Friday Football Preview: South Preps for State Championship Game
Mike Hammett - November 29, 2013 10:39 am
Salina South heads to Emporia tomorrow to face Blue Valley in the Class 5A State Championship Game. Read a preview on tomorrow’s game, and listen to our scene setter for tonight’s special edition of Inside High School Football, which profiles the South Cougars. Inside High School Football airs from 6 to 7pm tonight on SportsRadio 1150 KSAL and at ksal.com. Our game coverage begins at 12:40pm Saturday with kickoff at 1 on Y93.7.
Class 5A No. 4 Salina South Cougars (10-2) vs. Blue Valley Tigers (9-3), Y93.7, Saturday 12:40pm pregame, 1:00pm kickoff
Play-by-play: Mike Hammett. Analysts: Dan Flemming and Justin Dean. Sideline: Todd Pittenger.
The Salina South Cougars can win their first state championship since 2004 on Saturday when they meet the Blue Valley Tigers at Welch Stadium, on the campus of Emporia State University.
The Cougars advanced to their first championship game in nearly a decade by knocking off Kapaun Mt. Carmel 34-24 last Friday. The Cougars returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and built a 13-3 halftime lead, before leading by as much as 24 down the stretch of the game. Kapaun scored twice in the final minute to close the gap.
The Cougars face a familiar foe in the Blue Valley Tigers for the championship. Blue Valley defeated Salina South 35-28 at Salina Stadium on September 20th. The Cougars have not lost since, while Blue Valley avenged a loss to Blue Valley West to advance to state. It’s the third meeting between the two in the last 14 months, after South beat the Tigers at Blue Valley 28-7 last season.
Blue Valley is no stranger to state championship games. The Tigers have played for the state championship six times since the 2003 season, winning four times. The Tigers knocked off Salina South 22-21 in 2003, and also won titles in 2006, 2007 and 2010.
The Tigers feature a stout defense, giving up just 15.1 points per game. Blue Valley has given up 14 points or less in 7 of its 9 wins, with the two exceptions being Salina South in week three, and Blue Valley West last week. Linebacker Henry McGrew, who has committed to play at Illinois, has 143 tackles on the season to lead the team. Defensive end Jalen Cooks has 6.5 sacks as well.
Offensively, the Tigers average 34.5 points per game. Quarterback Logan Brettell has thrown for 1598 yards, 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions. His favorite target is Mikey Henson, who has 46 catches for 625 yards and 10 touchdowns. Henson had 10 catches for 127 yards and a score against South in week three. As for the running game, Chance Nelson leads the way with 1628 yards and 18 touchdowns. Nelson had 31 carries for 168 yards and three touchdowns against the Cougars in week three. Montana Brady has 768 yards and 11 touchdowns while spelling Nelson this year.
Salina South will try to slow the Tigers down with a balanced defensive attack. Safety Cade Calvert leads the team with 101 tackles, but linebackers Richard Walters and Dalton Harman aren’t far behind with 97 and 94 tackles respectively.
Offensively, Justin Stonebraker has thrown for nearly 1700 yards this season with 22 touchdowns to four interceptions. Zach Nachbar has nearly half the catches for the Cougars this year, hauling in 47 passes for 1114 yards and 16 touchdowns. Running back Mike Jones has an outside shot of hitting 2000 rushing yards. Jones needs to pick up 203 yards on Saturday to pass 2000 yards. Jones has 1797 yards and 31 touchdowns on the season. Jones could also pass Cody Busby as Salina South’s all-time leading rusher.
Join us for all the coverage on Saturday, with pregame starting at 12:40pm with kickoff at 1 on Y93.7.