Surprise football playoff teams of 2014

Northeast-Arma makes their first playoff appearance in 12 years. (photo: Shontel Mills)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Nov 4, 2014

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First off hats off to these teams for making the playoffs in 2014 and surprising people across the state of Kansas.

6A

Shawnee Mission North

Not a shocker that they were able to get out of their district, which wasn't very tough but shout out to the North High Indians (2-7) for their first playoff appearance since 2010. North is looking for first playoff win since 2000 when they beat Lawrence in the first round.

Shawnee Mission South

The Raiders, under head coach Ryan Lonergan, make their first playoff appearance since 2007. Playing in the brutal Sunflower League wins are hard to come by but South got them when they counted by winning two of their three district games to qualify for the 6A playoffs.

Wichita East

East High (4-5) under head coach Bryan Byers won two of their three district games to claim runner-up in 6A district-6 to Junction City. It marks the first playoff appearance for East since 2006. East last won a playoff game in 1983.

5A

Aquinas

Aquinas is a typical playoff team in 5A but really struggled last year with a 3-7 record and made the playoffs in a district that wasn't anywhere close to what their 2014 district featured. The surprise here is that Aquinas is now a contender and will be a team to look for in the 5A playoffs after going 6-3 and winning their loaded district (BV West -W, BV Southwest - W , Pittsburg - L). Sure Aquinas had a shot at the playoffs this year, no doubt, but title talk at the beginning of the season with first year head coach, Randy Dreiling, was something we thought in the next couple of years. Just how dangerous is that mentality and offense he brought over from Hutch, can they get to the title this year?

Pittsburg

Not a surprise that a team ranked much of the year would make the playoffs or is it? It was expected for Pittsburg to get over the playoff drought, with the starters they returned, but projecting it and doing it are two different things. The Dragons did it and competed with the EKL this year by making the playoffs for the first time in seven years (2007 - 4A). They used a veteran offensive line and have the states best running back in senior Alex Barnes to pave the way to the 5A playoffs. Dragons, however, are no stranger to the playoffs making them 29 times in playoff era (1969-present). Hats off to Coach Nickelson and the Dragons for getting back to where they belong. 

Liberal

Liberal lost two all-state players from a year ago as a district runner-up and win the district this season. Sure, it helps that Bishop Carroll isn't in the district this year, but hats off to the Redskins for winning the last three games of the season and getting into the playoffs in some very close and competitive games. The Redskins could have very easily gave up after a 1-5 start, but district time is new life and anything can happen. Maybe it was an easy district, but they beat who they had to and are back in the playoffs. 

4A-I

Spring Hill

Spring Hill (4-5) is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Broncos finished 2-1 in their district and only lost to 4A-I #1 Bishop Miege. The Broncos beat Louisburg to punch their ticket to the 4A-I playoffs. Louisburg had made the playoffs 12 seasons in a row. 

Augusta

The Orioles are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Augusta has went 5-4 under first year head coach, Jason Filbeck. The Orioles were district champs in a district that featured two teams that came from East to West in 2014 (Independence, Coffeyville). They last won a playoff game in 2005.

McPherson

Not a surprise that the Bullpups make the playoffs but a big surprise that they won their loaded district with Abilene, Buhler, and Hays. Many thought McPherson may be one of the two teams left out, but they used a tough schedule in 2014 to help them go 3-0 in district play. Keep in mind, Mac's losses have came to Andale (4A-II #1) and Salina South (5A #2). Bullpups have won seven straight and are very dangerous with Kyler Kinnamon at quarterback. Tom Young is also attempting to be the only coach to win four titles at four different schools - Hanover (1979), Wellington (1982) and Derby (1994). 

4A-II

Santa Fe Trail

The Chargers haven't made the playoffs since we started allowing two teams in per district as they last made it in 2001. They are going for their first playoff win since 1996. Not only are the Chargers in the playoffs they are in it with an impressive 7-2 record in 2014. 

Clearwater

Clearwater makes the playoffs for the eighth time in school history and first time since 2011. At 1-5 entering districts, not many gave the Indians a shot to make the playoffs in a field that favored Andale and Wichita Trinity. The Indians upset Trinity (24-21) last Friday to punch their ticket to the first ever 4A-II football playoffs.

Colby

The Eagles went 3-6 over 2014 but won the right games when it mattered, going 2-1 in districts and making the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Colby has one playoff win all-time as a school and seven playoff appearances since 1969. 

Pratt

After finishing 2-7 a year ago, the Greenbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time in three years (2011). Not only is it impressive they get into the playoffs, they had a regular season winning record (5-4). Pratt is going for their first playoff win since 2005. 

3A

Horton

The Chargers had seven combined wins in three years coming into the 2014 season, they have seven wins through eight games this season. Horton, who had an open week in week two, makes the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Chargers have five playoff appearances as a school and only one playoff win in school history (1980). 

