By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
Looking at Week 9 Impressions in Week 9 bracket games. Big performances from the Eastern Kansas League, Wamego, Chaparral, Axtell and Natoma. This sets up Round of 16 matchups in every KSHSAA class starting next week. Week 9 generally has little change in the rankings and lopsided scores, but several teams had key close wins: Olathe South, Bishop Carroll, Hays High and Hanover.
Dylan Edwards finished with four carries for 166 yards and three scores, along with a 96-yard punt return touchdown. Edwards just played in the first quarter. Derby rolled over Wichita Southeast, 63-9. The Panthers have won 14 straight games.
Olathe Northwest beat Shawnee Mission East, 42-28, and improved to 6-3. Northwest doubled its win total from last year and had five combined wins in the last three years. Northwest has tied the school record for wins with 2009 and ’15.
Another big year for the Eastern Kansas League, the state’s best conference. While Blue Valley North took a surprise six straight losses down the stretch and finished 3-6, the rest of the conference went a combined 7-1 in Week 9. The top-five teams have all won at least five games. Every team in the league captured at least three contests. Olathe South delivered an upset, 17-13, victory versus Blue Valley North.
Blue Valley beat Shawnee Mission South, 31-13. Blue Valley Northwest defeated KC Harmon, 62-0.
St. Thomas Aquinas beat KC Washington, 48-17. Blue Valley West beat SM West, 38-18. West has a four-win improvement from a 1-5 year last season. St. James Academy defeated Louisburg, 56-22. Bishop Miege (3-6) defeated Bishop Miege, 34-20. Blue Valley Southwest (3-6) defeated Leavenworth, 37-7.
Teams Remaining East: No. 3 Blue Valley Northwest (8-1), Olathe South (5-4), Olathe North (7-2), Olathe Northwest (6-3), No. 2 Blue Valley (8-1), Blue Valley West (5-4), Olathe West (7-2), SM Northwest (5-4)
Teams Remaining West: No. 1 Derby (8-0), Wichita East (6-3), No. 5 Washburn Rural (8-1), Free State (7-2), Manhattan (8-1), Gardner-Edgerton (4-5), Junction City (8-1), No. 4 Lawrence (7-2)
Maize South’s Evan Cantu set a school record with 403 rushing yards in a win versus Wichita Heights. He also rushed for five scores. Cantu has 1,969 rushing yards with 25 rushing touchdowns. He has 2,330 all-purpose yards and 26 TDs. In one of the marquee 5A Week 9 matchups, Maize South beat Wichita Heights, 48-21. Maize South had lost three in a row and improved to 6-3.
Hays High delivered a gritty 19-13 win versus Goddard-Eisenhower. Jaren Kanak scored on a one-yard run in the final seconds. Kanak, a Clemson commit and state’s No. 1 recruit, has been banged up and rushed just once in the first half. In the second half, Kanak started to carry the ball. On the final drive, Kanak had a key 28-yard run.
Roy Moroni rushed for 123 yards and a TD. Gavin Meyers, HHS’ all-time leading tackler, had a big game. Hays High also had a key performance from sophomore center Henry Fitzthum.
Bishop Carroll held on to win against Hutchinson, 31-28, in overtime.
L.J. Phillips has emerged as one of the top backs in the state for Wichita Northwest with over 1,800 yards this season with over 15 yards per carry. Only a junior as NW improved to 7-2 on the season. A very dangerous team in the 5A playoffs.
Teams Remaining East: No. 1 Mill Valley (7-1), Shawnee Heights (5-4), Topeka Seaman (6-3), Blue Valley Southwest (3-6), Spring Hill (8-1), St. Thomas Aquinas (5-4), Pittsburg (6-3), De Soto (5-3)
Teams Remaining West: No. 3 Kapaun Mt. Carmel (8-1), Maize South (6-3), No. 5 Wichita Northwest (7-2), Salina Central (7-2), Andover (7-2), Hays High (7-2), No. 4 Maize (7-2), No. 2 Bishop Carroll (7-2)
No. 4 St. James Academy, the defending state champion, picked up its fifth straight victory. SJA beat Louisburg, 56-22. SJA, behind QB Jackson House and WR Tyler Claiborne & John Niesen, has scored 33, 42, 37, 45 and 56 in the five victories. The Thunder had just 36 total points in the first four weeks, albeit against St. Thomas Aquinas, Blue Valley, Blue Valley West and Blue Valley Northwest, all squads that remain alive in 5/6A the playoffs. House has emerged as one of the most exciting players in 4A with over 1,700 passing yards (15 TD/4 INT) this season along with 542 rushing yards as a true dual threat.
