Category Archives: Phillipsburg HS
Lions roar into final
Phillipsburg’s girls are done, losing 58-44 to Minneapolis in the first game of the sub-state doubleheader in Beloit.
The Lions took control with a 9-0 run int he second quarter which turned a 15-12 deficit into a 21-15 lead. Minneapolis expanded its margin to 29-19 at halftime, as Kynedi Allison and Lindsay Shupe each hit threes.
Phillipsburg was down seven following Mindy Gower’s 3-point play with 5:26 left in the third, but it would get outscored 13-3 the rest of the period.
THe Pnathers were never closer than nine in the fourth quater, and that wasn’t until 1:36 remained. Tatum Bartels, Phillipsburg’s 5-foot-10 sophomore, fouled out 19 seconds later.
Next up is Russell vs. Beloit. The Trojans are going for a three-game season sweep of the Broncos. Regardless of who wins, it will be an all-North Central Activities Association girls final Saturday at 6 p.m.
Third night, third site
Back to basketball after a reprieve Wednesday. Tonight’s journey is to a familiar location, Beloit, for a girls doubleheader, Phillipsburg vs. Minneapolis and Russell vs. Beloit.
Tuesday’s trip to Scott City was great, except for the game itself. Sean Spoonts and I had a great ride down. He was all excited about the different types of animal meat the truck stop in Oakley sold. I found a new auxiliary audio cable for my iPhone which works perfectly, unlike the piece of crap Best Buy sold me last month. Sean and I were able to jam to songs on my iPhone from Oakley to Scott City and then all the way back home after the game.
Scott City jumped all over outmanned Russell, leading 25-0 and going on to win 81-29. Many have called the Beavers the best high school boys basketball team in Kansas, regardless of classification, and it may be true. Glenn O’Neil, who also coaches the Beavers’ powerhouse football team, has a group of interchangebale parts which are all athletic, great jumpers, accurate shooters and prolific passers. The coach’s son, Trey O’Neil, scored 26.
Scott City is the home of Wichita State’s All-Missouri Valley Conference guard, Ron Baker. Ron’s brother, Sloan, is a starter for this year’s Scott City squad. Sloan probably won’t start for a Division I power like Ron, but he will make a program very happy with his presence.
Sean and I got home from Scott City right at 10 p.m. I got a few hours of sleep, then woke up early to get my work for the Russell County News done before my 8 a.m. appointment with Crista Geyer in Hays. We started a few minuets late since Crista was returning calls and e-mails from Tuesday when she wasn’t in the office, but now that I’m doing far better than I was on my first two visits, the missed time was not a big deal.
I got out of Russell at 2:15 this afternoon after getting my hair cut. Got to Beloit just before 5, since I took the long way through Salina to make a couple of stops. I’m going back through Salina on the way home, so I probably won’t see Russell until 11:30. I’m going in the opposite direction tomorrow, either to Hill CIty or Quinter in all likelihood.
I have got to get to Kansas City. Liz’s situation with her mom still in the hospital has me really worried.
Wrestling’s last hurrah
The final day of the 2014-15 Kansas high school wrestling season is upon us. By 8 p.m. tonight, 56 state champions across the four divisions will be crowned, and four teams will have large new trophies to add to their collections. For most wrestlers at the smaller schools, track and field or golf is next. Some will move on to baseball at the larger schools. And some might well just not do anything until it’s time for summer conditioning for football.
Norton fell to third in the team standings at the end of the first night of the Class 3-2-1A tournament, but the Bluejays, who are going for their third consecutive title, fifth in the last six years and eighth since 2004, are only 11.5 points behind Hoisington for the top spot. The big problem for Norton is that it only has one finalist, 106-pounder Ryan Johnson, while Hoisington and Rossville have three finalists apiece.
Johnson is one of four finalists from the Mid-Continent League. The others are Ellis’ Bryce Younger (113), Smith Center’s David Hileman (126) and Phillipsburg’s Lucas Jacobs (220). Jacobs is the Panthers only wrestler in the state tournament, making Phillipsburg one of four schools with only one wrestler at the state tournament who is in a final. The others are Hoxie’s Tristan Porsch (132), Greeley County’s Caleb Austin (138) and Troy’s Tristan Speer (195). Speer will be defending his 195-pound title tonight against Oberlin’s Rex Diederich.
