Conor Nicholl and Chet Kuplen highlight some impressive performances across the state class-by-class after week eight of the 2018 football season. This update is presented by Nex-Tech Wireless, American Implement, Craw-Kan Telephone, Rainbow Communications, Rack Performance, Labette Bank, Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference & Eddy's Toyota of Wichita
View: Final District Standings From Kpreps
Derby held off Maize, 35-21, in the Panthers’ closest game this fall. The Panthers held Maize with a goal line stand late to keep the 14-point margin. The defensive stop allowed Derby to edge Lawrence Free State for the No. 1 seed in Class 6A West in a points tiebreaker.
Maize, even with its great defense, had some questions on whether it could play with the Panthers. Maize bettered Class 5A’s Bishop Carroll’s performance against Derby (24-6 loss). The Eagles remain a top-five 5A squad and will likely compete with Wichita Northwest, Carroll and Great Bend for the state championship spot in 5A West. Derby running back Tre Washington had 35 rushes for 291 yards and two scores.
Olathe North’s Daymon Sanchez finished with 15 carries for 269 yards and four scores, along with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He has tallied five touchdowns in each of the last two weeks. ON defeated Olathe Northwest, 63-42.
Shawnee Mission South defeated Shawnee Mission Northwest, 49-41, and became the program’s first team to win six games since 1989. Jack Roberts was big as he finished with 282 rushing yards, four rushing scores, including a 78-yard rushing score. He passed for 103 yards with a score.
After a 2-3 start, Dodge City has won three in a row and finished second in the WAC (3-1). The Red Demons had a big comeback versus Hays High (34-33), won the Hatchet Game versus rival Garden City, 27-7, and then beat Liberal, 31-6. DC earned a playoff home game versus Junction City with the winning streak. Quarterback Beau Foster accounted for three scores as DC scored 31 straight points.
Lawrence Free State held off rival Lawrence, 28-13 despite injuries. Free State senior Jaxson Webb, the backup quarterback, had to take over for starting quarterback Malik Berry. He suffered injury on the first possession of the second half. Berry did return later in the contest and a late interception, but Webb scored a key touchdown for a 21-6 lead.
Additionally, Free State junior left tackle Turner Corcoran, with many high-level Division I offers, missed the game because of injury. For Lawrence, Tre’ Jackson had a solid game with 11 of 21 passing for 187 yards, including six receptions for 145 yards for Chris McGee. Free State (8-0) will be the No. 2 seed in 6A West.
Mill Valley’s Cameron Young, who has battled injuries this year, finished with 15 carries for 150 yards and four touchdowns with a 56-7 win versus Blue Valley Southwest. MV, 5-3 and winners of three straight, again enters the postseason in position for a deep playoff run.
Maize South won its fifth straight contest. Mason Edwards rushed for 222 yards and three touchdowns on his birthday. Corey Minks had 103 receiving yards with a pair of touchdowns, plus a rushing score. Andrew Bliss finished with 102 rushing yards and a score. Ethan Wiens tallied a 42-yard field goal and seven extra points. Maize South defeated Wichita North, 59-22.
Emporia earned a close win with a 23-20 victory against Junction City in Centennial League play. The Spartans trailed 20-8 against JC. Emporia had lost contests by four, three and one point this year. Emporia (4-4) is in the middle of the Class 5A and gets Wichita Heights at home this week with the winner likely seeing Wichita Northwest.
Great Bend posted an undefeated WAC season with a 49-6 win versus Garden City. GB clinched its first share of a conference title since 2011, first outright title since ’08 and first undefeated conference crown since ’07, according to Kansas Football History archives.
After its loss to Maize last week, Salina Central defeated Hays High, 43-20. SC’s Taylon Peters had 20 carries for 165 yards, and Jackson Kavanagh completed 13 of 17 passes for 212 yards and four scores.
Kapaun-Mt. Carmel defeated Wichita Heights, 33-7. The Crusaders, in one of the most challenging 5A schedules, allowed just 119 points in the regular season, fourth-best in the classification.
Pittsburg’s standout Dylan White had three touchdowns, two receiving and one on a long punt return, with more than 170 all-purpose yards in the first half. Dylan Jordan finished with an interception, 60-yard rushing score, a strip sack and fumble recovery. Pittsburg defeated De Soto, 49-35, in a matchup of teams that entered with just one loss.
Buhler quarterback Colton Goans delivered 151 rushing and 78 passing yards with a score. The Crusaders defeated Winfield, 28-21. Despite zero offensive starters returning, the Crusaders posted a 4-4 regular season with two losses by a combined 18 points.
