The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 18, 1996 · Page 15
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 15

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Friday, October 18, 1996
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THE SAUNA JOURNAL Sports 1-70 LEAGUE CROSS COUNTRY / C3 CITY VOLLEYBALL TRIANGULAR / C3 AREA FOOTBALL / C4 c V COMMENT PRO FOOTBALL ARNE GREEN TlieSallna Journal Kansas should adjust football playoff system .'The preliminaries are over. It's time to put up or shut up. >• Forget the past six weeks. Under Kansas' high school football playoff system, they hardly matter. For a'majority of the state's teams, the success or failure of their seasons will be determined in the next three weeks. 1 Such is the beauty (or horror) of district playoffs. Where else (besides perhaps the National Hockey League) can a 1-8 team qualify for postseason play while an 8-1 team sits at home? • Yet that could happen this year. In Eight-Man II, District 1, both Elwood and Kansas School for the Deaf take 0-6 records into this week's games. They are the only two teams in the district and could meet for a playoff berth on the last day of the season with nary a victory between them. • On the other hand, five districts feature a pair of unbeaten teams. " Norton and Smith Center, ranked No. 1 and 2 in Class 3A, could bring perfect records into their District 15 showdown Oct. 25 at Smith Center. On the same night, Sacred Heart and Ell-Saline in all probability will be 7-0 when they meet with the 2A, District 9 title at stake. Ditto for.Mankato and Waconda East in Eight-Man, District 6 — if Waconda East can win at 5-1 Pike Valley this week. The first battles of unbeatens take place tonight. In Eight-Man I, District 5, No. 5 Linn (5-0) travels to No. 4 Blue Valley-Randolph (6-0). And No. 2 Kensington plays at No. 6 Logan in Eight-Man II, District 9. And those are just the extreme cases. Class 3A, District 10 (Southeast of Saline and Beloit) and District 16 (Hoisington and Trego), plus Class 4A, District 15 (Scott City and Goodland) feature two state-ranked teams. Kensington and Logan's district has a third ranked team in No. 10 Northern Valley while the fourth, Eastern Heights, is 5-1. Sure, the current district format, in place since 1981, has some advantages. A team ravaged by injuries early in the season can heal, and still have a shot at the playoffs. The same with younger teams that need time to jell. And it's nice to know that no matter how poorly your team played for the first six weeks, everybody starts with a clean slate in October. But what happened to rewarding excellence and consistency over a full season? It would seem that a system where the whole regular season hinges on three or fewer games has outlived its usefulness. That is why the Kansas State High School Activities Association, on the agenda for its fall regional meetings, has a survey exploring the possibility of doubling district sizes with the top two teams in each district advancing to the playoffs. Such a change might not be a cure-all. There would still be good teams left at home and probably more than a few average teams advancing to the playoffs. But a switch to larger districts — six or eight teams in most cases — has far more pros than cons. It would force teams to sustain a certain level of play for seven wagks instead of three. Also, they would be building their records against schools their size. There are those who argue that doubling the number of district games will play havoc with league races, destroy traditional rivalries apd strain travel budgets. It's true, leagues may suffer, but that has already happened under the current system. A number of leagues don't play complete schedules, because of district games. The lOiieam Mid-Continent League, for example, counts only its first six As for eliminating rivalries, there is no reason for that. With a seven-game district schedule, that still leaves two games to keep those rivalries going. Finally, the travel argument might affect a few teams. But it's liard to take it too seriously when ypu already have Junction City traveling to Dodge City for a non- league game this year and Garden City playing host to Rockhurst High School from Kansas City, Mo., in order to fill their schedules. ' The Activities Association has shown the willingness to consider a'change. Now it's up to the members to make it a reality. T BASEBALL PLAYOFFS Braves scalp Cards Atlanta rises from 3-1 deficit to beat St. Louis and advance to Series By BEN WALKER The Associated Press The Associated Press Kansas City receiver Tamarick Vanover (83) gains 7 yards after a catch in the first quarter of Thursday's game against Seattle. Kansas City smothers Seattle Allen scores two more rushing touchdowns; only one from Payton • Statistics/ Page C2 By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press W 5 L T PF .PA 1 0 144 93 KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If people would let him, Marcus Allen would wait until the end of his illustrious career to even think about milestones. When a man's just one rushing touchdown from if*-'. . Walter Payton's Seattle 16 NFL record, it's Kansas City 34 hard to ignore. , ^, , u, Allen, a 15-year veteran, scored twice on 1-yard runs Thursday night to lead Kansas City (5-2) past penalty- prone Seattle 34-16 and moved himself within one touchdown of Payton's record of 110 "I try to avoid thinking about it. But it's been virtually impossible because of the attention that's been brought to it." said Allen, who scored on No. 108 and 109. "I just try to go out there and do my job. Obviously, scoring touchdowns is what an offense is all about." Allen's second 1-yard scoring run gave the Chiefs a 27-10 lead and Teams