Eudora’s Gage Hayden delivered 13 carries for 165 yards and three scores. He completed 3 of 4 passing for 66 yards with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Overall, Hayden is 40 of 52 for 922 yards with 14 touchdowns against two interceptions. Eudora beat Ottawa, 48-12. The Cardinals continue to be a 4A East darkhorse. Eudora has won its last two contests by a combined score of 81-20. Eudora has four close losses by three, seven, one and one point. Eudora is 5-4. The Cardinals had seven total wins in the last three years. Eudora has its most wins since 2015.
Bishop Miege’s Christian Bowen-Webb delivered seven catches for 176 yards and a touchdown. Miege beat Tonganoxie, 34-20. Despite a sub-.500 regular season, the Stags remain a viable state championship contender.
Mulvane won its seventh straight game with a 46-16 win versus Ulysses. The Wildcats had a plus-six win improvement. Mulvane has its longest winning streak since 2007 when it opened with 11 straight wins. Mulvane scored the game’s first 46 points.
Wamego quarterback Hayden Oviatt delivered 236 rushing yards, 95 passing yards and four scores. Wamego has its best scoring offense since at least 1985, per SIK research and the Kansas Football History database. Wamego defeated Great Bend, 42-21. Oviatt has rushed for 1,237 yards (15 TD) along with passing for 1,334 yards (23 TD) on the season. Four different Wamego receivers have a t least 300 yards (Chase Cottam, Colin Donahue, Ledjor Rowden and Hagan Johnson). Hunter Philmore has also added over 600 yards on the ground.
Chanute has won eight straight games since dropping their season opener to Circle. Ty Leedy has been huge for the Comets with 1,026 rushing (21 TD) along 61 tackles defensively. QB Eric Erbe has had a breakout season with 1,508 passing (60% completion – 18 TD/6 INT). Receivers Kaden Seamster, Kam Koester, and Daigen Dean form one of the best receiving corps in 4A. Defensively outside of Leedy and Dean (8 sacks), Kolten Lacrone has had one of the best seasons in 4A with 49 tackles and six sacks. Kedric Emling leads the Comets in tackles this season. Huge matchup this week against Bishop Miege.
Atchison beat Fort Scott 14-6 on Friday night to give them their first playoff win in 15 years. Jesse Greenly has had a huge year for Atchison and HC Jim Smith with over 1,500 yards rushing.
Teams Remaining East: No. 1 Basehor-Linwood (9-0), No. 4 St. James Academy (5-4), Paola (6-3), K.C. Piper (6-3), Chanute (8-1), No. 5 Bishop Miege (3-6), Atchison (8-1), Eudora (5-4)
Teams Remaining West: No. 3 Buhler (8-1), Winfield (4-5), Mulvane (7-2), McPherson (7-2), Wamego (8-1), Augusta (6-3), No. 2 Andover Central (8-1), Circle (6-3)
Andale has won 34 straight games (13-0, 12-0, 9-0) after a 53-2 victory versus Hugoton.
Chapman’s Eli Riegel had 40 carries for 274 yards and four TDs. Chapman defeated Smoky Valley, 50-20. Riegel is second all-time in Chapman history for single season rushing yards.
Frontenac’s Mario Menghini has 190 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. Frontenac beat Columbus, 26-6, setting up a huge second round playoff matchup against Galena (also in their league) for the first matchup between the two this year.
Concordia’s Keyan Miller has 20 carries for 214 yards and four touchdowns. He also delivered three catches for 63 yards and a score, along with three two-point conversions. Aidan Poore picked off two passes, along with a 55-yard fumble recovery touchdown. Concordia beat Colby, 52-20.
Freshman Manny Anguiano, in his first varsity game, went 9 for 9 on extra points. Holcomb’s Kaden Johnson finished 15 of 18 for 256 yards and four scores. Cooper Henson delivered three TD receptions for 79, 13 and 14 yards. Holcomb defeated Hesston, 63-25. Levi Knoll delivered nine carries for 115 yards and two scores. Kolby Johnson had 11 carries for 114 rushing yards.
Galena beat Burlington, 50-6, and improved to 8-1, including eight in a row versus Kansas opponents. Brett Sarwinski passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more. Zane Turner also added two touchdowns for the Bulldogs. Turner also added three two-point conversions. FBS recruit Tyler Little, who can play just about every spot on the field, had a touchdown run and two point conversion. Beau Sarwinski is one of the most consistent 3A coaches in the state.
Rock Creek has delivered an impressive season with coach Shane Sieben, the highly successful RC baseball coach. SIK has tracked Rock Creek’s success throughout the year with 18 new starters and a first-year starting quarterback in Dalton Whitworth. RC has a one-win improvement from last year’s 5-3 mark to 6-3. RC beat Bishop Ward, 34-17. Rock Creek has its most wins since 2011.
