By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas
Impressions for Week 7 Football. The week featured a number of remarkable wins, including victories by Dodge City, St. Thomas Aquinas, Hays High, Cimarron and South Barber.
Dodge City kicker Emmanuel Aguilar, who has been featured on SIK several times since he kicked a game-winning field goal for Cimarron as a sophomore, has delivered a remarkable season. In a double-overtime Hatchet Game win versus Garden City, Aguilar kicked field goals of 55, 52 and 42 yards. The 50-plus yard kicks are the two longest in DC history.
Aguilar, a first-year transfer from Cimarron, has already set the Red Demon single season record for made field goals, per DC broadcaster Sean Boston. Dodge City beat Garden City, 36-29, in double overtime. Dodge City is 5-2 under first-year coach Glenn O’Neil and is in position for a share of the WAC title. DC, a KPreps Potential Breakout Team in the preseason, went 4-6 last year.
Dylan Edwards had 266 yards rushing (3 TD) along with 35 yards receiving in the 42-41 shootout win against Maize (5A) on Friday night. Edwards may be the best player in the state on the best team in the state with his 1,210 rushing yards this season through the 6-0 start. He is averaging 12.6 yards per carry his junior season. Avery Johnson (Maize 4-star QB) vs Edwards was one of the biggest showdowns in the state as both were equally impressive.
Will Krzkowski has been one of the best defenders in the state of Kansas this season for Olathe West (5-2). The senior has 86 tackles in seven games this season including 11 on Friday night.
Top records in the classification: 6A East – Blue Valley Northwest 6-1, Blue Valley 6-1, Olathe North 5-2, Olathe West 5-2, Olathe Northwest 5-2.
6A West – Derby 6-0, Manhattan 6-1, Lawrence Free State 6-1, Washburn Rural 6-1, Junction City 6-1
Undefeated Teams: Derby (6-0)
St. Thomas Aquinas delivered a big upset against 6A No. 2 Blue Valley Northwest in a 35-16 victory. Aquinas ended a four-game losing streak and will face Blue Valley North this week. The Saints are 3-4. Aquinas led 22-16 after the first half. Aquinas outrushed Northwest, 297-75. Sean Carroll rushed 25 times for 115 yards. Aquinas outscored Northwest, 372-325, though finished plus-1 in turnover margin.
Maize South quarterback Owen Bailey delivered a school record with more than 360 passing yards and delivered three TDs. Hays High beat Maize South, 47-43, in a wild game with Class 5A West ramifications. Credit to HHS coach Tony Crough and his program, which has continued to build.
HHS is 6-1, which is already its best record since 2014. Hays High was a combined 0-3 versus Maize South in the last two years. Hays High held Maize South on a goal-line play on the final snap. Hays High’s defense held after key safety Remy Stull missed a chunk of the game after a questionable targeting call/ejection. Hays High had big games from its backfield of quarterback Jaren Kanak and running backs Roy Moroni and Malik Bah. Per Hays High broadcaster Dustin Armbruster, HHS rushed for 453 yards with 527 total yards. Kanak rushed for 194 yards, Moroni delivered 185 rushing yards. Bah rushed for a pair of scores. Maize South running back Evan Cantu, the leading 5A rusher, paced with 36 carries for 140 yards and three scores.
L.J. Phillips has had a big-time junior year for Wichita Northwest (5-2) by averaging 215.6 yards per game on the way to 1,509 yards (22 total TD).
De Soto’s Tyler Schultze delivered 323 rushing yards, 99 passing yards and four total touchdowns. De Soto beat Leavenworth, 52-36.
Austin Rivers has been a breakout player on the Spring Hill (7-0) defense with over 90 tackles for the undefeated Broncos this season.
Top Records: 5A East: Spring Hill 7-0, Mill Valley 6-1, Topeka Seaman 5-2, Pittsburg 5-2
5A West: There are nine teams at 5-2 or better, remarkable depth and parity. There are three 6-1 squads: Bishop Carroll, Kapaun Mt. Carmel and Hays High. KMC has a key game with Wichita Heights and its high-powered offensive attack. The Falcons are 5-2 and have averaged 44.1 points a game.
Undefeated Teams: Spring Hill (7-0)
Eudora’s Gage Hayden completed 11 of 12 passes for 251 yards and three scores. He is 31 of 40 for 722 yards with 10 scores in the flexbone offense. Paola held on to beat Eudora, 43-42. Eudora and Paola continue to under-the-radar contenders in 4A East. Eudora, which lost a game on a Hail Mary earlier this season, is 3-4 with losses by three, seven, one and one point. The Cardinals’ three victories have all come by at least 20 points. Traditional power Paola has dealt with injuries/COVID-19 issues among its best players and stands at 4-3, including two losses by a combined five points.
