By CONOR NICHOLL and Chet Kuplen
Send us stats and updates after game night to both Cnicholl1@gmail.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @sportsinkansas.
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No. 2 Olathe North received a big game from Aquantez Love. He rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Jacob Parrish rushed for 60 yards, picked up 26 receiving yards with a touchdown and pick off a pass. ON improved to 9-1 with the 28-21 victory against Blue Valley. Noah Palmer has also had a huge season for the Eagles. North has had an incredible season and hasn't missed a beat despite losing Simone Award Winner Arland Bruce IV who helped his Ankeny (IA) HS team win a semifinal game on Saturday with the game winning interception.
Unranked Blue Valley North continued another impressive playoff run with a 30-6 victory against Shawnee Mission Northwest. No. 5-ranked SMNW features outstanding quarterback Ty Black, an Air Force commit. BVN quarterback Henry Martin has passed for 2,227 yards with a 25/1 TD/INT ratio. He has completed 71 percent of his passes. Dasan McCullough has played like one of the top defenders in the state this season as a junior and has committed to Iowa State. Mekkhi Miller is a threat in the running game or receiving game for the Mustangs and is a rising FBS talent. Andy Sims has done great work here remaining a consistent contender when he took over a program that had minimal success or wins.
No. 3 Derby, won at No. 1 Lawrence, 40-20. Derby has played in the last five state championship games and is 4-1 in those contests, including two straight victories. Derby delivered another impressive win with coach Brandon Clark. Derby has a host of great players with quarterback Lem Wash, running back Dylan Edwards, offensive linemen Alex Key and Jonas Vickers and wide receiver Reid Liston. Wash has committed to Tennessee Tech. Edwards is among the best 6A running backs, and Key/Vickers are on the short list for the state’s best offensive linemen. Edwards rushed for three touchdowns and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score.
Defensively, Derby has its outstanding linebacker corps of Jack Hileman, Coleson Syring and Luke Stewart, safety Tanner Knox and cornerback Corey Akins. On Saturday, wide receiver Reid Liston signed with Neosho County CC baseball.
Junction City’s D.J. Giddens finished with 130-plus yards and five touchdowns versus Wichita East. JC held off Wichita East, 49-42, in a wild game and improved to 9-1. Junction City, ranked fourth, has won nine in a row. Junction City is into the semifinals for the first time since it won a title in ’08. Andrew Khoury has 2,918 passing yards with a 29/7 TD/INT ratio and a 62 percent completion percentage. Marcello Bussey has 1,372 receiving yards and 16 scores. Russell Wilkey is up to 1,099 receiving yards and 12 TDs and 449 rushing yards.
No. 2 Olathe North (9-1) versus NR Blue Valley North (6-2)
No.3 Derby (7-2) at No. 4 Junction City (9-1)
Aquinas running back Tank Young delivered another superb season with 13 carries for 220 yards and three touchdowns. He is up to 1,323 rushing yards this fall. Aquinas defeated Blue Valley Southwest, 32-7. Aquinas is into the state semifinals for the seventh straight year.
Mill Valley beat De Soto, 16-13, for the second time this season. MV beat De Soto, 70-21, in Week 2. The teams are part of the same school district.
MV lost 28-21 to Aquinas in Week 4, and then defeated the Saints, 34-31, in the state semifinals en route to the state title. The teams also met up in the ’15, ’16, ’17 and ’18 playoffs as they have long been the dominant Class 5A East powers.
On the west side, No. 1-Wichita Northwest held off City League foe Kapaun Mt. Carmel, 26-14. KMC enjoyed an excellent season with new coach Weston Schartz and went from 2-7 to 8-2. Northwest twice trailed in the contest, though used a kickoff return for a touchdown and excellent second half defense for the victory.
No. 3 Bishop Carroll held off No. 4 Maize, 49-35, and improved to 8-2. The game was tied at 28 at halftime. Carroll had a massive offensive game with 589 total yards, including 348 rushing. Aiden Niedens completed 17 of 21 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns. BC and Northwest, longtime rivals who did not play in the regular season because of COVID-19, will match up next week in the semifinals. Last year, Northwest beat Carroll, 21-17, in its traditional season-opening game and then 35-18 in the state quarterfinals. NW beat BC twice in ’18, too.
