By CONOR NICHOLL
Sports In Kansas’ football Impressions are back for another season. Impressions will run each weekend after a Friday night. Check out more SIK coverage on Week 1 in the next few days. A wild Week 1 featured standout performances from unranked teams Hays High, Pratt, Axtell and Kinsley, as well as a number of high-profile showings from unranked teams.
No. 2 Olathe North was up 56-0 midway through the third quarter. Jacob Parrish finished with four carries and 117 yards with three touchdowns. ON eventually beat Shawnee Mission South, 56-0.
On Thursday, Blue Valley North’s Henry Martin enjoyed a huge day in a 51-24 win versus Bishop Miege in the Eastern Kansas League. Blue Valley North is ranked third in 6A, and Miege is first in 4A. Martin had 360 passing yards and six touchdowns. Martin has cleared 6,000 career passing yards. Martin, WR Mekhi Miller and its supporting cast have one of the state’s best offenses.
In a marquee matchup of top-5 teams, Blue Valley Northwest beat Blue Valley, 35-21. This marked the second straight year BVNW defeated Blue Valley in the season opener, though last season it was Week 3 because of COVID. Blue Valley then defeated Northwest in the playoffs. Grant Stubblefield tallied three touchdowns for Northwest. NW is ranked fifth in 6A, and Blue Valley fourth.
Lawrence Free State is expected to be much improved after an 0-6 season wrecked by COVID-19 last year. Free State opened with a 49-21 win versus Shawnee Mission Northwest.
Dodge City opened the Glenn O’Neil era with a 28-6 victory against Wichita West. O’Neil has won 13 straight season openers, a stretch that covers three schools: Scott City, Topeka Seaman and DC. The Red Demons are now 5-6 since the start of 2020 – and permitted just 20 total points in those games.
Per veteran DC broadcaster Sean Boston, the game was called with 3:50 in the third quarter because of weather. DC led 21-6 at halftime. Dodge City has had a top-10 scoring defense in Class 6A in each of the last two years.
Bishop Carroll defeated Wichita Northwest, 37-27, on Thursday in the City League rivalry. Carroll ended Northwest’s 23-game City League winning streak. BC last defeated its rival Wichita Northwest, 40-35, in the 2017 season opener. Wichita Northwest is first in 5A, and Bishop Carroll is fifth in 5A.
Two-time defending state champion Mill Valley opened with a 35-14 win versus Gardner-Edgerton. MV has won eight in a row since a G-E regular season loss last year. Mill Valley is ranked third in 5A.
No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas beat St. James Academy, 28-7. Aquinas moved to 8-0 in school history against SJA, the defending Class 4A state champion. Aquinas finished with zero passing yards and 391 rushing. St. James delivered 149 passing yards and eight rushing yards. Sean Carroll finished with 26 carries for 214 yards and a TD. Jackson House completed 13 of 26 passing for 149 yards and a touchdown.
Hays High opened with a 35-6 win versus Wichita East at Lewis Field Stadium. Senior quarterback Jaren Kanak, the state’s top recruit and Clemson commit, rushed for three long touchdowns and passed for a 98-yard score to wide receiver Jordan Dale. Kanak and multiple HHS offensive starters were sick this week. He accounted for an incredible 484 yards – 248 rush, 162 pass and 76 punt return yards. HHS also enjoyed a big defensive day with an interception from Remy Stull and forced fumbles by Gavin Meyers and Dalton Dale. Wichita East scored more than 40 points a game and was first in 6A scoring defense last season. Both Hays High and W. East are just outside of the top-five in 5A and 6A, respectively. East had 21 penalties.
Maize South’s Evan Cantu started with 24 rushes for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his scores were on runs longer than 50 yards. Maize South opened with a 32-0 win against Great Bend. It marks the second straight year Maize South opened with a shutout against GB.
In a game that ended at 11:50 p.m., Wichita Heights held off Goddard Eisenhower, 28-23. Heights is a possible breakout candidate with all of its offensive yards from non-seniors in 2020.
Eudora, with high-level Division I recruits Jaden Hamm and Silas Etter, earned a 53-0 win versus Baldwin. It marked the second straight year Eudora opened with a 35-6 victory against Baldwin. It was the most points for Eudora in a game since a 54-0 victory against KC Sumner in Week 3 of the 2016 season.
No. 5 McPherson has perennially been a top-3 defense in Class 4A and sometimes led the classification. On Friday, the Bullpups, with veteran head coach Jace Pavlovich and DC Chet Harlin, beat Salina South, 24-14. McPherson led 4A in scoring defense with 8.3 points allowed a contest. McPherson was second in 4A with 16.3 points allowed a contest last year.
