Things happening around the state in high school football on week six of Friday night that caught our eye. We take a look at some of them by the numbers. If you have a tip or something you think we should know about you can always tweet us @sportsinkansas or email: email@example.com
Manhattan won the Silver Trophy on Friday night with an impressive 27-22 victory over rival and previously undefeated Junction City after losing 17-14 last year in OT. The Indians won on an Ian Trapp touchdown with just over two minutes remaining in the contest.
5A could be wide open?
5A had the best team in the entire state of Kansas last year in Mill Valley, proved by their win in regular season over Derby, who won 6A. This season 5A may have trouble having a team crack in the top five of 6A but who cares because it doesn’t matter, we are talking 5A only. In that case we could have a lot of contenders. We think Aquinas is a team you have to circle on the East as being a team that could end up in the title game and yes Mill Valley, coming off a huge loss to Miege, and losses before to Aquinas and Blue Valley, will still be in contention to get back. Pittsburg (3-3) and Topeka Seaman (5-1) are other teams that have to be on the conversation of the east. On the West? Great Bend and Wichita Heights have looked great so far in 2016 and seem to be the teams a lot of people are talking about. But how about Carroll (4-2), Goddard (5-1), Valley Center (6-0) and Maize (5-1). Even Andover is a team that won only one game a year ago and is 5-1. We will know more as we approach the last two weeks, but it’s not like past years where we just pencil in Carroll on the West, however it still does go through Carroll. These playoffs will be interesting.
Andale looked like they were going down against Collegiate then they scored three times (20 points in the 4th quarter) in the final five minutes after they were down by nine points, two of those scores came in the last minute, including a pick six to seal the deal. Andale had scored 47 or more in their first five contests but were really controlled by Collegiate until the 4th quarter. Big match-up this week against Buhler (5-1) on the road as district play begins.
The common theme you hear across the state, “Holton is down this year.”. Well maybe to what we saw of them off some of their teams of dominance over the past 16-17 years, but let’s not make a mistake and count them out by looking at their record (3-3). They started 0-3, but lost to three teams (Atchison, Sabetha, Nemaha Central) by a combined 14 points that combine for an overall record of 18-0. What do we mean? Their losses aren’t bad, they happened early and we’ve seen them get to the title game like this before, just look at last year at the 9-4 state runner-up finish. Their district will be a battle with Topeka Hayden (2-4), Santa Fe Trail (6-0) and Jeff West (1-5).
Hartford and Central Christian (Hutchinson) combined for 154 points on Friday in an 8-man game, with Hartford winning 94-60. You don’t see teams score 60 a lot in a loss but when we do I’ts usually in the 8-man ranks. State record for combined points at the 8-man level is 174, which was a Otis Bision 104-to-70 win over Kinsley back in 2014. The Jaguars improved to 5-1 on the season. In all of their wins this season, they have at least scored is 46.
Valley Center (5A)
Valley Center trailed 28-14 at the half over Goddard-Eisenhower but would go on to cominate with 40 straight points to win 54-28 and improved to 6-0 on the season. It’s been a long time since Valley Center has been undefeated at this point in the year. Do they have a signature win? Probably not one statewide experts would look at, but they’ve done nothing but take care of what they’ve had to. Next week could be their opportunity to really open up the eyes of people as they take on a very improved Goddard squad, who seems to be one of the top teams on the 5A West and is 5-1 on the season, with their only loss to 6A power Derby. This will be a huge matchup for the Wichita metro next week.
Spring Hill (4A-I)
After starting out the season 0-2 with losses to Tonganoxie and Basehor-Linwood the Broncos have won four in a row. Their biggest victory came on Friday night against ranked Louisburg in which they won 28-27 by stopping Louisburg with an incomplete pass on a two-point conversion. Jason Feeback and the Broncos are hot as they enter disctrict play with De Soto on the road this Friday.
Isaac McPherson, RB, Fredonia
Isaac Mcpherson of Fredonia tonight with 16 carries for 395 yards and 5 TD. Has 1,437 yards and 18 TDs after six weeks.
Grant Hamel, Blue Valley North
Grant Hamel of Blue Valley North with over 200 all-purpose yards and 5 TD's in 41-0 win over Blue Valley West for one of the top performances in the KC metro on Friday night.
