By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
Week 4 Impressions are highlighted by a number of upsets, especially in the large classes with Garden City, Olathe West and Arkansas City. Plus, a school record for Mulvane and Concordia, Inman’s fourth straight shutout, and another huge performance by WaKeeney-Trego. As well, double-digit win streaks extend for several schools, including 5A No. 1 Mill Valley, which received another big defensive performance. Bucklin completes a memorable first month, and Natoma’s Kayden Martinez goes well over 1,000 rushing yards.
Biggest surprise teams at 4-0 in the state after four weeks?
You have to look at the following: Spring Hill (4-4 last year) Girard (4-6 last year) Concordia (5-4 last year) Pratt (3-6 last year) Chaparral (2-6 last year) Wellsville (4-5 last year) Yates Center (3-6 last year) Medicine Lodge (2-5 last year) Trego (1-6 last year)
Garden City picked up an impressive 27-21 road win against Hays High at Lewis Field Stadium. GC, which had won either two or three games in the last three years, is 3-1 with a pair of one-score wins in 2021. HHS was 6-0 in WAC play since the start of 2020 and dropped to 3-1. GC is known for defense the last several years and has shown an improved offense this season.
GC has permitted just 12.3 points a contest after it finished No. 8 in 6A defense last season. The Buffs had a pair of 15-play drives and completed a 96-yard touchdown pass, per Hays High broadcaster Dustin Armbruster. Garden City opened 1-5 last year, a stretch where it allowed at least 20 points in five of the games. Plus, GC had just 54 points in that stretch in 2020. This year, the Buffs have 95 points.
Blue Valley defeated Eastern Kansas League rival St. Thomas Aquinas, 36-35, in overtime. STA, ranked No. 3 in 5A, has lost back-to-back games by a combined four points. Greyson Holbert, BV’s dynamic dual threat quarterback, accounted for 179 passing, 158 rushing and four TDs. BV is just outside the rankings in Class 6A after a season-opening loss to Blue Valley Northwest
Olathe West delivered a shocking 20-6 win against No. 2 Olathe North. Mason McGavran accounted for a pair of touchdowns, and Anthony Favrow rushed for a score. OW is 3-1, one of seven 6A East squads that is 3-1. North won, 21-17, in this matchup last year.
Mikey Pauley continues to prove why he is one of the best in Kansas for the 4-0 Huskies of BV Northwest. Pauley has thrown for 786 yards (11 TD/4INT-77C%) while rushing for 375 more (3 TD). One of the best offensive units in Kansas putting up at least 35 in every game and 47 or more in three games.
Junction City won its second straight overtime contest with an 18-17 win versus Washburn Rural. Junction City is 3-1.
Undefeated teams: Blue Valley Northwest (4-0), Manhattan (4-0), Derby (3-0)
De Soto recorded 502 yards of total offense with four new offensive line starters and a new fullback. Tyler Schultze ran for 224 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 145 yards and two TDs. Ethan Schultze delivered 80 rushing yards, 102 receiving yards and two total scores. De Soto beat Lansing, 41-14, at home and set up a huge contest with Spring Hill (4-0).
Maize South’s Evan Cantu is just shy of 1,000 rushing yards after the first month. Maize South is 4-0. Cantu delivered 22 carries for 315 yards and five touchdowns and finished with 370 total yards. Maize South is also loaded with perhaps the state’s best defensive backfield. Maize South won 49-34 against Campus.
Wichita Heights moved to 3-1 and set up a big game with 3-1 Andover, which has posted a top-six defense in 5A the last two years. Heights’ D.J. Dingle had 12 carries for 165 yards and two scores. He finished 11 of 16 for 217 yards and two TDs. Heights beat Wichita West, 54-20. Heights has tallied 191 points this season after 258 in eight games last fall.
Mill Valley beat Lawrence, 21-14, and won its 11th straight contest. MV is 22-2 in its last 24 games, a streak that started in Week 4 of 2019. The Jaguars, ranked No. 1, are back-to-back 5A state champions. Mill Valley was top-seven in 5A scoring defense the last two seasons and continue to be dominant on that side again. With longtime coach Joel Applebee, defensive coordinator Drew Hudgins and a veteran staff, the Jaguars do an excellent job of talent development – maybe the best in Kansas – and have relied on an experienced defensive line. Kendrick Jones had seven catches for 124 yards. Jones should be a rising prospect at WR. MV has permitted just 52 points this season.