Russell’s bid for its first state champion since 1969 will have to wait another year. Dalton Brand lost a 6-4 heartbreaker in the 182-pound semifinal to Rossville’s Isaac Luellen. Sadly, Luellen will not have the best competition for the title bout.
Norton’s Gavin Lively was disqualified from the quarterfinals after he was called for an illegal slam against Kody Collins of Doniphan West. Collins could not continue after the injury period ended, and since Livley’s slam was determined to have caused Collins’ injury, Collins was declared the victor.
It wasn’t the first time I’ve witnessed this.
At the 1999 Louisiana Division I state tournament, Kris Louvierre from Lafayette was called for a slam in the 125-pound championship bout. Louvierre was ahead on points, but since his opponent from Brother Martin, Richard Dixon, could not continue, the Crusader was awarded the state championship. The six points Brother Martin earned (four from the win, two more for the DQ) was enough to push the Crusaders five points past Jesuit for Brother Martin’s first state championship since 1987. It would be the first of five in a row for my alma mater.
Tomorrow will be a day to catch up on paperwork before sub-state basketball starts Monday. Russell’s girls are slated to host Norton at 6 p.m., and the boys go to Scott City Tuesday at 6. This will be a hectic week, because I have an appointment Wednesday morning at 8 with Crista Geyer in Hays, and then there will be sub-state games Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Butt the March break is in sight.
Saturday like no other
I’m back in Russell following the 117-mile drive from Norton. No snow to worry about this Sunday–not with the mercury at 60 degrees (16 Celsius) and climbing by time I pulled into the garage at 1224 North Brooks. I got out of Norton early so I could be home in time to eat lunch with my parents. My mother is cooking chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes.
It was a strange Saturday to say the very least.
I got to Phillipsburg a little late. I thought the tournament didn’t start until 9:30, which it had in previous years, but it was scheduled to start at 9. I didn’t get to the school until 9:05, but the action had not started.
Just as the tournament was ready to begin, I discovered my iPhone wasn’t working. I couldn’t type in my passcode to unlock my phone. Also, my Bluetooth keyboard was not working.
Great. This was one of the last things I needed. Since it was still early and I figured there would be a lot more wrestling, I made the decision to drive to Hays to see if I couldn’t get it fixed, or barring that, get anew phone. I was so panicked to get to Hays I actually blew through the stop sign at Seventh and Santa Fe coming out of Phillipsburg High. Lucky for me, nobody was coming either way. It could have been very ugly.
It took me an hour to get to the Verizon store on Vine Street in Hays. It took all of a minute to get my phone back in working order. The associate showed me how to do it, by pressing the home and power buttons simultaneously for 10 to 15 seconds. Sure enough, the phone came right back to life. As embarrassing as it was to waste all that time and gas going to Hays, it was a far bigger relief to have the phone back in order.
I made it back to Phillipsburg by noon, although I had to park a long way away from the gym entrance. I stayed at the tournament until 6, mostly to see Peggy Cox, who came late to pick up Caitlyn, since she was playing in a club volleyball tournament in Lincoln (not the one in Kansas) today.
Abilene ended up winning the team championship of the Panther Classic. Norton was third, Phillipsburg sixth.
I was tired by time I got back to Norton. I filled up with gas and picked up some snacks at Love’s, then went back to the room. I was in bed by 8:30. I got up for a little while just after midnight, but went back to sleep. But it didn’t take me long to pack, shower and shave, and get back on the road.
Not much going today. Going to try to get some work done later, because I have an appointment with Dr. Custer tomorrow at 10:40 a.m., and then I hope to go to Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina.
Back to it
I did it again. I negelcted yet another blog. Going ten days without a post is totally unacceptable.
On the other hand, there just hasn’t been much happy news to report. I’ve been mostly miserable, save for the football games I’ve had to cover. If it had not been for those football games, plus a trip to Topeka last Thursday, it would have been pure hell.
