We highlight some impressive performances across the state class-by-class after week ten 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
The League that has taken a backseat to the EKL recently hasn’t so far in 2018. Sure there are a lot more Sunflower teams in 6A than any other league but this league has shined in 2018. Five Sunflower teams remain (four in 6A) as Gardner Edgerton, SM East, Olathe North, and Free State won in 6A Friday. Olathe West remains alive in 5A, which is a brand new varsity program in 2018.
North has flexed its muscle over the last several weeks after a rough start in 2018 and dominated SM South 56-21 on Friday night. Let’s keep in mind that they lost a vey talented load of seniors of a 2017 state title team. Cameron Burt has been one of the top receivers in the state this year and SIK Player of the Year candidate Graham Mertz is as good as expected. Amauri Pesek-Hickson has been a nice addition as a brand-new football player and gets it done out of the backfield and as a receiver, he also picked up a Michigan offer recently. Just like one year ago, North is peaking at the right time. Major contender.
The Trojans who almost lost in a huge upset last week, didn’t let that happen this week in the 56-21 blowout of rival Washburn Rural. Jacquez Barksdale, Ky Thomas and Davonshai Harden had huge nights and combined for over 500 yards rushing. Topeka is a very dangerous team but will need their best effort next week to have any shot with a dominating Derby team.
Gardner was 0-9 last year and in comes first year head coach Ryan Cornelsen and the team is 10-0. Sure they've moved leagues and avoiced the Miege, Aquinas, Mill Valley's of the world who caused them fits in the EKL, but a lot of credit needs to be given to this team on their turnaround. It's no secret they like to run the football with 383 yards rushing per game and they're led by a three headed monster backfield. Jacob Hunsperger, Teven McKelvey, and Luke Jennings all have over 900 yards rushing a piece. The three have combined for 39 touchdowns in nine weeks. Gardner offensive line has paved the way for 3,451 rushing yards this season. Davontae Pritchard and Darin Robertson have combined for 122 tackles to lead the Blazer defense.
In its first year of varsity football, the West Owls are in the state quarterfinals with only eight teams remaining in 5A. They also have a legitimate shot to win again this week against De Soto squad. The Owls, under head coach T.J. O’Neill, won 49-18 over Schlagle on Friday. Regardless of what happens, this squad will be remembered forever in Olathe West history. What a storyline of 2018.
Eagles continue to dominate and have been one of the most impressive 5A teams. Despite their loss to Derby, they’ve been nearly perfect on both sides of the ball. Caleb Grill is having a player of the year type of season in the classification while Noah Stanton has had that type of year defensively. Caden Cox, Prevon Christian and Jordon Helm are all huge offensive weapons. Hope you like offense this week as the Eagles will take on Great Bend who also features one of the best quarterbacks in Kansas in Koy Brack.
Great Bend offense proved to be too much for legit Kapaun defense as the Panthers won 31-7 to capture the 5A regional championship. Koy Brack, Gage Fritz, Alex Schremmer, Dalton Miller are all big weapons for the Great Bend offense. The defense is led by Miller, Blake Penka and Pablo Martinez. Erin Beck has done an outstanding job since taking the Great Bend job and are one of the most exciting teams to watch in 5A.
The Wildcats continue to shine in 2018 and may be the most surprising undefeated team in 4A this season. They won’t be favored in this week’s matchup with Miege but it’s the playoffs and the way the Wildcats are playing, maybe they have an opportunity go hang around with one of the best teams in Kansas. Madden Rutherford and Austin Moore have been huge offensively for the Wildcats, but give a lot of credit to the defense as well as they shut out Piper, 48-0, on Friday night. Expect a huge atmosphere in Louisburg on Friday!
The Bobcats continued their nice season as they handed Fort Scott a 31-14 loss on Friday night at home. Dylan Mussett has been big all year for BL and has over 1,900 yards passing on the season. They also get it done on the ground and had over 200 yards rushing on Friday night.
Fort Scott longtime coach Bob Campbell has been a highly successful coach in the 4A and 5A ranks for Fort Scott over the years in two stints. Campbell finished his career Friday with an impressive 186-63 record in 23 years as the head man. He also coached his final game with his son, Matt, being the Tiger QB. Campbell won state titles in 1996 and 2000 in 4A, two undefeated seasons, and arguably two of the best teams ever in 4A. What a career for the class act coach that is Uniontown and Pitt State alum.
Ark City continues to climb through the 4A playoffs despite being a 13 seed entering playoffs with a 2-6 record. The Bulldogs knocked off Coffeyville on the road 28-6 on Friday night. Cevin Clark is one of the top multiple sport athletes in the state. Isaac Abrams also had a nice night with two scores in the game for Ark City. Throw the records out, its playoff time. Ark City gets McPherson this week where they will be a major underdog on the road, but the Bulldogs have a lot to be proud of.
Wellington moves into the sectionals (quarterfinals) for the first time since 2004. What a turnaround for Zane Aguilar who is 8-2 entering the sectionals when just two years ago they were 0-9. Wellington knocked off Buhler 14-7. DeAndre Washington has had a breakout year at receiver this season and the play of quarterback Michael Ledbetter has also impressed. Congrats to Wellington football on getting back to being talked about again, it’s been quite some time with a program with so much success in its history.
