By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
Week 10 Impressions set the stage for the Quarterfinals this next week. Standout performances included from Shawnee Mission Northwest, Wamego, Andale, Southeast of Saline, and Axtell. Plus 100 career wins for highly successful Mill Valley coach Joel Applebee.
SIK will continue with significant football coverage on all platforms this week, including three remaining Ellis County teams (Hays, TMP, Victoria), Goessel and Madison, which has running back Bryson Turner, averaging a remarkable 19 yards per carry.
Derby running back Dylan Edwards continued to be the front runner for 6A Offensive Player of the Year. Derby is the lone undefeated team in Classes 4A, 5A, and 6A. The 9-0 Panthers received 250-plus total yards from Edwards, including a punt return touchdown and six total scores. Derby beat Wichita East, 63-26. The three-time defending state champion Panthers have won 15 straight games.
Blue Valley Northwest improved to 9-1 with a 68-31 victory against Olathe South. Grant Stubblefield delivered 27 carries for 232 yards and four scores. Mikey Pauley, the school record holder in multiple passing categories, completed 11 of 18 passes for 157 yards and three scores. He delivered 12 carries for 155 yards and two TDs. Northwest has its most wins since a 9-2 season in 2009. Continued huge turnaround under coach Clint Rider and an experienced group this season.
Shawnee Mission Northwest graduated QB Ty Black, the Sunflower League Offensive MVP and Air Force signing. Northwest, though, has reached the state quarterfinals for the second straight year. Junior Malik O’Atis recorded five touchdowns with 139 yards. He has more than 800 rushing and 600 receiving yards this year. Northwest has won four straight after a 63-28 win versus Olathe West. NW is 7-3 and has averaged 43.9 points per game with coach Bo Black.
Blue Valley West upset rival Blue Valley, 35-28. BV has been ranked No. 2 in Class 6A. Blue Valley West lost, 23-17, in the regular season to Blue Valley. West is into at least the state quarterfinals for the eighth time in school history and second occasion in three years. West had lost 10 in a row to Blue Valley dating back to an 18-17 victory on Nov. 1, 2013.
This marks the first time that Lawrence and Lawrence Free State are both in the state quarterfinals in the same season since 2015, second since ’12.
Remaining Teams East: Blue Valley Northwest (9-1), Olathe North (8-2), Blue Valley West (6-4), Shawnee Mission Northwest (7-3)
Remaining Teams West: Derby (9-0), Lawrence Free State (8-2), Manhattan (9-1), Lawrence (8-2)
Mill Valley, which continues to be the 5A East favorite, rolled over Shawnee Heights, 42-7. Coach Joel Applebee earned his 100th career victory, including 4-0 in state championship games. MV has won back-to-back 5A state titles. Applebee has the second-most all-time state championships without a title game loss, per Kansas historian Brett Marshall. On Saturday, Marshall confirmed to SIK that Applebee only trails former Olathe North coach Gene Weir (6-0).
De Soto’s Tyler Schultze finished with 209 rushing yards and two scores, along with 121 passing in a 31-0 win versus Pittsburg. De Soto has won four in a row and stands at 6-4.
Hays High enjoyed plenty of milestones with an 18-6 road win versus Andover. HHS is 8-2 and will play an 11th game for the third time in school history. The Indians are into the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1995. Fourth-year coach Tony Crough has improved HHS’ win total in each of his four years.
Per Hays High broadcaster Dustin Armbruster, Jaren Kanak, who has played with a hamstring issue, delivered 190 rushing yards and three scores. Gavin Meyers finished with three sacks. Jordan Dale played his normal wide receiver and delivered key snaps at cornerback. Iden Baalman continued his breakout season with a key forced fumble that was recovered by Dalton Dale.
Hays High will face Maize which had another huge offensive game. Standout Brandon Kerr had a massive block to spring a gain. The play was caught on tape by Wichita broadcaster Sully Engels. Maize was 0-4 against Bishop Carroll since 2014. The Eagles improved to 8-2 with a 28-21 victory versus BC. Avery Johnson, with multiple Power 5 offers, completed 12 of 19 passes for 143 yards. He rushed 13 times for 163 yards and four scores.
