By CONOR NICHOLL and Chet Kuplen
Send us stats and updates after game night to both Cnicholl1@gmail.com, email@example.com or tweet @sportsinkansas.
This is presented by Mammoth Sports Construction, Nex-Tech Wireless, American Implement, Seatbelts Are For Everyone, Sign Brothers, Rainbow Communications and Craw-Kan Telephone.
Even in a very different year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eastern Kansas League continues to win playoff games and advance deep into the playoffs. Six EKL squads, annually the state’s best conference, remain in the postseason. Blue Valley North and Blue Valley are alive in 6A, and St. Thomas Aquinas and Blue Valley Southwest are still in 5A. Bishop Miege and St. James Academy are in 4A. Not to mention that Mill Valley was in this league last year and still alive in 5A round of eight.
BVSW beat No. 1 5A East Topeka Seaman, and St. James Academy defeated No. 1 4A East Paola. The Blue Valley schools started late and did not play outside of its school district in the regular season because of COVID-19 concerns. Blue Valley beat Blue Valley Northwest, 24-7, after it lost to BVW in the regular season.
Blue Valley North defeated Olathe East, 33-21. Junior Henry Martin finished 23 of 32 for 325 yards and three touchdowns. Mekhi Miller went over 200 receiving yards, caught a pair of receiving scores and rushed for a touchdown. Martin has passed for 2,010 yards with 23 scores against one interception. Miller, a FBS recruit, has 302 rushing yards and three scores, along with 791 receiving yards and 12 TDs. Dasan McCullough, an Ohio State commit, has 50 tackles and two interceptions. The first TD came on a 62-yard pass from Martin to Miller.
No. 3 Derby, in the last game at Panther Stadium, beat Gardner-Edgerton, 48-28 and sets up a massive road meeting versus No. 1 Lawrence (9-0). Senior Reid Liston recovered a blocked punt by Luke Stewart for a score, and Dylan Edwards tallied three touchdowns. Derby won its last 41 home games, according to the Derby Informer. G-E battled through a season where seven starters chose to transfer. The Trailblazers delivered a quality win against Mill Valley, ranked No. 2 in 5A. Derby has made the state championship game the last five years and is 4-1 in that stretch, including back-to-back titles.
No. 4 Junction City rolled over Washburn Rural, 70-25. Quarterback Andrew Khoury has passed for 2,673 yards with a 28/5 TD/INT ratio in nine games. The Blue Jays have won eight in a row after a season-opening 29-28 road loss to Bishop Carroll on the road. Junction City missed a two-point conversion late in the BC contest.
Wichita East beat Manhattan, 20-7, and continued its best season since ’83. East has moved Division I wide receiver Dalyn Jones to quarterback. He passed for 99 yards.
East has quietly kept a strong defense, a trademark as the Blue Aces have improved the last several years. Last year, East was 5-4 and scored 22.8 points per game and allowed 22.1. That was No. 11 in scoring defense in Class 6A. Two years ago, East was 3-6 with 13.8 points a game and 26 allowed. This season, the Blue Aces are 7-1 and have permitted just 57 total points (7.1 per game). East limited Manhattan to 74 passing yards, along with 32 rushes for 88 yards. The game featured less than 400 yards of total offense.
East Teams Remaining: No. 2 Olathe North (8-1), Blue Valley (6-1), No. 5 Shawnee Mission Northwest (7-1), Blue Valley North (5-2)
West Teams Remaining: No. 1 Lawrence (9-0), No. 3 Derby (6-2), No. 4 Junction City (8-1), Wichita East (7-1)
No. 1 Wichita Northwest rolled over Wichita Heights, 69-0, and No. 2 Mill Valley beat Spring Hill, 51-0. Last year, MV beat Northwest in a close 5A state championship game. Northwest has scored 491 points in eight games, and MV – against a more challenging schedule – has tallied 375 points. They appear to have the highest ceiling of any remaining 5A squads.