RC trailed 3-0 and 10-7 after the first quarter. Whitworth threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Daegen Vinduska. Then, Vinduska returned a punt return 70 yards for a score. In the third quarter, Whitworth had a 35-yard pass to Vinduska. In the fourth quarter, Whitworth had a three-yard TD pass to Ethan Burgess. Then, Jaydon Winans had a 30-yard TD run for the game’s final score.
Whitworth has 17 of 31 passing for 199 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Winans has delivered 13 carries for 89 yards and a TD. Vinduska delivered two catches for 74 yards and two scores. Spiller has six receptions for 34 yards. Rock Creek has quietly had a really impressive season.
Whitworth has completed 162 of 279 passes for 2,333 yards with 32 touchdowns. He has set school records for passing yards and touchdowns in a single season. Burgess has 46 catches for 801 yards and eight TDs. Yanci Spiller, who is also one of Kansas’ best defensive backs, has 43 catches for 479 yards and eight scores. Vinduska has 21 catches for 466 yards and nine scores.
Parsons has enjoyed a highly impressive season under second-year head coach Jeff Schibi and improved to 7-2. Parsons beat Prairie View, 28-26. In Week 3, Parsons lost to Prairie View, 38-14, in Week 3. Dion Sylvester had a huge game for the Vikings with six catches for 92 yards (3 TD) and 12 tackles (INT). Isaiah Tyson has developed into one of the best 3A defensive lineman for Parsons. First playoff win for Parsons in three years and prior to that it was in 1976.
Kaden Johnson has put together a huge senior season for Holcomb. He threw for over 260 yards and four touchdowns in the round one win over Hesston as he has totaled over 1,700 yards passing this season with completing 67 percent of his passes along with 24 touchdowns.
Teams Remaining East: Galena (8-1), Frontenac (7-2), Topeka Hayden (8-1), St. George-Rock Creek (6-3), Girard (9-0), Parsons (7-2), No. 4 Holton (9-0), Perry-Lecompton (6-3)
Teams Remaining West: Riley County (9-0), Concordia (7-2), No. 1 Andale (9-0), Holcomb (7-2), No. 3 Southeast of Saline (9-0), Chapman (7-2), No. 2 Cheney (9-0), No. 5 Wichita Collegiate (8-1)
Rossville has won 22 straight games after a 56-0 win versus Republic County.
Beloit’s Benson Berndt delivered 13 carries for 190 yards and four scores. Beloit beat Lakin, 53-6.
As SIK has reported for several weeks, Chaparral senior quarterback Wyatt Drouhard, who hadn’t played football since the eighth grade, has enjoyed a massive breakout year. Drouhard has 2,155 passing yards and 29 scores. He is the new school single-season passing record holder and Chaparral’s first 2,000-yard passer. Chaparral beat Marion, 34-14. Marion had won five in a row.
Humboldt delivered a slight upset, 48-36, at Pittsburg Colgan. The Cubs were 0-7 all-time versus Colgan in a series that started in ’06, per the KFH database. Huge night for Trey Sommer (6-2 190 JR. RB) as he racked up 199 yards (3 TD) against the Panthers.
Thomas More Prep-Marian won its first playoff game since 2002 with a 42-18 win versus Minneapolis at Lewis Field Stadium. TMP has allowed just 81 points in nine games and improved 7-3. Kenton Ginther and Jace Wentling opened the scoring with pick-sixes.
A neat moment occurred when Oskaloosa let Maur Hill use its field to host senior night as it was highlighted on the Sports in Kansas Facebook. S/o to Oskie for the great display of sporstmanship.
St. Mary’s continues to impress after opening up with three early losses (Rossville, Silver Lake, Riley County – all still alive in the playoffs and two combined losses). Varsity defense has 4 shutouts this season – points scored against Riverside, Republic Co and ACCHS were against JV. The defense has highlighted the Bears this season with 21 turnovers (16 interceptions) along with 74 TFLs and 22.5 sacks. Austin Marshall and Abe Huaracha have combined for over 100 tackles and 17 TFLS. Daniel Ewing has four sacks with 10 TFLs along with Cody DeDonders team leading five interceptions. Keller Hurla has passed for over 1,200 yards this season and has rushed for nearly 400 as he’s had a big breakout junior year.
Legend Robinson (6’1″ 190 RB) of Hoisington has emerged as one of the top backs in 2A football this fall with nearly 1,700 yards rushing through nine games. He has rushed for over 100 yards in eight of nine contests this season. He’s totaled at least 200 yards in three games this year on the ground. He’s a player that you could see recruiting interest generated on this season. Hoisington has been so good under Zach Baird and have won eight games in a row since dropping season opener to Pratt.
