg with 70 tackles (52 solo, 18 assist) and four interceptions. He played defensive back against Blue Valley Southwest.
    Conner Dayton, Colgan
    The Panthers featured two 1,000-yard running backs (Christian and Zach Smith) last season and No. 25 took over the ball-carrying load his senior year. Not the biggest running back in the world, Dayton made up for any size deficiency with patience, vision, intuition and speed.
    Dayton finished his 12-game season with 1,482 yards and 15 TDs on 228 carries. He added 21 receptions for 262 yards and one TD, five punt returns for 117 yards and one TD, and eight kick returns for 120 yards. On 262 touches of the football, Dayton totaled 1,981 all-purpose yards and 17 TDs.
    Anthony McNeely, Pittsburg
    McNeely finished with 358 yards and four TDs on 76 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and No. 23 made his only two receptions of the season good ones by scoring TDs on both receptions. On defense, McNeely played linebacker and recorded 57 tackles (44 solo, 13 assist), 2.0 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and two pass breakups.
    Page 3 of 5 - WIDE RECEIVER
    Daniel Peak, Southeast
    A return All-County selection, Peak caught 47 passes for 922 yards and 10 TDs. His best nights included seven catches for 154 yards and two TDs against Columbus, six catches for 145 yards and one TD against Baxter Springs, nine catches for 171 yards and one TD against Oswego, and five catches for 117 yards and two TDs against Erie.
    Zack Woods, Pittsburg
    Woods became a legitimate home run threat his senior year, as he and senior quarterback Spencer Bernhardt, as well as junior backup Riley Cunningham, connected 20 times for 630 yards and four TDs. He averaged 31.5 yards per reception and one TD every five catches. On his only carry of the season, Woods scored a 14-yard TD against Blue Valley Southwest.
    Trenton Stolte, Girard
    After 10 games of the season, Stolte had caught 11 passes for 252 yards and six TDs, averaging nearly 23 yards per catch. Stolte grabbed a pair of touchdown passes against both Southeast and Columbus (playoffs), his longest catch a 70-yard TD against Columbus.
    Tieler Commons, Colgan
    Commons, the only returning full-time starter from the 11-1 state semifinal team of the previous year, helped a Colgan offense balance 2,249 total rushing and 1,603 total passing yards (3,852 total yards).
    Kylor McCartney, Frontenac
    The Raiders featured a strong running attack — six ball carriers with over 200 yards (Devon Keith 589, Ethan Powell 339, Taylor Johnson 314, Ross Edge 261, Bryce Burdette 222, Jace Burdette 214) — and the lone returning All-County offensive line selection helped Frontenac gain 2,146 rushing yards and over 3,000 yards of total offense.
    Dakota Taylor, Pittsburg
    The Pittsburg offense generated 397.4 yards of total offense per game (279.4 rushing, 118.0 passing) and scored 323 total points (35.9 per contest). Team captain Taylor was a key member of the offensive line unit which helped Pittsburg score 136 points over consecutive games against Parsons (69) and Coffeyville (67). Taylor delivered 24.5 pancake blocks.
    Kevin Rowe, Girard
    Through statistics counting the first 10 games of the season, Girard ball carriers gained 3,023 yards and scored 38 TDs on 446 carries, averaging 6.8 yards per carry and 302.3 yards per game.
    Justin Galloway, Southeast
    Galloway helped pave the way for one of the highest scoring offenses in the CNC. The Lancers averaged 31.4 points per game and scored over 40 points four times (Frontenac, Oswego, Erie and Riverton).
    Aaron Twarog, Colgan
    Taking over for graduated All-State kicker Austin Barone, Twarog made 4-6 field goals and 38-46 extra points for 50 points. A versatile player, Twarog also recorded 47 tackles, one fumble recovery and one fumble return for touchdown at linebacker and nine receptions for 111 yards on offense. Never mind that he averaged 38.5 yards per punt.
    Page 4 of 5 - David Misasi, Colgan
    One of the senior leaders on a Colgan defense which allowed 15.3 points per game and forced 37 takeaways, Misasi recorded 52 tackles (9 solo, 43 assist) for one of the best defenses in the CNC.
    Blake Barto, Frontenac
    Big No. 63 returned to football his senior year and his 32 tackles (12 solo, 20 assist), 7.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, one forced fumble and four fumble recoveries made a worthwhile return. Barto emerged as an unlikely source of points for the Raiders, scoring a pair of touchdowns on his four recovered fumbles. Both TDs were against Erie, one fumble recovered in the end zone and one returned 5 yards.
    Cody Lindbloom, Frontenac
    Another key player upfront for the Raiders, Lindbloom paced the Frontenac defensive line with 58 tackles (16 solo, 42 assist) and 9.0 tackles for loss.
    Jalen Merrell, Girard
    Merrell often proved to be a force for the No. 1 defense in the CNC: 49 tackles (33 solo, 16 assist), 6.0 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one pass deflection and two blocked extra points after 10 games.
    V.J. Piccini, Colgan
    Piccini, another key senior leader on the Panther defense, made 52 tackles (16 solo, 36 assist) and one fumble recovery before an injury against Galena (Week 8) ended his season.
    Brett Macary, Frontenac
    Macary led a swarming Frontenac defense with 68 tackles (18 solo, 50 assist) and recorded 1.0 tackle for loss, one forced fumble, one interception and one pass breakup.
    Antonio Slingluff, Northeast
    Slingluff led Northeast with 106 tackles, 4.0 sacks and two fumble recoveries. No. 7 also intercepted a pass against Fredonia and returned it for a touchdown. He finished with two interceptions.
    Nate George, Girard
    After 10 games of the season, George had 53 tackles (26 solo, 27 assist), two interceptions, one pass deflection and one fumble recovery. George recorded a season-high eight tackles in the season opener against Caney.
    Daniel Peak, Southeast
    Peak was one of the best defensive backs in the county and capable of scoring points on any interception, like his 63-yard TD return against Riverton.
    Nick Younge, Northeast
    Younge, Northeast’s leading receiver (18 catches, 379 yards), also proved his sure-handedness with six interceptions, recording one interception six consecutive games (Fredonia, Eureka, Galena, Jayhawk-Linn, Bluestem and Olpe). Younge recorded 29 tackles.
    Bryan Wade, Frontenac
    Wade finished second on the Raiders with 65 tackles (23 solo, 42 assist) and led Frontenac with four interceptions. No. 3 recorded eight pass breakups, 1.0 tackle for loss and one forced fumble. His second-half interception along the sideline proved a key play against Colgan.
    Luke Marquardt, Colgan
    The Colgan defense featured several players who seemed to have a nose for the football and No. 7 definitely had that knack. Marquardt recorded 60 tackles (20 solo, 40 assist) and six interceptions. He intercepted two passes against Humboldt. Marquardt’s six picks led a defense with 19 interceptions.
    Page 5 of 5 - PUNTER
    Spencer Bernhardt, Pittsburg
    Bernhardt punted 14 times for 558 yards, averaging 39.9 yards and after 31 yards of opponents’ returns, Bernhardt finished with a net average of 37.6. A key player for Pittsburg in every phase of the game, Bernhardt rushed for 515 yards, passed for 961 yards, and recorded 19 tackles (14 solo, 5 assist) and two interceptions. He rushed for nine TDs and passed for eight.

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