Denver" Kansas City 5 2 0 151 108 San Diego' 420 45 144 Oakland 3 4 0 156 134 Seattle 2-50 109 187 followed a 27-yard pass interference penalty on Carlton Gray. The Seahawks (2-5) crippled themselves with 13 penalties for 118 yards, including four personal fouls, and had two'players ejected during the last TD drive by Kansas City. The Chiefs had seven first downs by penalty. "Wow! Penalties of 118 yards. I didn't know it was that much," Seattle defensive end Michael Sinclair. "You can't win a ballgame like that." With 11:08 left, linebacker Winston Moss was thrown out when he jumped on Chiefs' wide receiver Chris Penn and twisted his head around. On the next play, Seattle safety Darryl Williams was flagged for another personal foul. Five plays later, linebacker Dean Wells was ejected for a personal foul, and was wiping blood off his nose as he left the field. That put the ball on the 9, and two plays later Steve Bono hit Sean LaChapelle with a 4-yard TD pass to make it 34-10 with 6:40 left. "We lost our poise," Seattle coach Dennis Erickson said. "It's inexcusable to have it happen that many times. You expect some off- sides penalties. But that many times, it's inexcusable. You just can't have it happen on the road against this team in this stadium." Seattle made it 34-16 with 1:01 to play on Joey Galloway's 16-yard TD catch. "I think that one drive where they got two guys ejected, the Sea- hawks were victims of getting caught retaliating," Chiefs guard Dave Szott said. "I'm pretty sure that's what happened on one of them." The Chiefs, 13-3 against Seattle since Marty Schottenheimer became head coach in 1989, thoroughly dominated the first two quarters while taking a 20-3 lead. The Sea- hawks were penalized nine times for 62 yards in the first half, including five offsides calls that al- most all seemed to come at good times for the Chiefs. Bono, who's had some of his best days against Seattle, engineered scoring drives on four of five first- half possessions. Pete Stoyanovich had field goals of 45 yards on the Chiefs' first possession of the half and 43 yards as time expired. Kimble Anders made it 10-3 with 3:41 left in the first quarter when he squirted through a hole on the left side of the line and went 15 yards into the end zone. Midway through the second period, Allen capped an 8-minute, 81- yard march with a 1-yard run for career rushing touchdown No. 108. Seattle was called for three offsides penalties during the drive, and two resulted in first downs. Allen, who moved past Jim Brown in his previous game for second place on the career rushing touchdown list, sat out much of the second half with a bruised ankle, and was hobbling around afterward with a bruised hip. "Fortunately, it doesn't hurt when I run," he said. Seattle finally got its offense on track late in the second quarter, going 66 yards in 14 plays to set up Todd Peterson's 24-yard field goal with 26 seconds left. ATLANTA — This wasn't a comeback, this was a wipeout. The Atlanta Braves unleashed all their fury in the biggest blowout in postseason history, trouncing the St. Louis Cardinals 15-0 in Game 7 of the NL championship series Thursday night to complete a startling rally from a 31 deficit. Pitcher Tom Glavine hit a bases- loaded triple that capped a six-run first inning, and 52,067 crazed fans spent the rest of the evening partying as the Braves earned a chance to defend their i«M«eM*Yv>< World Series ti- •H5«HK*\j tie. St. Louis 0 Game 1 will be Atlanta 15 Saturday night -•in New York against the Yankees. The Braves have reached four of the last five World Series, making it this time by outscoring St. Louis 32-1 in three straight games. "They made my job real easy tonight," Glavine said. Glavine shut out St. Louis on three hits for seven innings. He gqt home-run support from NLCS MVP Javy Lopez, Fred McGriff and Andruw Jones — at 19, Jones surpassed Mickey Mantle as the youngest player to connect in a postseason game. "The loss stings a lot because of the type of game it was," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "A lot of guys are bothered by it." The painful loss, making the Cardinals the only club to blow a 31 edge three times in the postseason, meant the end of Ozzie Smith's career. The future Hall of Famer, who has announced his retirement, fouled out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. The 41-year-old shortstop waved his helmet to a standing ovation, and drew hugs from his teammates in the dugout. Though Marquis Grissom began the rout by singling on Donovan Osborne's first pitch, the Braves' playoff comeback clearly started before then. It may have begun back at Busch Stadium when Dennis Eckersley pumped his fist forcefully in the air after a Game 4 win that gave St. Louis a 3-1 lead. The prompted the Cardinals to put 20 cases of champagne on ice in anticipation of a clincher that never came, and seemed to anger Atlanta. • More coverage / Page C4 SALINE COUNTY GAMEDAY Inman (5-1) at Ell-Saline (6-0) District 9 will rank as one of the toughest in Class 2-1A, with the four teams completing the first six weeks of the season with a combined 204 record. Inman is three points shy of being unbeaten. The Teutons lost their season opener to Cheney, 21-19, and have since won five in a row. During that winning streak, they have not allowed an opponent to score more than seven points in a game. That's probably good news for Ell-Saline coach Chris Barkley, whose explosive offense has yet to be thoroughly tested this season. Ell-Saline has had each of its first six games well in hand by halftime. The Cards have not allowed an opponent to score in the first half this season, and the average score at halftime has been 35O. The Ell-Saline offense that is averaging nearly 500 yards of total offense