Breece Hall, Wichita Northwest & Josh Carter, Wichita Northwest
Hall has 402 rushing yards over the first two games of the season in the 1-1 start of Wichita Northwest. The Grizzlies lost in week one in the last 15 seconds to Carroll but their offense has not missed a beat as we expected. Hall also has great size at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds. Hall averages 9.8 yards per carry for the Grizzlies. Carter, one of the strongest players in Kansas as a junior linebacker, had 26 tackles on Friday night. He has 39 for the season.
The Firebirds haven’t nessesarily played the greatest schedule in Kansas yet but they have dominated what’s been in front of them. They have only allowed nine points through two football games. Do they have what it takes to hang with undefeated Park Hill (MO) this week?
Lawrence offense has continued to produce that may have them as a team on the rise in the Sunflower League this season. Dante Jackson got his first taste of action on Friday and was huge with seven touchdowns. He had 189 rushing with four touchdowns while passing for 107 more with three touchdowns. Jackson, who only stands around 5-foot-7, has a 43-inch vertical and 4.4.-4.5 40-yard dash speed. Lawrence will have to buckle down the defense but the offense has the speed to score in a hurry with players like Jackson, Krom, Dudley and Boye-Dowe. Chesty gets Lee’s Summit (MO)West this week at home.
Topeka continues to impress as they knocked off Junction City 42-28 behind the play of sophomore running back Ky Thomas. He had 175 yards rushing with a touchdown and also passed for a touchdown. Topeka High could be a darkhorse team to watch out for on the 6A West Bracket in 2017.
Goddard & Blake Sullivan
How can you beat previous 6A #1 Derby 50-20 and not get on here, right? Goddard, last year’s 5A runner-up that kind of came out of nowhere, isn’t a hidden team anymore. It’s still way too early to predict but that’s what we are here to do, their statement victory on Friday against Derby may have them as the favorite to get back to the 5A title game. Are they the best team in Kansas? They are certainly in the mix with about four or five other schools at this point. Goddard led early 22-0 in this game after the first quarter, 43-6 at half and 50-14 in the third quarter. This one wasn’t close last year with Goddard losing the game 35-6 at the half, called due to weather. It wasn’t close this year either and that’s why the Lions are a definite contender for 5A this season. However, 5A may be just a bit deeper than it was one year ago. Blake Sullivan has been outstanding with 11 touchdowns and over 650 total yards of offense as the QB. We will be honest with you here, we did not have the Lions winning this one, and definitely not in the dominating fashion that they did. Shout out to Scott Vang and Goddard.
The Pioneers went 1-8 last season and have already notched two wins (Lansing, SM West) in 2017. They won just two games in 2015 as well. Hats off to Leavenworth and Mark Littrell for their first 2-0 start under him. Leavenworth has allowed just 20 points over the first two contests and will take on North Kansas City (MO) this week.
Seaman & Shawnee Heights off to 2-0 start
Topeka is off to a 2-0 start in 6A and so are two fellow 5A Centennial League members nearby. Shawnee Heights is quietly 2-0 with a 21-18 victory over Manhattan in week one and a 28-0 shutout over Topeka West last week. They get Washburn Rural this week. Seaman, who hasn’t played a great schedule yet, continued right where it left off last season under Glenn O’Neil with a 2-0 start with wins over Topeka West and Highland Park, allowing only six combined points. They get Topeka Hayden this week. Centennial League hasn’t had a state football title since 2008 when it had two (Hayden 4A, Juncion City 6A). Although a state title in 5A and 6A may be a longshot this season, the league is certainly deep with seven or eight teams that can knock off each other any night of the week.
St. James Academy
The Thunder continued to impress in week two as they beat BV Southwest 38-26. Not that it wasn’t expected to win in week two but many think the Thunder could be an outside shot contender in 5A. Mill Valley lost four games in this league last year and won the state title, a team that SJA beat in week one. It’s still early but from what we can see they seem to be a team that could turn the corner this season. Aquinas and Blue Valley still remain on the loaded EKL schedule, however Miege is not on the schedule. Jack Petz has been huge for SJA and had 187 yards on Friday night. The Thunder get Gardner Edgerton this week. All-State receiver candidate Mason Dunsmore, injured all of last year, also has yet to play yet for SJA this season but is expected to be back soon from injury. Even though it’s a small body of work, doesn’t look like too bad of a start for the second year EKL program.
DeSoto is quietly off to a 2-0 start. We knew they had some key playmakers returning, like their Quarterback Bryce Mohl, but maybe DeSoto is that highlighted Frontier team to watch this season. They have only allowed eight points all season, including an impressive 36-0 shutout of Bonner Springs last week. DeSoto has also looked great on the offensive and defensive lines this season. Big Frontier match-up this week with Louisburg, also 2-0 on the season. Louisburg won this game 31-17 last season.
After losing to Scott City in week one, I don’t think anyone may have had the Indians winning this one over Great Bend in Hays on Friday. The Indians beat their rivals 21-20 in overtime at home in a game that nobody scored in the first half. Great Bend took a 20-14 lead in this in OT but missed the extra point. Hays then took the lead on a Hunter Brown touchdown run from three yards out and Logan Clark kicked the game winning extra point for a 21-20 victory. Maybe this is the win to help propel the Indians to some more victories this season? The WAC schedule doesn’t get easier as they get Liberal (2-0) this Friday, then Garden City (2-0) in week four. Hays has just two wins in each of the last two seasons, with five wins now since the 2015 season. They are already halfway there this year after two weeks under third year head coach Randall Rath.
