By CONOR NICHOLL & Chet Kuplen - Sports in Kansas
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No. 5 Shawnee Mission Northwest beat Bishop Miege, No. 3 in 4A. Miege has won six straight state titles. SMNW won 27-24. SMNW quarterback Ty Black, an Air Force commit and likely the state’s best quarterback this season, enjoyed another huge game with 19 of 29 passing for 222 yards with two touchdowns against zero interceptions. He also rushed 19 times for 101 yards and a score. Junior Jack Meylan has five catches for 72 yards and two TDs. Ty Black and his dad, head coach Bo Black, have led a big turnaround for Northwest. SMNW is 12-4 in the last two years and has improved its winning percentage five straight years.
No. 3 Derby beat Maize South, 48-10, at home in the first ever matchup between the schools. Lem Wash and Dylan Edwards collectively delivered six rushing touchdowns.
Mikey Pauley recorded 15 of 25 passing for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also finished with 16 carries for 112 yards and three scores. Blue Valley Northwest beat Blue Valley West, 42-21. Blue Valley Northwest has enjoyed its much-publicized turnaround under Clint Rider and finished the regular season 4-1.
The top 6A East teams are: Olathe North (6-1), Shawnee Mission Northwest (5-1), Olathe East (5-1), Blue Valley Northwest (4-1) and Blue Valley (4-1). ON lost to Lawrence by one point two weeks ago, and the Sunflower League rivals could match up again in the state finals. SM Northwest, though, has been highly impressive.
On the West side: No. 1 Lawrence leads the classification at 7-0, while Junction City is 6-1, Wichita East 5-1, and Derby and Gardner-Edgerton both 4-2. Junction City has won six in a row since a one-point loss to Bishop Carroll to start the fall.
No. 4 Bishop Carroll defeated No. 5 St. Thomas Aquinas, 35-14. BC led 28-7 at halftime, and limited Aquinas standout running back Tank Young to 19 carries for 94 yards and a TD.
Hutchinson captured a wild 32-28 game versus Maize and won the AVCTL Division I championship. Six-foot-7 quarterback Myles Thompson, a transfer, reached over the goal line with six seconds left for the game-winning score. Hutchinson has won three games by a combined six points and another one by eight points. Hutchinson rushed for 343 yards.
Maize’s Josh Sanders continued his huge year with 16 carries for 138 yards and two scores. Hutchinson ran 71 plays for 415 yards, and Maize had 37 plays for 231 yards.
Hutchinson, 4-14 the last two years, improved to 7-1 this fall. Maize was the last 7-0 team in 5/6A football. Hutchinson running back Alec McCuan delivered 142 rushing yards.
Kapaun Mt. Carmel beat Hays High, 24-6, on the road at Lewis Field Stadium. Huge credit to new coach Weston Schartz and his coaching staff after KMC was 2-7 last week. The Crusaders finished 6-1 in the regular season. Kapaun’s offensive line has significantly improved and used a balanced effort. Kapaun had a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first half, and Cale Curtis delivered more than 100 all-purpose yards, including a kickoff return for a touchdown. Schartz has coached a couple of decades at City League schools. Kapaun, a Western Athletic Conference honorary member this season for football, unofficially won the WAC title.
Hays High senior defensive end Gaven Haselhorst continued to put up dominant numbers in the 24-6 home loss to Kapaun. He registered six tackles for loss, 26 for the season and has 48 in his career. Haselhorst also forced a fumble. He has committed to Kansas State and has probably been the state’s most dominant defensive player.
In the annual Mayor’s Cup, Salina South’s Jackson Hayes hauled in 11 catches for 132 yards and four touchdowns in the 34-28 victory versus Salina Central.
In 5A East, Topeka Seaman completed its big turnaround. Seaman and De Soto are both 7-1, though De Soto has taken a big loss to Mill Valley. No. 2-ranked Mill Valley (5-2) and fourth-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas (4-3) have been the annual representation on 5A West in the state title game for the last several years and have combined to win recent four state titles. Mill Valley, with a healthy Cooper Marsh at quarterback, has perhaps the highest ceiling of any 5A school.