Maur Hill

The JR Ravens make their first playoff appearance since 2002 and first district title since 1992 when they won it all in 4A. Last year they went 2-7, this year 7-2. You wouldn't think state power, Silver Lake, would be an opening round match-up but it is because of SL's loss to Rossville in week nine of district. This is Maur Hills eighth playoff appearance as a school.

Jayhawk-Linn

The Jayhawks make their first playoff appearance in five years. The program has never won a state playoff game in the playoff era. The Jayhawks (3-6) may have benefited off of a weaker district but they won the games in front of them, going 2-1 and earning district runner up. A playoff appearance is always a step in the right direction for a program that has struggled recently, shout out to JL on their first appearance in five years. 

Northeast-Arma

Phil Hobbs has installed a winning mentality to the Vikings and has them with their first winning season since 2000 (5-4) and first playoff appearance since 2002. The Vikings (6-3) have went 4-5 the last two seasons and finally got over the hump this season with a district runner-up finish. The last time the Vikings made the playoffs (2002) they finished at 5-5 and lost to Wellsville, also their opponent this Tuesday. Northeast is 1-2 all-time in the state playoffs with three appearances (1982, 2002, 2014). They last won a playoff game in 1982 when they beat Humboldt (32-14) in 3A. 

Neodesha

Just a year removed from going 1-8, Neody is 7-2 and in the playoffs. The Bluestreaks are a known playoff team in the 2000's and maybe not a surprise they made it with their district, but a surprise with the bounce back after a down year in 2013. The Streaks are 11-15 all-time in state playoff games with 16 appearances as a school. 

Chaparral

Not only do the Roadrunners make the playoffs this season, they won their district. It was the first winning record (8-1) for them since 2010. They are now a contender on the west in 3A after they upset previously undefeated Conway Springs last week (27-19) for the district title. Chapparal last playoff win came in 1982 in 4A against Larned. Third playoff appearance in five years (2010, 2012, 2014) as the school has 12 all-time appearances. 

Leon-Bluestem

The Lions have never been known as a football power and have only been to the playoffs once in school history (2011). They have never won a game in the state playoffs but managed a 4-5 record this year and won two district games to get in. A big upgrade from the two combined wins from 2012-2013. 

Minneaoplis 

After four losing seasons in a row (2010-2013), the Lions are back in the state playoffs as district champs with a 6-3 record. It marks the first playoff appearance for them since 2009 (2-1A) when they lost in the second round to Smith Center. 

2-1A

Doniphan West

After winning three combined games in 2012 & 2013, the Mustangs put together a 3-1 district record (3-6 overall) to reach the playoff for the third time in school history and first time since 2011. 

Valley Heights

The Mustangs have put together a winning record (5-4) in 2014 and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2009. 2009 was also the only year the Mustangs got a playoff win (1) in school history. It is also the first winning season since 2009, when they went 9-2. 

Mission Valley

Mission Valley (5-4) makes the playoffs for the first time in six years (2008). The Vikings have four playoff appearances as a school and have never won a state playoff game. 

8M-I

Uniontown

Maybe not a surprise they are in the playoffs with what they had coming back, but it's also the first time in five years the Eagles are in the post season. They last did it in 2009 in 11-man (2-1A). Head coach Chad Stroud has led his team to a 6-3 record in 2014. It marks the first appearance in 8-man for the Eagles.

Cedar Vale-Dexter

After finishing with four combined wins from 2011-2013 it marks the first winning season and playoff appearance since 2010. Since the schools have combined they have one playoff appearance (2010), going 0-1. 

8M-II

Axtell

Axtell has had some winning teams over the last couple of years but have failed to make the playoffs every year since 2007. The Eagles have put together a 7-2 record and won their district with a perfect 5-0 record.

Pike Valley

After finishing 1-8 a year ago and missing the 8-man playoffs, Pike Valley is back in it for 2014. Although a losing record at 4-5, they had a district record of 4-1. The Panthers last playoff victory came in 2003. 

Chase

After finishing 3-6 last season and not making the playoffs the Kats have went a perfect 9-0 and won their district in 2014. Chase's last playoff win was 28 years ago (1986), before that it was 41 years ago (1973). Former KSU and NFL Tight End, Paul Coffman, was on the 1973 Chase team. His town was the name sake of his oldest son, Chase, who played at Mizzou and in the NFL. 

Southern Coffey County

Making their first playoff appearance in seven years with a 4-5 record. Its the schools fourth overall playoff appearance since consolidation with a 1-3 record in the state playoffs.

Minneola

After finishing at 2-7 in 2013, the Wildcats are off to a 8-1 start and playoff bound in 2014. Last playoff appearance was 2012. Then, Minneola-Fowler, last won a playoff game in 1994. 

Satanta

Satanta has a 7-2 record in 2014 and makes the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. Last playoff win for the Indians was 17 years ago (1997) against Tribune in the first round.