By CONOR NICHOLL and Chet Kuplen - Sports in Kansas
Send us stats and updates after game night to both Cnicholl1@gmail.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @sportsinkansas.
After months of uncertainty because of the coronavirus, the return of football brought joy throughout much of Kansas – and plenty of Impressions for the season-opening week. More than 30 teams didn’t play this week, though many of those are set to return later this month. That group includes the Wichita Public League teams, Blue Valley and Olathe Schools, Jackson Heights, Ellsworth and Central Plains. Specifically, many of the 5A and 6A schools did not play in Week 1.
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Lawrence, ranked third in 6A, rolled over Shawnee Heights, 53-0. Devin Neal, the state’s top recruit according to 247 Sports, a recruiting leader, rushed for a pair of touchdowns and caught a score. Neal has committed to KU.
Haysville-Campus’ Braelyn Jay delivered six touchdowns: four rushing, two passing. Campus, which won just one game last year, defeated Salina Central, 37-32.
Mill Valley, ranked No. 1 in 5A, defeated Derby, ranked No. 1 in 6A in a remarkable 45-14 victory. Both teams are defending state champions. The game ended Derby’s 26-game winning streak and marked the Panthers’ first regular season loss since a 50-20 defeat to Goddard in Week 2 of 2017.
Mill Valley coach Joel Applebee and Derby coach Brandon Clark have combined for more than 210 wins at their respective schools and are cousins and best friends. Each team had a significant number of returners, though Mill Valley built a 45-7 lead and had a running clock on Derby – a shocking event.
Mill Valley senior Cooper Marsh passed for 174 yards and rushed for 104.
Bishop Carroll, ranked No. 4 in Class 5A, opened its much-publicized extremely challenging schedule with a 29-28 win versus Junction City. Carroll held JC on a two-point conversion in the final seconds to win.
Maize South, just outside the top-5 in 5A, defeated Great Bend, 56-0. GB took massive graduation losses, while Maize South has a high number of returners, including quarterback Colin Shields (Division II offer) and linebacker Brandon Bowles. Shields improved to 17-2 as a starter and perfect in the regular season. Shields was 13 of 15 for 264 yards and four TDs. He rushed for 69 yards. Jake Johnson finished with seven catches for 125 yards and a pair of scores. Maize South has a strong offensive line with Alex Bonilla, among others. Evan Cantu and Hunter Niemann each cleared 100 rushing yards.
De Soto, ranked No. 5 in 5A, defeated Lawrence Free State, 42-34, behind double-digit tackles from Gavin Williams. It marked the first time FS lost its season opener since ’16. The game was the first ever between the schools.
Maize, just outside the top-5 in 5A, and running back Joshua Sanders, a transfer from Wichita Heights. Last season, Sanders rushed 159 times for 1,356 yards and 17 scores. He returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and delivered 19 carries for 100 yards and a pair of scores. Maize limited Andover to 1 of 13 on third downs and 0 of 6 on fourth downs and won 20-6.
In a Thursday night game, Hays High, with high expectations and four players with FBS offers in football/baseball, won at Goddard-Eisenhower, 19-10. The D1 players heavily contributed. QB Dylan Dreiling threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jaren Kanak. Defensively, DE Gaven Haselhorst had multiple tackles for loss, and Gavin Meyers picked off a pass that effectively sealed the victory.
In the first ever matchup between the schools, Kapaun Mt. Carmel defeated Dodge City, 42-0. KMC outgained the Red Demons, 467-95, according to DC broadcaster Sean Boston. Austin Ruda rushed 10 times for 108 yards and three scores. Dodge City was shutout for the first time since Sept. 15, 2017.
Tonganoxie defeated Basehor-Linwood, 62-28. The Chieftains, ranked fourth in 4A, received 325 rushing yards and five touchdowns from Tyler Bowden, a transfer from Lawrence Free State. Bowden cleared 1,800 rushing yards last year and broke several FS records. Tonganoxie quarterback Blake Poje completed 20 of 26 passes for 354 yards and four TDs. Branden Martin transferred from KC Piper after he led Kansas in tackles the past two years. Martin delivered 10 stops.
Goddard quarterback Kyler Semrad, a four-year player and three-year starter, missed most of last season with injury. Semrad returned and delivered a huge performance in a 35-20 win versus Buhler. Behind an offensive line that returns just one starter, Semrad threw for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns to Jake Shope. Since the start of 2019, Goddard is 5-6. However, when Semrad plays a full game, the Lions are 3-2 and have averaged 32 points a contest. When he hasn’t played, the Lions are 2-4 and have 11.8 points per game.
Eudora defeated Baldwin, 35-6 with 367 rushing yards behind seven rushers. Quarterback Zeke Reazin finished four of five for three touchdowns.