Maize’s Josh Sanders, arguably 5A’s best offensive player this season, enjoyed another huge game. He finished with 19 carries for 310 yards and four touchdowns and collected 31 all-purpose yards. Maize rolled over rival Maize South, 59-27. The Eagles scored 31 points in the third quarter. Sanders has 185 carries for 1,615 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns.
He also has 21 catches for 260 yards and two TDs. Sanders has 124 punt return yards, and 335 kick return yards. He has returned three kicks for TDs. Quarterback Avery Johnson has thrown for 98 yards with two TDs against one interception. Johnson has completed 102 of 176 passes for 1,373 yards for 13 scores against two interceptions. Cole Segraves, in the middle of an all-state caliber fall, kicked a field goal and was 8 of 8 on extra points. He is 50 of 55 on extra points and 10 of 14 on field goals.
No. 3 Bishop Carroll beat Hutchinson, 42-28. BC improved to 7-2 and had a huge play just before halftime when the Golden Eagles returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown. Hutchinson was 4-14 the last two seasons and 4-17 in its last 20 games before a huge turnaround with coach Mike Vernon this year. Hutchinson went 8-2, and Alec McCuan enjoyed a huge fall. He rushed for 1,829 yards and 20 touchdowns.
De Soto quarterback Jackson Miller delivered 17 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed seven of 13 passes for 148 yards with four scores against one interception. Miller contributed 311 total yards and six touchdowns. Miller has posted 4.4 hand-held time in the 40-yard dash. Overall, he has 122 carries for 1,266 yards and 20 scores. He is 54 of 87 passing for 1,145 yards and 17 scores. De Soto beat Leavenworth, 56-31.
Weston Schartz has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in his first season with Kapaun. KMC was 2-7 last year and is 8-1 this season. KMC has used a balanced running attack and an excellent defense and beat Goddard, 38-15. The Crusaders have allowed just 65 points all season.
Aquinas’ Tank Young rushed nine times for 105 yards and two scores in a 48-13 win versus Pittsburg. Young is over 1,000 yards for the third straight season with 180 carries for 1,103 yards and 13 TDs this fall.
Blue Valley Southwest, part of the EKL, is into the quarterfinals with a losing record for a second straight season. BVSW has matched the deepest advancement in school annals. Southwest has quarterfinals in ’11, ’19 and ’20.
East Teams Remaining: Blue Valley Southwest (3-4), St. Thomas Aquinas (6-3), De Soto (9-1), No. 2 Mill Valley (7-2)
West Teams Remaining: No. 1 Wichita Northwest (8-0), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (8-1), No. 3 Bishop Carroll (7-2), Maize (9-1)
St. James Academy, also from the EKL, beat No. 1-ranked and undefeated Paola, 45-35. SJA (5-4) has tied the furthest advancement in school history with its fourth quarterfinals berth. The Thunder previously made the quarterfinals in ’15, ’16 and ’17. Jack Gossman earned the team’s overall player of the game, while senior 5-foot-11, 277-pound Luis Bautista was the offensive honor, junior Holden Artzer on defense and Charles Reece on special teams.
Paola (9-1) had permitted 129 points in its first eight on-field performances. SJA senior quarterback Dakota Burritt has 13 of 21 passing for 217 yards and a score with an interception. That included a 65-yard touchdown pass on a reverse flea flicker from Burritt to Tyler Clairborne.
Senior La’James White has 22 carries for 166 yards and four scores. Junior Tyler Claiborne delivered six catches for 134 yards and a TD. Burritt has put together a huge year with 145 of 242 passing for 2,089 yards with 19 touchdowns against six interceptions.
Last season, SJA had three players with at least 39 passing attempts. The Thunder completed 98 of 206 passes for 1,416 yards with nine scores against nine interceptions.
White, in his first season after he transferred from K.C. Piper, cleared 1,000 career yards. He has 152 carries for 1,005 yards and 16 TDs. White has at least 987 rushing yards in the last three seasons.