The 5A West has been very strong throughout the fall, and the top-eight teams are all 4-2 or better. No. 1 Wichita Northwest is the lone undefeated squad at 6-0, though has played just City League teams. However, No. 9 Andover (5-3) might be a dark horse. The Trojans, under new coach Ken Dusenbury, have wins against Hutchinson (7-1) and Goddard (6-2). There are so many good teams on the 5A west and it will be a gauntlet to get to the state title game with Maize, Hutch, Goddard, Kapaun, Northwest, Carroll, Hays, Maize South etc.
Fort Scott was 1-8 last year in the first season under coach Bo Graham, a FS alum and key player on the 2000 state championship squad. This fall, Fort Scott posted a 6-0 regular season. Fort Scott shutout Coffeyville, 28-0. The Tigers captured the SEK league championship. Malachi Vann had over 200 yards rushing on Friday.
Rose Hill won its fifth straight game after an 0-3 start. RH beat Independence, 59-6. Bryce Bischler recorded 10 catches for 232 yards and three touchdowns. This has been a nice turnaround for head coach Lee Weber.
No. 2-ranked Tonganoxie beat Ottawa, 49-7. Senior quarterback Blake Poje completed 7 of 14 passes for 159 yards with two touchdowns against two interceptions. Senior Tyler Bowden, the state’s leading rusher, had 19 carries for 295 yards and five touchdowns. Bowden has cleared 2,000 rushing yards with 236 carries for 2,020 yards and 29 touchdowns.
In 4A East, No. 1-ranked Paola is the lone 8-0 team in 4/5/6A football. Fort Scott is the second seed at 6-0. Tonganoxie, with just a seven-point loss to Paola in a game that Poje missed, is 7-1. Six-time defending state champion Bishop Miege has played its normal high volume of 5/6A schools and stands at 2-4. St. James Academy is 3-4. SJA is the No. 9 seed, and Miege is the No. 10 seed.
4A West is wide-open, though McPherson (7-1) looks for its first state game appearance after losing in the sub-state title game each of the last three seasons. In addition to Rose Hill (5-3), Wellington (3-5) has an upset win versus Buhler, and then defeated Mulvane for the first time since ’05 on Friday. Wellington dealt with some key early season injuries, notably to standout lineman Kenny Fehrman.
Toughest brackets? Miege and Tongie looks like they could meet up in the third round. Paola and St. James could be a big-time second round matchup. This will be the narrowest gap we’ve seen to teams being close to potentially knocking of Miege this year as they’ve won the last six in 4A or 4A-I. Will this be the year they go out? Best teams with a shot to knock them off? We feel Tongie, Paola and St. James all fit that mold this year to potentially upset the Stags, yes it would still be an upset despite deceiving records. McPherson seems to have a path that sets up well for them to get to a semifinal but would have to get by potentially Buhler prior to that in the third round. The other part of the bracket it looks like it could be a lot of teams. Andover Central could be the favorite on paper out of that side to get to a semifinal once again.
Columbus completed an 8-0 regular season and won District 1 with a 5-0 record. Gabe Martin finished with 224 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. Columbus beat Caney Valley, 47-16. CV finished third in the district at 6-2, 3-2.
District 2 featured a wild slate. Burlington, under the single wing under coach John Petrie, finished 7-1, 4-1. Prairie View was second at 6-1, 3-1. Frontenac took third at 4-4, 3-1.
Pratt’s Devon Weber finished with 29 carries for 270 yards and three touchdowns. He also delivered an interception and returned a fumble 78 yards for a touchdown. Pratt beat Nickerson, 65-33.
Trevor Erickson enjoyed another huge performance for 3A Chapman. Erickson delivered 186 rushing, 114 passing and an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Erickson has four kickoff returns for scores in just six games. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Erickson has posted 4.55 speed in the 40-yard dash.
Concordia put up a big offensive performance. Senior quarterback Wyatt Trost finished 4 of 8 for 63 yards. He also rushed 21 times for 262 yards and five touchdowns, and caught a 21-yard pass. The offensive line finished with 574 total yards and six scores. Concordia defeated Chapman, 41-28. Concordia finished 5-3, 3-2.
Clearwater senior quarterback Tanner Cash completed 25 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns. He also recorded a pick-six. Senior Brock Toothaker finished with 11 catches for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Clearwater defeated Hesston, 42-25. Clearwater stands at 6-2, 3-2 and third place in District 7. Andale is 7-0, 4-0, while Wichita Collegiate stands at 7-1, 4-1. The top-five teams are all 4-4 or better.