Wichita Northwest beat Wichita East, 17-2, last year to win the City League title. Northwest, despite its normal high yardage, had started 1-2. The Grizzlies rolled over East, 56-0. L.J. Phillips rushed 14 times for 201 yards and four scores.
Spring Hill (4-0), Mill Valley (4-0), Maize South (4-0), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (4-0)
In a big upset, Arkansas City beat Maize, 24-17. AC improved to 2-2, and Maize, ranked No. 5 in Class 5A all season, fell to 3-1. Ark City was the defending Class 4A runner-up in 2020 after a regular season loss to Maize, and then a big playoff run.
Arkansas City led 21-3 in the fourth quarter after a one-yard touchdown run by Gabe Welch. AC Gabe Welch, a returning all-state quarterback, completed 30 of 40 passes for 264 yards and a score. Lucas Barnes had 11 catches for 149 yards with a TD. AC was 0-4 against Maize since ’16.
Mulvane’s Mason Ellis, featured on SIK in the summer, this preseason and again last week, enjoyed a brilliant performance. Mulvane had one win last fall when Ellis, a North Dakota State commit, missed the majority of the year with injury. Mulvane is one of the teams that has benefited from at least one injured player returning for 2021, joining a group that includes WaKeeney-Trego, Bucklin, Jackson Heights and Pratt.
Mulvane is 2-2 and has doubled its win total from 2020. The Wildcats have a pair of competitive losses to Wichita Collegiate and Andale, ranked second and first respectively, in Class 3A. Ellis is 17 of 26 for 315 yards with three touchdowns and a rushing score.
Hunter Seier delivered nine catches for 219 yards and two scores and picked off two passes on defense. Mulvane picked off four total passes in a 28-14 win against surprising Circle, a 2-2 squad. Circle had set a single game school record for passing yards last week. One of Ellis’ passes was a 95-yard touchdown pass to Seier, a new school record. Mason broke his brother Drew’s previous record.
Paola’s Caden Rhamy, who had an impressive summer and has delivered a strong first month, delivered 12 carries for 246 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-20 win against Ottawa.
Undefeated teams: Basehor-Linwood (4-0), McPherson (4-0), Andover Central (4-0)
Concordia’s Keyan Miller broke the school record for single game rushing yards with 16 carries for 401 yards and five touchdowns. Cav Carlgren finished 5 of 5 passing for 90 yards and a score. Carlgren also finished with three carries for 32 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Aidan Poore recorded two carries for 32 yards and a touchdown, along with two catches for 67 yards and a pair of TDs. Stryker Hake intercepted three passes. Concordia delivered 743 total yards, including 625 rushing. Concordia won at Council Grove, 83-8.
Southeast of Saline’s Chase Poague, who won both Class 3A hurdle titles last spring, finished with six catches for 152 yards, two receiving scores and one carry for a 38-yard TD. SES quarterback Luke Gebhardt finished 16 of 17 passing for 241 yards and three scores. SES has been an elite team the last two years with a combined 13-1 record. The Trojans beat Russell, 71-0, and have outscored teams, 229-12.
Chapman’s Eli Riegel continued his strong start after he had a nice sophomore year and then played in just three games last year because of injury. Riegel delivered 23 carries for 137 yards and delivered an 83-yard kickoff return for a score. He delivered four total scores. Tate Milton finished with six carries for 106 yards. Chapman improved to 3-1 with its only loss to 3A No. 5 Holton, which earned a big 41-17 rivalry win versus Sabetha in Big Seven.
Galena beat Parsons, 14-6, on the game’s final play. Quarterback Brett Sarwinski found Tyler Little for the 17-yard touchdown. Both are all-state basketball players for 3A state runner-up Galena. Sarwinski was the 3A Basketball Player of the Year. Little is 6-5, 240 and is a FBS prospect.
Wellsville sophomore Dezmond Winton picked off three passes in the first half and a rushing touchdown. He also broke up a pass that resulted in a teammate’s touchdown. Wellsville beat Jayhawk-Linn, 50-6.
Holcomb’s Kaden Johnson completed 14 of 18 passes for 275 yards and five touchdowns in a 55-0 victory against Nickerson.
Pratt, significantly featured on SIK in the first month, continued its high offensive performances with its physical, single wing look. Pratt led 30-7 after the first quarter and beat Larned, 62-27. Pratt rolled up 500 yards of offense, including 389 on the ground. Sophomore Max Younie completed five of five passes for 41 yards. He had 11 carries for 164 yards and three scores.