Basehor-Linwood won a key season-opening matchup, 27-6, against Tonganoxie. Tongie advanced to the state quarterfinals and finished No. 4 in the final rankings with a 9-2 mark last season. The Bobcats were sixth in 4A with 35.5 points a contest last year. Tonganoxie defeated B-L in the last two seasons.
Towanda-Circle pulled a slight upset with a 20-12 victory against Chanute. Circle finished 1-6 with a 16-14 loss to Chanute last season. The T-Birds had not won a season opener since 2012. Circle had six total wins from 2012-20.
Buhler delivered a big showing with a 42-14 win versus Goddard. Per Hutchinson News, Buhler had a pair of pick-sixes, a big running night from Sam Elliott and a solid offensive line showing. Elliott is a two-time wrestling state champion and returning conference offense player of the year. Elliott accounted for three touchdowns and more than 250 rushing yards. He was just short of 2,000 rushing yards last year.
No. 1 Andale, the two-time defending champion, ran its winning streak to 26 games, the longest current run in Kansas. The Indians defeated Rose Hill, 57-6.
In one of Friday’s biggest surprises, Pratt beat Hoisington, 68-18. The Cardinals are ranked fifth in 2A. Enoch Walton rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns, per Hoisington broadcaster Cole Reif. Hoisington was the 2A state runner-up to Rossville. It marked the most points allowed by Hoisington in the eight-year Zach Baird era.
Walton has posted a number of impressive offseason workout videos and was expected to be a breakout candidate. Walton finished with 35 carries for 199 yards and two TDs, along with 10 catches for 155 yards and a pair of scores in 2020.
Concordia held off Wamego, 41-40, in a wild four-overtime North Central Kansas League matchup. Concordia finished with 318 rushing yards. Keyan Miller had 29 carries for 174 yards and two TDs, along with a key two-point conversion.
Prairie View opened with a 42-7 win versus Santa Fe Trail. Bodi Isenhower delivered 201 all-purpose yards, including 131 rushing and two touchdowns. He recorded 70 punt return yards. Damien Kline had 66 rushing yards and two scores, along with 95 passing yards and two TDs. Kline finished six of six on extra points. Dakota Stogsdill picked off two passes on defense, and Colton McCammon recorded nine tackles.
Larned’s Brady Hope enjoyed a huge game with three interceptions, a fumble recovery, forced fumble, punt return touchdown and receiving touchdown. Larned defeated Lyons, 41-19.
Russell beat Ellis, 17-6. It marked Russell’s first win against Ellis since 1954. Russell lost, 32-0, to Ellis in the season opener last year – the school’s first meeting since 1954. Per the Kansas Football History database, Russell beat Ellis, 20-13, in Week 7 of 1954. The teams had a series in the late ’40s and early ‘50s. Russell had lost the last two season openers.
Cheney defeated Kingman, 34-14, in a key Central Plains League contest. Cheney is ranked fourth in 3A.
Holcomb continued its long winning streak against Cimarron with a 23-16 victory in a matchup of two southwest Kansas rivals. Cimarron’s Jordan Smith had a new school record with his 107-yard pick-six versus Jordan Smith. Holcomb has won 18 straight against Cimarron since 1998.
For the second straight year, Chapman held off Sabetha, 24-22. Chapman scored under a minute to go to win the contest. Chapman has 14 seniors. The Irish won at Sabetha, 34-29, last season.
Silver Lake is ranked second in 2A. Rock Creek was a 3A KPreps Potential Breakout Team. RC had to replace substantial starters, though SL narrowly held on for a 34-28 victory.
Smoky Valley beat Halstead, 20-16. SV flipped its result from last year when it opened with a 46-0 loss to Halstead. Before then, SV had a 49-0 loss to Halstead in 2019.
Riley County’s Collin Rankin delivered a 42-yard field goal for a 17-14 win as time expired against St. Marys.
Holton had its third-straight wild Week 1 game. Two years ago, Holton lost, 7-0, in the final seconds to Jefferson West. Last season, Holton beat Nemaha Central on a last-second 20-yard field goal from Will Lierz. This season, Lierz kicked a 32-yard field goal for a 25-24 victory. Holton is ranked fifth in 3A, and Nemaha Central is third in 2A.
