Return engagement

PrepsKC staff

By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: November 27, 2015 - 1:14 AM

Before the season began, Bishop Miege was expected to be back in the Class 4A-I championship game, defending its 2014 title.

After a week three scare in losing to Blue Valley -- which is representing the east in the Class 6A championship -- the Stags rolled through the rest of the season, especially weeks five through 12.

Miege coach Jon Holmes was a little worried after the Blue Valley game because he didn’t know how his team would respond after a loss, since it went undefeated last season.

“I think it was good for us with who was next on our schedule in week four against St. Thomas Aquinas at home,” Holmes said. “It was the first time we played them at home in a couple of years, so our kids were motivated for that week. After that win, we got back on track.”

Holmes knows the Stags will get each team’s best shot week in and week out, and Saturday will be no different against Andover Central.

“Eudora last week went on an eight-and-half-minute, 16-play drive to start the game, and our offense comes out and scores in three plays and 35 seconds,” Holmes said. “I think our kids get focused and they understand what they want to accomplish, and that goes back to they all want to win the state title, and they know it’s going to take 13 perfect games to do that. We prep each week like we’re playing the best team in the state.”

Andover Central has three weapons on offense to match Miege’s quarterback Carter Putz, running back Dawson Downing and wide receiver Jafar Armstrong.

The Jaguars have Peyton Huslig at quarterback, Jordan Birch in the backfield and Darraja Parnell out wide.

Huslig has thrown for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, Birch has run for more than 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns, and Parnell has caught 49 passes for more than 1,300 yards and 21 TDs.

“They can turn a five-yard pass into a 60-yard touchdown run,” Holmes said. “Huslig is a good scrambler. He can get out of the pocket a little bit. Burch is a game changer.”

Andover Central coach Tom Audley said it could be an interesting game, as both teams have weapons, but knows it’s going to be a tough test as Miege has outscored its opponents on average by 46 points in weeks five through 12.

Both teams are in good health coming into the championship game. However, Andover Central did lose linebacker Thomas Graham in week six to a season-ending ACL tear.

Graham was one of the top tacklers in the state a season ago with 177. Before his season ended, he had 68.

It took a couple of weeks to find his replacement, but the Jaguars have found it in Dakota Rodd, who has 152 tackles.

Audley said he’s undersized like Graham.

“A senior that’s overproducing,” Audley said. “We’re getting every ounce of potential out of him.”

As cliché as it is, this game will be won in the trenches. Whoever controls the line of scrimmage should win the game.