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Campus (4-3), led by Greg Slade, beat Hutchinson for the first time since the fall of 1999. Most of all the players, if any, on the team were not alive the last time this happened. Federico Harvey has been one of the most impressive breakout players in Kansas this season and threw for 323 yards with three scores in the Friday, 35-7, win over the Salthawks. Tyler Kahmann, Quinton Hicks, Cameron Hicks and Braden Haak have also stepped up to have breakout years for the Colts catching the football. Quinton Hicks is also one of the top junior linebackers in the metro as Harvey doubles as one of the best defensive backs in Kansas. Harvey is an elite athlete that is also a state champion triple jumper going over 46 feet last spring. Campus last had a winning season when they went 5-4 in 2006 and they are starting to look like they could get into that territory.
Jax Dineen, Free State
Dineen, yes the same family of the KU football players Joe and Jay, who are his older brothers, had an outstanding game in the 38-31 comeback over Olathe East on Friday. Dineen had 293 rushing yards which set a school record. Dineen is a 235-pound bruising back that is only a junior and holds a KU offer. Free State is undefeated and will play cross-town rival Lawrence this week. There are going to be a lot of solid athletes from both teams on the field in this wees match-up.
The SM East and Lawrence game had almost 1,100 yards of offense and 102 combined points. All-State back Milton Braasch had over 260 yards rushing for SM East, while Dante Jackson, quarterback of Lawrence, had over 320 yards combined for the Chesty Lions. Andy Maddox, quarterback for SM East, also had over 200 yards combined in the 62-40 shootout win by the Lancers on Thursday.
Dante Jackson, Lawrence
Although the record may not be where Lawrence wants to be Jackson has been outstanding in his first six starts. The senior quarterback, who projects as an athlete or receiver at the next level, has 1,700 combined yards this year with 24 touchdowns. His size is the knock for college recruiters at 5-foot-7 and 165-pounds. He has a 43-inch vertical and 4.5 (4.45 handheld) speed in the 40. Someone needs to take a chance on what could be the best athlete in the class of 2018 in the state. Watch the kids Hudl, he is a human joystick. Lawrence head coach Dirk Wedd told us he has been around football for 40 years and he feels like this kid is very special and may be the best athlete in Kansas this year. I think many Sunflower League coaches may agree. Rivalry week this week as undefeated Free State and Lawrence will meet.
The Indians have won six in a row since dropping season opener to Shawnee Heights. Is it time to give them some credit? They jumped into the Kpreps rankings last week and easily handled Emporia 38-7. They get a Kansas City opponent this week in a Blue Valley Northwest squad that's 2-5. The Indians will be favored but Northwest has such flashes of good offense throughout the year. Can the Indians be a contender on 6A west? Their best victory came in week four over Topeka High (21-14), but many still seem to be sleeping on the Indians. It may be due to the fact that the Centennial League has no produced a 6A football champion since 2008 (Junction City). The west bracket is going to be fun as contenders continue to emerge and everyone makes the playoffs in week nine.
Carroll cruised to a 35-14 victory over 5A league rival Wichita Heights on Friday. K’Vonte Baker of Heights did not play in the second half but Carroll was still impressive defensively in this matchup. Braden Howell and the Golden Eagles will be a heavy contender to go deep in the 5A playoffs. They get rival Kapaun in the Holy War this week as Dusty Trail and Carroll are off to a 6-1 start. Carroll’s lone loss is to 6A power Derby by nine points in week five.
Kapaun has seemed to be a team not many are talking about in the conversation of 5A west football, but maybe they should start. They got a nice out of conference and out of area victory over St. James Academy, 28-27, in overtime on Friday. Why is this impressive? St. James plays in arguably the best league in the state (EKL) and was 5-1 against that competition heading into this matchup. However, SJA does not have Miege on its schedule but did lose to Aquinas. This was also a game in which the Crusaders lost 28-17 last year. Kapaun has got it done on the ground this season with senior Nick Channel who is nearing the 1,000 yard rushing mark. They get rival Bishop Carroll (7-1) this week in the Holy War. Kapaun’s only losses were in competitive matchups with Wichita Northwest and Wichita Heights.
Mill Valley had to replace nine defensive starters from a year ago and it has shown to the start of this season. However, on Friday the Jaguars snapped a three-game losing streak with an upset 35-30 win on Thursday night over 6A Valley North, a game they were dominated in last year. MV had this same exact record last year and it seems like Joel Applebee’s teams start meshing the right way at the end of the year. Are they a serious contender in 5A? Never say never because nobody had them winning the 5A title at this time last year either. Congrats to the Jaguars on the big victory last week.
Kyler Seemrad, Goddard
Playing in place of Blake Sullivan who sat last week out, this freshman stepped up big with over 200 yards passing and three touchdowns in the 57-7 victory over Valley Center. VC had entered with a 5-1 record. The real story was the Goddard defense as they forced five turnovers and held the Hornets to negative rushing yards. With Sullivan, one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks we have in Kansas, it makes them a heavy favorite to get back to the 5A title game, but without him they are still impressive and still contenders.