Going all the way back to the day of my last post, the Phillipsburg-Oakley game was the coldest sporting event I’ve ever covered. The temperature was 27 degrees at kickoff, and a biting south wind dropped the wind chill into the mid-teens. I could not wear gloves because I was trying to take pictures and write down each play as it went, and my fingers paid a heavy price.
As bad as it was with the cold, I nearly made it much worse. There four space heaters on Oakley’s sidleline–I did not go to Phillipsburg’s side because I wanted to avoid certain people from a rival paper–and I attempted to warm up my frozen hands by sticking one in front of the heater.
Terrible idea. It got so hot I had to pull the hand away immediately. I was afraid I had damaged nerves in my hand, but that wasn’t the case. My hands were still frozen, though, and I was fearing any longer in this weather would cause frostbite. Coincidentally, I was thumbing through an e-book about the Ice Bowl, the 1967 NFL championship game between the Cowboys and Packers in Green Bay where the temperature was 13 degrees below zero at kickoff, with a wind chill of 38 below. Quite a few players who played in the Ice Bowl received permanent frostbite from that day.
At halftime, I went to my car to warm up. Fortunately, I was parked right across the street from the entrance to the stadium, so I didn’t have to walk but a few feet. I ditched my camera for the second half and just took notes. At least I was able to put a hand in my pockets in between plays.
I stayed home the weekend after that game due to a forecast of snow. There was no snow, at least in Russell, and I didn’t have the best weekend. LSU got shut out by Arkansas, and all I wanted to do Sunday is sleep after eating my mother’s pasta.
It all began to go downhill a week ago Monday. It was the first day of practice for basketball and wrestling at high schools across Kansas, and I was asked to go take some pictures at Russell High. I really didn’t want to do it, because it was in the low 20s outside and I really didn’t feel like practice pictures could make that much of a difference, but they insisted.
I was very upset. I threatened to quit. I threatened worse. I began to send out desperate e-mails to people about how sad I was. I went out and got the pictures, but I still was not a happy camper.
The next morning, I went to visit my primary care physician, Dr. Shanon Custer, in Hays. We discussed my depression, and she said she would refer me to High Plains Mental Health in Hays. I agreed to go, and I ended up going the next day.
The visit to High Plains–where I was a patient many years ago–was routine and just was designed to get me back into the system. I have my first appointment with my counselor on Dec. 11.
Thursday was another trip to Topeka, this time to pick up a hand warmer at Dick’s Sporting Goods. That was a great idea, as I would find out the next night.
I wore my hand warmer at the Phillipsburg-Ell-Saline semifinal football game at Phillipsburg. I would put a hand inside the warmer, and it would immediately feel much better. No worries about frostbite this time.
The host Panthers dropped a 22-21 heartbreaker. They had the ball at the Ell-Saline 1-yard line with 17 seconds remaining, but a fumbled snap ended their hopes. The Cardinals earned a berth in the Class 2-1A state championship game this Saturday vs. Olpe.
I had to leave Russell before dawn Saturday to go to Newton for the 8-man Division Ii state championship game Saturday at 11 a.m. It was foggy the whole drive down, and the fog did not lift until late in the game.
Victoria easily defeated Attica/Argonia 52-8. The Knights led 36-0 at halftime and allowed the Titans, who scored 751 points in their first 12 games, just 163 yards.
I’ve been at the Wichita Marriott since Saturday’s game. I spent most of Sunday sleeping. I’ve got work to get done today and tomorrow. Back to Russell Wednesday.
Panthers pull through
Phillipsburg didn’t look pretty last night, but the Panthers got the job done vs. Sacred Heart, prevailing 22-15 in double overtime in the first round of the Kansas State High School Activities Association Class 2-1A football state playoffs.
The Panthers came in 8-1, and some media sources had them ranked first in Class 2-1A. Sacred Heart was 4-4, and got in because it finished second in a district which included three teams with losing records. Nobody gave the Knights much of a chance, even though Sacred Heart and Phillipsburg played a close game in the 3A playoffs a year ago, with the Panthers prevailing 27-20 on a rainy night in Salina.