Frontenac Raiders (4A-II)
Frontenac (4A-II) defense is good. Three consecutive shut outs & shut out SEK Labette Co. 43-0 tonight, the Raiders (6-0) only have allowed 33 points all year. 4A-I LC averaged 477 ypg/39.6ppg and a program with nearly double the students of Frontenac entered the contest undefeated in SEK league play and were coming off a big Fort Scott win. Frontenac features several players that will contend for All 4A-II honors this year including Brandon Mlekus, Dylan Flora, A.J. Lusker, Ryan Long, Issac Bicknell and Broc Ginavan. Don’t want to look ahead but we’re going to, a big matchup will be soon in week eight with undefeated rival Columbus (6-0).
Patrick Ellrich, Kicker, Topeka Hayden (4A-II)
Performance of the Night? Hayden kicker Patrick Ellrich hit a 47 yard field goal as time expires to beat Shawnee Heights 23-20 tonight. Unofficially we have the 47 yarder as the longest field goal of the 2016 season in Kansas and to do it under pressure, very impressive. Although Hayden is 2-4 this season, their losses have came to two 5A’s and two 6A’s, they will still be a contender to get to the 4A-II playoffs and make a run. Their district does feature traditional power Holton (3-3) and undefeated Santa Fe Trail (6-0) in it who are also contenders, along with Jefferson West (1-5), with only two playoff spots on the line in 4A-II. No need to judge them on their record, nobody in 4A-II has this schedule of the Wildcats.
Nemaha Central (3A) and Sabetha (3A)
These two are both 6-0 on the season and a lot of the state will be looking at this Big 7 Conference and 3A district match-up this week to see where they are both at. The Sabetha defense has been outstanding allowing only seven total points over the last four weeks and 43 over the entire season. Nemaha Central also has a solid defense and only allowed one offensive outbreak in their 43-42 win over Holton in week three, but have posted three shutouts. The game is in Sabetha and it will be a big one in Northeast Kansas.
Goddard isn’t getting a lot of hype this season because the schedule hasn’t exactly been great but we feel like they could be a team on the 5A west you have to start considering a contender in the playoffs. They should be favored against Valley Center (6-0) this week and who would have ever thought this would be one of the highlighted match-ups in 5A and in Wichita for 2016. VC is much improved as is Goddard and this could end up being a good one. Blake Sullivan has proved to be one of the better quarterbacks in Wichita and has the state starting to take a look at the Lions. Let’s keep in mind, their only loss is to Derby, a loss by 29 in week two, but Derby has dominated everyone by at least 26 points or more in every game, so Goddard doesn’t have to be that caliber to compete in the 5A playoffs.
Garden City (6-0)
Garden City looked like they were going to be blown away by Wichita Northwest, trailing by 27-0 in the 2Q, but things changed. They cut the lead to 27-14 at the half, before tying the score at 27 all in the third quarter, before taking the lead 33-27 in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies would score to take back the lead 34-33 with four minutes remaining but quarterback Jesse Nunez would score the final of his four touchdowns to make it 39-33 Garden City with four minutes remaining. Quinton Lapoointe would seal the deal with a pick six to make the final score 46-34, Garden City. In addition to Nunez big night, fullback Peyton Hill also had over 200 yards rushing on the ground. Is Garden City for real? It seems like it so far. Why haven’t they gotten the hype in 6A? Probably because Derby is on 6A West Bracket, the East is loaded, and 6A football as a whole is 10 or more deep this season with teams like Derby, Blue Valley, SM East, Lawrence, Manhattan, SM West, Junction City, Hutchinson, Lawrence Free State, and the Buffaloes. Wichita Northwest (3-3), Washburn Rural (4-2) & Blue Valley North (3-3), also all in 6A, despite multiple losses a piece, are all teams you can’t overlook. Garden has two huge games remaining with the Hatchet against Dodge City and against WAC rival Great Bend (6-0), who is the #2 team in 5A.
4A-II District II
The bad thing about districts sometimes is we never know how the teams paired in it will do. A perfect example is in 4A-II this season. 4A-I District II is a combined 1-23 this season as we head into district play (Prairie View, Baldwin, Bishop Ward, Osawatomie) with Prairie View the only team with a win. Two of these teams will get into the 4A-II playoffs. Other eastern districts are as follows 4A-II District I (12-12), 4A-II District 3 (9-15) and 4A-II District 4 (17-6). The 4A-II District 3 features traditional powers Holton (3-3), Hayden (2-4), along with recent 4A-II team on the rise Santa Fe Trail (6-0), with two teams going onto the playoffs.
