Varsity Kansas

Collegiate offense finds its formation

When Collegiate coach Bill Messamore changed his offense from the spread to an I-formation, it was because it fit his team better.

"It's out of character, not only for me, but for (assistant) coach (Phil) Keys," Messamore said of his co-offensive coordinator.

Both are spread offense coaches. Messamore has run it at Collegiate, while Keys ran it at Mulvane.

"We did some soul-searching after the Rose Hill game," Messamore said of Collegiate's Sept. 9 loss that put the Spartans at 0-2. "This would be the best way to use our personnel."

Collegiate plays at Garden Plain in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs at 2 p.m. Saturday.

"We wanted to take some pressure off (quarterback) Markus (Phox)," Messamore said. "He is doing everything, having to make decisions, on the field for everything. The I-formation allows him to just hand it to somebody."

Phox, a dual threat, is still effective because he can keep the ball and run — or pass or hand it off to Isiah Franklin or Curtis Bent, who moved from the offensive line to fullback.

Phox has 929 rushing yards, 1,230 passing, and Franklin has 683 rushing.

Since Collegiate changed its offense, the Spartans have won eight straight by an average of 41 points. They opened the season by losing to Clearwater (23-7) and Rose Hill (34-12).

"We're playing like we thought we could play," Messamore said. "No one was more shocked than we were with how we were playing. We changed things around, and we're now playing as good a defense as we've played in years and years."

Needing some defense — McPherson has one of the state's top offensive players in quarterback Tyler Matthews, who has 2,455 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Then there's running back Austin O'Bannon, who has 1,203 rushing yards, and Jordan Hart has 1,279 receiving.

McPherson has scored 405 points, including more than 40 in a game seven times.

But McPherson has struggled to stop teams. It has allowed 20 or more points six times.

On Oct. 21, Emporia beat McPherson 66-63.

"We've been pretty consistent offensively, but inconsistent defensively," said McPherson coach Tom Young, whose team plays Kapaun Mount Carmel at 7 tonight at Cessna Stadium in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

"The thing that has given us problems is the option-style teams that you have to be disciplined in your assignments. That's bothered us a lot."

McPherson got back on track against Newton in the regular season finale, winning 49-21, but the Bullpups won't go far unless it can stop teams.

Kapaun has offensive threats in Luke Bean (924 rushing yards) and quarterback Nathan Degenhardt (576 rushing, 476 passing).

Historic win for Andale's O'Hair — In typical, self-deprecating fashion, Andale coach Gary O'Hair took an opportunity to talk about his 100th win at Andale that came in Tuesday's 42-7 Class 4A playoff-opening win over Clearwater... and took a shot at himself.

"What I can't help but think about is that I went 2-7 in my first year at Southwestern Heights," said O'Hair, an Elkhart native. "I think after four years I had like 17 wins."

O'Hair coached at Southwestern Heights from 1991 to 2001 before coming to Andale, where he won 4A titles in 2006 and 2007. He's won a total of 170 games in his career.

"After Tuesday, there have been a few people that have come up and said some nice words to me," O'Hair said. "It's been a long time since I started coaching, and when you start you're never thinking about how many games you'll win or anything like that... it's the furthest thing from your mind."

Andale (5-5) travels to Rose Hill (9-1) on Saturday.

Who wants a dynasty? —All of last year's state champions have shots to repeat this year, but none are going for a third title in a row. Louisburg (Class 4A), Meade (Class 2-1A), Madison-Hamilton (8-Man I) and South Barber (8-Man II) all advanced to the second round on Tuesday.

Wichita Heights (Class 6A), Blue Valley-Stillwell (Class 5A) and Meade (Class 2-1A) all open today.

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