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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Chiefs hope to improve district position

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To crack No. 7 Westran's tough defense, the 'Cats may try using the air attack to get the ball to fleet receivers like junior Caleb Pemberton.
(Sarah Reed/Democrat-News)
ALMA -- For the first time this season, the Santa Fe football team has a chance to put together a three-game win streak Friday at St. Paul.

That doesn't mean head coach Andy Frerking was satisfied with the Chiefs' back-to-back I-70 Conference victories over Sweet Springs (54-27) and Orrick (35-22).

"In neither one of them did we execute very well," he admitted. "We did some things well, but there were holes in what we did."

Taking on the Saints, whose first loss of the season came last week at fifth-ranked Wellington-Napoleon (36-14), poses a greater challenge.

"Their kids play with a tremendous amount of effort," Frerking noted. "They play hard."

That's been especially true for St. Paul's offensive line, but is also the case with senior quarterback Jon Foster -- a dual threat with his feet and arm.

"He's a good runner and his accuracy in the passing game has improved," Frerking said. "He's throwing to some pretty good receivers."

One of them is sophomore Peter Lemmons, who caught 12 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown against the tough Tigers.

While Santa Fe (4-3, 3-3 I-70) has won four of its last five meetings with the Saints, its offense has typically been held down -- averaging only 11.5 points per game over the last six years, including a 10-0 decision in 2011.

"We've seen different looks from them every year," Frerking said. "We don't know how they're going to play us until the first series."

The Chiefs are in the position of being able to add bonus points in Class 1, District 4 by playing up the next two weeks: St. Paul (6-1, 5-1) are a Class 2 foe and Van Horn is in Class 4.

"We have more opportunity for improvement" than other district rivals, Frerking said, "but we don't play anybody in our district."

In fact, there remains only one more head-to-head meeting between district foes, so despite trailing fifth seed Concordia -- which plays sixth seed Crest Ridge this week -- by only 1.9 points, having already lost to the two teams ahead of them makes advancement problematic for the No. 7 Chiefs. There's an appeal process based on head-to-head results, and Santa Fe has lost to both the Orioles and Cougars.

"We need to win," Frerking stated flatly. "We're looking for victories right now."

Westran at Slater

SLATER -- A seesaw contest for Slater last week went south when Paris recovered an onside kick to begin the second half, turning it into a touchdown for what would be a 34-26 Lewis and Clark Conference victory.

"We didn't recover from that," confessed Wildcats head coach Chris Ferri. "We made some really bad mistakes."

The Purple closes the regular season with two home games, but neither will be easy -- especially Friday's tilt against seventh-ranked Westran, coming off a 33-27 upset of then-No. 2 Salisbury.

"They're a big, physical, fast and athletic team," Ferri said, none more so than 6-foot-4 sophomore quarterback Zane Jacoby. "They spread you out and he can throw the ball."

Jacoby has completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 738 yards and 15 touchdowns, also leads the Hornets (6-1, 22-1 L&C) with 1,170 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.

"We're going to have to stay in our lanes," Ferri said. "We can't let him have any big runs."

Westran is also strong on defense, with three shutouts this season.

"We're going to have to open the passing game a little bit," Ferri predicted. "It's going to be hard to run any of our counters with the type of penetration they have."

The Wildcats (1-6, 0-3) have dropped three straight, but remain the sixth seed in the Class 1, District 6 standings -- and could remain there even without another win. However, Ferri isn't banking on that.

"We think we can win if we just execute," he asserted. "We haven't done that yet."

Sweet Springs at Lone Jack

SWEET SPRINGS -- Sweet Springs head coach Mel Baker felt his team had a chance to move out of the Class 1, District 4 basement heading into last week's I-70 Conference contest against Crest Ridge.

The Greyhounds' 48-18 loss was therefore a disappointment, especially since much of the damage was self-inflicted. After turning the ball over six times against the Cougars, five on interceptions, Sweet Springs' approach Friday at Lone Jack may be different.

"We'll probably not throw as much to start with," Baker conceded. "We'll try to get into a flow."

The 'Hounds (2-5, 1-4 I-70) put the ball in the air 26 times last week, so diversity may be the answer. Still, they have rushed for 204 yards this season, averaging a mere 1.9 yards per attempt.

"We need to work on blocking," Baker said.

Baker expects the Mules (2-5, 1-5) to pressure the pocket, so "we're throwing in some other stuff" than spread-option.

"They're going to blitz us on every down, send linebackers on every play," Baker said. "We'll have to work on that again."

Lone Jack saw its starting quarterback, sophomore Nick Kirk, shaken up last week during a 51-6 loss to Concordia. However, junior Jake Hopper -- who leads the team with 483 rushing yards -- is a capable replacement.

"He's pretty strong," Baker observed. "He can take over pretty well."

In order to move up out of the eighth seed, and avoid a first-round meeting with second-ranked Tipton in the district tournament, the 'Hounds will probably have to win out -- and hope Santa Fe stumbles badly.

"That would be good," Baker mused. "It could happen."

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