Southeast of Saline (3A) and Marion (3A)
Southeast of Saline impressed many on Friday with their dominating 48-26 victory over previously undefeated Beloit. Utility man Ben Murray and quarterback Bryce Banks have been outstanding for the Trojans in 2016 as they improve to 6-0. The schedule doesn’t get easier as they get Marion (6-0) this coming week, as the Warriors are coming off a 38-6 victory on Friday over Hutch-Trinity. This sets up a huge match-up at home for Marion in 3A district 12 with SE of Saline.
Bishop Miege (4A-I)
It wouldn’t matter what classification Miege was in this year, they would be a contender. Yes they have one loss in week one to undefeated 6A Blue Valley in which they loss 35-28 and it could have went either way. A game they probably want back, but also a game they probably learned from their mistakes, because they didn’t make many of them on Friday night. The Stags cruised to a dominating 64-21 victory over defending 5A champion Mill Valley. Mill Valley isn’t where they were last year but they are still a very, very good 5A program that should make a deep run in the 5A playoffs. If we had to pick a top five in the state for all-classes, there’s no question Miege would be in the mix with Derby, SM East and Blue Valley. Miege’s hardest part of their schedule is over now that they went 5-1 in the Eastern Kansas League against 5A/6A competition and will begin district play this coming week as they will get to take on their first 4A-I opponent of the season in Eudora (2-4). Basehor Linwood may be that one other team to look at in 4A-I East right now that could be a contender, but if this year is anything like last year don’t expect any 4A-I to come within three to four touchdowns of the Stags. Last year’s closest margin of victory against a 4A-I was 32 and they won the state championship by 56 in 2015.
The victory was expected this week over a struggling Riverton squad in which SMC won 45-0, but the point here is to show that Colgan (3-3) could still be a serious contender in the 2-1A playoffs. Why do we say that? Their losses are to 3A Galena (26-20), 4A-II #2 Frontenac (28-7) & 4A-II #3 Columbus (32-7). What does that mean? Plainville and Smith Center, contenders on the West, have played a very good schedule, but does anyone in 2-1A play a schedule like this? Probably not. Panthers should win out in the regular season and will be a team to look at in the 2-1A playoffs with their team speed.
4A-II Teams with .500 or below records can compete
Don’t look into records in this classification. Let’s keep in mind that some teams in this classification play a 4A-II, 3A, 2-1A schedule, while other teams play a 4A-II, 5A, 6A schedule. That’s what we expect in a middle classification of teams moving up and down in now our first year of our second cycle of 4A-II. Collegiate (3-3), Hayden (2-4), Holton (3-3) are all teams that could make very deep runs in the playoffs and are .500 or below. Colby is another team that is 3-3 out west that should get into the 4A-II playoffs this season. Don’t look into records, look into when the losses happened and who they lost to.
Burlingame (6-0) would win 66-20 over previously undefeated Clifton-Clyde by point rule in the third quarter. Jeff Slater and the Bearcats, who made the 8M-I semis last season, seem to be the team to beat this year on the East Bracket. Last season, Hanover was the east representative in the state championship and the Wildcats are down to 8M-II this season, where they are ranked #1 in the Kpreps Poll. Dalton Sporing has proved to be a scoring machine and Tristan Lee has led the defensive unit for the Bearcats, which caused six turnovers against Clifton Clyde on Friday. Rural Vista and Herington still remain on the schedule, but are both teams that Clifton Clyde has beaten. Bearcats seem to the real deal once again in 2016.
St. Paul (8M-I)
The Indians got a big road victory over previously undefeated West Elk on Friday night 66-42. The Indians, led by head coach Keith Wiatrak, are 6-0 for the first time since 2012. The Indians had a decent season last year at 6-3, but prior to that had really struggled in 2013 and 2014 with just four combined wins. The Indians, under Doug Tuck, were one of the best 8-man programs in the state in the 1990s and early 2000’s with two state titles (2000, 2002) and five title game appearances. Coach Wiatrak was a long-time assistant for Tuck and his former quarterback back in the day and has the Indians in the right direction for 2016. Marmaton Valley (4-2) and Sedan (6-0) still remain on the SP schedule for 2016.