Senior Enoch Knox Walton delivered six carries for 42 yards and two TDs. Junior J’air Johnson caught a 70-yard TD pass for his only reception. Pratt has scored 68, 59, 36 and 62 points in the first month and gets the big home marquee matchup versus Cheney this week in one of Kansas’ most high-profile Week 5 games. Overall, Pratt has averaged 365 rushing yards a game. Younie and Walton have combined for 14 rushing scores.
Cheney’s Harrison Voth continued his highly impressive year with six passing touchdowns. He recorded more than 160 passing yards on the touchdowns alone. Cheney won at Hugoton, 49-7. The Cardinals are 13-1 since the start of 2020. The Cardinals have not lost in the regular season since 2019. Cheney is 22-5 in its last 27 games after a 2-7 mark in 2018.
Colby’s Tyler Voss delivered 32 carries for 235 yards and three touchdowns, per Colby broadcaster Dan Lucero. Colby beat Smoky Valley, 39-14. SV entered the contest 3-0.
Undefeated teams: Caney Valley (4-0), Prairie View (4-0), Girard (4-0), Holton (4-0), Concordia (4-0), Riley County (4-0), Southeast of Saline (4-0), Andale (4-0), Wichita Collegiate (4-0), Cheney (4-0), Pratt (4-0)
No. 1 Rossville has won 17 in a row after a 66-0 win versus McLouth. Senior quarterback Torrey Horak, the reigning 2A Offensive Player of the Year, accounted for four touchdowns.
No. 2 Nemaha Central, which lost to Holton a last-second field goal in Week 1, won its third straight game with a 20-0 win versus surprising Atchison County. AC opened with a surprising 3-0 start.
Hoisington has quietly worked its way back into the 2A conversation after a 28-13 road win against Phillipsburg. Since the 68-18 season-opening loss to now 4-0 Pratt, Hoisington has won three in a row, all by at least two scores. The Cardinals led 20-0 at the end of the third quarter. Legend Robinson enjoyed another big year with 21 carries for 195 yards and three TDs. Wyatt Wikum had his first 100-yard game in his career with 20 carries for 112 yards, per Cardinal broadcaster Cole Reif.
Chaparral, one of the state’s top surprises, improved to 4-0 with a 53-6 win versus Leon-Bluestem. The Roadrunners have a key home game versus Garden Plain this week. Chaparral went 2-6 in 2020. Wyatt Drouhard has thrown for 844 yards (11 TD/2 INT) while Jackson Swartz has 360 receiving yards (3 TD) on the season.
TMP beat Syracuse, 62-0, in what is the Monarchs’ most points and biggest margin of victory in at least 50 years, per the Kansas Football History database. TMP led 49-0 at halftime as Kade Harris and Bryce Seib all had big games.
Braxton Harrison continues to show his versatility for Cimarron (3-1). 554 passing (5 TD) along with 345 rushing (4 TD). He also has 53 tackles and two interceptions. Harrison also serves as a return man on special teams. Talented athlete out of Southwest Kansas.
Undefeated teams: Osage City (4-0), Wellsville (4-0), Rossville (4-0), Chaparral (4-0)
No. 3 Inman shut out Oakley, 40-0, and still has not allowed a point. Inman has beaten teams: 52-0, 68-0, 86-0 and 40-0. Last season, Inman beat Oakley in the regular season, and then fell 9-0 at Oakley in the 1A state semifinals. Josiah Buller picked off two passes. Jace Doerksen completed seven of 11 passes for 194 yards. Harrison Brunk caught two passes for 111 yards. Kendyn Blank continued his huge year with seven carries for 92 yards. Inman is at Plainville (3-1) in a huge district contest this week.
No. 4 Sedgwick beat Stanton County, 62-0. Stanton had won back-to-back games for the first time in nine years before Week 4. Sedgwick kicker Connor Tillman continues to move closer to breaking state kick scoring records. He was eight for eight on extra points, and two of three on field goals, including a 40-yarder.
Quarterback Lance Hoffsommer passed for 257 yards and four scores and rushed for two TDs. Junior nose guard Kaden Tiede dominated with eight tackles, for loss. Linebacker Koen Werner paced the defense with 10 tackles. Ryan Stucky had four catches for 147 yards and two TDs. Stanton County finished with minus-3 yards of offense in the game. Blake Hubert tallied four catches for 116 yards and two scores.