Dylan Dunn tossed for a remarkable 558 yards for Blue Valley Southwest in a 44-37 win versus Topeka Seaman. Seaman led 37-24 in the game. BVSW, out of the Eastern Kansas League, is into the state quarterfinals for a third year in a row.
The Eastern Kansas League still has 6A’s Blue Valley Northwest, Blue Valley West, 5A’s Blue Valley Southwest and St. Thomas Aquinas, and 4A’s Bishop Miege and St. James Academy alive. Another banner year for the state’s best conference. Only two of the classification’s eight teams have been eliminated. Southwest went 0-5 in league play and 4-1 in other games.
Remaining Teams East: Mill Valley (9-1), Blue Valley Southwest (4-6), St. Thomas Aquinas (6-4), De Soto (6-3)
Remaining Teams West: Kapaun Mt. Carmel (9-1), Wichita Northwest (8-2), Hays High (8-2), Maize (8-2)
Defending state champion St. James Academy won its sixth straight game after an 0-4 start. SJA beat previously undefeated Basehor-Linwood, the No. 1 seed in 4A East. Holden Artzer picked off four passes for the Thunder in a 35-7 victory. Junior Jackson House has stepped up in his first year as the starter. He has 2,007 passing yards with 18 touchdowns with four interceptions. House has 606 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Wamego, with its best scoring offense in at least 36 years, won its nine straight game. Junior QB Hayden Oviatt has delivered his second straight huge year. He has 1,416 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Oviatt has 1,450 passing yards and 27 scores. He has 45 total scores. Four receivers have 350-plus yards: Chase Cottam, Colin Donahue, Ledjor Rowden and Hagan Johnson. Plus, Wamego’s offensive line has senior Braydon King, junior Andrew Hildebrand, senior Ethan Holle, sophomore Brayden Fulton, junior Eli Bergmeier, and senior tight end Jace Jager.
Wamego is into the state quarterfinals into back-to-back years for the first time in school history. Since 1976, Wamego has four state quarterfinals showings: ’01, ’15, ’20 and ’21. Wamego has 95 players out under coach Weston Moody.
Remaining Teams East: St. James Academy (6-4), K.C. Piper (7-3), Bishop Miege (4-6), Eudora (6-4)
Remaining Teams West: Buhler (9-1), Mulvane (8-2), Wamego (9-1), Andover Central (9-1)
No. 1 Andale dominated Holcomb, 51-0, and improved its winning streak to 35 games, the longest current run in Kansas and a school record. Holcomb is known for its passing attack with coach Kent Teeter and quarterback Kaden Johnson. Andale had another complete defensive performance. Jonah Meyer delivered sacks from the defensive line. Nathan Nemechek, Easton Landers, Cody Parthemer and Chase Retter started on the back four.
No. 2 Cheney improved to 10-0 and set a school record for single season victories with a 21-3 victory versus Collegiate. Coach Shelby Wehrman, a former Derby assistant, has won at least nine games in four of five years. Cheney lost to Collegiate last year, its only defeat in the last 20 games. Luke Grace finished with six catches for 104 yards and a TD. Jack Voth returned a punt 50 yards for a TD. We feel Harrison Voth is one of the best in any class of Kansas at the QB position.
Concordia beat Riley County, 30-14. RC had defeated Concordia for the district title in Week 7. However, RC missed standout quarterback Trey Harmison because of injury. Concordia has delivered a highly impressive year under coach Jordan Echer. In the first matchup, Concordia rushed for 142 yards. On Friday, Concordia delivered 308 rushing yards. Keyan Miller rushed 21 carries for 191 yards and a touchdown. Aidan Poore returned an interception 72 yards for a score. He has two defensive touchdowns, three interceptions and a fumble recovery in two playoff games. Stryker Hake has picked off two passes and becomes Concordia’s all-time INT leader as a junior. He has 13 career INTs.
No. 3 Southeast of Saline continues to be highly impressive and rolled over Chapman’s potent rushing attack in a 52-6 victory. SES quarterback Luke Gebhardt completed 16 of 24 passes for 232 yards with six touchdowns against no interceptions. He tallied 60 rushing yards. SES has allowed just 25 points all year.
The Trojans have six shutouts and its closest margin of victory is a 36-6 win versus league rival Beloit in the Trojan War in Week 2. Overall, SES has outscored teams, 526-25. Last season, the Trojans posted the best scoring defense in school history. This year is even better. Four players have at least 11 tackles for loss: Matthew Rodriguez (21), Dalton Bunch (17), Dawson Adams (11), and Jasper McDowell (11).
