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Balance on 6A East?
Maybe this didn’t impress us but it stood out that nobody is undefeated out of the 16 teams on 6A East football. You can thank some Missouri schools for that in the Sunflower/Suburban Challenge, but several teams with losses will be contenders in this bracket in 2017. Lawrence, SM East, BV North, Blue Valley are all teams with losses that we have a great shot to make runs once all 16 east teams enter the bracket in week nine.
Blue Valley & Jackson Likens
It seems like everyone kind of forgot about Blue Valley after their week one 55-10 blowout loss to state power Miege, however it doesn’t look like the Tigers have went anywhere but up since. The Tigers scored 10 points with 1:06 remaining in the 4Q to knock of EKL rival Blue Valley North, 34-33, on Friday. Jackson Likens, an all-state candidate at kicker, was the MVP of this game as he kicked the onside kick for BV to recover, then later kicked a 27-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining for the win. Likens is a dangerous weapon for the Tigers as he is 5-of-5 on field goals this season. Shout out to BV and head coach Allen Terrell on the huge win. Schedule doesn’t get any easier this week as they get Mill Valley, the defending 5A champion, at home.
The Firebirds are 3-0 on the season and knocked off MO Class 6 #1 Park Hill on Friday in the Sunflower/Suburban Challenge. With a physical offensive line and solid front seven on the defense the Firebirds could be the favorite on 6A west this season. They have been the most impressive 6A team in Kansas up to this point. Shout out to Coach Lisher and the Firebirds for showing the top ranked Missouri team that we can play at high levels in Kansas.
Schedule hasn’t been the greatest and maybe big class Western Kansas football is a bit underrated with not many big class teams but Garden City is off to a solid start and it has been their defense that has been impressive. The Buffs defense has only allowed one touchdown in their 3-0 start and zero touchdowns against Kansas competition. Their only touchdown allowed came against Castle View (CO) in a week two 16-7 win. A WAC team has yet to win a state title since 1999 when Garden City won it all in 6A. GC is one of four undefeated West Bracket 6A teams (Free State, Hutchinson, Topeka). Wichita Northwest, a team with a high powered offense in 6A, is on the Buffaloes schedule in week six.
K’Vonte Baker, Wichita Heights
Baker, a quarterback although really a running back in their system, had 13 carries for 452 yards and eight touchdowns in the Wichita Heights shutout victory over Dodge City. Yes, you read that right. Baker back in his first game of the season, erupted for the biggest night we’ve seen across the state so far this year. Travis Theis of Pratt, another guy we projected like Baker to be all-state headed into this year, had 412 yards and six touchdowns in week one. We thought that would be impossible to top, well it wasn’t. 5A Heights may be the best 1-2 team in the state along with BV North in 6A.
Seaman & Shawnee Heights
Impressive? We don’t know just yet but it’s impressive that they are both 3-0 at this point and will meet this week. Glenn O’Neil has provided a spark for Seaman since he became the head coach last year, taking them to a winning season. They had a big win over rival Hayden, 17-6 on Friday night. Hayden was the #2 team in the state in the Kpreps Poll last week for 4A-II. Jason Swift knows how to win and Heights could be a team on the rise in the Centennial League with wins over both Manhattan (21-18) and Washburn Rural (20-15) on Friday night.
The Hornets won just 13 games from 2008 to 2015. Since then they have won 12 of their last fourteen games over the 2016 and 2017 season. Caleb Smith definitely has this program turning around. The schedule hasn’t been the greatest in 2017 but the Hornets have figured out how to close out ball games. The 9-2 season last year was a big boost for the 3-0 start this season for VC. They will be on the road against Newton this week.
Dylan Schmidt has Andale at 3-0 in his first year as the head coach and his defense got it done big on Friday with five turnovers in the 48-20 win over Mulvane. The Andale defense picked off Division I recruit Jayden Price of Mulvane three times. They used the turnovers to take advantage of 28 second quarter points. Parker Bruce had two of those interceptions for the Indians. Sawyer Simon has seemed to be like he is one of the emerging backs in 4A-I this season. Andale gets Wellington this week. Andale has been one of the most consistent programs in 4A (4A, 4A-I, 4A-II) over the last several years, so it’s no surprise the Indians are one of the 4A-I west teams to circle.
Nobody seems to be talking about the Bobcats after they were hit by graduation last year and everyone favors Miege in 4A-I as they have won the last three and dominated everyone in their path. However it may be time to start talking about Basehor Linwood to perhaps get back to where they were last year. They have outscored opponents 173-to-0 after the first three weeks. Tonganoxie is also in the Bobcats district this season and has started out an impressive 3-0 and could be a team with a very good record by the time the two meet in week nine. Basehor is also a threat in the kicking game as Parker Rusk leads the state in PATs going 24-of-24 this year and is 1-of-1 on field goals with a 40 yarder in week two.