No. 2 Tonganoxie had another big game from the state’s leading rusher, Tyler Bowden. He rushed 25 times for 257 yards and five scores. Bowden has now rushed for 2,479 yards and 37 scores. Class 4A postseason excitement has been somewhat muted the last several years because of Bishop Miege’s dominance. However, that has changed this year. Tongie/Miege is one of the marquee quarterfinal matchups. The Chieftains will take on six-time defending champion Bishop Miege next week.
As noted on SIK throughout the summer and fall, Tonganoxie’s Branden Martin, a transfer from K.C. Piper and two-time first team all-state player, has the opportunity for a very rare 500 career tackles. Martin now has 478 career tackles, including 346 at Piper.
Wamego beat El Dorado, 21-18. El Dorado had won its first playoff game of the KSHSAA era in Week 9.
Wamego graduated standout all-purpose threats Taybor Vetter (Washburn signing) and Isiah Childs (Akron signing), though has advanced further in the postseason this fall. The Red Raiders, up to 4A from 3A, enjoyed a huge game from sophomore quarterback Hayden Oviatt. He had 29 carries for 211 yards and three touchdowns. Oviatt also completed 7 of 11 passing for 82 yards. Wamego has its fifth all-time quarterfinals appearance.
This marks the third straight season Arkansas City has advanced to the state quarterfinals with a losing record.
East Teams Remaining: St. James Academy (5-4), Basehor-Linwood (7-3), No. 3 Bishop Miege (4-4), No. 2 Tonganoxie (9-1)
West Teams Remaining: No. 4 McPherson (9-1), Buhler (6-3), Arkansas City (4-6), Wamego (6-4)
In a titanic battle, No. 3 Perry-Lecompton beat No. 2 Topeka Hayden, 20-6, and moved into the state quarterfinals for the second straight year. P-L beat Hayden twice last season en route to the 3A state runner-up finish to Andale. This season, the Wildcats beat P-L, 10-0, with all the points coming in the game’s final two minutes. Additionally, the Kaws have achieved success without first team all-state quarterback William Welch, who suffered a season-ending injury earlier this fall.
Senior Thad Metcalfe completed six of 13 passes for 57 yards, and rushed 37 times for 128 yards. Senior Jackson Folks picked off a pass and junior Jackson Payne returned a fumble for a score.
Prairie View, long known for its physicality with coach Kyle Littrell, has 253 rushing yards a game. Bodi Isenhower has 772 rushing yards and nine scores. Otis Jacobs has 725 rushing yards and eight TDs, and Damien Kline has delivered 453 rushing yards and 15 TDs. Last year, PV reached the state quarterfinals for the first time since ’70 – and then graduated first team all-state running back Hunter Boone. PV is 4-6, 8-2, 9-1 and 10-1 in the last four years.
Riley County has reached the state quarterfinals for the third straight season and 11th time under coach Steve Wagner. RC rolled over Scott City, 43-14. Senior Nic Allen had another huge game with 27 carries for 228 yards and four touchdowns. Allen, who missed nearly all of last season with injury, has delivered a huge year with 177 carries for 1,493 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Frontenac, named as a SIK darkhorse this past week, is into the state quarterfinals for the 20th time in school history and sixth occasion with coach Mark Smith. The Raiders dealt with all sorts of COVID-19 issues earlier this season, but have posted another fine year under Smith, the coach since ’12. Frontenac beat Burlington, 22-6, the second time the Raiders have beat Burlington this fall.
No. 4 Southeast of Saline beat Marysville, 20-0. SES has its most wins since ’06 and continues to lead 3A in scoring defense by a sizable margin. SES has allowed just 46 points this year. The Trojans have four shutouts. Senior Bryant Banks has 25 carries for 110 yards and two TDs. Junior Matthew Rodriguez continued his big season with a team-high 10 tackles. SES forced four turnovers.
Wichita Collegiate beat No. 5 Cheney, 35-20, on the road to set up a big contest with Southeast of Saline.