Nobody should have taken Sacred Heart lightly. It played a difficult schedule which included 3A playoff teams Beloit, Minneapolis and Southeast of Saline, and the Knights are coached by Bruce Graber, who enjoyed tremendous success during his 12-year tenure at Norton from 1994 through 2005. Most importantly, his Bluejay teams lost only once to Phillipsburg, and that was Graber’s last season.
Phillipsburg scored on the game’s first play from scrimmage when Stuart Lennemann swept right end and raced 60 yards to paydirt.
At least, appeared to score.
The touchdown was wiped out when a Panther was detected holding near the line of scrimmage. It would not be the last time Lennemann would have touchdown called back.
Neither team did much until late in the first half, when Phillipsburg drove to the game’s first touchdown, a 7-yard run by Lennemann with 1:18 to go before halftime.
Sacred Heart tied the game in the third quarter on a 3-yard touchdown by Cedric Salas.
In the fourth quarter, Phillipsburg appeared to regain the upper hand when Lennemann caught a pass from Sam Sage in the left flat and romped 13 yards to the end zone, but again, the score was wiped out by an illegal block in the back. The Panthers were stopped at the 4-yard line following the score, and neither side threatened for the remainder of regulation.
In 1971, Kansas was the first state to implement overtime for high school football. It consists of each team receiving a series from the 10-yard line. It continues back and forth in this manner until one team is ahead after each team has had an equal number of possessions. The defense can NOT score on a turnover.
I do not like the format, period. I especially do not like the idea of starting from the 10-yard line. It’s too tilted towards the offense. I’m not a fan of the NCAA format, either, which is basically the same as high school, with a few differences: the possessions start at the 25, the defense can score on a turnover, and starting with the third overtime, a team must attempt a 2-point conversion after scoring a touchdown. Some states, including Louisiana and Oregon, have adopted the 2-point conversion rule for overtime in their states.
Massachusetts and Texas use the college overtime format since those states largely play by NCAA rules, with a few modifications.
Prior to the implementation of overtime, ties were broken in all sorts of zany ways. That’s another post for another time.
Sacred Heart got the ball first in the first overtime, and it scored on second down on a 7-yard run by Salas. The Knights lined up as if they would kick the extra point, but instead,, the holder threw to Salas for the 2-point conversion.
The pressure was now on Phillipsburg. Not only did the Panthers have to score a touchdown, they had to add the 2-point conversion–a kick would do no good–and that would only get the game to a second overtime.
Lennemann was stuffed for a loss on first down. On second, Sage rolled right and found Nate Prewitt at the 4. Prewitt broke two tackles and powered his way into the end zone to set up the crucial conversion.
Sage kept right on the conversion and dove over a defender at the pylon. Conversion good. Second overtime ahead.
It took Phillipsburg one play to score. Lennemann took an option pitch around right end to paydirt. Jaron Kellerman kicked the extra point.
Sacred Heart’s Justin McCartney threw incomplete on first down of the Knights’ possessoin. The next play turned out to be their last of 2014.
Sage stepped in front of McCartney’s intended receiver to not only end the game, but post his third interception of the night. Phillipsburg 22, Sacred Heart 15.
The Panthers travel to Oakley Friday for the quarterfinals.
I’m out of here. Gotta get ready for the long trip to Minneola for Victoria’s game in Clark County.
Playoffs sans Smith Center
For the first time in a dozen years, the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s football playoffs will be missing a familiar face.
Smith Center’s season ended last night when it was defeated 47-7 at Phillipsburg. The Redmen had to win the game to earn their 12th consecutive postseason bid, but they were never close as they suffered one of their most lopsided defeats to a Mid-Continent League foe since joining the league in 1977. That happened to be one year before Smith Center hired Roger Barta to coach their football program.
The Redmen made the playoffs 24 times in 35 seasons under Barta, winning eight state championships and 66 postseason contests. Those numbers certainly would have been higher if the KSHSAA had not limited the playoffs to only district champions from 1981, the year it began the district system to determine playoff qualifiers, through 2001. In 2002, the KSHSAA doubled the size of the playoff brackets to include second place teams from each district.
Smith Center won 10 consecutive district championships from 2004 through 2013, the last of those under Barta’s successor, Darren Sasse. The third place finish for the Redmen this season is not its worst; in 2002, they were 0-3, losing to Norton, Beloit and Phillipsburg.