Buhler rushing attack
Collegiate had no answer for the rushing attack of the Crusaders as they improved to 2-1 with their 47-21 victory over the Spartans on Friday. Dalton Brown led the rushing attack with over 300 yards rushing and five scores on the ground. As a unit, Buhler rushed for over 500 yards in the game. Huge AVTCL-III match-up this week against Maize South (3-0). Maize South beat McPherson, who is the only loss on Buhler’s schedule so far.
Carter Putz, Miege
Carter Putz threw for 230 yards and a touchdown, a 98-yard TD reception from Daniel Jackson, to break the Kansas all-time record of passing touchdowns in a career at 93 in the 27-14 win over Aquinas on Friday. Putz broke the record of Shannon Kruger of Silver Lake who had 92 from 1994-1997. On top of that, Miege beat a really good 5A defense that we think will contend for the 5A title.
Desoto is 3-0 and has outscored opponents 107-to-8 in 2017. They beat previously undefeated Louisburg 41-0, a game they lost 31-17 last year. Could they be the emerging Frontier team in 2017? It looks like it so far.
The Tigers had an off 3-6 season a year ago playing a lot of young players. This season with veteran line players back the Tigers looked to get back on track. They have so far with a 3-0 start and allowing only 26 points so far in 2017. They feature perhaps the best two-way lineman in 4A-I this season in Andrew Callahan, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound, offensive lineman and defensive tackle. They get a real test this week with their nearby rival Pittsburg High, a 5A team with a 2-1 record that is coming off a loss to Missouri Class 4 power Webb City. Fort Scott is the underdog but maybe expect a better game than the 28-0 loss the Tigers suffered last season.
Clark Schoonover, Andover Central
The senior kicker was 2-of-2 on field goals for Andover Central in Friday’s 48-14 win over Abilene. What’s most impressive is that he made a 49-yarder, the second longest in Kansas this season. He is 7-of-7 on PAT this season and 2-of-2 on FG.
Wellington was 0-3 this time last year and 0-9 on the season. This season they are off to a 3-0 start under second year head coach Zane Aguilar. Aguilar knows how to win with his success as a player at Wellington back in their glory days of the early 00’s. The last winning season for Wellington was back in 2014. Shout out to the Crusaders on the 3-0 start with wins over Clearwater, El Dorado, and Rose Hill. Schedule will get brutal though with Andale, Collegiate and Scott City over the three next games. Even though they will be favored in none it doesn’t take away the great start from where they were at a season ago.
DaQuan Johnson, Parsons
Parsons has struggled but they saw a big bright spot of the future on Friday. Sophomore QB DaQuan Johnson had 170 yards rushing with five touchdowns while passing for 372 more with two touchdowns in the 56-50 loss to Independence. Although not a win, shout out to Johnson and head coach Justin Hurley in the hard-fought shootout loss.
Taybor Vetter, Rock Creek
Vetter, a sophomore and yes the same Vetter family with a lot of success at Beloit and Rock Creek, was huge on Friday over Wabaunsee with four touchdowns but really big in the return game. Vetter had a 99-yard punt return for touchdown and a 55-yard punt return touchdown. He also had td runs of 63 yards and a one yard touchdown. Vetter also had a punt return called back for touchdown, otherwise he would have had three.
3A District 10
Chaparral, Cheney, Conway Springs, and Garden Plain have combined to go 12-0 this season. Only two make the playoffs out of this bunch. Last year it was Garden Plain and Chaparral. It came down to a point tiebreaker last year as Conway, Chaparral and Garden Plain all had 2-1 records, while Cheney was 1-2. Very likely it could be the same type of scenario in 2017. This is the time we have a problem with teams with losing records getting in the playoffs when two quality teams will sit at home, but hey you have to beat everyone to get to the title game, some just have easier paths. 3A is tough, there are 21 teams with undefeated records of the 64.
Nate Burdette & Brock West
Two sophomores for Maranatha Academy stepped up big on Friday in the 40-14 win over McLouth. Burdette, a sophomore quarterback, passed for 301 yards and six touchdowns. Four of those touchdowns went to Brock West and 206 yards. Hats off to coach Bryan Burdette and Maranatha as they play 3A football with just 13 kids on the roster to begin the season.
