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Vitztum, TMP boys storm by Colby -3/6/2015, 10:27 AM

Mickelson could play another big role for KU -3/6/2015, 10:27 AM

Hoxie ties record, has bigger goals in mind -3/6/2015, 11:05 AM

Berens' big night keys HHS win -3/6/2015, 10:27 AM

Thursday's prep basketball boxscores -3/6/2015, 10:27 AM

MLS and players reach deal -3/5/2015, 10:58 AM

KU's Ellis out vs. OU -3/5/2015, 10:58 AM

Kacperska ready to step up -3/5/2015, 10:58 AM

Gregorian: Royals' bats come alive in exhibition -3/5/2015, 10:57 AM

Wichita State's Wessel, Carter chosen for MVC's Most-Improved Team -3/5/2015, 10:57 AM

TV analyst Mark Adams loves the MVC -3/5/2015, 10:57 AM

Bills get their workhorse back in LeSean McCoy -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Perry Ellis will miss regular season finale -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Kansas rallies, wins Big 12 outright -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Wildcats have shot at tourney? -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Lehman, Hobson collect MIAA honors -3/4/2015, 1:44 PM

Two headed to nationals for Tiger track -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Tiger softball earns Tuesday sweep -3/3/2015, 7:45 PM

Season ends for FHSU men -3/3/2015, 10:20 AM

Claflin great Jackie Stiles inducted into NFHS Hall of Fame -3/3/2015, 10:19 AM

KU's Big 12 streak one for the ages -3/3/2015, 10:10 AM

FHSU's Keehn wins second MIAA title in track -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Wessel continues to spark Shockers -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Ronda Rousey's fast work, like at UFC 184, a big draw -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Minnie Minoso's love of baseball never waned -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

FHSU wrestling sending four to nationals -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Kansas State rallies late to put away Iowa State -3/1/2015, 9:33 AM

No. 8 Kansas holds on to defeat Texas, 69-64 -3/1/2015, 9:31 AM

Wichita State captures MVC crown by beating Northern Iowa -3/1/2015, 9:30 AM

Ellis' Younger cruises through Friday at 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Hays High's Deterding second in 4A -3/1/2015, 9:58 AM

Norton wins title with backside points -3/1/2015, 9:36 AM

Hoxie's Porsch repeats in 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:43 AM

FHSU splits at Northeastern State -3/1/2015, 9:41 AM

HHS girls win on senior night -3/1/2015, 9:40 AM

HHS boys roll by Great Bend -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Class 3-2-1A State Wrestling finals results -2/28/2015, 9:37 AM

Tigers fall, need win to host first round -2/27/2015, 10:20 AM

Tiger women, MIAA champs, hang on -2/27/2015, 10:29 AM

Monarchs survive on senior night -2/27/2015, 12:17 PM

With KU back in control, Jayhawks prepare for 'high drama' -2/27/2015, 10:19 AM

Nino Williams takes long road to success at Kansas State -2/27/2015, 10:18 AM

Sub-state basketball pairings -2/26/2015, 10:37 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Younger part of youth movement for Railers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

Big 12 reprimands K-State after court-storming -2/26/2015, 10:53 AM

Hays High's top four headed to Salina -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- HDN area state qualifiers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Porsch seeks a repeat in state finale -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Freshman Hutchinson leads young group of Redmen -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Norton steps up again to have shot at 3-2-1A state crown -2/26/2015, 10:50 AM

Shockers fight past Indiana State, set up big Saturday -2/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Rhoades back at state -- this time in 4A -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP survives Plainville -2/25/2015, 11:26 AM

K-State issues apology -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

HHS swept at Dodge -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/25/2015, 10:21 AM

Royals still hoping for Starling to break out -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Penske revels in Logano's victory at Daytona 500 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcat's win throws a roadblock at Jayhawks -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Feb. 23 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcats get it done -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

No-name Hahn wins Northern Trust Open -2/23/2015, 10:24 AM

FHSU softball splits on Sunday in Minnesota -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Logano wins first Daytona 500 -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Lutz: VanVleet has another day to remember -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

VanVleet takes Wichita State's assists title in win -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

'Cats seek confidence before game with KU -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

Perry Ellis, No. 8 Kansas rebound from loss, beat TCU -2/22/2015, 12:47 PM

Baylor drills K-State -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

Monarch girls run away from Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:38 PM

TMP wins physical game at Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Mathews all-state for HHS -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

HHS wins at Garden, jumps back into WAC race -2/22/2015, 12:41 PM

Wrestling roundup -- Hays High sends four to 4A state -2/22/2015, 8:19 PM

Victoria puts together complete game in win at Ness City -2/22/2015, 12:40 PM

HHS girls fall down early, lose at Garden -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Earnhardt Jr. makes Duel history, Patrick qualifies -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

HHS sends relays to state -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Tiger baseball takes two from UCM -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Gene Stephenson says he's filed his own appeal -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

TCU takes out K-State -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Bohuslavsky keys win for Tiger women -2/19/2015, 10:59 AM

Tiger men rally for MIAA win -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women No. 1 in Central Region -2/18/2015, 5:04 PM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/18/2015, 11:22 AM

Barton's Hensley named Player of the Week -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

TMP boys win, girls fall in Great Bend -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

K-State hopes to build some momentum at TCU -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

Two in a row for HHS girls -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

Hot early, HHS boys get win at Abilene -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

All is possible at Daytona -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