East Teams Remaining: Prairie View (8-1), No. 3 Perry-Lecompton (9-1), Frontenac (6-4), Holton (8-1)
West Teams Remaining: Riley County (8-1), No. 1 Andale (9-0), No. 4 Southeast of Saline (9-0), Wichita Collegiate (9-1)
Haven, featured several times on SIK throughout the fall, continued its massive turnaround. The Wildcats have won its first playoff games – and are into the state quarterfinals – for the first time since ’76. Haven has its first winning season since ’01 and have doubled its win total from 4-5 to 8-2. Haven features multiple standouts, including QB Darby Roper, RB Nathan Schmidt and OL Hunter Barlow. Haven was 1-8 in ’15 and ’16, 2-7 in ’18 and 4-5 last year. The Wildcats dropped down to 2A this season and beat Hutchinson Trinity for the second time in 2020. Haven trailed 6-0 early and then scored 26 straight for a 26-6 win.
In a matchup of undefeated teams, No. 1 Rossville again showed its great offense with a 53-21 win versus Maur Hill. The Bulldawgs, easily 2A’s top offense, has scored at least 50 points in the last nine games.
Zac Kramer finished with 187 rushing yards and five touchdowns for Nemaha Central. The 7-2 Thunder, the defending 2A state champions, defeated No. 3-ranked Silver Lake, 40-30. NC is a major contender and has flown under the radar all season and plays a very battle tested schedule in the Big 7 conference.
Beloit and Hoisington both advanced via COVID-19 victories. Hoisington has made the quarters most recently in ’15 and the semifinals in ’16, ’18 and ’19. Beloit, a No. 4 district seed, has already tied the furthest playoff advancement by a No. 4 district seed since KSHSAA changed the playoff format three years ago.
East Teams Remaining: St. Mary’s Colgan (7-2), No. 1 Rossville (10-0), Osage City (9-1), No. 5 Nemaha Central (7-2)
West Teams Remaining: Haven (8-2), Beloit (4-6), No. 4 Garden Plain (9-1), No. 2 Hoisington (10-0)
Inman’s Carter Brown delivered 17 total tackles, 16 in the first half, along with a rushing and receiving touchdown. Inman (8-2) is in the state quarterfinals in back-to-back years. Before ’19, No. 5-ranked Inman had not reached the quarterfinals in 25 seasons. Inman has enjoyed its most wins since the early ‘90s when it was an eight-man program. Inman has seven players with more than 160 rushing yards this year. Five players have more than 135 receiving yards. Jace Doerksen has passed for 1,457 yards with 18 scores and four interceptions on 67 percent completion. Doerksen set the single season school passing yards record. Kyler Konrade and Brown have combined for 208 tackles.
Oakley was picked by KPreps to pull the upset against Sedgwick, and the Plainsmen did with a 27-24 road victory. The Plainsmen are 8-2 and into the quarterfinals. Oakley had eight total wins in the last four years.
Oakley led 7-0, then trailed 17-7. Oakley took a 10-point lead, before Sedgwick had a long touchdown pass to close within three points. Coach Jeff Hennick has done a masterful job turning around the Plainsmen. Running back Ethan Abell rushed 37 times for 181 yards and two scores. Eric Cain picked off two passes. Lance Hoffsommer threw for 263 yards for the Cardinals. Oakley gets a rematch with Mid-Continent League foe Smith Center. Oakley lost, 42-14, to SC in district play. Sedgwick ended at 8-2.
East Teams Remaining: No. 1 Olpe (9-0), Uniontown (6-4), No. 2 Centralia (9-1), Lyndon (8-2)
West Teams Remaining: No. 3 Smith Center (9-1), Oakley (8-2), No. 4 Conway Springs (9-1), No. 5 Inman (8-2)
Eight-Man, Division I
No. 2 Leoti-Wichita County (10-0) is into the state quarterfinals for the second straight year and fourth time overall. WC has nine straight wins by the 45-point margin. The Indians’ closest game is a 54-20 season-opening victory against Hoxie. Coach Brant Douglas is 25-5.
No. 5 Little River had lost, 42-36, to No. 4 Clifton-Clyde in overtime in Week 2. In a Week 10 theme, LR flipped the result in the rematch. Senior Jayden Garrison enjoyed a huge game with 6 of 10 passing for 145 yards and three scores. He also delivered 15 carries for 177 yards and four touchdowns. Garrison recorded seven tackles with an interception.