Rock Creek beat Topeka Hayden, 28-21. Dalton Whitworth passed for 247 yards and upped his school record for single season passing. Hayden outgained RC, 378-291. Overall, Whitworth completed 14 of 21 passing for 247 yards and three scores. Hayden led 21-14 in the fourth quarter before Ethan Burgess caught TD passes of 65 and 27 yards.
Frontenac coach Mark Smith has continued great success. In 10 seasons as head coach, Smith has been to the quarterfinals seven times, including a state runner-up showing. Frontenac won, 31-6, at Galena. The Raiders have permitted just 7.7 points per game against the nine Kansas teams on its schedule. Frontenac has its well-known great defensive line, led by Oklahoma State commit Landon Dean. All-State lineman Cruz Blair (OL/DL) and all-state wrestler Justice Compton (LB/FB) may be the two most physical two-way players in the classification as both are having All-3A caliber years. Mario Menghini has been huge in the takeaway game for the Raiders and Collin McCartney has enjoyed another huge season at QB and DE. Brady Stanley also had a big-time game for the Raiders last week in the win over Galena.
Remaining Teams East: Frontenac (8-2), Rock Creek (7-3), Girard (10-0), Holton (10-0)
Remaining Teams West: Concordia (8-2), Andale (10-0), Southeast of Saline (10-0), Cheney (10-0)
Wellsville has a plus-six win improvement over last year’s 4-5 squad. Nash Money continued his dominant year with 11 carries for 244 yards and six touchdowns. Money is up to 174 carries for 1,497 yards and 29 touchdowns.
One of the biggest surprises to 2A this season has been the Riverton Rams. Longtime Southeast Kansas area coach Johnny Mallatt has done a fine job with the Riverton program. Riverton won two games in 2015, 2016 and 2018 while winning just one in 2017. Mallatt has put together three seasons of at least a .500 record including 6-4 in 2019 and 4-4 last season. The Rams knocked off Osage City at home on Friday night. Riverton is in the round of eight for the first time since 2008.
Silver Lake beat Mid-East League rival St. Marys, 51-36. Brogan Renfro delivered four rushing touchdowns and a receiving TD for Silver Lake. SL beat St. Marys, 29-28, in Week 2. Keller Hurla had a big game for St. Mary’s as he established himself as one of the top 2A juniors in Kansas this year with 308 yards passing, 119 rushing and four total TDS against Silver Lake.
Class 2A West was expected to be wide-open this season. That is certainly the case.
Hillsboro is into quarterfinals for the first time since ’06. The Trojans improved to 9-1. Matthew Potucek has had a huge year at QB for the Trojans as well as Jamari Harris.
Thomas More Prep-Marian has won a playoff game for the first time since ’02, which is the best year in school annals. TMP won at Hoisington after a terrific first half and built a 26-6 lead and held on for a 36-27 victory.
TMP is 15-4 in the last two years after eight straight losing seasons. Kade Harris returned a kickoff for a score in the first half, and Jace Wentling kicked a key late 37-yard field goal to make it a two-score game. TMP’s line, paced by sophomores Kendall Walker and Kolton Hagans, delivered another big performance. Five players all finished with double-digit tackles: Harris, Wentling, freshman Griffin Schumacher, Matthew Hess and Bryce Seib.
Beloit’s Benson Berndt finished with 20 carries for 212 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-6 win versus Cimarron. Beloit is 7-3 after its surprise run to the Class 2A semifinals and 5-7 mark last year. Beloit in the round of eight for the third consecutive year.
Kingman enjoyed its second one-score win against Garden Plain this year with a 28-21 win. The Eagles are into the quarterfinals for the first time since 1999. Coach Tanner Hageman and defensive coordinator Dusty Beam’s Havoc defense has done an impressive job. Hageman was a former standout Fort Hays receiver. Kingman is at TMP next week at FHSU’s Lewis Field Stadium.