WVU tops Jayhawks in wild finish -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chiefs can find impact receiver in NFL draft -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Defense a constant for Shockers -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

FHSU, UCM series moved to Hays -2/16/2015, 10:55 AM

KU prepares for full-court press -2/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Foster lifts Kansas State past Oklahoma on Saturday -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Three Tigers crowned MIAA champs -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Bowyer, after crash, slams qualifying format -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
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Oakley defense takes it to Ellis

Published on -11/3/2013, 7:35 PM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

ELLIS -- The Oakley High School football team's strong, physical and experienced defensive line features seniors Austin Baalman (6-foot-5, 218 pounds) and Mason Rains (6-2, 247) at the ends. The inside has 6-2, 231-pound junior Ryan Kuhn and 6-2, 217-pound senior Gage Hayden. Baalman and Kuhn were each all-state last season, while Rains moved to defensive end midway through the fall, and Hayden has played well after he missed 2012.

"They are really the heart of our team," Plainsmen senior quarterback Darius Herl said. "They work hard, and they just want to win."

On Friday, Oakley's defensive line continued the Plainsmen's dominance in a 53-0 victory against Ellis.

"I look sideways, and there is this monster just tearing through the line, just throwing people sideways and just ripping people's heads off, that's pretty much what it's like," Hayden said of Kuhn. "I look over, and I am even a little scared - and he is on my team."

Oakley, Kansas' No. 1 scoring defense with just 20 points allowed, moved to 7-1 after a bye last week.

The Plainsmen, ranked No. 5 in Class 2-1A in the statewide media poll, clinched their second straight district title with a 4-0 record. Ellis coach Butch Hayes said Kuhn was the best lineman and Oakley the best team the Railers played all season. Ellis opened with a loss to La Crosse, ranked No. 2 in 2-1A.

"They are very talented," Hayes said. "They played well. They played hard, physical, Kuhn is a force inside. He is quite the disruption."

Oakley will play host to 8-1 Elkhart and its fast-paced spread offense next Friday in the first round of the state playoffs. This marks the last fall for coach Randall Rath, in his 16th season as Oakley's head coach; he announced his resignation earlier this fall. Oakley has made two sub-state championships under Rath, but never a state title game.

"We just want it," Hayden said. "We just want it more than anyone else."

Just like all season, Kuhn drew a constant double team, yet still finished with a game-high 3.5 tackles for loss. Oakley had 10 tackles for loss, forced six turnovers and had another short field off a poor Ellis punt snap. Hayden collected 2.5 tackles for loss, while Rains added half a sack and senior defensive lineman Eric Rucker batted down a pass.

"We take pride in everything that we do," Kuhn said. "We try our hardest every play, every snap."

Because of the bye week, Rath said the team had its five hardest practices since two-a-days, but responded well to the challenge.

To clinch the district, Oakley had to win or take a close loss. However, Ellis could win the district and knock Oakley out with a victory by more than 21 points.

"I thought the kids bought into (practice), and focused," Rath said. "Kids at this time of the year have to want to play, and they do."

Before Friday, the teams had split the last six meetings with an average margin of eight points. Ellis missed senior lineman Nick Gehring, a three-year starter, who suffered a concussion last week.

The Railers finished 3-6, the worst record since 2003.

"We were young coming in, and we had some injuries and our kids fought throughout the season," Hayes said. "I am proud of them for doing that. It didn't go the way we wanted it to go, but these kids, they worked, they did what we said, they played hard. It's unfortunate how it ended, but those kids have a lot to be proud of."

On the game's second play, senior Key Keller picked off a pass and returned it 34 yards to the Ellis four-yard line. Two plays later, Herl scored from two yards out.

"We just had some mental breakdowns," Hayes said. "In a game like this, you can't have those."

On the next drive, Ellis had a bad snap on the punt, Oakley took over at the Railer 19 and Herl scored from 3 yards out. On the first play of the next drive, Ellis senior Landon Younger mishandled a pitch and Oakley recovered.

Four plays later, Keller scored from four yards for a 22-0 lead with 6 minutes, 26 seconds left in the first quarter. Oakley led 37-0 at the break and had the running clock for most of the second half.

Keller collected 13 rushes on 106 yards and three TDs, while Herl rushed 10 times for 77 yards and two scores and threw a 15-yard TD pass. Senior fullback Oscar Macias rushed 14 times for 62 yards. Oakley often gained big yards on dives up the middle.

"We haven't done that as much this year, but we thought against what they did, that was an opportunity for us," Rath said. "I know they were worried more about us running off tackle."

The defense, without two starters, did the rest. Three weeks ago, sophomore linebacker Colter Stoll broke his leg and is done for the year.

"Two weeks ago, when we played Oberlin, it really showed up," Rath said. "I thought tonight, our kids did a better job."

In Week 3, Oakley lost 14-6 to Class 3A powerhouse Phillipsburg and junior Sam Gallagher suffered a season-ending labrum injury. Rains moved to defensive end and Hayden went to defensive tackle. Hayden had played his freshman year, but sat out last fall.

"I had some other things that I had to solve in my life," Hayden said.

The team maintained contact with Hayden and knew he had potential. He returned for 2013 and wore a big smile after Friday's win. Hayden helped hold Ellis to 5 of 15 passing for 38 yards and just 11 rushing yards.

"It's been a really good experience, and it made me really happy that I came out this year and worked really hard," Hayden said. "...I love playing football, going hard, hitting people. It's all so fun."

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