In 4A West, Mulvane edged Wellington, 14-13. Both teams ended the regular season at 6-2. Mulvane stopped Wellington twice in the red zone and kept the Crusaders from picking up a key late first down. Tab Creekmore tossed a pair of touchdown passes in the first half.
No. 5 Louisburg held off No. 3 Paola, 25-7, to win the Frontier League title. Both teams entered the game undefeated, and Louisburg will be the top seed and have home field advantage in Class 4A East. Louisburg led 19-0 late in the first half on a neat play on an 8-yard throwback pass from Blue Caplinger to Madden Rutherford.
Caplinger had played quarterback for many years before he switched positions last year as Rutherford took over under center. A team captain, Caplinger’s unselfish move has helped the Wildcats post a 14-3 record in the last two seasons. Caplinger also caught a touchdown pass for the game’s first TD.
Riley County bounced back from its 23-21 loss last week to Southeast of Saline after it led 21-0 at halftime. Quarterback Garrett Harmison had four passing scores and rushed for a pair of touchdowns. RC won 48-0 at St. Marys.
Galena capped an undefeated regular season with a 52-14 win in a high-profile matchup against Parsons and clinched District 1. Galena is a very dangerous team with the backfield of J.C. Shelton, Kooper Lawson and Nick Sarwinski. They did lose Joseph Helton earlier to an injury but the Dogs will be a force to watch. Wideout Blake Booth is also a solid option in the receiving game. The Bulldogs are physical and have one of the best offensive lines in the class.
Hugoton defeated Holcomb, 14-7. Hugoton, 4-4 overall under first-year coach Nick O’Loughlin, went 4-1 in districts and earned the District 7 runner-up behind Pratt. The Eagles had lost four in a row and six of seven versus Holcomb. Hugoton knocked Holcomb out of the top-four in districts. Holcomb will not qualify a year after it won the Class 4A, Division II title, and then suffered heavy graduation losses.
In a minor upset, Halstead defeated Chapman, 30-22, in overtime. The Dragons are 5-3, while Chapman stand at 6-2 in District 5. Smoky Valley won District 5, while Chapman, Hesston and Halstead were all 3-2 in district play. Chapman did earn the No. 2 seed, while Hesston was third, and Halstead fourth. David Schulte, a great special teams player and lineman for Halstead, delivered a key field goal block to force overtime.
In a marquee matchup of top-five teams, Hutchinson Trinity held off Chaparral, 26-22. The Celtics’ great defense limited the Roadrunners to just under half their season average.
Neodesha’s Toby Curtis finished with eight catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns, along with a 98-yard fumble return for a score and helped lead an upset. The Blue Streaks won its first game of the year with a 35-20 win against Fredonia. The Yellow Jackets had entered the game 5-2.
Cimarron’s Tate Seabolt had been banged up and limited recently but churned out 263 rushing yards and three scores with a 56-0 win against Ellinwood. The Bluejays have captured seven straight wins.
Maur Hill beat Nemaha Central, 27-25. NC scored with 1:27 left in the contest but missed the two-point conversion. MH had scored with 2:33 remaining to take a 27-19 advantage. The 7-1 Ravens have only a close loss to Jackson Heights this fall. MH had lost four straight to Nemaha Central from ’06-09 before not playing the Thunder before this meeting.
Douglass continued its best season in more than a decade behind the great running of Zach Dressler. He recorded 20 carries for 220 yard and six scores. Douglass beat Belle Plaine, 65-14 and moved to 7-1. Since ’04, Douglass had not posted a single winning season and had been 5-5 twice, in 2011 and ’13. Douglass captured District 5.
Olpe held off Hillsboro, 28-6, and won the District 2 title in the first ever matchup between the schools. The Eagles are the only 8-0 school in 1A (Elkhart is 7-0 with a bye) and permitted just 44 points in the regular season, best in 1A.
Smith Center, Ell-Saline
Smith Center battled with Ell-Saline in a matchup of top 1A squads. The Redmen scored on a 1-yard run with 25 seconds left to win 15-8. The Cardinals had stopped Smith Center on downs inside the 10-yard line and led 8-7 with under four minutes remaining in the game.
This game probably says more about E-S than it does SC, currently ranked No. 1 in 1A. Ell-Saline had suffered big shutouts the last three years to Smith Center, including last fall, when the teams were both undefeated entering a Week 9 matchup. Ell-Saline has beaten high-flying Sedgwick, lost 8-6 to Hutchinson Trinity and played SC tough.