Remaining Teams East: Riverton (8-2), Rossville (10-0), Wellsville (10-0), Silver Lake (8-2)
Remaining Teams West: Hillsboro (9-1), Beloit (7-3), Kingman (9-1), Thomas More Prep-Marian (8-2)
Since the preseason, SIK has noted the overall strength of the top-8/10 teams in Class 1A. The bottom half of 1A by and large struggled to remain competitive and sometimes even play games this year. However, the top part is quite strong. While a few of those matchups (Inman/Smith Center, Conway Springs/Sedgwick, Wabaunsee/Centralia) occurred in the regular season, close matchups have been limited. Of the 17 playoff games thus far, only three are within 15 points.
That should change this week.
In the first round, Valley Heights beat Pleasanton, 29-14. In the Round of 16, Lyndon upset Wabaunsee, 44-33. Conway Springs was a slight favorite against Plainville at home and won 27-14. Now, the big matchups occur.
Olpe faces Jefferson County North, and Centralia gets Lyndon. Both Olpe and Centralia will be favored. JCN, though, has delivered an 8-2 season (including a bye) after a 48-8 win versus Troy. The Chargers have allowed just 9.4 points per game. JCN has improved its record four straight years. Centralia beat Lyndon, 26-0, in the regular season.
On the West side, Inman (10-0) gets Conway Springs (8-2) and Sedgwick (10-0) faces Smith Center (9-1) in two big matchups. Since the preseason, the prevailing theme was if Inman and Sedgwick could get past a traditional power and make the semifinals/finals.
Inman, which has never made a state title game in school history, will be favored against Conway Springs. Inman beat CS, 46-6, last year. Inman is 0-12 versus Sedgwick since ’04, though the two teams did not play last year or this season when the Teutons have achieved great success.
Sedgwick is 0-5 all-time in state quarterfinals, including four losses since 2012. The Cardinals lost to Smith Center in the playoffs in ’15, ’18 and ’19.
Sedgwick beat Ell-Saline, 33-6, at home. Jeff Nold delivered 10 tackles in a great defensive effort and had a 22-yard touchdown catch. Junior Christian Brown finished with 15 tackles and a rushing score. Senior running back Austin Cook had 88 rushing yards and a score on 10 carries. Sedgwick is now 95-22 since 2011.
Olpe improved to 10-0 and has won 22 straight contests. The Eagles have allowed 12 points all year. Olpe has eight shutouts and pace all of Kansas in scoring defense. Olpe allowed just 35 points last season, which was the fewest by a Kansas 11-man school since Smith Center’s record-breaking season in ’07 with 20 points allowed.
Inman beat Oakley, 54-16. The Teutons led 38-0 entering the fourth quarter. Kendyn Blank picked off a pass. Jace Doerksen and Dawson Mannebach combined for 17.5 tackles.
Remaining Teams East: Olpe (10-0), Jefferson County North (8-2), Centralia (8-2), Lyndon (6-3)
Remaining Teams West: Inman (10-0), Conway Springs (8-2), Sedgwick (10-0), Smith Center (9-1)
Eight-Man, Division I
No. 1 Little River, the defending state champion, improved to 10-0 and bumped its winning streak to 18 games with a 42-26 win versus Burlingame.
No. 2 Madison beat West Elk, 56-6. Bryson Turner recorded 16 catches for 313 yards and five scores. He also delivered three catches for 55 yards and a score. Casey Helm, a Princeton commit, completed 10 of 16 passes for 129 yards and a score. Turner has 78 carries for 1,485 yards and 29 scores – 19 yards per carry. Madison improved to 41-3 in the last four years.
Sedan is into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004. Sedan defeated Chase County, 34-26. Last year, Sedan lost to CC, 56-18. Chase County led 14-0 after the first quarter. Overall, Sedan has averaged 59.2 points per game, highest of the 16 remaining eight-man squads.
La Crosse picked up its eighth straight win with a remarkable 58-56 victory versus Argonia-Attica with a touchdown with a second left. Argonia-Attica quarterback Xander Newberry delivered 252 passing yards and three touchdowns, along with 103 rushing yards and three scores. The Leopards have won eight in a row.
Canton-Galva beat Clifton-Clyde, 66-20, and moved into the state quarterfinals for the fourth straight year. Tyson Struber delivered eight catches for 179 yards and four total TDs. Garrett Maltbie finished 9 of 11 for 193 yards with four TDs. He also rushed for 153 yards and four TDs. Struber had eight tackles. Lance McMannis delivered 7.5 stops, and Maltbie picked up an interception.
