• WHAT A DISTRICT – The two teams that don’t make it out of McPherson High’s football district could probably make it out of the other seven.
There doesn’t even need to be a vote taken on the toughest district in Class 4A Division I. Hays is ranked No. 2, Buhler is No. 4 and Abilene is No. 5. The combined record of the three teams is 17-1. Buhler has the only loss, that coming to probable Class 4A Division II champion Andale.
Toss in 4-2 McPherson and you have a four-team powerhouse with a 21-3 record.
All eyes will be on Buhler Friday night when the Crusaders host Hays in a game that matches supernova quarterbacks Alex Delton of Hays and Jace Williams of Buhler. Delton, a Kansas State commit who has blazing speed, was ranked as the No. 1 player in Kansas by at least one service. Williams is only a junior and could very well have that distinction next year. He has been both a run-pass threat.
Don’t fall asleep on Abilene. The high-scoring Cowboys have a dynamic 1-2 punch in quarterback Harley Hazlett and running back Tanner Hoekman. However, they have by far the most suspect schedule, with their toughest opponent to date being Wamego. Last week, the Cowboys outscored Clay Center, 39-21.
Then there's McPherson High, which was so-so during the first four games of the season, but has outscored El Dorado and Winfield over the last two weeks, 86-7. The Bullpups have been running the football much better, as the offensive line is starting to develop some consistency. Kyler Kinnamon has come alive the last two weeks with some highlight-reel runs, while Ty Hart has stepped in for the injured Nathan Nutter and delivered six touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the defense has been revitalized by the switch to a 3-4 alignment to take advantage of its speed.
MHS certainly had its hands full with Abilene last year as the teams raced up and down the field. It wouldn’t come as any surprise if teams play a similar-type game on Friday on the Cowboys' home field.
• KCAC SHOULD CLEAR UP SOME — The convoluted KCAC football race should start to un-muddy itself on Saturday.
The “Big 4” of Sterling, Ottawa, Tabor and Friends — all 3-1 — are matched this week. Sterling goes to Ottawa, while Friends plays at Tabor.
Behind those teams are 2-2 Bethany and Saint Mary. The Swedes are expected to win at Kansas Wesleyan, while Saint Mary visits a McPherson College team that has been utterly decimated by injuries. The Bulldogs lost their starting quarterback and top two runnings backs in a physical game last Saturday against Friends and their availability for this week is uncertain.
Thus there's a good chance Saturday that Bethany and Saint Mary get past the .500 mark in conference play, so that would mean we'd have a pair of 4-1 teams and four at 3-2.
Mac, Bethel, Southwestern and Kansas Wesleyan are all 1-3. Southwestern and Bethel are matched this week, so somebody is assured of being 2-3 with four weeks left to play.
• BIG 12 COULD BECOME CHAOTIC — The Big 12, on the other hand, could become more muddled this week.
Baylor, Oklahoma State and Kansas State are the teams undefeated so far in Big 12 play, but by the end of Saturday night a lot could change.
Kansas State has an acid test as it goes on the road to Oklahoma, which seldom loses at home. However, the Wildcats have had two weeks to prepare, while to be honest Oklahoma hasn't exactly played like a national contender.
Oklahoma State has to play at TCU and the Horned Frogs are probably kicking themselves for letting Baylor get up off the deck last week for the stunning 61-58 victory. The Bears scored the game's final 24 points in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State struggled past Kansas, which actually looked competitive due to its defense. If only the Jayhawks had an offensive line and decent quarterback, though Michael Cummings wasn't that bad last week.
Baylor has no bargain this week as it goes to Morgantown to play West Virginia. The other two games have little bearing as Kansas plays at Texas Tech and Texas hosts Iowa State.
Baylor still looks to be the team to beat, but can it continue to just outscore teams?
• ONLY RAIN CAN STOP THE ROYALS — Mother Nature is the only opponent that has beaten Kansas City's Royals so far in postseason play.
Monday's Game 3 of the American League Championship Series was rained out and judging from the live shots from Kansas City, MLB hierarchy made the right decision. It makes no sense to play in sloppy conditions where pitchers have a hard time standing upright on the mound and footing on the infield is treacherous.
The extra day off certainly has to help the Kansas City bullpen, as the 7-8-9 trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland can always use an extra day of rest. They have been going virtually non-stop the last seven days as the Royals basically have played tight games since the end of the season.
You just hope the day off doesn't slow down the Royals' momentum. They literally have to be held back as they are anxious to take the field and keep this amazing roll going.
This is the make-or-break game of the series. A Kansas City win and it will close it out either Wednesday or Thursday. A loss tonight and Baltimore could easily take this to seven games.