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Kameron Lake would kick a 28-yard field goal with one second left in the game to give the Firebirds a perfect regular season record (8-0) over their rival Lawrence (24-21) on Friday night. Jax Dineen had a big night with over 180 yards rushing for the Firebirds and is proving to be one of the best 6A juniors in Kansas this season. The Firebirds have one of the best defenses in the state and will be a tough out on the 6A west bracket that features many contenders.
Hunter Igo, Derby
Hunter Igo and Grant Adler have both been quarterback for Derby this year but it was Igo who stepped up huge in the come-back win over a much improved Haysville-Campus squad on Friday. Igo had over 460 yards of total offense and four total touchdowns (2 passing, 2 rushing) in the 48-20 victory over Campus. Derby is primed for a three-peat but this may be their toughest path to get there in recent memory. The Panthers get a 3-5 Dodge City squad in the first round of the playoffs. 6A West has several contenders this year.
The Indians dropped the first game of the season to Shawnee Heights and since then they have won seven in a row. They had a nice second half victory this past week over EKL opponent, BV Northwest, 50-22, a game that was 14-all at half. They get Wichita East in the first round of the 6A playoffs. They will be favored in week one of playoffs and likely will get Derby (vs. Dodge City) in the second round which will be their biggest test of the season. Manhattan relies on a heavy ground game, led by junior back Kevontae McDonald, and a stingy defense that hasn’t allowed more than 22 points in a game all season.
Northwest has been known for their offense but their defense has also been a big part of their 7-1 start this year. It’s no secret though that their offense makes them go as they are averaging 462.6 yards of offense per game in 2017. Breece Hall has been a big success at the running back position, while Austin Anderson has again stepped up nicely in 2017. Big credit due to the offensive line to that of Wichita Northwest in 2017.
Outside of Miege, Aquinas has dominated everyone they’ve played. The rushing attack has been dominant all season long averaging 6.2 yards per carry. STA has only had to throw 79 times this season and has racked up 2,706 yards rushing on the year. Cameron Jackson leads the way with 1,016 yards rushing with 12 touchdowns on the year, while quarterback Will Swanson has over 426 yards rushing with 12 more touchdowns. Swanson also has 810 yards passing on the year on just 70 attempts. Jack Morrisey leads in Aquinas in receiving with 369 yards and two touchdowns.
Carroll has won 20 in a row over their rival Kapaun in the Holy War. This time it was much closer as the Golden Eagles won 30-22, after trailing 13-0 early. Braden Howell has been as good as advertised as he has thrown for over 1,800 yards in his senior year. He threw four touchdowns in the win on Friday. Carroll gets a 1-7 Ark City squad in round one of the 5A playoffs.
Eisenhower QB Tyler Trudo had 14 carries for 298 yards and five touchdowns in the 49-20 win over Ark City. He also was three of three passing for 65 yards. Eisenhower has won three games in a row since dropping their first five games of the year. They get Great Bend (5-3) in the first round of the 5A playoffs.
The Eagles got a 14-13 upset victory over Hutchinson on Friday. It was the first time they had beat Hutchinson since 2004. Caleb Grill has passed for over 1,300 yards this season, while Dalyn Johnson has rushed for over 600 on the ground. Brayden Payne has also been a threat for the Eagles in the receiving game with over 400 yards this year. Maize hasn’t been the most impressive team offensively with just around 24 points per game but in five of their wins their defense has allowed under 14 points.
Miege is impressive every week and outside of Aquinas hasn’t really been challenged. Miege was a heavy favorite over De Soto but the Stag defense stepped up huge to shutout an offense that was putting up crazy numbers in 2017, 31-0, last Friday night. The 31 points was the second least amount that the Stags had put up in 2017, as the lowest was 27 to Aquinas. De Soto may be the second best 4A-I team on the East and we don’t see anyone challenging the Stags until maybe the 4A-I title game, maybe. Daniel Jackson has stepped up nicely in replacing the graduated all-state senior in Jafar Armstrong and has become the favorite target for Carter Putz this season. Miege is averaging 443 yards of offense per game in 2017.
The Tigers won district with a 27-26 victory over Paola on Friday. Entering many weren’t sure Fort Scott would get out of the loaded district and after two weeks and wins over Louisburg and Paola they couldn’t be sitting better. Zarek Fewell is looking like one of the top backs in 4A-I this season as he has rushed for over 1,400 yards on the season. Defensively Andrew Callahan, Nick Lawrence and Derek Bollinger lead the charge. Fort Scott is 6-2 as they enter week nine against Ottawa. Fort Scott has made a nice turnaround this year after a 3-6 losing record in 2016.