Chanute delivered a remarkable 16-14 win versus Towanda-Circle when Jackson Coombs returned a 75-yard kickoff in the final seconds. Chanute is 10-2 since the start of ’19 and has won seven straight regular season contests.
Coffeyville Field Kindley started out the season with a 34-21 victory over Augusta as first year head coach Deonta Wade picked up his first career win. Senior Ethan Camp had 136 yards on the ground with 136 yards along with Aaron Rutherford, senior QB, who had 200 yards dpassing (2 TD) and 100 yards rushing. Senior Tariq Logan had 100 yards receiving while KSU commit Darrell Jones, a senior, had 100 yards receiving (TD) and 50 yards on the ground. Should be a very interesting matchup next week with Columbus who knocked off heavily touted Frontenac in week one.
Perry-Lecompton, ranked second and the defending state runner-up, opened with a 54-6 victory. P-L quarterback William Welch, one of the state’s few passers who cleared 2,000 yards last season, completed 9 of 11 for 264 yards with four touchdowns against no interceptions. His TD passes were 32, 52, 48 and 15 yards. Thad Metcalfe delivered 12 carries for 181 yards and three scores of 13, 61 and 33 yards.
Topeka Hayden, ranked No. 3, opened with a 47-7 victory against Emporia. Desmond Purnell accounted for four scores, three offensive and one defensive.
Holton, ranked fourth in 3A, defeated Nemaha Central, 15-13, on a game-winning 20-yard field goal from Matt Lierz on the contest’s final play. NC is ranked second in 2A and the defending 2A champion. The Thunder are 11-3 since the start of last year, though 0-2 versus Big Seven rival Holton.
In a highly unusual situation, Goodland coaches were quarantined. Cowboy athletic director Marty Lehman, a former college coach, stepped in and led the program along with junior high coaches who led practices during the week, pulling double duty. Goodland defeated Liberal, 43-32, in a game that was scheduled a few weeks ago. Goodland had a pair of Colorado teams to open the year, though Colorado then elected to move football for the spring. Goodland won its season opener for the first time since 2015, according to Cowboy broadcaster Ross Volkmer. Leyton Cure had 187 yards passing, 135 yards rushing with five total touchdowns. He was highlighted in the preseason on Faces in Kansas by Sports in Kansas.
Lakin Farmer enjoyed a strong year at quarterback and safety in ’19 and was one of the state’s top returning DBs. Farmer moved to running back on offense in Halstead’s ground-heavy attack. He cleared 250 rushing yards with four touchdowns, along with a pick-six. Halstead defeated Smoky Valley, 46-0.
Wichita Collegiate’s Wesley Fair rushed for four touchdowns. The Spartans defeated Mulvane, 56-0.
Chapman, expected to improve this year after a 2-7 season that yielded five losses by 14 points or fewer, opened with a quality 34-29 victory at Sabetha. Trevor Erickson, a dual threat quarterback with a Bethel College offer, returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, cleared 100 rushing and 100 passing and led the Irish in tackles. Chapman faces Holton, ranked fourth in 3A, this week. It marked the first time Chapman had ever played Sabetha. The Bluejays lost its season opener for the first time since ’15.
Southeast of Saline, ranked fifth in 3A, broke a 16-16 tie and scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat Minneapolis, 31-16. Sterling Harp recovered a key fumble that was forced by Matthew Rodriguez. SES returns virtually everyone and bumps from 2A to 3A. Southeast sophomore Michael Murray returned a kickoff 78 yards for a score. Jaxson Gebhardt delivered 123 yards of total offense and two TDs.
Hesston defeated an improved and experienced Haven squad, 34-12. A pair of quarterbacks combined for 27 of 41 passing for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Five players caught a pass.
Last year, Cheney advanced to the state semifinals, the best season in school annals. The Cardinals, flying under the radar in preseason, defeated Kingman, 38-14. Quincy Thomas delivered a 64-yard touchdown run, and Harrison Voth threw three touchdown passes.
Clearwater defeated Wellington, 36-29, in overtime. Standout Clearwater quarterback Tanner Cash rushed 25 times for 122 times, and completed 15 of 38 passes for 215 yards with two interceptions. Wellington fell behind 17-0 before a comeback.
Wichita Trinity won at Chaparral, 33-25. Trinity was 0-9 and scored 20 total points last fall. Trinity ended a 10-game losing streak. The Knights were 1-17 in the last two years.
