The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

November 9, 2013

Colgan returns home to face Wellsville in playoffs

St. Mary’s-Colgan played well enough to earn a 30-22 win on a rain-soaked field at Caney Valley on Tuesday. Still, the Panthers are pleased to be returning to their home turf at Hutchinson Field.

“We like playing here,” Colgan coach Chuck Smith said. “There’s no place like home. We like the turf. It’s suppose to be a beautiful day.”

The Panthers (8-2) will host the Wellsville Eagles (8-2) at 2 p.m. today in the second round of the Kansas Class 3A playoffs.

Wellsville is a four-game winning streak since falling 38-20 to Iola on Oct. 11.  The Eagles advanced in the playoffs by defeating Eureka 32-12 on Tuesday.

“They do everything well,” Smith said. “Their running back is fast, and he runs hard.”

Eagles junior running back Brett Osbern rushed for 1,026 yards and 14 touchdowns through nine regular season games.

“He’s a home run threat for us when he touches the ball,” Wellsville coach Brad Burkdoll said. “He’s had three or four touchdowns of more than 70 yards this year. All he needs is a little crease, and he can do some good things for us.”

Senior quarterback Shamus Kearney passed for 660 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season.

Wellsville runs multiple offensive sets, Burkdoll said.

“We have some fast players, and we try to get them in space as much as we can,” he said.

Smith said the two teams are extremely similar.

“They run the same kind of offense we do,” Smith said. “They’ll be one of the easiest teams to get ready for, because they do so many of the same things we do.”

The Panthers have won three consecutive games since falling in consecutive outings to Columbus and Galena.

Drew Dawson leads Colgan’s rushing attack with 922 yards and 17 touchdowns on 164 carries. He also has nine catches for 126 yards with two touchdowns and has been a threat in the return game.

“I think we got to tackle first and foremost,” Burkdoll said. “Their running back is very good. He’s very quick in space. We got to try and get 11 guys to contain him. He’s made a lot of big plays and we have to contain him.”

Colgan quarterback Luke Marquardt has passed for 962 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Christian Cedeno leads the Panther defense with 54 tackles. Nolan Higginbotham and Austin Commons have 53 and 51, respectively.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Burkdoll said. “I think it’s two pretty evenly matched teams. I think it could come down to big plays and special teams and which team doesn’t turn the ball over.”

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