Ivan Webb, Schlagle
Another week, another mention of Schlagle senior Ivan Webb. He now has 2,167 yards rushing for the 7-0 Stallions in 2017 to lead the entire state of Kansas. He is averaging over 300 yards per contest and 11.3 yards per carry. His season low is 231 yards in a game. Webb is tearing it up against weaker competition than the majority of what other 5A’s see, but let’s make no mistake about it, he’s legit. Webb holds one FCS offer from Missouri State.
Another week, another victory. This time a 17-6 victory over 4A-I power Buhler. It’s a good thing Andale won on Friday as we moved them in front of all the AVTCL-III members in our 25 Poll before last week’s game. The Indians proved us right as they seem to be the most impressive 4A-I team on the west up to this point. The Indians are run first, but its spread out by multiple players on their offense led by quarterback Ethan Baalman who has combined for over 700 yards in offense in 2017. Sawyer Simon has a team leading 576 yards rushing while Baalmann, Jeremy Jansen and Parker Herbst all have at least 200 yards rushing on the season. The Andale defense is the real MVP as they have only allowed 13 points over the last four weeks combined. They were huge on Friday in the win over Buhler limiting their all-state back to under 100 yards and intercepting three passes. Andale shouldn’t be challenged until the playoffs with Circle and El Dorado left on the schedule
The Wildcats continue to win and the game everyone has been waiting for to see if they are the real deal is this week against Miege. Are they favored? No and nobody in 4A-I would be against the 3x defending 4A-I champion Stags who play in the best league in Kansas and are undefeated. But lets give credit to how De Soto has done in 2017 and not take away from that. Outstanding line play has been big for the Wildcats as Marshall Kellner has given up zero sacks or QB pressures this season with 62 pancakes in seven games. Trevor Watts and Bryce Mohl have also been huge offensively for De Soto. Watts has came on here recently and four touchdowns on Friday on seven touches, two receiving and two rushing scores. He has 10 touchdowns in the last three games and 16 on the year. They have outscored opponents 296-to-43 in 2017. Can De Soto hang around with Miege? We will figure out soon.
Trey Harris, Frontenac
Kickers aren't given a ton of opportunities in high school football but when he’s on, the senior kicker can be one of the better 4A-II kickers and proved that on Friday night in a win over Parsons. He easily crushed a 41-yard field goal and had five touchbacks on Friday. Frontenac gets league rival Columbus this week in a district match-up. With his range, Harris is a key weapon for the Raiders.
Conner Jeffers, Burlington
Jeffers had 220 yards rushing with three touchdowns and another 62 yards passing with two more scores. His five touchdowns on Friday night help lead Burlington to a 50-14 district victory over Iola. The Wildcats will have a key district game on the road this week against Girard, also 1-0 in district play.
The Beavers blasted Colby 42-14 in the opening round of district play. It’s been one of the more quiet teams in 4A-II this season, maybe because we are used to the Beavers making noise at the 3A level in the past, but let’s make no mistake, they are a big-time contender for this year’s 4A-II title. They have been led by the rushing attack of Nick Nowak and Wyatt Hayes all season. They have a 2-5 Goodland team on the road this week. Holcomb in week two has seemed to be the only challenger for SC so far in 2017. 4A-II west has several contenders this year but the Beavers are one of them.
Caden Williams, Wichita Trinity
Trinity may have lost but Caden Williams produced big time on Friday night as he had 14 receptions ofr 239 yards and five receiving touchdowns. Quarterback Sam Hardin, featured last week on Faces in Kansas, and Williams are a great QB/WR duo this year in Kansas.
The Cardinals cruised to a 26-6 district victory over previously undefeated Garden Plain on Friday. This was a huge jump start in a district that was 23-1 coming into week seven. Cheney knocked off Chaparral so Conway and Cheney are your current leaders at 1-0 in this district with two weeks remaining. Conway gets Cheney this week, so only one will remain undefeated in this loaded district after this week and the winner likely setting itself up for a district championship unless the third district game results in a loss. The key piece for the Cardinals has been its outstanding rushing attack of 437 yards per game led by Trenton Jones, who has gotten about half that total himself. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound, senior back has rushed for 1,448 yards on just 77 carries this year. He had 272 and three touchdowns over the Owls on Friday. Colton Terhune and Riley Akiu have also been outstanding as both average over 11 yards per carry. Conway defense will have to limit the air attack of Micah Grover and Cheney this week.
The Bulldogs hammered Cherryvale 41-8 on Friday to remain unbeaten on the year. Cherryvale, who plays in the TVL, had entered with a 5-1 record and had just upset Caney Valley. The Bulldogs have been the most impressive team in all of Southeast Kansas this season. They have key victories over 4A-II power Columbus 33-29 in week six and a nice 16-0 win over Colgan in week one. It’s no secret that the 3A playoffs are a gauntlet but we believe the line play and rushing attack of Galena are built for a deep run in November this fall. The Bulldogs shouldn’t see a challenger for a couple weeks now as they get a winless Southeast Cherokee squad this week and a one-win Riverton squad in week nine. Also a time for some bumps and bruises to heal before the start of the 3A playoffs.
