Salina Central Mustangs (2-4, 1-3 AVCTL Division I) at Class 5A No. 2 Salina South (5-1, 4-1 AVCTL Division I)
6:05 Inside High School Football on SportsRadio 1150 KSAL.
6:45 pregame, 7:00 kickoff
SportsRadio 1150 KSAL, Y93.7
Play-by-play: Mike Hammett. Analysis: Daran Neuschafer. Sideline: Todd Pittenger.
The storied rivalry between Salina Central and Salina South adds another chapter tonight. It’s the reverse scenario from last season. The Mustangs entered last year’s game on a roll at 5-1 on the season, while the Cougars seemed to be building momentum, but were only 2-4.
Salina South went on to win on Chris Wearing’s field goal in the waning seconds, 44-41. The win sparked Salina South to a 2-1 district finish and a state playoff appearance. The loss sent Central spiraling to an 0-3 district mark, as the Mustangs missed the playoffs.
This year, Salina South has sailed through the last five games after dropping the season opener to Derby. Salina Central has struggled with injuries since the opening practice of the year, going just 2-4. However, the Mustangs might be as healthy as they’ve been this season coming into tonight’s game.
Both squads rely heavily on their rushing attacks. Cody Busby became South’s all-time leading rusher earlier this year, and with a big night tonight, could eclipse 1,000 yards for the season. Also, Busby could hit 4,000 yards for his career before the end of the season.
Salina Central will lean on Malik Veal, who has yet to play a game at full strength due to an ankle injury. However, Veal seems to be gaining strength, breaking a tackle and going 47-yards for a touchdown last week.
The series has been tight lately, with the two squads splitting the last 16 meetings. 12 of those 16 meetings have been decided by seven points or less. However, Salina South has won three of the last four meetings.
Also on the line tonight for Salina South is a shot at a share of the AVCTL Division I crown after Hutchinson's win over Derby last week.
Southeast of Saline Trojans (3-3, 2-2 NCAA) at Sacred Heart Knights (5-1, 3-1 NCAA)
6:50 Pregame, 7:00 Kickoff
Classic Hits 104.9
Play-by-play: Clarke Sanders. Analysis: Pat Martin.
While it’s another rivalry game in Saline County, this one hasn’t been as close as the series between Salina Central and Salina South. Southeast of Saline has dominated the series as of late, winning six of the last eight meetings between the pair. Only one game in that span has been played within 13 points. Southeast of Saline converted a two-point try in 2010 to win in overtime, 28-27, against the Knights. The other seven meetings have all been won by at least 14 points.
Southeast of Saline has won three straight overall, including last year’s 57-7 blowout at Southeast. Sacred Heart won back-to-back meetings in 2007 and 2008.
This year, based on records, it would appear the Knights are poised to break the current Southeast streak. Sacred Heart’s lone loss came to Beloit, which has powered through its first six opponents. Southeast of Saline lost to Beloit last week, and has also dropped games to Chapman and Minneapolis.
However, as the cliché goes, you can throw out the records. Southeast will rely on their rushing attack, led by Keenan Breen at quarterback. Sacred Heart will try to keep the attack balanced between the arm of Nick Wuthnow and the legs of Wuthnow, Drew Diederich and Zach Butts.
Republic County Buffaloes (0-6, 0-2 Class 2-1A District 6) at Ell-Saline Cardinals (4-2, 1-1 Class 2-1A District 6)
Ell-Saline was oh-so-close to controlling their destiny in Class 2-1A District 6 last week. The Cardinals grabbed a fourth quarter lead at Smith Center, but the Redmen tied and sent the game to overtime. After Ell-Saline scored in the extra frame, Smith Center tied on a controversial fourth-down play, and won the game on the two-point conversion.
Now, Ell-Saline has to try to bounce back from the heartbreak as they face winless Republic County. The Buffaloes are struggling with numbers and injuries, with just enough kids to field a team. The depth is lacking for Republic County, and it shows on the field, with none of their contests being played within 28 points. The Buffs have scored just 45 points over 6 games, while giving up 306 points.
Ell-Saline will be keeping an eye on the Smith Center-Plainville game tonight. If Plainville defeats Smith Center, three teams will be tied atop the district, and it might come down to the points tiebreaker to decide who goes to the playoffs in two weeks. If Smith Center wins, the Redmen will have a virtual lock on the district championship.