Semifinal matchups: NR St. Thomas Aquinas (7-3) at No. 2 Mill Valley (8-2)
No. 3 Bishop Carroll (8-2) at No. 1 Wichita Northwest (9-0)
Bishop Miege coach Jon Holmes was especially impressed with his defense in a 30-7 victory against Tonganoxie. Miege, the six-time defending state champions, limited running back Tyler Bowden to 111 yards and zero touchdowns. Bowden is the state’s leading rusher. No. 1 Tonganoxie finished the year at 10-1 and lost to Miege in the quarterfinals for the second straight season, though took a 54-10 loss last fall. No. 2 Miege is 5-4.
St. James Academy has enjoyed the best playoff advancement in school annals. SJA quarterback Dakota Burritt has set the single season school record for passing yards. La’James White, a senior transfer from K.C. Piper, rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns. He has nine rushing touchdowns in three playoff games, all on the road. SJA gets the rematch with rival Bishop Miege, the six-time defending state champions. St. James has enjoyed a massive offensive turnaround and beat Basehor-Linwood, 56-35.
McPherson beat rival Buhler, 28-21, the second time the Bullpups had defeated the Crusaders this season. Dylan Rinker of McPherson has had a huge year in first year as as tarter with 2,425 passing yards with 27 touchdowns to just six interceptions in his first season as a starter over 11 games. Aaron Powell, featured in the preseason on Faces in Kansas, has over 900 yards receiving with 10 touchdowns. Trey Buckbee and Gus Riddle have also combined for another 1,100 plus receiving yards while sophomore Jaytin Gumm has rushed for over 1,300 yards (13 TD).
Arkansas City held on to win at Wamego, 21-20. AC has won three straight road games. Nice work by head coach Jon Wiemers in his second stint as the head coach with the program. AC is into the semis for the first time since 1988 and looking for their first state berth since 1986. They beat McPherson in the 1986 semis to go to state and will have that opportunity this week. AC has a heavy passing attack from sophomore Gabe Welch who has thrown for over 2,100 yards this season. Ark City passes for over 217 yards per game but averages just 44 yards rushing per contest. Nice work on getting hot at the right time as they started the season 1-4. Taviahn Mack is also one of the states top junior defensive lineman.
State semifinals: No. 2 Bishop Miege (5-4) at No. 4 St. James Academy (6-4)
NR Arkansas City (5-6) at No. 3 McPherson (10-1)
Andale has the state’s longest winning streak at 23 games after Eight-Man, Division I’s Canton-Galva lost to Madison. Andale, the defending Class 3A state champions, is 46-2 under fourth-year coach Dylan Schmidt. In three playoff games, Andale has outscored opponents, 169-7. Andale rolled over Riley County, 42-0.
Andale will face Wichita Collegiate (10-1). Collegiate had a late touchdown from quarterback Wesley Fair and beat Southeast of Saline, 27-22. SES had easily the No. 1 scoring defense in 3A. Collegiate has enjoyed excellent offensive line play with senior twins Nick and Jack Herrman. Andale beat Collegiate, 43-14, in district play. Fair has rushed for over 1,500 yards this season while passing for 800+ more.
Holton’s Canon Karn delivered 22 carries for 234 yards, caught a 76-yard pass and finished with three touchdowns. Holton won 42-6 at Frontenac. The Wildcats are 9-1. Holton features a offensive line of three players over 260 pounds and four of five players over 220 pounds plus two running backs over 205-pounds. Wildcats are for real and haven’t had this size and quickness up front maybe since the 2012 season.
Perry-Lecompton, which lost to Andale in the state title game last season, beat Prairie View, 49-14. P-L improved to 10-1. P-L won, 28-14 at Holton in Week 3. Thad Metcalfe has played outstanding this season and has done a little bit of everything as the primary ball carrier. Keep in mind, Perry lost their all-state 2,000+ yard quarterback earlier this season and is still playing like a state championship team. Hayden Robb is also approaching 500 career tackles and has been solid on the defensive side of the ball while Sean Urban anchors the line play. Perry has a ton of speed on the outside and the defensive backfield as well.