Wamego’s Hayden Oviatt, who is only a junior, delivered his excellent dual threat career with 235 rushing yards and three scores, along with 54 passing yards and a TD. Wamego rolled over Fort Scott, 35-0. Wamego has won six in a row after its four-overtime loss to Concordia to open the season. Wamego has averaged 37.8 points a game. Last season, the Red Raiders went 6-5 and delivered 27.4 points a game. Oviatt led the NCKL in rushing and passing last season, but Wamego is more offensively dynamic this year.
Chanute’s Kolten La Crone had four tackles for loss, three tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Chanute beat Coffeyville, 48-6. The Blue Comets have won six in a row since a season-opening 20-12 road loss to surprising Towanda-Circle. Before the win, Chanute had three straight shutouts. The Blue Comets have allowed just 41 points this year. Chanute went 3-4 last year with two cancelled games.
Buhler did not allow a touchdown and the defense recorded two pick-sixes. The Crusaders have won five in a row since a 21-19 Week 2 loss to Andover Central. No. 4 Buhler remains a strong contender in 4A West.
St. James’ John Niesen made an impressive catch off the helmet. He has had a huge year with 657 yards receiving in 2021. The defending 4A champion Thunder still remain a viable state contender after their brutal early season schedule. SJA delivered a high-quality 37-22 win versus Blue Valley North and BVN’s dynamic offense. The Thunder have won three in a row after an 0-4 start. SJA has scored 112 points in the last three games. The Thunder tallied 36 points in the first four games. As well, the Thunder delivered a big defensive game. BVN had delivered 34 points a contest behind its D1 combination of QB Henry Martin and WR Mekhi Miller.
Top Records 4A East: Basehor-Linwood 7-0, Chanute 6-1, Atchison 6-1
4A West: Buhler 6-1, Wamego 6-1, Andover Central 6-1
Undefeated Team: Basehor-Linwood (7-0)
Holcomb earned a quality bounce-back win with a 41-20 victory versus Pratt. Holcomb’s Damon Mesa finished with seven catches for 191 yards and three scores, along with a 45-yard scoop and score fumble recovery. Pratt’s Enoch Walton continued his fine season with 22 carries for 143 yards with two touchdowns and an extra point. He also delivered a sack and a tackle for loss.
Concordia running back Keyan Miller delivered 20 carries for 83 yards and a score. However, Riley County continued its impressive year with a 48-7 victory. RC is 7-0, Concordia 6-1. Concordia and Chapman play for the unofficial North Central Kansas League title this week in a key district contest. RC had an impressive defensive showing and held Concordia to 223 total yards. Miller has posted a big year, including 22 carries for 216 yards and a score in Week 6, and Concordia’s single game school rushing record earlier in the fall.
Chapman’s offensive line and running back Eli Riegel enjoyed another huge contest with 539 total rushing yards. Riegel finished with 23 carries for 246 yards and three scores. Mason Barnum finished with 13 carries for 108 yards. Chapman defeated Council Grove, 55-14. The Irish are 5-2, a nice improvement after a 4-3 COVID-19 plagued season last year.
Girard continued its best season in 22 years with a 42-6 win versus Iola and set up the huge home game versus Frontenac. Girard is 7-0, and Frontenac is 6-1, 6-0 versus Kansas teams.
Cheney quarterback Harrison Voth delivered 234 passing yards and six touchdowns. Dayton Higgs delivered 98 receiving yards and three scores. Quincy Thomas finished with 116 rushing yards and a score. The No. 3-ranked Cardinals beat Nickerson, 54-0, and moved closer to the first 10-win season in school history. Cheney is 16-1 since the start of 2020.
Luke Gebhardt has had a huge breakout junior year for Southeast of Saline with 1,474 passing yards (17 TD/2 INT) along with 266 rushing yards. Southeast of Saline is 7-0 on the year.
Undefeated Teams: Girard (7-0), Holton (7-0), Riley County (7-0), Southeast of Saline (7-0), Andale (7-0), Wichita Collegiate (7-0), Cheney (7-0)
Galena and Frontenac are both 6-1 with losses to non-Kansas teams. Andale and Wichita Collegiate will play each other this week. Andale and Collegiate have been 1-2 all season in 3A. Andale has won 32 straight games, the longest current run in Kansas and a school record. Galena has won District 1. Frontenac and Girard will play for the District 2 title. Andale/Collegiate will face for the District 7 title.
Beloit running back Benson Berndt delivered 24 carries for 254 yards and two scores. Logan Arasmith had 19 carries for 159 yards and four scores. Beloit’s well-known offensive line delivered 444 rushing yards. Beloit, which has worked its way back into 2A West after it started the season in top-5, is part of a deep pool in 2A West. The Trojans have won four in a row and allowed just 13 total points. Beloit is 5-2 after last season’s 5-7 surprise run to the 2A state semifinals.