Troy’s Cam Anderson is 13 of 17 for 271 yards and six touchdowns against no interceptions. Jerrit Norris delivered eight catches for 178 yards and four scores, all in the first half. Troy won, 56-6, at Pleasanton and improved to 3-1. The Trojans have already improved their win total from a 2-7 mark last season. Nice work by HC Derek Jasper. Anderson has 758 passing on the year, 402 which have went to Jerrit Norris. Norris also leads the defense with 38 tackles along with Kemper Clary who has the same amount. Boden Benitz has been a ballhawk with five interceptions while Preston Christenson has five sacks.
Republic County’s defense had a standout performance. Andrew Hubert delivered a pick-six. Colin Dahl stepped up in the backfield after a key injury. RC won 44-16 at Maur Hill and is now 2-2.
Undefeated teams: Olpe (3-0), Inman (4-0), Smith Center (4-0), Sedgwick (4-0)
Eight-Man, Division I
Sedan’s Brec Long finished with seven touchdowns in a win against West Elk. Long has enjoyed a huge first month since he transferred from nearby Caney Valley. Sedan beat WE, 72-22, and improved to 4-0.
Yates Center beat Oswego, 56-6, and moved to 4-0, which continued the school’s best start since 1969.
No. 1 Canton-Galva edged past Bennington, 60-42. Jayden Ediger continued to start at quarterback. C-G led 12-0 after the first quarter and 26-20 at halftime. Ediger completed 11 of 25 passes for 283 yards and five touchdowns. The game featured 911 yards of total offense. Senior wide receiver Tyson Struber, a Kansas State commit and one of the state’s best players, continued to move closer to the all-time eight-man record for receiving touchdowns. Struber finished with nine carries for 72 yards and four TDs. He delivered seven catches for 208 yards and four scores.
C-G will face No. 3 Little River (4-0) this week. Both teams have been ranked No. 1 in closely packed Division I this season. LR beat Lincoln, 51-6, on the road. LR has won 12 consecutive games dating back to a 56-38 regular season loss to Canton-Galva in Week 5 last season. Versus Lincoln, Braxton Lafferty rushed eight times for 129 yards. LR’s defense limited Lincoln to under 100 total yards.
No. 4 WaKeeney-Trego moved to 4-0 and has quadrupled its win total from last year. The Golden Eagles, arguably the state’s biggest surprise, earned another key win with a 60-40 road victory versus Hoxie. Trego had a forfeit win versus Chase in Week 1, and since have beaten Wichita County (76-28), at Victoria (42-40) and versus Hoxie (60-40). Those three teams are a combined 8-1 when not facing Trego and two of them are ranked.
Trego led 16-8 after the first quarter and 32-20 at halftime. Both teams had huge offensive games. Hoxie senior Ashton Dowell, who has been called the most accurate quarterback in eight-man football, finished 23 of 44 for 306 yards with six touchdowns against two interceptions. For WaKeeney, junior Owen Day continued his breakout season after he was hurt more than half of last season. He completed 13 of 20 passes for 146 yards with two scores against two interceptions.
Day rushed 17 times for 115 yards and two TDs. Junior James Kriegh continued his big season with 21 carries for 172 yards and two scores. Trego delivered 456 yards of total offense. Senior Charlie Russell enjoyed a big game with eight catches for 112 yards and two TDs. Kreigh also returned a kickoff for a score. After the first month, WaKeeney has established itself as the Division I West favorite.
No. 5 Wichita County moved to 3-1 with another big offensive output in a 54-32 win versus a quality Hodgeman County squad. Hodgeman County still delivered 361 yards of total offense.
Kinsley improved to 3-1 with a 58-8 win against South Haven in a game called at halftime. Peyton Schmidt completed eight of nine passes for 170 yards and six touchdowns, along with nine carries for 59 yards. Levi Taylor delivered three catches for 97 yards and a pair of TDs. Xavier Holguin had a terrific one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone.
Medicine Lodge is 4-0 and has doubled its win total after a 2-5 mark last year. ML beat Moundridge, 34-30.
Undefeated teams: Sedan (4-0), Yates Center (4-0), Chase County (4-0), Madison (4-0), Canton-Galva (4-0), Little River (4-0), Medicine Lodge (4-0).