Frontenac picked up a two day victory over Columbus by shutting out the Titans 20-0 on Friday night. Colin McCartney had a TD pass to Aaron Doria. Justice Compton had a 76 yard TD run and Mario Menghini added a rushing score plus an interception. Landon Dean, a 6’6” 250 pound senior that has committed to Oklahoma State, was all over the place with multiple sacks. Cruz Blair also added a sack for the Raider defense who shutout the Titans. The Raider defensive line and defensive has been highlighted all preseason and it has proven so far to be the real deal.
Girard opened the eyes of many on Friday night with their 33-6 victory over traditional 2A/1A power Colgan. The Trojans were also very impressive in their opening jamboree with Galena, Frontenac & Pittsburg. Brecken Troike is one of the best linebackers in the class and Luke Niggamen is expecting a big year at QB. Alex Coester, also a standout baseball player, added a TD on a return, a rushing TD and a interception.
No. 1 Rossville defeated Centralia, 38-0, in a battle of top-five teams. Centralia is ranked fifth in 1A. Rossville has captured 14 straight victories. This marked the fourth straight season Rossville opened with a Week 1 win versus Centralia: 26-14, 28-8 and 42-6 were the last three scores.
No. 4 Beloit held off Marysville, 24-12, in a game that was scheduled Wednesday. Beloit returned nine offensive and eight defensive starters in 2021. The Trojans bring back its entire offensive line, along with its quarterback and running back, among others. Beloit opened last year with a 30-14 loss to Republic County.
TMP flipped last year’s result against Oakley with a 31-13 road win in Mid-Continent League action. Oakley is the defending Class 1A state runner-up. TMP posted a 7-2 record in 2020, the school’s best record since ’02. Oakley opened last year with a win against TMP. Kade Harris passed for 95 yards with two touchdowns, and Bryce Seib rushed for 67 yards. Jace Wentling kicked a field goal and Mark Rack had a key interception.
In the Flint Hills League, Osage City defeated rival Lyndon, 41-0. OC also reversed a result from 2020 when it opened with a 22-15 loss to Lyndon.
Lakin was one of several teams to have a new stadium from Mammoth Turf. Lakin opened with a 63-6 win in Elkhart.
Kieran Courter had five total touchdowns, including three receiving and two rushing. Colton Myers had a pair of rushing touchdowns for Atchison County for a 45-7 win at Horton.
Top-ranked Olpe ran its winning streak to 13 with a 68-0 win versus Ellinwood.
No. 2 Smith Center beat longtime Mid-Continent League rival Norton, 26-7. SC lost, 16-14, to Norton last year. Smith Center has not lost at home to Norton since at least 2003.
No. 4 Sedgwick opened with a 61-8 victory versus Sterling. Quarterback Lance Hoffsommer finished 10 of 17 passing for 301 yards and four touchdowns. He had nine carries for 135 yards and a rushing TD. Hoffsommer played just three quarters.
Wabaunsee enjoyed a strong opening game with a 28-0 victory against Mission Valley with standout quarterback Cade Oliver.
Eight-Man, Division I
Lincoln continued its winning streak against rival Tescott with a 46-0 win. Lincoln’s three captains are senior Joel Rees, senior Brayson Young and sophomore Caleb Dotterer. Lincoln has won 11 in a row versus Tescott, dating back to 2008. Lincoln and Tescott are separated by just 16 miles on KS-18.
Top-ranked and defending state champion Little River beat Peabody-Burns, 62-6.
In one of the state’s biggest results, Leoti-Wichita County defeated Hoxie, 56-6. Hoxie was ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll. Hoxie is 9-3 since the start of 2020 with all three losses against Wichita County, including Week 1 and the state semifinals last year. WC had massive graduation losses after it finished as Eight-Man, Division I runner-up to Little River, the best season in school history.
But fourth-year coach Brant Douglas continues his impressive tenure. He is now 29-6 for a program that has very limited historical success. Last season, WC finished third in Division I in scoring offense with 54 points a game. Wichita County had impressive showings from Erhik Hermosillo and Tristen Porter, among others.
In a key Wheat State League game, No. 3 Canton-Galva defeated Goessel, 56-8. Both teams reached the state quarterfinals last season, though C-G finished 10-1 and Goessel was 5-4. C-G had a distinct size advantage against Goessel. C-G led 36-0 at halftime. Junior quarterback Garrett Maltbie and standout senior Tyson Struber, a Kansas State commit, both had huge games. Maltbie finished 13 of 20 for 220 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed 18 times for 55 yards and three TDs. Struber recorded eight catches for 141 yards and three scores.