Colgan quarterback Aidan Fleming finished with 14 carries for 90 yards and three rushing touchdowns. He completed 13 of 14 passes for 153 yards and two TDs, along with a sack on defense. Running back Jalen Vanbecaelere delivered 18 carries for 175 yards and a rushing score. He had a 65-yard punt return and three pass breakups. Colgan has won four in a row and has made its usual district surge after its early season slate of CNC powers. Cooper Simmons and Tucker Harrell have also had big-time sophomore seasons for the Panthers in 2021.
Wellsville running back Nash Money delivered more than 200 rushing yards and five TDs. No. 3-ranked Wellsville beat Humboldt, 40-0, and improved to 7-0 as one of the state’s better turnarounds under coach Mike Berg. Wellsville has four offensive line starters back, significant improved quarterback play and several sophomores stepping up. Money is well over 1,000 rushing yards this year.
Cimarron lost, 16-12, to Thomas More Prep-Marian for the district title last year. This season, Cimarron won 11-8 on a late field goal by all-everything Braxton Harrison, the three-year starting quarterback, leading rusher, kicker and punter. Cimarron was the first team to score versus TMP as the Monarchs had shut out four straight teams. Harrison kicked a 28-yard field goal. It marked the first extra point/field goal he had kicked in his career. Harrison was 0 of 3 on kicks entering the game.
Wyatt Drouhard has continued to impress for 7-0 Chaparral this season as he has passed for 1,807 yards w/ 25 TD (3 INT). As higlighted earlier this season, he has not played football since eighth grade. Jackson Swartz has been huge over his junior season with 696 receiving yards (7 TD).
Legend Robinson continues a breakout campaign for the Hoisington Cardinals with 1,449 yards. Hosington is 6-1 on the season after a state runner-up finish last year where they graduated major talent. Robinson is averaging 9.9 yards per carry with his 21 touchdowns. Cards are certainly a factor once again under Zach Baird in 2A West.
Undefeated Teams: Wellsville (7-0), Rossville (7-0, 20-game winning streak), Chaparral (7-0)
Wabaunsee quarterback Cade Oliver had 16 of 21 passing for 272 yards and six touchdowns. Wabaunsee is 5-2 and has clinched its first winning season in 24 years. Wabaunsee defeated Horton, 49-0. The Chargers, significantly featured on SIK two weeks ago, is 5-2 and gets No. 5-Centralia this week. Nice work by HC Jess Rutledge.
Sublette picked up its first win this season. Junior quarterback/free safety Miguel Hernandez finished with 16 tackles, one tackle for loss. He had 125 passing yards and a score. Hernandez finished with 17 rushes for 156 yards and two TDs. Sublette defeated Wichita Independent.
Pleasanton’s Karsten McKee finished with 208 rushing yards and four scores, along with a 65-yard kickoff return, 12 tackles and an interception.
Jackson Heights delivered a big defensive performance from Grant Amon, Julian Button and Jason Bosley. Amon delivered 12 tackles, three tackles for loss and three sacks. Butto finished with 14 tackles, two TFLs and a sack. Bosley delivered six of eight passing for 184 yards. He finished with 15 carries for 160 yards and five total scores. JH defeated Valley Heights, 48-12. The Cobras are 4-3 and have matched last year’s win total from a COVID/injury-filled season.
No. 2 Inman continues it remarkable season with another 60-0 shutout at Whitewater-Remington, a team that will likely finish over .500. The 7-0 Teutons have six shutouts and outscored teams a combined 414-3.
Inman is at No. 3 Smith Center (7-0) in a marquee statewide contest. In the preseason, SIK wrote in the 1A preview that multiple coaches agreed the top-10 in the class is as good and competitive as any class. 1A has limited depth, but Olpe, Inman, Smith Center, Sedgwick, Centralia and Conway Springs are all high-quality teams. Inman/SC and Sedgwick/Conway Springs play this week. The next tier includes Wabaunsee, Jeff County North, Plainville and Jackson Heights.
Undefeated Teams: Olpe (7-0), Inman (7-0), Smith Center (7-0), Sedgwick (7-0)
Eight-Man, Division I
In a remarkable back-and-forth second half, Hill City beat No. 4 WaKeeney-Trego, 56-50. HC is believed to have won the first district title in school history. Both teams are 6-1. Hill City has clinched District 8. Kaleb Atkins had the best game of his career and caught the game-winning touchdown pass from 15 yards out on a quick screen on 4th-and-3. HC named Atkins its player of the game. Sophomore Aiden Amrein continued his breakout season. Amrein accounted for four passing and three rushing scores. He passed for 208 yards and rushed for 222. Amrein also picked off a key pass at the Hill City 5-yard line. Atkins delivered 339 all-purpose yards. The game had just shy of 1,000 total yards. Trego junior James Kriegh finished with 201 all-purpose yards. Trego junior quarterback Owen Day had 232 passing yards with three scores against two interceptions.