Semifinals: NR Holton (9-1) at No. 2 Perry-Lecompton (10-1)
No. 5 Wichita Collegiate (10-1) at No. 1 Andale (10-0)
Rossville, by far the No. 1 scoring offense in 2A and the top-ranked team all year, again rolled with a dominant effort. Rossville beat Pittsburg Colgan, 56-7. Torrey Horak has went over 1,000 rushing and 1,000 passing this season. Bo Reeves poses a major threat for any defense with his 6-foot-5 size. The Rossville offense is maybe the most explosive offense in the state 3A and below. Nemaha Central will be the best defense they’ve seen this season next week. Rossville has scored at least 50 points in all but one game and that was a 42-point outing in week one over Centralia.
Nemaha Central, the defending state champion, held off Osage City, 7-0. Zac Kramer has been huge at the quarterback position this year for the Thunder while Tyler Gerety, a KU baseball signee, has stepped up big at receiver and defensive back. Nathan Deters leads the offensive line and defensive line while Gage Palic has also had a big year defensively.
Hoisington’s Holt Hanzlick has enjoyed a breakout season after an injury sidelined him last year. Hanzlick, the Cardinals’ leading rusher, delivered 194 rushing yards in the win versus Garden Plain. Hoisington is into the state semifinals for the third straight year and is looking for its first state championship game. The 11-0 Cardinals will travel to Beloit in the semifinals. Hoisington is into the semifinals for the fourth time in five years – and will be on the road for every game.
Beloit, a remarkable turnaround featured on Sports in Kansas entering the Round of 16 as a darkhorse candidate, delivered a 32-26 double overtime victory versus Haven. Beloit is 5-6 and is the first No. 4 district seed to reach the state semifinals after KSHSAA re-did the playoff formats three years ago. Beloit lost, 26-20, to Hoisington in the district finale and gets the rematch with the Cardinals this week.
Semifinals: No. 1 Rossville (11-0) at No. 3 Nemaha Central (8-2)
No. 2 Hoisington (11-0) at NR Beloit (5-6)
Lyndon’s Ethan Eddington picked off four passes, one for a pick-six and another one returned to the two-yard line. Eddington had 80-plus rushing yards and did well kicking and punting. Lyndon won at Centralia, 26-14. Lyndon had lost to Centralia, 48-17, in the regular season.
Inman, led by coach Lance Sawyer, improved to 9-2 with a dominant 46-6 road win against Conway Springs. Inman, which was winless in ’17, reached the state quarterfinals last year and is into the semifinals this season. Inman is into the semifinals for the second time in school history and first since ’91. Inman is at Oakley. The Teutons defeated Oakley in district play, part of a wild week in 1A. Inman freshman Tanner Heckel recorded two touchdowns, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Oakley was 0-13 against Smith Center since ’03, including multiple losses and a district defeat earlier this season. Oakley had eight total wins in the last four years and coach Jeff Hennick has delivered a massive turnaround. The Plainsmen have tied the best playoff advancement in school history after a 20-0 win at Smith Center’s Hubbard Stadium. SC finished 9-2 and had its nine-game winning streak end. Ethan Abell continued his huge year with more than 200 rushing yards.
Olpe got a victory because of quarantine win over Uniontown. Although they were heavily favored in the matchup as they beat Uniontown 48-2 earlier this season. Chris Schmidt is one of the best coaches in Kansas and is always a consistent contender in 1A/2-1A. Although multiple semifinal and final appearances, Eagles looking for their first state title since 2014, which is their only state football title in school history. Lyndon was the toughest test to Olpe so far this season and seems to be playing great football at the right time. This should be a battle.
No. 2 Centralia, No. 3 Smith Center and No. 4 Conway Springs all took defeats.
