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Friday Football Preview: South, Central Ready to Go

Mike Hammett - November 8, 2013 11:06 am

Tonight marks the start of the high school football playoffs for Classes 6A, 5A and 2-1A. We’ll have coverage of Salina Central and Salina South on the Salina Media Group stations. For tonight’s scene setters, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Salina Central Mustangs (4-5) at Andover Trojans (9-0), 6:50pm pregame, 7:00 kickoff, SportsRadio 1150 KSAL

Play-by-play: Mike Hammett. Analyst: Justin Dean.

The Salina Central Mustangs are playing their best football of the season as the playoffs begin. The Mustangs opened the season at 1-4, but have won three of their last four games to enter the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the state.

Last week, the Mustangs rolled to a 42-14 win at Lewis Field in Hays in what was an early playoff game. The Mustangs and Indians went blow-for-blow early, but back-to-back Hays turnovers while driving for the go-ahead score swung the game in favor of Salina Central. Malik Veal’s 73-yard touchdown run gave the Mustangs a 21-14 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Mustangs never threw the football and racked up three more scores, while the defense blanked Hays. Veal rushed for 269 yards, his second straight 200-plus yard performance.

Tonight, the Mustangs put their 4-1 road record to the test as they return to Andover District Stadium for the second time this year, but this time face the 9-0 Andover Trojans. Andover has used a solid defense to get to 9-0. The Trojans are giving up just 15 points per game, and have given up more than 20 points just three times.

Andover had to rally to win its last two games. The Trojans trailed Emporia 21-7 before coming back for a 28-21 win in week eight. Last week, the Trojans trailed Newton in the final minute before scoring a late touchdown to pick up the win.

Tonight, Andover tries to make it a perfect 10-0, but Salina Central hopes the glass slipper fits as they try to take the role of Cinderella in the Class 5A playoffs.

Wichita West Pioneers (6-3) at Salina South Cougars (7-2), 6:50pm pregame, 7:00 kickoff, Y93.7

Play-by-play: Todd Pittenger. Analyst: Dan Flemming.

One last playoff push begins for the senior class at Salina South tonight. This group of seniors is making its third playoff appearance, losing to Bishop Carroll in the first round two years ago, and again to Carroll in the semifinals last year.

The Cougars would love another shot at Carroll in this year’s playoffs, but first, they must get through a very tough Wichita West squad at Salina Stadium. The Cougars come in playing some of their best football of the year. South shut down Great Bend last week, limiting the Panthers to just 74 yards of offense.

Meanwhile, the Cougar offense has posted at least 55 points in the last three games, and over 40 points in six straight games. Senior quarterback Justin Stonebraker has thrown for 1,340 yards and 20 touchdowns and has rushed for seven more, while senior running back Mike Jones has added 1,294 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns.

Tonight, the Cougars face a tough Wichita West team. The Pioneers are going through a resurgence under coach Weston Schartz. Schartz led the program from 1989 to 2001 before leaving for Wichita Northwest. Two years ago, Schartz left Northwest to return to West and try to rebuild the program to where it was during his tenure. Already in his second year, the Pioneers have won six games, and come close to winning two others, leading Bishop Carroll in the fourth quarter, and falling to Kapaun Mt. Carmel by one.

Tonight, one of the early season favorites in Class 5A will move forward in its quest for a state championship, or a program which has arrived perhaps a year or two sooner than expected will pick up a big win and extend its season.

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