The Grizzlies have won six in a row and only have lost to perhaps the second-best team in 4A-I this season in the Andale Indians. Easton Dean, a 6-foot-7, junior, quarterback, has been huge for the Grizzlies this year as he has passed for over 1,600 yards with 21 touchdowns to just three interceptions. T. J. Mayhue averages close to 100 yards per game, while Tanner Russell leads an experienced receiving corps with 524 yards. They average 414 yards a game as a unit. The defense is led by senior linebacker, Rogan Bruce, who has 113 tackles with 10 of them going for loss. Labette has not allowed a point in district play with back to back victories over Independence and Chanute. They have already guaranteed a spot in the 4A-I playoffs and are looking for a district title with a win over Coffeyville this week. Last season the Grizzlies made the playoffs for the first time since 2009, however they’ve not won a playoff game since 2000.
Mac has been dominating recently, especially with their solid defense. Since losing 9-0 in week two to a very good Maize South team, the Bullpups have won six in a row. Kyler Hoppes and Jace Kinnamon have stepped up big offensively to lead the team this season. The varsity defense has not allowed a point since week two of the season. Wyatt Seidl and Jayse Alexander lead a talented cast of players that is one of the top defenses in the state. The Pups will get their last game of the regular season in a district matchup with Abilene this week. 4A-I West has some quality contenders this year including Andale, Buhler, Maize South and McPherson.
Tongie is undefeated yet not many statewide are talking about them. Has their schedule been great? Not great but it’s not to discount that they have taken care of business, especially defensively. The Chieftains have only allowed 18 points over their last four outings and only seven points in district play. Dalton Bock and Korbin Riedel lead the charge offensively as they have combined for nearly 2,000 rushing yards over the first eight weeks. Mason Beach has also thrown for 934 yards and 16 touchdowns. Defensively they are led by all-state lineman Lee Roi Johnson, one of the top players in Kansas. They get Basehor Linwood (7-1) for the district title this week. Tongie had just 10 wins combined in the previous three seasons entering 2017. Nice turnaround in 4A-I this season.
The Raiders knocked off league rival Columbus 20-8 on Friday. Just a few weeks back Columbus was the #1 ranked team in 4A-II. The Raiders have won three out of their last four over the Titans. The win gave the Raiders the district title and they will be at Baxter Springs for the regular season finale on Friday. The Raiders defense stepped up big limiting all-state running back Keenan Stanley of Columbus to 41 yards of rushing on Friday night. It’s likely the Raiders will enter the playoffs at 6-3 and will be a very dangerous out. Not bad for a team that returned only one offensive starter from 2016.
Holcomb beat Pratt 19-14 last Friday night ending the Greenbacks 15-game winning streak. Recently in 4A-II it has either been Pratt or Holcomb. Trey Gilbert has had over 1,300 yards passing this year for the Longhorns with 17 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Gilbert and Kaden Tichenor also lead the rushing attack for the Longhorns. Holcomb lone loss this year is to the #1 ranked team in 4A-II, Scott City. Holcomb will be a hard-out for a lot of teams in the 4A-II playoffs.
Conner Jeffers, Burlington
Jeffers has had a huge season for the Wildcats in 2017 and does a little of everything. His biggest game of the year came last week against Girard in which he rushed for 362 yards and four touchdowns. He has 1,527 yards on the season with 23 scores on the ground. He has also passed for over 500 yards with six touchdowns. Defensively, he has 73 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. Burlington also captured the district title with their win over Girard on Friday.
Many thought this would be a team to turn the corner and it seems to have. They had over 500 yards rushing in the 48-14 win over Collegiate. The Panthers scored 27 points in the fourth quarter. Peyton Kuhns and Tanner Schrag are two of the better weapons in 4A-II.
The Bluejays lost two of their first three games of the season, both to 4A-II contenders in Scott City and Holcomb. Since the week three loss to Scott City, they’ve won five games in a row. Josh Seabolt is playing like one of the top two-way players in the state at running back and linebacker. He has over 1,400 yards rushing on the year. Jaylen Pickle is also one of the top defensive lineman in the state and has committed to Kansas State. Greg Koenig has seemed to fit in nicely in his first year as the head coach since coming over from Beloit. Cimarron has used a heavy rushing attack (353.6 yards per game) to get it done in 2017.
Trenton Jones and the Cardinals continue domination in 2017 as they knocked off previously undefeated Cheney, 41-0, on Friday. Jones leads 3A in rushing with 1,663 yards in eight weeks of the season in 2017. He is averaging 18 yards per carry for the Cardinals. It’s not just Jones either as Colton Terhune is also having a huge year at quarterback. Conway is averaging 486 rushing yards per game this year, which would be a state record if the season were to end today.The defense is equally as impressive as they have only allowed only six points in district play. This 3A district may be the best in Kansas and Conway is having zero problems with any of the teams so far. Conway is already in the playoffs but a win over Chaparral will guarantee a district championship this week.