Chase County quarterback Mitch Budke continued his fine play with a one-handed interception and a 50-yard return. Overall, Budke delivered six carries for 115 yards and four scores. He now has 39 total touchdowns and more than 1,300 rushing yards. Budke has no fumbles or interceptions. Chase County won at Udall, 52-0. The Bulldogs stand at 6-1 with just a close loss to No. 2 Madison two weeks ago.
Burlingame junior Colby Middleton finished with 12 carries for 241 yards and five scores. Middleton delivered 4 of 7 passing for 75 yards and two scores. The Bearcats are 4-2 and have won three in a row. Burlingame won 58-12 at Maranatha Academy.
Argonia-Attica standout quarterback Xander Newberry finished with 199 rushing yards, 49 passing yards and a pick-six. A-A earned a big 44-14 win versus previously undefeated Medicine Lodge. The Titans are 6-1 and have won three in a row.
Carter Burton of Yates Center had 30 carries for 302 yards (4 TD) in the 88-52 win over Marmaton Valley on Friday. YC, after losing to Sedan last week, is still off to their best season since 1969 at 6-1.
No. 1 Little River has won 15 straight after a 54-6 road win versus Herington. LR has won District 4.
No. 5 Meade has won nine in a row after a 56-6 win versus Ness City. Meade has won District 7.
Undefeated Teams: Sedan (7-0), Madison (7-0), Little River (7-0), Meade (7-0)
Eight-Man, Division II
No. 2 Thunder Ridge and Bucklin have continued its big offensive and defensive improvements and remained undefeated. Thunder Ridge is 7-0, 5-0 and won District 4. The Longhorns won at Frankfort, 60-12, which was ranked fifth in Eight-Man, Division II. TR has continued its sizable turnaround and has averaged 57.4 points per game. TR went 5-4 last year, a season where the Longhorns averaged 38.9 points per game.
A note to remember: Axtell used a big comeback to beat Thunder Ridge, 42-40, in the playoffs last year. Many key players return, including seven returning defensive starters for the Longhorns, Axtell quarterback Isaac Detweiler and TR quarterback Dylan Bice.
Bice has completed a remarkable 80 percent of passes with 44 of 55 passes for 817 yards with eight scores against one interception. He has 73 carries for 947 yards and 21 scores. Overall, TR has 273 rushing yards and 9.9 yards per carry. Five players have between 106 and 321 receiving yards. Junior Jace Randall has 14 catches for 321 yards and three scores.
Bucklin, which will play Dighton for the district title this week, is 7-0 and has its most wins since 1996. The Red Aces allowed 40 points a game in 2020. Last Friday, Bucklin won at winless Ingalls, 54-6. Bucklin has allowed six points or fewer in four games. Bucklin has allowed 15.1 points a game.
Wheatland-Grinnell clinched the school’s second district football championship in the last three years as coach Jesse Vincent continues to make a big turnaround with the program. W-G went 8-2 and 8-3 in the last two years for the two best seasons in school history. This season, the Thunderhawks are 6-1 and have won six in a row since a season-opening loss to currently No. 1-ranked Axtell. W-G beat St. Francis, 46-0.
In District 6, Caldwell is 6-1, 5-1. South Barber is 6-1, 4-1. Norwich is 4-2, 3-1. All three have split games against each other with close margins. South Barber beat Caldwell, 46-34. SB held a 397-327 advantage. Caldwell led 16-12 in the second quarter, and South Barber led 32-28 in the third quarter. Briggs Jewell completed 11 of 21 passes for 156 yards with two scores against one interception. Gatlin Jewell finished with 25 carries for 191 yards and five scores. Caldwell standout Keiondre Smith struggled with passing, but delivered 34 carries for 288 yards and three scores.
Undefeated Teams: Axtell (7-0), Thunder Ridge (7-0), Bucklin (7-0)
The regular season has now concluded in Six-Man. Two major themes have emerged: multiple talented teams that could all contend for the title (and likely a first-time champion), and teams enjoying its best year in a long time. Weskan, Pawnee Heights, Moscow and Bird City-Cheylin have won all the six-man titles since the classification re-started. None of those four squads are favored to win the title this year. Six-man, which has continued to grow in popularity, will be KSHSAA sanctioned starting next year.
Natoma (6-0), Northern Valley (6-1), Weskan (4-2) in the North, and Cunningham (7-0), Ashland (6-1) and Moscow (5-2) in the South. Natoma and Cunningham have already enjoyed its best seasons in 13 years. Northern Valley, which has only a three-point loss to Natoma, has a plus-four win improvement from last year. Ashland is a 10-2 since the start of 2020 and 24-6 since its switched to six-man.
Undefeated Teams: Natoma (6-0), Cunningham (7-0)