Eight-Man, Division II
In a gigantic rivalry and district matchup, No. 2 Axtell won at No. 1 Hanover, 30-24. Axtell quarterback Isaac Detweiler moved to 3-2 against Hanover in his career. He finished 8 of 10 passing for 57 yards and a score and delivered 38 carries for 182 yards and three touchdowns. Detweiler delivered six solo tackles with a pair of interceptions. Axtell also owns a Week 1 win against Wheatland-Grinnell (3-1). Detweiler sealed the win with a late interception. This will again likely be the first of two meetings.
Plenty of credit to Wheatland-Grinnell, its veteran team and coach Jesse Vincent for turning things around after a big Week 1 loss to Axtell. W-G had a great crowd, environment and new bleachers for its Homecoming game versus Gove County rival Quinter. W-G led by one score at halftime and pulled away in the second half for a 58-26 victory. The Thunderhawks have won three in a row, including quality wins against Kinsley and Quinter, both 3-1 teams.
No. 4 Victoria trailed 16-8 at halftime and 22-16 after three quarters before 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat Sylvan-Lucas, 36-22. At one point, S-L led 22-8 before Taylor Anderson returned a kickoff 40 yards for a score. In the fourth quarter, Grant Schoenrock had touchdown runs of five, 27 and one yard.
Schoenrock, who has won a playoff game as the starting quarterback in each of the last three years, missed part of the 42-40 home loss to WaKeeney-Trego in Week 3 with cramps. Schoenrock finished with 12 rushes for 69 yards and three TDs. Victoria also used special teams in Week 1 when it had a key fake punt in the first quarter after it trailed early against La Crosse.
Junior Jett Vincent and his brother, senior Trey, were both outstanding. Trey passed for 234 yards, including four touchdowns, all to his brother. Senior running back Isaac Mendez cleared 90 rushing yards, rushed for four scores and returned a fumble for a TD. Tyrell Chapin had three sacks and three forced fumbles.
W-G’s dynamic offense keeps the Thunderhawks a strong contender in Division II West. Quinter has several nice pieces, including 6-foot, 235-pound lineman Braden Polifka and quarterback Preston Havlas, though quarterback/end Jaden Boone played with a cast and eventually left the game when he was banged up.
Bucklin, which SIK has mentioned several times this season, is now 4-0 under coach Trever Powell. This is the best month of football for Bucklin in 14 years.
Entering Week 1, Bucklin had four possible streaks to end in the first month: a long Week 1 losing streak, a losing streak to Spearville, and skids to Hodgeman County and Coldwater-South Central. All of those streaks have now ended after a 63-18 win versus South Central.
In Division II West, Victoria, Wheatland-Grinnell, Caldwell and Bucklin have separated themselves from the pack with a combined 10-2 record. Scott Price continued his fine career with 11 rushes for 112 yards and three TDs.
Bucklin has a great chance to win more than six games in a year for the first time since 1996. Nate Bowman finished 7 of 19 passing for 168 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 55 yards and a score.
Entering this year, Bucklin had lost 13 straight season openers dating back to 2007. As well, the Red Aces had dropped to seven of its last eight to Spearville. Bucklin beat the Lancers for the first time since ’07. Bucklin was 0-3 against Hodgeman County going back to ’04. As well, Bucklin was 0-11 against South Central since ’02, according to the Kansas Football History database.
Caldwell improved to 4-0 with a 58-12 win versus Hutchinson Central Christian. Caldwell had another mammoth performance from junior quarterback Keiondre Smith. He completed 5 of 10 passes for 55 yards with two touchdowns against no interceptions.
Smith rushed 19 times for 256 yards and three scores. Senior Brody Perkins delivered 14 carries for 110 yards and four scores. This season, Smith has passed for 311 yards with seven scores against two interceptions. He has three straight 200-yard rushing yard performances. Overall, he has 86 carries for 822 yards and 13 scores.
Undefeated teams: Frankfort (4-0), Axtell (4-0), Thunder Ridge (4-0), Caldwell (4-0), Bucklin (4-0)
Natoma’s Kayden Martinez has cleared 1,200 rushing yards after a first team all-state 6-Man season last year. He finished with 13 carries for 291 yards and six touchdowns. He went 2 of 2 passing for 69 yards and a score. Natoma is 4-0 and has bettered last year’s total from a 3-2 mark. Natoma won 67-19 at perennial six-man power Golden Plains.
Weskan upset defending state champion Cheylin, 37-33. Cheylin had won 11 in a row followed by back-to-back losses.
Undefeated teams: Natoma (4-0), Cunningham (4-0), Ashland (3-0)