Kinsley continued its impressive turnaround with coach Corey Dunlap. The Coyotes beat Central Plains, 38-6, the first time in school history Kinsley had defeated the Oilers. Last year, Kinsley finished 5-4 and posted its best scoring offense in 15 years. Kinsley rushed for 288 yards and limited CP to 102 total yards. Alex Garcia had 10 carries for 97 yards. Conner Chamberlain led the defense with 10 tackles. Kinsley was 0-5 against Central Plains.
For the second straight year, Meade beat South Central, 40-20. Meade and SC are in the top-10 in Division I and II, respectively.
Southern Cloud defeated Wilson, 52-8, and won its first season opener since 2013. SC had opened the last two seasons with losses to Wilson by 50-0 and 54-6 scores. SC has matched its win total from the last two seasons with 1-8 and 1-7 marks.
Oberlin ended St. Francis’ long regular season winning steak with a 56-18 in coach Brandon Hardwick’s debut. Oberlin had lost six in a row to St. Francis dating back to 2014. In that stretch, SF was eight-man state runner-up three times, including the last two years. In the last five meetings, Oberlin had tallied a combined 10 points. St. Francis lost for the first time in the regular season since a 40-32 loss to Atwood in Week 6 of the 2017 season. SF had significant graduation losses and has a new coach this year.
Chase County beat Moundridge, 72-34. Junior Mitch Budke rushed for 188 yards and passed for 102 with four touchdowns. Sophomore Brock Griffin delivered 103 passing yards and four scores with 15 tackles.
In a key eight-man matchup involving a pair of ranked teams, Hill City beat Osborne, 28-6. HC is ranked fifth in Division I, and Osborne is fourth in Division II.
Eight-Man, Division II
No. 1 Hanover rolled over a solid Pike Valley team, 44-0. Both teams were highly experienced at the skill positions. Hanover is the defending state champion and bumped its winning streak to 12 games.
No. 2 Victoria trailed early and converted a key fake punt in a game that was close at halftime. The Knights pulled away in the second half with a 52-26 victory.
Bucklin was significantly featured on Sports In Kansas this week for its turnaround under coach Trever Powell. Bucklin had lost 13 straight season openers, and Spearville had won nine straight Week 1 games. Bucklin beat Spearville, 22-6. Bucklin beat Spearville for the first time since an 80-30 victory on Sept. 14, 2007. Bucklin had high-level talent back and showcased a statistically stronger defense. Bucklin scored and allowed 40.2 points a game in 2020. The Red Aces had its fewest points allowed since a 76-0 win against Fairfield in Week 5 of 2019.
Quinter defeated Atwood, 38-8. The Bulldogs scored 22 points in the third quarter to pull away. Jaden Boone, a standout quarterback and basketball player, opened the scoring with a 61-yard run. He later completed a three-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Gruenbacher. Trace Kinderknecht tallied a 60-yard touchdown run. Lakin Getz finished with seven catches for 116 yards.
Last season, Thunder Ridge needed overtime to beat Stockton, 20-14. This year, No. 3-ranked Thunder Ridge was a preseason potential breakout team and opened with a 70-12 victory.
In a wild game, Hartford defeated Maranatha Academy, 100-58. In a remarkable performance, Hartford running back Shayden Shull went for 494 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass.
Three key results involving six teams that are not ranked but should be .500-plus teams: Beloit St. John’s-Tipton started with a 38-22 win versus Sylvan-Lucas. In a rivalry contest, Argonia-Attica defeated Norwich, 36-6. Minneola beat Kiowa County, 48-0.
For the second straight year, Axtell beat Wheatland-Grinnell, 62-16. W-G is ranked fifth in Division II, and Axtell was just outside of the top-five. Axtell led 24-8 after the first quarter and 46-16 at halftime. Axtell held a 267-38 rushing edge. Issac Detweiler completed 12 of 17 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed 20 times for 154 yards and five scores.
Defending state champion Bird City-Cheylin ran its winning streak to 10 games with a 67-12 win versus rival Golden Plains. Sophomore Logan McCarty, who passed Cheylin in passing as a freshman, went 9 of 12 for 190 yards and three touchdowns. He delivered seven carries for 171 yards and five touchdowns, along with eight tackles.
Natoma, with returning standouts Derek George and Kayden Martinez, delivered an 87-0 win versus Deerfield. Natoma is 4-2 in the last two years. All the wins are by shutouts.
Moscow continued its strong defense with a 26-0 win versus Fowler. Moscow led six-man in scoring defense en route to a six-man title two years ago. Last year, the Wildcats were state runner-up to Cheylin and finished second in scoring defense.