Meade has won 12 in a row, including a dominant 54-6 home win versus WaKeeney-Trego. The Golden Eagles had scored at least 42 points in every contest.
Goessel has won seven in a row after a 1-2 start and is into the state quarterfinals for a second straight year. The Bluebirds beat Macksville, 50-16. Goessel forced four turnovers. Highly impressive job by coach Garrett Hiebert and an experienced Bluebird squad. Grant Bryant rushed for 148 yards and four scores. Jake Wiens delivered 12 carries for 114 yards and a TD.
Remaining Teams East: Sedan (10-0), Canton-Galva (9-1), Madison (10-0), Little River (10-0)
Remaining Teams West: Goessel (8-2), Meade (10-0), La Crosse (8-2), Hill City (9-1)
Eight-Man, Division II
No. 1 Axtell defeated rival Hanover for the second time this season after a 52-26 victory. Axtell and Thunder Ridge will both be favored in the quarterfinals and have separated as the top-two teams in the classification. Axtell owns a win versus 9-1 Wheatland-Grinnell. Axtell quarterback Isaac Detweiler continued his tremendous career with 14 of 16 passing for 142 yards and two scores. He rushed 34 times for 201 yards with three TDs. Detweiler also delivered three TDs with 6.5 tackles and an interception. Axtell is 10-0, its best start since 1995.
No. 2 Thunder Ridge rolled over Frankfort, 58-8, the second time this season TR has beaten Frankfort by the 45-point margin. TR is 10-0 overall, 9-0 in on-field games this season. The Longhorns have upped its offense from 38.9 points a game last year to 58.1 this year. Junior Dylan Bice has completed 56 of 70 passes for 967 yards with nine scores against one interception. He has 101 carries for 1,335 yards and 27 scores. Dalton Bice, Jace Randall and Olin Brown have combined for 23 rushing TDs.
No. 3 Victoria won a wild home contest, 58-52, against Caldwell. Victoria has injuries/Knights playing hurt. Fullback Nate Windholz is out, and quarterbacks Grant Schoenrock and Thaddeus Wohler are both playing hurt. Carson Werth delivered 24 carries for 181 yards and three scores, and returned a kickoff 54 yards for a TD. Werth caught a key late touchdown pass. Schoenrock had a pair of forced fumbles/fumble recoveries when he grabbed the ball out of a Caldwell player’s hand. He returned one for a score.
It marked the last game for Caldwell, which will form a football team with Sumner County counterpart South Haven next year and be called South Sumner. Coach Sean Blosser has led the Bluejays for 11 years, delivered an 8-2 mark this year and a 72-39 mark overall. Caldwell is long known for offense with Blosser and averaged 50.4 points per game this season.
Last year, the Bluejays were 8-3 and averaged 44 points a game. Junior quarterback Keiondre Smith has delivered more than 4,000 yards of total offense in the last two seasons and was highly impressive again Friday. He completed 12 of 21 passes for 312 yards and four scores and rushed 27 times for 83 yards and a TD. Caldwell outgained Victoria, 493-328.
Dighton has a plus-eight win improvement from 2020 and flipped its only defeat from earlier this season with a 52-22 win versus Quinter.
Wheatland-Grinnell set a school record for single season victories with a 53-22 win versus Bucklin. W-G has won nine in a row. The Thunderhawks received six total touchdowns, five rushing and one passing, from Isaac Mendez.
No. 4 Lebo improved to 9-1 and is into the quarterfinals for the fifth time in school history and the second straight fall. The Wolves have five straight shutouts. Kyle Reese have more than 500 yards of offense in the last two week. Lebo has allowed 10 points a game, tied for third-lowest among the eight-man quarterfinal squads.
Remaining Teams East: Waverly (7-1), Axtell (10-0), Lebo (9-1), Thunder Ridge (10-0)
Remaining Teams West: Victoria (9-1), Dighton (9-1), South Barber (9-1), Wheatland-Grinnell (9-1)
Cair Paravel continued its undefeated season. Carter Brian had another big game with 421 passing yards and six touchdowns. He has 48 TD passes this season. Noah Hastert finished with six catches for 203 yards and three TDs. CP qualified for the KCAA Championship next week.