Conway Springs & Trenton Jones
The Cardinals schedule hasn’t been great but their rushing attack has been. Trenton Jones highlighted it on Friday in the 54-0 win over Douglass with just four carries for 242 yards and three rushing touchdowns. On the season Jones is averaging 36 yards per carry, yes you read that right. He has 15 carries for 540 yards rushing with nine touchdowns. Nine of the 15 carries have been touchdowns, crazy! He also added a fourth touchdown on a 40-yard TD reception. Conway entered this game only throwing two passes on the year. The Cardinals have outscored opponents 212-to-18 in 2017.
It’s early but it’s starting to sound like Phillipsburg is becoming the favorite on the west bracket of 3A football. The Panthers, who won the 2-1A title in 2015 with some of the starters still impact players on this team, have outscored opponents 118-to-8 after the first three weeks of the season. What’s even more impressive is that they have two consecutive shutouts against two very good MCL teams in Smith Center and Plainville. Pburg is the real deal.
Sabetha has only given up 13 points over three weeks this season and knocked off Jeff West 22-7 last week. They picked up two wins in their two first weeks over traditional powers Centralia (2-1A) and Holton (4A-II). Everyone is circling the week seven district match-up with Nemaha Central (3-0).
Centralia is one of the best programs in Kansas history but the last two seasons they have struggled with wins and injuries going 1-8 and 5-5. Could this be the year they make a run and get back to what everyone is used to? It seems like it so far as they are off to a 2-1 start with wins over St. Mary’s (29-8) and beat defending 2-1A champ Troy, 49-0, on Friday. The Panthers lone loss was to 3A contender Sabetha 28-6 in week one. Sabetha is undefeated and has only allowed 13 points.
St. Mary’s Colgan
Colgan got a huge 20-0 victory over their rival Frontenac (4A-II) on Thursday night. Colgan starts players from all four grades and is using a back-up QB that doesn’t look like a back-up in Cade Simmons who looked great on Friday night accounting for all three scores against the Raiders. Colgan lost in week one to Galena 16-0 with the loss of Bryce Hutchins, but has rebounded nicely with two wins in a row over 4A-II programs, Frontenac and Baxter Springs. They have used clock control by running the football and a stingy defense that has only allowed opponents to score twice in 25 drives inside the fifty. It was the first home win of the Shawn Seematter era after taking over for Kansas coaching legend Chuck Smith who won 343 games as a high school coach.
8-Man I & II
8M-I District 4 on the east is loaded
This six-team district has five teams unbeaten after three weeks with a defending state champion in the district. Victoria, Solomon, Osborne, Logan-Palco, and Bennington are all 3-0. The district is 16-2 combined with Lincoln being the only team with losses with a 1-2 record. Two teams get into the playoffs and Osborne (3-0) is the defending state champion. Even though some of these teams you would consider west teams, they fall on the east bracket, which also features Burlingame, a semi-finalist the last two years. Seems like the power is on the east bracket this year in 8M-I football.
In three games, Burlingame defense has scored five defensive TDs, and only given up one score on the season. We’ve always known they can score but the defense also stepping up big with scoring in 2017. Burlingame is a team to watch on 8M-I east once again and have made the semifinals the last two seasons under head coach Jeff Slater.
Hutch Central Christian
The scoring continues for the 8M-II Cougars. The least they have scored this season is 64 and that was Friday in the 64-16 win over Stafford. They scored 90 in week one against Pretty Prairie and 66 in week two over Stafford. It’s not surprise as they scored 108, 92 and 80 in three different games last year. We want to play for this offense.
Madison is undefeated after three weeks for the first time since 2013. The Bulldogs who were a power not long ago winning titles in 2010 and 2011 are back on track this season. In 2015, they started 0-3 and last season they started 1-2. Second year head coach Alex McMillian will look to get Madison into the playoffs this season for the first time since 2014. However, their six-team district has five teams with a 2-1 or better record, including four with perfect records after three weeks including Madison (West Elk, St. Paul, Sedan).
Zach Jellison, senior of 8M-I South Central, got his first touchdown ever against Ingalls on Friday. He was born with Spina Bifida. His cousin Hunter Huck was also a part of it as he pushed Zach and his wheelchair into the end zone. Zach has always found a way to get his Timberwolves brothers fired up before and after games, on Friday he did that again by scoring his first ever touchdown.
Yes, we have 6-man football in Kansas, although not yet recognized by KSHSSA and a name we’ve seen often the last two years is Manny Castillo of Cheylin. Castillo had 310 rushing yards with four rushing touchdowns on Friday. He had 370 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns. He has 647 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.