The Johnson cousins delivered big games for Holcomb. Kolby Johnson finished with 150 rushing yards and a touchdown. Kaden Johnson threw for 216 yards and three scores. Holcomb held off Hugoton, 42-28. Holcomb finished as runner-up to Cheney in District 8.
Southeast of Saline dominated Scott City, 40-6, to capture District 6. SES is ranked first in 3A in scoring defense. The Trojans are 7-0, 4-0. Southeast of Saline has permitted just 40 points.
District Champions: Columbus, Burlington, Hayden, Holton, Riley County, SE Saline, Andale, Cheney
Who has the best path in our opinion? Unfortunately, Perry and Hayden are the two favorites on 3A East and likely meet up in round two due to win percentages and not playing all district games for teams in their district. We feel like Holton has a path that sets up very well for them to get to a semifinal. There will be a lot of great playoff games on the West of 3A. Andale is the favorite in the whole class but could see a number of different team as their potential opponents on the path to repeat. Will that be Cheney, Collegiate, Southeast of Saline to meet them in a sub-state title game?
Maur Hill completed an undefeated regular season. The Ravens won 28-14. A.J. Schwinn delivered 290 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Maur Hill defeated Riverside, 28-14. Maur Hill finishes first unbeaten regular season since 1984. In 1991 the Ravens finished 8-1 losing a district matchup to Sabetha and the 1992 team which won a state title had two regular season losses.
Hutchinson Trinity went 4-5 last fall and is 7-1 this season and Class 2A District champions under coach Jordan Bell. Trinity took a slight upset loss to Haven last week, and bounced back to defeat Hillsboro for the district championship. Trinity won, 41-14. Maur Hill is 7-0, 4-0 and took district runner-up to Nemaha Central by average marginal points in District 4.
The turnaround this season by TMP has been quite impressive from 3-6 to 7-1 this season. TMP could very much be a factor in the playoffs on the 2A West.
District Champions: Colgan, Osage City, Rossville, Nemaha Central, Hutch Trinity, Garden Plain, TMP, Hoisington
Conway Springs’ Jonathan Wright rushed for 295 yards, Heath Hilger added 126 and Cole Schulte delivered 107. Conway Springs beat Sedgwick, 41-35. CS has won seven in a row and captured District 4 at 7-1, 6-0. Sedgwick took second at 7-1, 4-1.
Troy’s Cam Anderson completed 14 of 17 passes for 341 yards and five touchdowns against zero interception. Troy defeated Horton, 38-0. Troy finished the regular season at 2-6.
Wabaunsee enjoyed another big day passing. Cade Oliver finished 18 of 31 for 318 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Lohmeyer had eight receptions for 191 yards and a score. Eli Oliver caught four passes for 66 yards and two scores, and threw a 50-yard pass. No. 2 Centralia defeated Wabaunsee, 60-20.
Inman’s Kyler Konrade delivered 19 tackles. Smith Center edged Inman, 29-22, in a matchup of one-loss teams. SC went 7-1, and Inman was 6-2.
Olpe is the lone undefeated team at 8-0 and won District 1. Defending state champion Centralia has won seven in a row since a season-opening loss to Rossville, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A. Centralia has won 19 straight non-Week 1 contests. Valley Heights (7-1, loss to Centralia) and Lyndon (6-2, competitive losses to Olpe and Centralia) are also among 1A East contenders.
On the West, Smith Center’s excellent defense and run game has helped the Redmen and Conway Springs emerge as the favorites. Inman, though, became the first time to score more than 20 points against the Redmen since a 61-27 win versus Sedgwick in the ’18 state quarterfinals. Smith Center had allowed under 20 points in 22 straight contests under longtime defensive coordinator Brock Hutchinson.
Inman and Sedgwick had many question marks heading into the past week if they could hang around with Smith Center and Conway Springs, both proved they very much can and are teams to seriously consider for runs in the playoffs.
District champions: Olpe, Centralia, Smith Center, Conway Springs.