Hesston rushed for 555 yards on Friday night as quarterback Cameron Cox led the Swathers with 309 yards on the ground with three touchdowns. He also passed for 94 yards and a touchdown. Parker Roth had 19 attempts for 209 with four touchdowns. The Swathers are 5-3 on the year and many dropped off of them after losing three of their first five games. Last year’s 3A runner-up was also 5-3 at this time last year. Throw the records out once every game matters.
David McFarland, TMP
McFarland leads the state of Kansas in passing yardage in 2017 with 2,798 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2017. He had a huge night in the win over Russell on Friday with 443 yards and five touchdowns. Earlier this season he set the all-time single game passing yardage record of 648 yards against Abilene in week one. Creighton Renz is the leading target with 49 receptions for 827 yards with eight touchdowns. Luke Ruder also has 610 yards, while Tate Garcia has 581 and Trenton Mayo has 450 yards. TMP is just 3-5 on the year but won only three games combined in the previous two seasons.
Ty Nelson, Riley County
Nelson had three interceptions on Friday night in one single football game for the Falcons. Riley County is 7-1 as they enter the district championship game against Marysville this week. Both teams are guaranteed a playoff spot, being 2-0 in district play, with the winner winning the district championship undefeated.
The Panthers are dominating everyone in site. Norton was the lasts one of those. The Panthers shutout the Bluejays by limiting them to just 69 total yards (17 passing and 52 rushing). Norton features two of the better recruits in 3A, Jace Ruder and Tevin Petrie, and Phillipsburg had no problem limiting them. The Panthers are going to be a tough out for anyone in 3A.
Last season Centralia was 1-8 and now they sit at 6-2. They are one of the highlighted teams on the 2-1A East that we feel could make a deep run. They picked up a key 30-22 district victory over Valley Heights, guaranteeing them a spot in the 2-1A playoffs after sitting at home last season. They will be heavily tested again this week with the district title on the line against undefeated Jackson Heights (8-0). This district was a good one that featured Valley Heights who will sit at home with two losses that were by a combined 12 points.
Lyndon offense is averaging 420.4 yards per game in 2017. A big reason for that is Dexton Swinehart. He has 1,187 rushing yards along with 730 receiving yards in 2017. Rare combo for someone to nearly lead the state in those two categories in 2-1A. Quarterback Jamie Reed has had a huge year in which he has nearly 1,200 yards passing with 20 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Lyndon is 8-0 on the year and will get Olpe in their regular season district finale this week for a district title on the line.
The Cards lost their first three games of the season but let’s keep in mind they were to Smith Center, Norton and Phillipsburg. Since then they have won five in a row and only allowed 26 points over those five. Plainville, last year’s 2-1A runner-up, could be a scary team in the 2-1A playoffs. Their loss to the favorite in 2-1A Smith Center was by just nine points (16-7) in week one.
Sedgwick continues to impress in the state column with Neal Bever, Brayden Francis and Hooper Schroeder. Francis picked up his 30th career receiving touchdown in just 18 career games. Neal Bever has eight interceptions this year with three of them going for pick sixes. He now has 19 career interceptions in 18 games. Schroeder leads 2-1A in passing yardage with 1,988 yards and 23 touchdowns. Sedgwick is a very scary 4-4 team in 2-1A and has already captured their district. Smith Center is the current favorite in 2-1A but Ell-Saline, Plainville, and Sedgwick should also be threats in 2-1A.
Lane Whisenand, Elkhart
The Elkhart junior quarterback has been tearing up the stat columns in 2017. He has passed for 815 yards with nine touchdowns this season, but where he really gets it done is on the ground. He has 1,566 yards rushing with 22 touchdowns this season. He averages 10.2 yards per carry. He had 219 yards rushing in Friday’s 18-15 district victory over Meade and has Elkhart at a 2-0 district record.
The Bearcats have been impressive all year as expected but their defense has been outstanding. They’ve allowed 20 points all season long and have four consecutive shutouts. Six of Burlingame’s eight games have been shutouts. The offense is led by senior all-state quarterback Dalton Sporing who was limited early in the season with injury but has 25 scores on the year. Seth Greenwood also has 13 scores on the ground and four more receiving. Caiden Musick has 10 receiving touchdowns for the Bearcats. Defensively, they are led by senior all-state defensive end Tristan Lee with 89 tackles, 17 of which have went for loss.
The Patriots wrapped up a district championship with a dominating 62-28 victory over Marmaton Valley on Friday. Cade Miller has over 1,800 yards of offense at the quarterback position with 37 scores for West Elk in 2017.
Hanover has only given up 24 points all season long. They had five shutouts in a row from week three to week seven, but did give up 12 points to Wakefield in Friday’s win (62-12). Hanover gave up just 32 points in last year’s regular season. Does anyone have what it takes to knock off the Wildcats in 8M-II?
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