Columbus and Frontenac were tied at the half 0-0 before Columbus went on to win 25-6 over the Raiders in a CNC league rivalry matchup at home on Friday. While the rosters may have been thin on Friday at certain positions for the Raiders, the Titans looked very solid out of the gate and could be a serious factor in 3A. Gabe Martin scored the first rushing touchdown for the Titans and doubles as one of the league’s best linebackers.. Jackson Haraughty was huge with a rushing touchdown and a pick six in the game to seal the win. The Raiders threw two costly interceptions in the game.
Girard, led by head coach Neal Philpot, picked up their first win of the season on Thursday as they knocked off the St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers, 20-12, in Pittsburg. Caden Lallamend and Connor Olivera were huge for the Trojans as Olivera caught two touchdown passes from Lallamend who also added another score with his legs. Gabe Davenport also had a huge interception for the Trojans. The Trojans scored the last 20 points unanswered after being down 12-0.
Holcomb opened up with a solid 29-19 victory over Cimarron on Friday night on the road. Longhorns have been 4-5 each of the last two seasons after winning the 2017 state title and have some key pieces back to be a force on the 3A west in a battle tested GWAC and district schedule. Kent Teeter has two state titles at Holcomb (2017, 2015). Huge matchup versus Scott City this week at home as the Beavers knocked off Ulysses at home on Friday night, 17-0.
In a marquee matchup, Rossville, No. 1 in 2A, faced Centralia, No. 1 in 1A and the defending 1A state champions. Last year, Centralia lost the season opener to Rossville, and then won 12 straight. This year, Rossville defeated Centralia, 42-6. Rossville quarterback Torrey Horak accounted for five touchdowns – three rushing, two passing.
Hoisington is ranked fifth in Class 2A. Hoisington coach Zach Baird won his 60th career game in his seventh year, according to Cardinal broadcaster Cole Reif. Hoisington has reached the state semifinals three of the last four seasons, including the past two. The Cardinals defeated Pratt, 34-13. Hoisington had to replace Wyatt Pedigo, Top 11 all classes and back-to-back 2,000-yard rushing seasons. Holt Hanzlick, hurt last year, delivered 12 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Morris accounted for a pair of rushing touchdowns and a receiving score. Hoisington led Pratt, 28-6, after three quarters.
Maur Hill’s Andrew Schwinn is one of the state’s top two-way players. He finished with 215 rushing yards and three touchdowns, along with 12 tackles, three for loss. Maur Hill defeated McLouth, 47-12.
Norton, just outside the top-5 in 2A and the defending state runner-up, delivered an excellent defensive effort in a 16-14 home win versus rival Smith Center, ranked second in Class 1A. Norton scored the game-winning points on a safety with just over five minutes to play when SC’s punt snap went out the back of the end zone.
The Bluejays limited Smith Center to just over 100 rushing yards. Norton defensive lineman Christien Hawks (KU commit) delivered a pair of tackles for loss, and Kolton Field (pass breakup), Gavin Sproul (forced fumble) and Aiden Wicker (fumble recovery) all delivered big plays. Jonah Ruder, with several Division II offers, stepped in at quarterback with more than 100 yards of total offense and two rushing touchdowns.
Smith Center senior wide receiver Griffin Kugler, featured this summer on Faces in Kansas, caught a pair of touchdown passes. He has 18 career TD receptions. The first one broke the record for SC career TD receptions. Kugler had the season mark from last fall.
Chase County sophomore quarterback Mitch Budke defeated Moundridge, 46-0. Budke had five touchdowns with two rushing, two passing and a pick-six. He also rushed for 133 yards and delivered 13 tackles.
Syracuse, in Jordan Irsik’s head coaching debut, defeated Sublette, 25-0. Freshman quarterback Jay Gould finished with 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and passed for a 25-yard score.
Ellis shutout Russell, 32-0, behind 126 rushing yards from Konnor Pfeifer and 232 passing by Tegan Cain, according to Russell Radio. It marked the first shutout victory for Ellis since Week 3 of 2017.
Garden Plain knocked off rival Conway Springs 14-13 on Friday night at home to start the season 1-0. Normally a district opponent but not for 2020 or 2021 as CS moved down to 1A. First career win at Garden Plain for Dan Adelhardt who came over from Kapaun. GP has Sterling this week on the road.
Republic County defeated Beloit, 30-14, behind 275-plus rushing yards and three touchdowns from Jared Baxa, according to RC broadcaster Jesy Strnad. RC last played Beloit in 2017 and lost 61-6. Republic County last beat Beloit in 1999. Baxa cleared 350 offensive yards with the three scores and also picked off a pass. He was 1A all state last year after he delivered 183 carries for 1,332 yards and 19 TDs. Baxa has flashed 4.39 speed in the 40-yard dash at time trials this summer at football camp. Baxa qualified for four events as a sophomore at 1A state track and placed in two events. He has played summer baseball in Manhattan.