Eight-Man, Division I
No. 2 Leoti-Wichita County dominated South Gray, 60-12, and finished the regular season 8-0. Wichita County won District 7, a district that finished 16-1 in non-district games. The Indians have navigated a highly challenging strength of schedule and have wins against one-loss teams South Gray and Hoxie. WC won its first district title in many years and improved to 24-5 under coach Brant Douglas. WC’s closest game was a 54-20 season-opening contest against Hoxie.
Spearville clinched a winning season and improved to 5-3 with a win versus Ness City. Running back Trace Tasset finished with 28 carries for 195 yards and four touchdowns. Spearville held off Ness City, 42-38. The Lancers took fourth in the district at 1-3 and clinched a playoff berth with a win. Spearville and Meade were both 1-3 in district play, but didn’t play. Hodgeman County, which ranked as high as sixth in the classification, went 4-4, 1-4. The Lancers have been at least .500 or better every year from ’12-20.
Oswego’s Lance Teal finished with nine carries for 178 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed four of six passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Teal delivered nine tackles and an interception. Oswego finished 7-1 and took district runner-up behind Sedan. Oswego beat Cedar Vale-Dexter, 74-28.
Chase County finished the regular season at 6-2 and took second in District 2 behind Madison. Freshman running back/linebacker Brock Griffin and sophomore quarterback/linebacker Mitch Budke helped in a road win versus Oxford. Griffin finished with six carries for 112 yards and a score. Budke had 10 rushes for 86 yards and five touchdowns. Griffin helped on 14 tackles, while Budke was in on 10 stops, two for loss. Chase County defeated Oxford, 46-0.
Canton-Galva running back Brayden Collins recorded nine carries for 205 yards and six touchdowns. No. 1 Canton-Galva rolled over Lincoln, 70-8. C-G has the state’s longest winning streak with 21 straight victories. Lincoln had captured three straight wins and ensured itself of a winning record. Canton-Galva went 5-0 in District 4, a district that had Little River (6-2) and Lincoln (5-3).
Coach Corey Dunlap has done a great job with Kinsley, which finished 5-3, 3-2 and in third place in District 6. The Coyotes won at Macksville, 50-44, in overtime. Kinsley has displayed a dynamic offense that has averaged 46.5 points per game. The Coyotes have scored at least 26 points against every team, including La Crosse and Wheatland-Grinnell, a pair of district runner-ups. Kinsley was 0-9, 0-9, 2-7 and 2-7 in the last four years. The Coyotes have clinched their first winning record since a 5-4 mark since ’10. Another victory would be the most for Kinsley since before ’96.
Canton-Galva, Wichita County, Madison, Clifton-Clyde and Little River have separated themselves as contenders and have held down the top-five spots in the rankings virtually all season. Wichita County is the only one of those five teams on the West.
District Champions: Sedan, Madison, Clifton-Clyde, Canton-Galva, A&A, Skyline, Wichita County, Hoxie
Eight-Man, Division II
No. 3 Victoria defeated Central Prairie League rival, 54-0. The Knights completed an 8-0 regular season and had already won the district. Victoria scored 38 points in the first quarter and 16 in the second. Junior quarterback Grant Schoenrock continued his fine year with 5 of 9 for 97 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed six times for 111 yards and two TDs. Jayvon Pruitt had eight carries for 78 yards and two TDs.
Axtell’s Isaac Detweiler delivered six offensive touchdowns, along with a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Axtell defeated Onaga, 68-26. Axtell finished the regular season, 6-2, 2-2.
No. 1 St. Francis and No. 2 Hanover are considered the favorites in a classification hurt by cancellations from COVID-19/lack of players/other reasons. Victoria and Lebo have been ranked third and fourth the majority of the year. No. 5 Frankfort did not play Hanover in districts and will enter the playoffs with no game in three weeks. Hanover won District 3 at 6-0, 3-0, while Frankfort went 4-1, 4-0.
District Champs: Crest, Lebo, Hanover, SJ/Tipton, Victoria, Caldwell, South Central, St. Francis
The six-man semifinals are Saturday when Bird City-Cheylin (7-0) and Golden Plains (4-2), and Moscow (5-1) versus Cunningham (6-0). By SIK research of various six-man sites and other state’s history, Cheylin quarterback Colton McCarty is believed to be the all-time six-man national leader in total offensive yards per game. Cheylin, which has never won a state title in any sport, was Wild West Bowl runner-up to Moscow last year.
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