Class 1A on both sides appears very close with Olpe, Jackson Heights, Centralia, Colgan, Troy battling in tight matchups in the regular season, and SC, E-S, Plainville and Elkhart leading the west. SC needed a second-half comeback to beat Plainville, 21-10, a month ago.
In District 7, Sedgwick defeated Inman, 49-14, and captured its ninth straight undefeated district title. From 2011-18, Sedgwick is 28-0 in district contests. Sedgwick moved to 11-0 against the Teutons since 2004. The Cardinals’ home field was under water in the last 10 days because of heavy flooding. Inman entered the game 5-2 after five combined wins in the last four years. Running back Colton Smith rushed for 217 yards and two TDs.
Pleasanton defeated Yates Center, 44-13, and moved to 7-1. The Blu-Jays have upped their win total in each of the last four seasons and have posted their most victories since an 8-3 mark in 2008.
Eight-Man, Division I
Ness City upset No. 2 Hodgeman County, 28-26, in a home game. The Eagles had two early turnovers and trailed 20-0 in the second quarter. Then, NC opened up the passing game and tallied 22 straight points over the last part of the first half and early part of the third quarter. However, Hodgeman County fought back and took a 26-22 lead on a seven-yard run from Eli Salmans. Then, Ness City scored on a 33-yard pass from John Pfannenstiel to Easton Seib.
HC drove all the way to the Ness City 5-yard line and faced 4th-and-1. NC had to play part of the final drive without standout defensive end Andres Rios (knee). Still, the Eagles stopped Longhorn sophomore quarterback Isaac Salmans after a measurement. NC earned a first down and ran out the clock. The game featured multiple huge individual showings.
Eli Salmans rushed 49 times for 270 yards and three rushing scores. Pfannenstiel had 176 passing yards with three passing scores and one rushing TD. Ness City outgained Hodgeman, 359-314.
St. Francis captured one of the state’s best rivalries, the Yoke Bowl, with a 58-8 win against Rawlins County. Last year, RC gave SF its only regular season defeat. That is the only regular season loss for the Indians in the last four years. St. Francis, under new coach Nick Fawcett, is a strong contender in Division I West, even more so after Hodgeman County’s first loss.
Entering the night, District 2 had South Central with the crown and four teams at 2-2. The pivot game was likely Caldwell/Medicine Lodge with the loser – despite at least a .500 season – not making the playoffs. Caldwell won 38-20 against ML’s high-octane offense. Udall and Caldwell took second and third with Argonia-Attica fourth. The top-five teams all finished 4-4 or better.
Kinsley earned its second win of the year with a 42-36 win against Kiowa County. KC opened 3-0 but has lost five straight. The Coyotes have its most wins since 2015.
The Indians made the playoffs for just the fourth time in school history under first year head coach Matt Fowler. While they just have one playoff win as a school, the Indians have seen a total turnaround in the first year under Fowler, going 6-2.
Eight-Man, Division II
Osborne defeated Thunder Ridge, 58-12 and won District 5 with its sixth consecutive win. The Bulldogs (7-1) rolled up big numbers against a TR defense that entered 5-2 and had permitted 23.2 points a contest. The game ended in the third quarter as the Bulldogs held a 16-6 lead after the first quarter and 42-12 at halftime. Senior Darnell Holloway rushed for 161 yards and four rushing scores and passed for 43 yards and a TD.
Darrien Holloway rushed for 106 yards and a TD. Kade Miller had a pick-six, while freshman Mason Schurr has emerged as another big option with 116 all-purpose yards and a TD. At the end of the regular season, Osborne, Otis-Bison, South Barber and Dighton (six straight victories) are playing at a high level and likely lead Division II west contenders.
Altoona Midway earned its first playoff birth in 26 years on Friday night with a win over Crest, 32-20. While the Jets have only won two games they won the right two games to get into the playoffs as a four seed. A step in the right direction for a program that has struggled in recent years to field enough players for a team. Nice to see this for the Jets.
Mankato-Rock Hills’ Zane Colson had 47 carries for 310 yards and four scores as the Grizzlies held off Beloit/St. John’s-Tipton, 34-12, for a quality District 4 clinching victory.
In a Friday afternoon contest, Weskan continued its fine year with a 92-46 win against Bird City-Cheylin. In its last three non-forfeit wins, Weskan tallied 75, 52 and 92 points. The Coyotes had opened 1-2 and, including a forfeit, is 4-0 since.