After being hit heavy by graduation, not many had Marysville being a real contender or a favorite against Hayden. Well they continue to prove everyone wrong as they dominated Hayden, 36-14 on Friday night. Brandon Schroedl has stepped up huge in his first year as the starter for the Bulldogs. Jacob Backus is having another breakout year. They get Galena on Friday in a rematch of the 2009 sub-state championship game, also played in Marysville. Marysville would go on to be state runner-up that season. Dustin Heurer is an outstanding football coach and has put the program back on the map.
The most unlikely team to be in the quarterfinals in Kansas may be the Vikings, who finished 1-8 last season. Sure, the schedule isn’t what it used to be when the Vikings were in 4A or the SEK league, but we have to give a ton of credit for the turnaround in the first year of Kurt Friess. Gage Friess is having a breakout year at the quarterback position and Daquan Johnson is one of the best multiple sport athletes in Kansas. Parsons got a few lineman back this past week in helping them pave the way for a 38-23 victory over Prairie View on the road on Friday. Friess had four td passes in the game, three to Johnson. Johnson also threw a touchdown pass. This team is likely the fastest in 3A and has battled through multiple injuries. Parsons in the quarterfinals for the first time in 42 years. Marvel Park will be rocking on Friday with Sabetha coming to town.
The Vikings are into the round of eight for the ninth time in school history with their 22-14 win over Hesston on Friday. Tim Lambert is one of the fastest players in Kansas and had over 100 yards rushing on Friday. Kord Elliott also had a huge night with over 200 yards rushing in the contest. It marked the second time they defeated Hesston this season. They get a CKL matchup with undefeated Pratt this week as they look to make it to sub-state for the first time since 1991.
3A West is 40-0
The four remaining teams in 3A West Bracket are 40-0 and whoever is the state representative on this side will have had to truly earn it. What a year of loaded teams and that’s not even included who is already out. Smoky Valley, Pratt, Andale, Scott City are all major contenders but only two will advance to the sub-state championship and one to the title game.
The Cubs improved to 10-0 on the season as they defeated Osage City, 30-6, on Friday night in Humboldt. Connor Haviland has been one of the top players in 2A this season and is an exciting playmaker that can take it to the house at any team. The win shows the Cubs are for real and will have a huge matchup this Friday against Rossville on the road. This is the fifth time Humboldt has made the quarterfinals, they’ve never made a sub-state, so a win would put them at the best season in school history.
Trinity continues its nice season with a 9-1 record as they defeated Garden Plain, 16-7, for the second time this season. Trinity is in the quarterfinals for just the fifth time in school history. They are 1-3 all-time in the quarterfinals, with last win coming 1979 when they won state. Kaleb Hammeke and Aaron Guererro have had outstanding years for the Celtics. Huge matchup this week versus Hoisington.
Three of the four teams on the East 2A bracket are in the same league. Riley County got an impressive win over SE of Saline, 33-14, one they dropped in a heartbreaking comeback earlier this season Silver Lake cruised to a 63-12 victory and Rossville knocked off Maur Hill 21-14. It’s no surprise that this league is flexing its muscles in this new class 2A as Silver Lake and Rossville have dominated.
It took a game winning field goal with seconds remaining by Tanner Copeland to defeat Ell-Saline, 31-28, in an outstanding game Friday night in Plainville. Plainville, who plays in the battle-tested MCL, gets Elkhart this week and will have to slow down Lane Whisennand, Elian Prieto and Javier Gomez. Plainville is led by junior quarterback Jordan Finnesy and junior linebacker Jared Casey.
Shelby Hoppes has done an outstanding job in turning around the Eagles. Landon Everett has had a huge year out of the backfield. He had six touchdowns in the 74-26 dominating win over Burlingame on Friday. This team could have a bright future with zero seniors on the team. Canton Galva is in the the round of eight for the seventh time in school history. The school has two state runner-up finishes in 1979 and 1991.
Albertini of St. Paul has rushed for 2,149 yards this season and 60 total touchdowns. Albertini, a quarterback that really is a running back, has eight passing touchdowns and 52 total touchdowns this season. His 52 touchdowns, once confirmed by the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, will be a new state record in 8-man for touchdowns in a season. The old record is 51 by Damon Schurr of Osborne in 2010. He is also one of the best return guys in the state and is only a junior. His brother, Anthony, was the 8M-I Sports in Kansas Defensive Player of the Year last fall. St. Paul is also in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year but this time in 8M-II for the first time. They get state power Hanover.
With just nine players out for 8-man football Dighton has had quite the season and beat Nothern Valley 52-6 on Friday night. It shows that it doesn’t matter how many players you have if you can put the right ones on the football field that play hard. Twin brothers, Blair and Dalton Hoffman, have been huge for the Hornets as well as David Cramer. Dighton gets a home game with Otis-Bison (8-1-1) this next week. When Dighton took runner-up just a few years ago they only had 13 players out for the team. It marks the fourth time in program history that Dighton is in the round of eight. Dighton has won seven in a row after a 1-2 start in 2018.
Otis-Bison knocked off Hutch Central Christian 66-52 on Friday night in a game that saw over 900 yards of offense. Anton Foust had over 290 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in the game for Otis-Bison.
The Eagles blasted Rock Hills, 80-30, on Friday night to move on to the round of eight. Quinn Buessing and Hunter Koch have had just of big of years as you can ask for Axtell. However Axtell went to the ground game of Buessing with over 200 yards rushing in the contest. Axtell gets Waverly this week.