5-minute guide to Week 6 HS football in Butler County

Charles Chaney
Andover Central lined up against Valley Center in Week 5 of 2020.

There are only five games on the docket in the county this week, with one being on Monday night. It is wild to think we are in the home stretch of the football season, with only three games remaining in the regular season. Everyone is at home this week, too.

Circle has an intriguing game against Nickerson on Monday night. Both Andover schools are at home. Rose Hill and Augusta are also home, trying to pick up wins against opponents they should beat.

Winfield (1-4) at Augusta (1-4)

Someone is at least getting their second win of the season after this one is over.

Augusta has seen their better days and hope they are coming back around after being a preseason favorite to challenge for the league title. Injuries have helped derail a lot of that talk but this is still a talented football team as long as Ely Wilcox and Ryan Andrews suit up for the Orioles.

Last year, Winfield beat Augusta 25-7 in what was considered a bit of an upset by most in Winfield. This year, the revenge will be on the minds of the Orioles as they are trying to end a two-game losing streak to the Vikings.

Winfield is led by Ar’mon Acosta at running back. He has 410 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the season. Riley Yingling is the second leading rusher on the team and the quarterback. He’s averaging over 100 yards of total offense for the Vikings, providing another eyes to watch.

The Orioles throughout everything could slip into hosting another home playoff game if they end the season on a bit of a tear. Finish 3-5 or 4-4 and they will have a real shot at doing so.

Prediction: Augusta 28, Winfield 14

Nickerson (0-4) at Circle (0-3)

With both teams coming out of quarantine, they moved the game to Monday to suffice KSHSAA’s practice requirements and also get a game in. For Nickerson, they will only miss one game and for Circle they had to cancel two very winnable games against Winfeld and Mulvane.

A game is a game, though.

It’s going to be interesting to see if there is any rust for the Thunderbirds as their practice time has been limited and a lot of it has been done by zoom meetings during their mandated quarantine time.

Nickerson is coming off a game lost but their season hasn’t been fun if you are looking at the box scores. They have only scored 36 points through their four games, including being shut out by Halstead in Week 2, 36-0.

Circle has been close to picking up that first win this season. They have lost two games by a combined 10 points. They appear to being right there in getting that first win. If you can get the first, the others come a bit easier.

Prediction: Circle 18, Nickerson 14.

Mulvane (1-3) at Rose Hill (2-3)

What a week last week for the Rockets. Down 14 to Wellington, they battled back to beat the Crusaders on the road 28-20 and win their second straight game. They have a good chance at beating a third straight opponent.

Led by Spencer Nolan at running back, the senior has been able to power through opposing defenses and it is finally starting to pay as quarterback Bryson Evans was able to throw it with consistency against Wellington.

While Rose Hill is not a passing team, they showed they can do it if needed. Bryce Bischler caught a couple of touchdowns in the win.

A rivalry game can chance all of that as the records can be thrown out.

Mulvane is coming off a 25-20 win over Coffeyville-Field Kindley. The Wildcats had scored only 14 points in their previous three games before their win over the Golden ’Nado.

In that win, Mulvane held Field Kindley to only 87 yards rushing and Kansas State commit Darrell Jones to 17 yards himself.

Quarterback Chase Dieker threw for 233 yards in the win, finding Ian Comer nine times. So, Rose Hill better get ready for an air assault, probably something like they saw against Clearwater.

Rose Hill is ready to reclaim that upper hand on their rivals. They have lost five straight to Mulvane, dating back to 2014. They have dropped seven of their last eight since 2012.

Prediction: Rose Hill 35, Mulvane 7

Salina Central (1-4) at Andover Central (3-1)

Andover Central was knocked down to earth in their loss to Valley Center in Week 5. Maybe that will re-light a fire that had been burning throughout the previous weeks We’ll find out as they host Salina Central in a big AVCTL-II match up.

Last week’s game had the same feeling it did when Central lost to Maize South last year. That was also a game the Jaguars should have won. They responded, coming home and dismantling Great Bend 41-7.

Salina Central doesn’t want that to happen as they are coming off their first win of the season, beating Arkansas City 33-27 last week.

They did it by running the ball. They had been averaging 38 passes per game their first four games and all resulted with the loss. Instead, they changed things up against Ark City, only throwing it 10 times and trusting their running game.

It worked.

Salina Central ran for 351 yards and had two 130-yard rushers in the win. Parker Kavanaugh only went 6-of-10 for 66 yards in the win. They were more efficient on third down and helped control the pace of the game, giving them a cushion for most of the game into the double digits.

Sophomore Kenyon McMillian and junior Micah Moore each ran for over 130 yards and really pounded away at the Bulldog defense all night.

McMillian has been a shining star that is inconsistently used for Salina Central. He ran for 74 yards, including a touchdown in that loss. However, he was only given six carries in the next game. He had nine total in the first two games. All of his carries against Andover came in the second half, including the lone touchdown of the game.

Prediction: Andover Central 31, Salina Central 24.

Valley Central (3-2) at Andover (3-2)

Last time it felt as if Andover had picked up that “signature” win, they failed to produce another one the following week.

They get another chance against Valley Center.

After beating Hutch 14-7 last week and really showing how good Andover could be, they get another chance to beat a team that is rolling right now as Valley Center has won three in a row after an 0-2 start.

Andover’s defense dictates everything within the game for the opponent. They showed it by holding one of the state’s best rushers in Ethan McCuan to only 134 yards rushing. He had hit 200 each of the previous two weeks.

On offense, if Brady Strausz starts showing consistency in his passing game, the Trojans are going to be a scary bunch heading into the Class 5A playoffs. Only a sophomore, he is a quiet leader who has gained the respect of his teammates and it shows as he’s improved almost every week.

Max Middleton, the leading rusher for the Trojans is a workhorse, carrying in 30 times in the win over Hutch. They will lean on him again as Valley Center’s rushing defense is not the best in the state.

Valley Center gave up 239 yards rushing to Andover Central last week and have allowed at least 100 yards rushing to every opponent except Salina Central, who threw it 44 times.

Valley Center doesn’t care about those rushing yards, they only care about the win. They are winning, close, ugly games and because of that, they have won three in a row and are shooting up the Class 5A West standings.

It is not a coincidence Valley Center dropped their first two games of the season without senior running back Dom Phillips. In his three games back with the team, Phillips has rushed for 420 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior Kaleb Harden leads the Hornets at quarterback. He's thrown for 739 yards (174.8 per game) and nine touchdowns.

Prediction: Andover 14, Valley Center 8