From 1969, the first year the KSHSAA sponsored a football tournament, through 1980, all teams with eight victories earned automatic playoff bids. The playoff bracket was then completed with seven-win teams and so on, or if there were more eight-win teams than playoff spots, there would be play-in games.
The Redmen’s 67 playoff victories rank them third all-time, trailing only Silver Lake (87) and PIttsburg Colgan (75). The eight titles for Smith Center, including five in a row between 2004 and 2008, are tied for third, behind only Lawrence’s 10 and Kapaun Mount Carmel’s nine.
Barta went 323-68 in 35 seasons at Smith Center, and was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame earlier this month. In retirement, Roger has followed his son, Brooks, who has wonthree state championships and won nearly 200 games at Holton, located 20 miles north of Topeka in Jackson County. Brooks Barta was an All-State standout on the Redmen’s 1986 state championship team before earning All-Big Eight Conference honors as a linebacker at Kansas State, becoming the first of many standouts produced by Bill Snyder.
The Mid-Continent League will not be lacking for playoff representation. Norton went 9-0 and is primed for a deep run in the Class 3A postseason, while Phillipsburg and Oakley will play in the 2-1A bracket. The Panthers lost a tough game last year in the second round of the 3A playoffs to powerhouse Scott City, and even though this year’s squad lost several standouts from the 2013 squad to graduation, this may be Phillipsburg’s best chance to bring home a title.
Phillipsburg didn’t make its first playoff appearance until 2002. It has gone seven more times since (not including 2014), but never past the quarterfinals. This is the Panthers’ first year in 2-1A, the smallest 11-man football classification.
Norton won 4A state championships in 1985 and 1986 and reached the title game in 1983 and 1989, all under Neil Mellilo. The Bluejays have remained strong under Bruce Graber and Lucas Melvin through the past two decades, but they have made it to the semifinals only once since the glory days, losing in 2009 to Wichita Collegiate.
Oakley’s farthest advance was to the semifinals in 2005 and 2009, only to lose each time at Smith Center. The Plainsmen did not join the MCL for football until this year, although the school was officially welcomed to the league for all other sports in July 2013.
The playoff brackets in Class 3A and the two 8-man divisions have been posted by the KSHSAA. The other classes will have theirs done by the end of tonight. And then the fun begins.
Get out of dodge
My day at Scott City is going to end a little earlier, but way too late still.
Phillipsburg could not complete the deal after taking the first set from Hoisington. The Cardinals rallied to win the final two sets and the match 19-25, 26-24,
It will be Lakin and Hoisington for the championship. The Panthers’ season ends at 19-18.
The Mid-Continent League will be represented by two teams at state tournaments, league champion TMP-Marian in Class 4A-Division II at Salina and Smith Center in Class 2A at Emporia.
I’m heading for Garden City. Maybe I’ll be in a better mood. Probably not. Especially if the Royals take the lead.
Five hours in
The quarterfinals are in the books at Scott City. Phillipsburg ousted Cimarron 25-16, 25-17 to clinch the final spot in the semifinals vs. Hoisington. The first semi between Lakin and Norton is going on right now.
If I get out of here early, it will only be because Phillipsburg loses to Hoisington. I’m not counting on that happening, so I’m here until the end. If I’m going to be here until the end, Phillipsburg had better win.
That wasn’t the case the last time I was in Scott City for sub-state volleyball. In 2006, the Panthers made it to the final, but ran into an Oberlin buzzsaw which featured Miki Dorshorst, who went on to play at Wyoming. I remember not checking into the hotel at Garden City until after 10, which may be the case again tonight.
It looks like I’m going to have an early Friday morning at Emporia on the docket. Smith Center won the first set over Ness City 25-20. If the Lady Red wins one of the next two, they’re back in the state tournament.
Last first round match up
The first three-set match of the Scott City sub-state was just contested. Russell won the first set over Hoisington, but the Cardinals came back to win 25-27, 25-11, 25-16. Hoisington will now play the winner of the final first round match between Phillipsburg and Cimarron.
The World Series is now a little more than two hours away. I’m sure Kansas City is about to burst at the seams.