Maize South defense
The Mavericks, a known team for their defense under Brent Pfiefer over the last several seasons, are yet to give up a point all season. They may have just won 9-0 last week but they shutout fellow AVTCL-III power McPherson, including a safety in the contest. Buhler and Mulvane still remain on the Mavericks schedule but so far this defense has been outstanding in 2017.
We know he’s impressive so it’s not surprising for anyone to see his name on here. However his stat line was pretty awesome last week and this season so far. Putz was 15-of-15 for 252 yards with four touchdown passes in the 48-0 win over Gardner Edgerton. He also added a rushing touchdown. For the season he has completed 33-of-39 passes for 452 yards. But he is human, he threw two picks in the 55-10 win over Blue Valley. The Notre Dame baseball commit has a big task this week and that’s St. Thomas Aquinas. A touchdown pass will break the all-time Kansas mark of 92 in a career by Shannon Kruger of Silver Lake (1994-1997). Putz and Kruger are both currently tied at 92.
Levi Archer, Goodland
The senior quarterback continues to impress and so far it’s a season we expected him to have. The Cowboys (1-1) knocked off Wray (CO) on Friday and Archer threw four 241 yards with five touchdowns while rushing for 35 more. In week one loss to 3A contender Norton, he had 250 yards rushing and another 186 passing for five total touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior has accounted for 10 touchdowns in two weeks for Goodland. Evan Peter, Dawson Ensign, Dawson Raymer and Lucas Wood have also stepped up big offensively for the Cowboys.
Pratt Rushing Attack
Led by all-state junior running back Travis Theis, the Pratt offense is racking up 517 yards of total offense per game in 2017 after winning the 4A-II state title a year ago. The majority is on the ground as expected with 912 rushing yards this season to just 112 passing yards over the first two weeks.
Cade Ross, Jefferson West
Just a freshman quarterback, Ross had 327 yards passing with five touchdowns passes in the 34-12 win over Riverside. His favorite target was sophomore Quinn Neuenswander with 13 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. Jeff West is 2-0 and will have a huge test this week in a game where Sabetha (2-0) is the favorite.
Scott City may be one of the best teams in Western Kansas even though they are just a 4A-II school that is back and forth between 3A and 4A. They beat their rival Holcomb 23-14 just one week after beating 4A-I Hays, 29-8. Hays knocked off 5A Great Bend in overtime this past Friday. They get Cimarron this week, a 3A team that will also provide quality competition.
Josh Seabolt, Cimarron
The 5-foot-9, 200-pound, senior running back and linebacker has been big for Cimmaron in 2017. He has 22 tackles as a linebacker and rushed for 407 yards as a running back over his first two games. He has five rushing touchdowns and averages over eight yards per carry. ON Friday he had 18 carries for 218 yards and three TD in just a quarter and a half play.
Maybe the competition hasn’t been the greatest yet but the points Conway Springs have been putting up is impressive. They have outscored their two opponents (Belle Plaine, Wichita Independent) 158-to-18 over the first two games of the season. That scoring isn’t going to stop anytime soon as they have Douglass, Medicine Lodge and Wichita Trinity over the next three weeks. Conway has rushed for over 500 yards per game in 2017.
John Molitor, Kingman
Molitor has eight sacks over his first two games for a Kingman defense that has only allowed 13 points after the first two weeks. Five of his 14 tackles are sacks this season.
We knew the Panthers would be pretty good but it sounds like they are really good, including their defense who has only allowed eight points all season. They shutout 2-1A #1 Smith Center 23-0 on Friday night in the MCL match-up on the road. They get another test this week at Plainville, a very good 0-2 team, but that’s what’s expected in one of the state’s best 2A/3A leagues. Phillipsburg is yet to play a home game and won’t until week four against Oakley. Panthers got it done in all phases Friday with their shut out on defense, special teams who returned a kick for a touchdown, and over 360 yards of offense. These kids know how to win including Trey Sides, who was the freshman starting QB on the state title team two years ago, as well as all-state selections in senior linebacker John Gower and fullback Kirk Coomes, one of the strongest players for his size in Kansas. Coomes scored all 30-points in the 2-1A title game as a sophomore two years ago against Troy in the 30-29 win.
Zach Vance, Wellsville
Not only the quarterback on offense producing but that’s not why he makes the list. Vance, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound, junior defensive back, had three interceptions last week in the 34-14 win over Osawatomie. He had another INT in week one giving him four for the season to unofficially lead the state of Kansas as we enter week three.
Jeff County North
The Chargers have outscored opponents 100-to-13 over the first two weeks of the season and have been jumping up the rankings in 2-1A football. If there has been a time to move up in 2-1A football it has been recently. Troy made the title game for the first time in school history in 2015 taking second, while winning it all last year. JCN has never been past the round of eight in the Kansas playoffs and this year’s team looks to change it. A favorable regular schedule could have the Chargers sitting at 9-0 entering the Kansas playoffs but the playoffs will be more testing however 2-1A East is wide open in 2017.
St. Francis Defense
The Indians have yet to allow a point in 2017. Last season they had seven shutouts before losing 38-24 to Osborne in the 8M-I title game.
South Gray Interceptions
The Rebels had five interceptions in the second half, three that went for pick sixes against Wakeeney-Trego. SG is 2-0 on the season and will be at Bucklin this week.
Scoring 56 points in the first quarter of a game is impressive, we don’t care what level or who against. The Cougars won 56-0 against Ellinwood on Friday with the game being called at the end of the first quarter. The Bison have yet to give up a point all season. Big rivalry match-up with nearby Central Plains this week. Otis-Bison lost 40-28 in the come from behind victory by CP last season. Do the Cougars have what it takes to give CP their second loss of the season? It won’t be 56-0 after the first quarter but sounds like we have another game in the making for this match-up. The series is 2-2 over the last four meetings.