a game added another weapon last week. After missing the first five games with an injury, senior running back Jack O'Neal made his 1996 debut last week and rushed for 209 yards on 13 carries and scored five touchdowns. Sacred Heart (6-0) at Canton-Galva (3-3) There are some eerie similarities between tonight's district opener between Sacred Heart and Canton-Galva, and the game the two teams played a year ago. In 1995, Canton-Galva opened the season 60 and was ranked No. 2 in Class 2-1A when the Eagles came to Salina to face Sacred Heart. That Knights teams was 3-3, but upset Canton-Galva 20-6 and quickly put a damper on the Eagles' postseason plans. This year Canton-Galva comes in as the underdog, but don't expect sixth-ranked Sacred Heart and coach Tony Canacari to even think of looking past the Eagles toward a possible showdown next week with Ell-Saline. Canton-Galva started, the season with three con- TONIGHT'S SCHEDULE Sallna Central vs. Highland Park at Topeka, 7 p.m. Hays vs. Sallna South at Sallna Stadium, 7:30 p.m. Belleville vs. Southeast of Saline at Southeast High School, 7:30 p.m. Sacred Heart vs. Canton-Galva at Canton, 7:30 p.m. Inman vs. Ell-Saline at Brookvllle, 7:30 p.m. St. John's Military vs. Wakefleld at Wakefleld, 7 p.m. secutive losses, but has dominated its three opponents since. The Eagles have outscored Heart of America League foes Peabody, Sedgwick and Moundridge by a margin of 148-16. Two of Canton-Galva's losses came by one- touchdown margins, and the Eagles have faced two of Sacred Heart's earlier opponents in Cottonwood Valley League teams Chase County (39-14) and Marion (28-21). Hays (2-4) at Salina South (3-3) With no clear-cut favorite in Class 5A's District 5, both Hays and Salina South would like to establish themselves as the team to beat in the district opener tonight at Salina Stadium. If South can sustain its level of play from last week's 54-7 romp over Junction City, the Cougars could be difficult to beat. Running back Charles Ross rushed for a school-record 285 yards on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns. That was part of a South ground attack that generated 519 yards rushing. Hays' 24 record includes two close losses. The Indians fell to Junction City 28-21 in week two and are coming off a 14-12 loss to Dodge City when Hays could not convert a two-point conversion attempt with 23 seconds remaining that would have tied the game. Hays quarterback Jason Peters has completed 41 percent of his passes (39 of 94) for 699 yards, while Joey Labarge leads the Indians in rushing with 579 yards on 143 carries. A 24-7 loss to Hays a year ago kept the Cougars out of postseason play. Hays, South and Great Bend all finished with 2-1 district records, but the Indians qualified for the playoffs by virtue of the tiebreaking point system. Salina Central (5-1) at Highland Park (0-6) Coming off its first regular season loss since 1993, Salina Central goes from one end of the high school spectrum to the other. After suffering a 3421 loss to state-ranked and unbeaten Manhattan, the Mustangs face a Highland Park team that has struggled throughout the 1996 season. The Scots have not scored more than 16 points in a game this season, have been outscored 172-52 and may be coming off the low point of their season in a 43-13 loss last week against Hayden. Highland Park averages only 118 yards total offense. This will be the first time this season Central has played a team with a sub-.500 record. The Mustangs first six opponents had a combined record of 12-2 before stepping on the field with Central. Three touchdowns is usually enough to guarantee a Central victory. Last week's loss was the first time since 1987 that a Central team had scored more than 20 points in a game and lost. Central has won 12 consecutive district contests, with its last loss coming against Highland Park in the final game of 1991. Belleville (4-2) at Southeast of Saline (6-0) Southeast of Saline's victory over Concordia last week may put the Trojans among the favorites to win Class 3A's District 10, but nobody is handing Southeast a free pass to the playoffs. The four teams in District 10 have combined for a 19-5 record, but three of those losses have come against Concordia. All four teams in the district played the Panthers, with Southeast the only team to come out on top. Tonight the Trojans face the defending 3A state champions. It hasn't always been easy for the Buffaloes this season, but coach Monty Bechard's club is coming off its biggest victory of the season. Belleville averaged 14.4 points a game through the first five weeks, but defeated Ellsworth 46-15 last Friday. Southeast's Ryan Kejr is now the third-leading rusher in the NCAA with 528 yards on 88 carries, while teammates Thane Douglas and Andy Thiel are the league's two leading scorers, Douglas with 62 points and Thiel with 46. Any team that comes out of this district with a 30 record will also earn the NCAA league title. Southeast, Belleville, Minneapolis and Beloit currently share the league lead, all with 2-0 records. St. John's Military (4-2) at Wakefleld (0-6) There is no question which team will be favored in tonight's contest as St. John's Military and Wakefield play a rare regular-season rematch. The Muleskinners defeated Wakefield 460 three weeks ago in a game that ended in the third quarter by the 45-point rule. St. John's will attempt to avoid looking past the Bombers to next week's Eisenhower League finale with Bennington. A win next week would lock up no worse than second place in the league, matching St John's best finish ever. — Larry Morltz SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS, EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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