The top three ranked teams in 1A football lost on Friday, however they played very good teams with Centralia going down to Rossville (42-6), Smith Center losing to Norton in a thriller (16-14) and Conway Springs losing a nailbiter (14-13) to league rival Garden Plain by one. In fact, Conway Springs lost its last two games by a combined three points dating back to last years 34-32 quarterfinal loss to Norton.
Oakley defeated TMP, 25-13, in a Mid-Continent League road game and won its first MCL contest since 2015. Ethan Abell rushed for three touchdowns, including a 75-yarder. He rushed 20 times for 227 yards. Abell also added 57 yards receiving.
Sedgwick defeated Sterling, 45-0. Junior quarterback Lance Hoffsommer finished 14 of 19 for 249 passing yards with a pair of touchdowns and 69 rushing yards in 2.5 quarters. Henry Burns (WR/FS) recorded three catches for 81 yards and a score, and made 10 tackles. It also marked the 100th career win for Jeff Werner at the program.
Valley Heights cruised to a 32-12 victory over Marysville on the road on Friday in a 1A vs 3A matchup. VH led 20-6 at the half. Mustangs are a serious contender this season in 1A.
Uniontown, led by second year head coach John Stark, is off to a 1-0 mark in 2020 after their 40-12 victory over last years TRL league champion Southeast-Cherokee. Eagles lost this game 34-12 last season. The program was 1-8 in 2018 after having a three-win improvement in Starks first year last season.
Eight-Man, Division I
Spearville defeated Bucklin, 34-22, behind 218 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Trace Tasset. Since the start of the ’19 season, Tasset has played in 10 games. He has averaged more than 10 yards a carry with 1,076 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. This marked the first time the Lancers played Bucklin since ’14.
Dominance at the top – the top-5 teams in Division I are Canton-Galva, Wichita County, Little River, Madison and Clifton-Clyde. All five delivered big wins, including a quality victories by WC versus a solid Hoxie team, and Madison against Lyon County rival Burlingame. C-G defeated Goessel, 54-0, and moved its winning streak to 14 contests. WC defeated Hoxie, 54-20. Little River rolled over Peabody-Burns, 50-0. Madison beat Burlingame, 48-24. C-C defeated Onaga, 62-18.
Canton-Galva sophomore quarterback Garrett Maltbie stepped in for Landon Everett, who graduated after he earned SIK Eight-Man, Division I Offensive Player of the Year honors. Maltbie went 8 of 9 passing for 135 yards and four touchdowns in a game that was called at halftime. Junior Tyson Struber, with KU and K-State offers and the reigning SIK 8-man I Defensive Player of the Year, delivered four catches for 101 yards and three TDs. He also picked off a pass, his 18th of his career, and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.
Eight-Man, Division II
Axtell, the defending state runner-up, is ranked third in Division II. The Eagles defeated Wheatland-Grinnell, 58-18. W-G is a top-10 Division II program. Sophomore Isaac Detweiler completed 22 of 29 passes for 296 yards and six touchdowns. Mitchell Buessing enjoyed a big performance with 11 catches for 224 yards and two TDs.
Victoria defeated La Crosse, 42-14, in the Leopards’ first-ever eight-man contest. Victoria junior linebacker Grant Schoenrock passed for 107 and rushed for 115. Three different players rushed for two touchdowns: Schoenrock, Jayvon Pruitt and Carson Werth. Victoria is ranked fifth in Division II.
Wilson’s Cooper Weinhold delivered six touchdowns in a 54-6 victory versus Southern Cloud. He delivered arguably the best play of Week 1. The quarterback was under pressure and nearly in the grasp of the defense. He spun around, heaved the ball in the air. It was caught by Weinhold for a touchdown.
In a double-overtime contest, Thunder Ridge held off Stockton, 20-14.
Dighton had just eight players suit out on Friday and won 38-18 over Sharon Springs-Wallace County at home. A few years back, if you remember, Dighton made it to the state semifinals with just nine players.
Bird City-Cheylin, the defending state runner-up to Moscow and the consensus preseason No. 1 team, delivered an emphatic statement with a 61-6 win versus perennial power and rival Golden Plains. GP was ranked No. 3 in six-man behind Cheylin and Moscow. Cheylin was expected to play Stratton (Colo.) this week. Stratton is one of Colorado’s top six-man programs.
However, Colorado has moved to the spring, and Cheylin might have two straight byes. Cheylin quarterback Colton McCarty, the reigning Sports in Kansas Six-Man Offensive Player of the Year, completed six of 12 passing for 302 yards. He also rushed six times for 118 yard and three TDs. Tyler Sabatka collected four catches for 205 yards and four scores.
Cunningham defeated Rolla, 44-26, and first on-the-field victory since 2012.
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