State semifinals: NR Lyndon (9-2) at No. 1 Olpe (11-0)
No. 5 Inman (9-2) at NR Oakley (9-2)
Eight-Man, Division I
In a huge matchup, Madison defeated Canton-Galva, 34-24. No. 3 Madison ended No. 1-ranked Canton-Galva’s 23-game winning streak and ensured Division I would have a new champion this year. Entering the matchup, Madison’s defense, long known for turnover creation with coach Alex McMillian, had forced 24 turnovers. Canton-Galva’s quarterback Garrett Maltbie had never thrown an interception in his career. C-G beat Madison, 46-6, in the state semifinals last season. This year, Madison (11-0) forced six turnovers and was excellent on special teams. The one thing we noticed on Madison is they tackle very well and didn’t get caught up in playing from behind in the game. They are a very physical football team with a lot of depth and don’t rely on star players as everyone contributes.
Madison had under 50 total yards in the first half, though recovered an onside kick and scored on a kickoff return. Madison trailed 18-6 before the comeback that started with a pick-six from Drew Stutesman. Bryson Turner also returned the opening kickoff 70 yards for a score. Canton-Galva had a sizable edge in total yards, but Madison’s defense held Brayden Collins (back-to-back 1,000 rushing seasons) to 47 rushing yards. Brome Rayburn led the Madison defense with eight tackles and an INT. He was all over the place on Friday as he has been all season with nearly 90 tackles. Tyson Struber did have a big game for C-G with over 100 yards receiving and is arguably the best 8-man player in Kansas and will be back next year for his senior year. He also has two FBS offers (KU, KSU).
Coach Kevin Ayers has led a third team to the state semifinals after he combined for three state titles with Hodgeman County and Wallace County, and also led WC to a state runner-up. LR is into the state semifinals for the first time since ’01 and tenth time in school history. Little River took advantage of several Chase County turnovers and won 70-26.
Chase County completed its best season in 30 years. Mitch Budke had 209 passing yards and three touchdowns and had 91 yards called back on penalties. He rushed for 110 yards and a score and delivered 14 tackles.
No. 2 Wichita County dominated again with a 52-0 win against Argonia-Attica. WC has won 10 straight games by the 45-point margin since a 54-20 season-opening win versus Hoxie.
Hoxie has a plus-five win improvement from last year after a 58-12 victory versus Goessel. The game was called with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Hoxie, with a significant size advantage, outgained Goessel, 432-265. Ashton Dowell completed 5 of 12 passes for 76 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Cade Gourley rushed 21 times for 122 yards and a score Dowell had 16 carries for 117 yards and three TDs.
Semifinals: No. 3 Madison (11-0) at No. 4 Little River (9-2)
No. 2 Wichita County (11-0) at No. 5 Hoxie (9-1)
Eight-Man, Division II
Hanover cruised against Colony-Crest, 48-0, and moved to 9-0. Crest, winless two seasons ago, enjoyed a highly impressive 10-1 season and led Division II in scoring offense most of the fall. Hanover will face Twin Valley League Frankfort (7-1). Frankfort defeated Lebo, 46-40, and continued a most unique season. Frankfort did not play after Week 5 in the regular season for a variety of reasons and had its district contest versus Hanover cancelled. Frankfort has won its last two playoff games by a combined 17 points.
Victoria won at Wheatland-Grinnell, 44-26, in a highly entertaining game that featured standout performances from many players on both sides. Victoria excellent duo of quarterback Grant Schoenrock and running back Jayvon Pruitt had huge games. Pruitt rushed for 224 yards and two scores. Schoenrock rushed for 110 yards and accounted for four touchdowns. Victoria is long known for its depth and improvement throughout the fall, notably along the offensive line. Sophomore Tanis Brungardt had a solid game at guard against W-G’s five-front.
Victoria has won 35 straight games in the Division II classification dating back to the 2014 season opener. Wheatland-Grinnell completed the best season in school history at 8-3. W-G had strong performances from FB/LB Trevor Zarybnicky, QB Trey Vincent, WR/DB Jett Vincent, RB Isaac Mendez and Ryan Heier. Zarybnicky cleared 400 career tackles and was a force blocking at fullback. Mendez rushed for more than 130 yards and had a key scoop-and-score for a touchdown.
In a game moved to Saturday because of Caldwell’s 400-plus mile drive, St. Francis led 6-0 after the first quarter and 42-0 at halftime. St. Francis won 48-0.
Semifinals: No. 2 Hanover (9-0) at No. 5 Frankfort (7-1)
No. 1 St. Francis (10-0) at No. 3 Victoria (11-0)
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