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Friday Football Preview: Rivals Collide Across Area

Mike Hammett - October 18, 2013 5:00 am

football

Week seven of the high school football season is here, and that means everyone is in district play as the postseason creeps closer.

For SalineCounty and the KSAL listening area, it is rivalry week. Salina Central meets Salina South, Sacred Heart takes on Southeast of Saline and Abilene and Chapman collide in the DickinsonCounty rivalry in our Area Game of the Week on True Oldies 98.5 and AM 1560 KABI.

We’ll provide analysis of all of these match-ups, plus Ell-Saline at RepublicCounty, during Inside High School Football starting at 6pm on SportsRadio 1150 KSAL.

Listen to the scene setters, which open Inside High School Football, at the bottom of the page.

 

Class 5A No. 4 Salina South Cougars (4-2, 4-1 AVCTL I) at Salina Central Mustangs (2-4, 0-4 AVCTL I), SportsRadio 1150 KSAL & Y93.7, 6:50pm pregame, 7:00 kickoff

Play-by-play: Mike Hammett. Analyst: Dan Flemming. Sideline Reporter: Todd Pittenger.

You might notice Salina South is ranked fourth in Class 5A in the latest statewide media poll and is 4-2 on the season, on the verge of clinching at least a share of their second straight Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Division I championship. You might also notice Salina Central is 2-4, and yet to win a game in Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Division I. It is true of this cross-town rivalry you can indeed throw out the record and ignore all of that tonight.

It has been a wild series since November of 2000, when Salina South knocked off Salina Central on its way to its first state championship. South has a slight 9-8 edge in the series, taking the lead in last year’s 23-20 overtime win. The last four meetings have been decided by exactly three points. South has won three of those games, with Central last winning in 2010. Over the last 14 meetings, 11 of the games have been decided by seven points or less. Three of the last four games have involved a field goal in the final 10 seconds of regulation, while the fourth, 2010, ended after South had a chance to tie or take the lead in the final minute.

South seems to have its defense on a roll. The Cougars have limited its last two opponents, Hutchinson and Newton, to 220 yards of total offense or less. Central also seems to have found some answers on defense. The Mustangs gave up an early touchdown to Andover Central, but then denied the Jaguars more points in their best outing, a 30-6 victory.

Offensively, both teams run and throw the ball well. South averages 257 yards rushing and 164 yards passing per game, while the Mustangs average 233 yards on the ground and 166 through the air. Central averages 30 points per game, while South is just a shade above 40 points per game.

Add on top of this rivalry that it is a district game, and the pressure is more intense. The winning team has advanced on to the playoffs since the two have been placed in the same district, while the losing team has failed to advance out of district play.

The last 13 years have provided some fantastic finishes. 2013 looks to be no different.

 

Sacred Heart Knights (5-1, 3-1 NCAA) at Southeast of Saline Trojans (5-1, 3-1 NCAA), Classic Hits 104.9, 6:50pm pregame, 7:00 kickoff

Play-by-play: Justin Dean. Analyst: Pat Martin.

Since Sacred Heart moved to the North Central Activities Association, the Knights developed a rivalry with Southeast of Saline. Over the last nine meetings, the football game hasn’t been very tight.

Southeast of Saline leads the series 6-3 in that span. Only one meeting has been decided by less than two touchdowns. In 2010, Southeast picked up a 28-27 win over Sacred Heart in the closest game in the series. Other than that, the closest game was Southeast’s 28-14 win in 2004.

The Knights took last year’s game 33-12 at Martin Stadium. The Knights used that momentum to win the district, and go on to the Class 3A playoffs where they fell to eventual state champion ScottCity in the second round. Southeast of Saline was unable to recover in the second week of district play, when they lost to Lyons, essentially eliminating them from playoff contention.

It’s another district match-up this year, and the winner will get a much-needed leg-up in one of the toughest districts in Class 3A. Upstarts Lyons and Ellsworth square off tonight in the other half of the district, and both will provide tougher tests for the Knights and Trojans in the next two weeks than was provided a year ago.

 

Ell-Saline Cardinals (2-4, 0-2 Class 2-1A District 6) at Republic County Buffaloes (0-6, 0-2 Class 2-1A District 6), 7:00pm kickoff

The Ell-Saline Cardinals have very slim playoff hopes after an 0-2 start to district play. A win tonight keeps those slim hopes alive, while a loss will extinguish any hope.

Ell-Saline has struggled to move the football over the last two weeks, and managed just 115 yards of total offense in a 43-8 loss to SmithCenter last week.

Tonight, the Cardinals travel to RepublicCounty to face a winless Buffalo squad on a long losing streak. RepublicCounty hasn’t won since beating Sacred Heart in the 2010 season.

Once again, tonight’s game will come down to which team has more success moving the football, and converting red zone opportunities.


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