Another week, another victory for the Thunder. They proved they were the best in the Big Seven as they beat their rival, Sabetha, 21-7 at home on Friday night. NC has won this game nine years in a row in the regular season, however NC did drop a playoff game to Sabetha a few years back in 2014. Could be cruise control for the Thunder until the 3A playoffs with games over Riverside and Hiawatha coming up. Mitchell Henry is a threat on both sides of the football for the Thunder and should be one of the better overall athletes in 3A this school year. The Thunder have also played a very good schedule for a 3A team this year with key victories over Holton, Centralia, Perry-Lecompton and Sabetha.
The Panthers continue to dominate as they beat TMP 81-to-33 on Friday night, even though the majority of those 33 scored in later action. Phillipsburg is loaded offensively and defensively this season and the defense limited TMP to negative rushing yardage. It was the offense who mainly shined on Friday as they scored 27 first quarter points. Treylan Gross had over 200 yards rushing in the contest for the Panthers. Phillipsburg has outscored opponents 370-to-66 on the season, the majority of those points have not been given up by the starting defense of the Panthers. They get Norton this week with the district and MCL title on the line. Norton is 6-1 on the season after beating Russell last Friday. Norton’s only loss came to Smith Center, 43-0, who Phillipsburg beat 23-0. Can’t compare scores but Phillipsburg will be the favorite in this match-up.
Multiple losses but contenders
Sedgwick (3-4) & Plainville (4-3) come to mind to us on the west. Both have played very good schedules this year, especially Plainville in the MCL. Plainville narrowly lost to Smith Center, the top team in 2-1A, in week one and is the defending 2-1A state runner-up. Sedgwick’s four losses are to teams that combine to be 22-4, with three of those teams in 3A. Centralia (5-2) and Colgan (5-2) are both east contenders that we feel can make deep runs in 2-1A. Colgan losses are to a ranked 3A Galena (16-0) and a ranked 4A-II Columbus (23-8), while Centralia lost to a ranked 3A Nemaha Central (13-0) and to a solid 3A in Sabetha (28-6). Everyone knows records don’t matter this time of the year anyhow.
Neal Bever, a senior defensive back, has 17 interceptions in 17 career games for the Cardinals (3-4). He has six interceptions this year after having 11 in 2016. Brayden Francis, a senior receiver, had 152 yards with two touchdowns, two field goals, which included a 40-yarder on Friday. Francis now has 29 touchdowns in 17 career starts. Hooper Schroeder, junior quarterback, is also having a big year and is near the top of 2-1A passing yardage. The Cardinals had a tough start with their schedule in 2017 but look for them to be a threat in the 2-1A playoffs with the talent they have.
The Bulldogs got a huge 36-30 district victory over 8M-I Victoria on Friday. Sophomore Darrien Holloway was big for Osborne as he had all five of their scores and nearly 200 yards of total offense. Osborne lone loss this season was to 8M-II contender Pike Valley, 30-28, in week four. Osborne has played one of the best schedules in 8M-I this season. The defending 8M-I champs will be at home against Bennington this week.
Dalton Sporing, Burlingame
Sporing was one of the most exciting players in 8-man over the last two seasons but an injury this past off-season has limited his action this year. Looks like the senior is back in full force for the undefeated Bearcats as he was six of seven passing for 159 yards with four touchdowns, while having three carries for 70 yards with two touchdowns. It’s safe to say, he’s very good with the ball in his hands. Bearcats are a major contender in 8M-I after making the semifinals in each of its last two seasons. Burlingame has outscored opponents 413-to-20 in 2017. The defense, led by Tristan Lee, has five shutouts this year. The only concern for the Bearcats is they haven’t been tested, but maybe they are just that good?
Hutch Central Christian
Scoring machine is what we should call the Cougars. They have scored 490 points this season in seven weeks. They have scored 60 or more in every single contest in 2017. Sure, the schedule hasn’t been the greatest but that’s still a lot of points. In week nine they will get a key district matchup with Caldwell (7-0). They have a one win Burrton team this week, so likely expect a lot of points once again.
Otis-Bison keeps impressing us this season with their victories. They beat previously undefeated Dighton easily, 54-8, on Friday. Is it the same Dighton as last year? No, but it’s still a key district victory for the 6-1 Cougars that dropped this contest a year ago. Blake Bahr had over 200 yards rushing in the contest for Otis-Bison. It was reported to us that there were just 22 overall combined players in this contest, 12 from Otis-Bison and 10 from Dighton. Depth could be a concern in the playoffs, however Dighton was the 8M-II runner-up last season with just 14 players. Otis-Bison only loss this season was to 8M-I contender Central Plains, but the Cougars do have a key 8M-I victory over Victoria (22-20) in week four. Can the Cougars make a run on 8M-II west? Everyone is circling the district match-up with Hodgeman County (6-1) in week nine.
Rylee Whelchel, Rock Hills
Whelchel had a night on Friday as he had seven total touchdowns. Many athletes would be happy to have that in a season. He had seven catches for 281 yards with six receiving touchdowns, while also taking a punt to the house for a touchdown in the 54-6 win over Linn. Rock Hills improved to 6-1 on the season.