Chase County is into the state quarterfinals for the first time in 30 years. Mitch Budke finished with 21 carries for 117 yards and two scores, along with a passing touchdown. Budke also returned a pick-six 63 yards and recorded 22 total tackles.
In three quarters, Xander Newberry put up big numbers in Argonia-Attica’s 60-14 win versus La Crosse. He completed 12 of 15 passing for 143 yards and three touchdowns, along with 12 carries for 164 yards and three TDs.
Hoxie has doubled its win total from last year after a rare losing season. The Indians delivered a complete effort with a 50-0 home win versus Montezuma-South Gray. Junior quarterback Ashton Dowell showed impressive scrambling and continued his much improved passing from last year. Dowell rushed for two TDs and passed for three. Hoxie led 30-0 at halftime. Hoxie’s Harlan Obioha blocked well and a sack, quarterback hurry and batted pass in the second half. Sophomore Derek Johnson was shaken up earlier in the contest but came back to pick off a pass. Seniors Caden White and Aidan Baalman combined for all three receiving scores, including an amazing fingertip grab on the run from Baalman. Hoxie has won eight in a row.
No. 1 Canton-Galva, after some off-the-field difficulties this week, won its 23rd straight contest and continued the longest current winning streak in Kansas. C-G and No. 3 Madison both continued its domination with wins that ended at halftime.
In an extremely wild contest, Goessel won its fourth straight and beat Pratt-Skyline, 54-48, in double overtime. Goessel had just four all-time playoff victories entering this year. The Bluebirds have tied the best playoff finish in school history, along with quarterfinals in ’96, ’05, ’08 and ’09.
East Teams Remaining: Chase County (8-2), No. 5 Little River (8-2), No. 3 Madison (10-0), No. 1 Canton-Galva (10-0)
West Teams Remaining: Argonia-Attica (9-1), No. 2 Leoti-Wichita County (10-0), Goessel (5-3), Hoxie (8-1)
Eight-Man, Division II
Colony-Crest, featured twice in the regular season on Sports in Kansas, continued its big turnaround with coach Nick McAnulty’s single wing. C-C was 0-9 in ’18 and entered ’19 on an 11-game losing streak. The Lancers went 6-4 last year and stand at 10-0. Crest is into the state quarterfinals for the first time since ’12. Crest beat Hartford, 64-14, and took over the top spot as the classification’s best offense.
No. 3 Victoria beat Sylvan-Lucas, 50-0, the second time the Knights have defeated the Mustangs this year. Grant Schoenrock rushed for two touchdowns and passed for one. Senior Jayvon Pruitt delivered 12 carries for 150 yards and three TDs. Victoria is into the quarterfinals since its back-to-back state titles in ’14-15.
No. 4 Lebo is into the round of eight for the fourth time in school annals and first since ’05. Lebo beat Waverly, 56-8. Lebo is 10-0 and has its first double-digit winning season since a 10-2 mark in ’10.
Wheatland-Grinnell has the best season in school history with a 36-26 road win versus South Central. W-G is 8-2 in the last two years, though lost to Thunder Ridge in the Round of 16 last year.
In a game played Saturday, No. 1 St. Francis cruised over Bucklin, 54-0. Shadyron Blanka rushed for 125 yards and accounted for four TDs. SF is into the quarterfinals for the third straight year. SF advanced to the state semifinals two years ago and was the Division I state runner-up to Canton-Galva last fall.
Caldwell delivered a thrilling 36-34 win versus Central Plains. CP ran 30 more plays, though Caldwell’s Dawson Bristor returned two kickoffs – both 69 yards – for scores in the first quarter.
East Teams Remaining: Colony-Crest (10-0), No. 2 Hanover (8-0), No. 4 Lebo (10-0), No. 5 Frankfort (6-1)
West Teams Remaining: No. 3 Victoria (10-0), Wheatland-Grinnell (8-2), Caldwell (8-2), No. 1 St. Francis (9-0)
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