Teams Remaining East: Riverton (7-2), Osage City (8-1), No. 1 Rossville (9-0), Nemaha Central (7-2), No. 3 Wellsville (9-0), Humboldt (6-3), St. Marys (5-3), No. 2 Silver Lake (7-2)
Teams Remaining West: Hillsboro (8-1), Chaparral (8-1), Cimarron (7-2), Beloit (6-3), No. 5 Kingman (8-1), Garden Plain (6-3), No. 4 Hoisington (8-1), Thomas More Prep-Marian (7-2)
Jackson Heights’ Jason Bosley has 11 of 19 passing for 135 yards. Bosley delivered 17 carries for 236 yards and seven total TDs. JH beat Central Heights, 62-10.
Including a bye last week, Olpe has won 21 straight games. Many of the top 1A teams had byes and/or cancellations.
Trent L’Ecuyer has had a huge year for Valley Heights this season as he has rushed for 1,324 yards (10 ypc) with 17 TDs. He had 273 yards rushing on 20 carries with four touchdowns on Friday night.
Troy, led by head coach Derek Jasper, had back-to-back 2-7 seasons in 2019 and 2020. The Trojans are 5-4 this season as they advanced to the second round of the 1A playoffs. It was the first playoff win for Troy since they went undefeated and won the 2016 2-1A state title. Cam Anderson has thrown for 1,780 yards (23 TD). Jerrit Norris has 756 yards receiving (8 TD)
Teams Remaining East: No. 1 Olpe (9-0), Jackson Heights (5-4), Jefferson County North (7-2), Troy (5-4), Centralia (7-2), Valley Heights (4-4), Lyndon (5-3), No. 5 Wabaunsee (7-2)
Teams Remaining West: No. 2 Inman (9-0), Oakley (4-5), Conway Springs (7-2), Plainville (6-3), No. 3 Sedgwick (9-0), Ell-Saline (4-5), No. 4 Smith Center (8-1), Whitewater-Remington (5-3)
Eight-Man, Division I
Little River has won 17 straight games and improved to 9-0. LR beat Valley Falls, 60-0.
Meade has won 11 consecutive contests. The Buffs beat Rawlins County, 54-0. Korben Clawson has rushed for 1,396 yards this season for the Buffaloes.
Macksville beat Medicine Lodge, 64-30. Macksville had lost to Medicine Lodge in the regular season. Macksville rushed for 371 yards and seven scores. Quarterback Ryan Kuckelman had 28 carries for 195 yards and two TDs. Sophomore Jason Cleveland delivered eight carries for 75 yards and three scores.
Teams Remaining East: Sedan (9-0), Chase County (8-1), Chase County (8-1), Clifton-Clyde (7-1), No. 3 Canton-Galva (8-1), No. 2 Madison (9-0), West Elk (8-1), No. 1 Little River (9-0), Burlingame (6-2)
Teams Remaining West: Goessel (7-2), Macksville (5-4), No. 4 Meade (9-0), WaKeeney-Trego (8-1), La Crosse (7-2), Argonia-Attica (8-1), No. 5 Hill City (8-1), Hoxie (6-3)
Eight-Man, Division II
No. 1 Axtell beat Beloit St. John’s/Tipton, 48-0, and continued its best start since the ‘90s. Isaac Detweiler completed 10 of 14 passes for 274 yards and two TDs. He rushed 10 carries for 64 yards and two scores. Brandon Schmelzle delivered three receptions for 104 yards and a score. Detweiler has completed 78 of 105 passes for 1,333 yards with 24 passing scores against two interceptions. He has 109 carries for 731 yards and 21 rushing scores.
Norwich’s Tray Schroeder had a 62-yard touchdown run with 300-plus total yards, two passing scores and a pair of rushing TDs. Norwich defeated Sylvan-Lucas, 38-12. Norwich went through COVID-19 cancellations and injuries in the last several weeks, though it is a viable Division II contender on the West side.
For the second straight year, Caldwell defeated Central Plains in the postseason. Last year, Caldwell beat CP, 36-34. This time, Caldwell beat Central Plains, 57-8. Caldwell led 28-0 after the first quarter. Overall, Central Plains posted 64 plays for 174 yards. Caldwell ran 31 plays for 424 yards. Keiondre Smith enjoyed another big game with five rushing touchdowns. He gave Caldwell a 14-0 lead with TD runs of 49 and 56 yards. Then, Dawson Bristor had a 46-yard scoring run, and Brody Perkins rushed for 51 yards. Overall, Smith had 15 carries for 246 yards and five TDs.
Wheatland-Grinnell is 24-6 in the last three years. The Thunderhawks are 8-2, 8-3 and 8-1 and have tied the school record for wins. W-G has won eight in a row after a season-opening loss to Axtell. W-G beat South Central by one score in the playoffs last year. This season, the Thunderhawks beat South Central, 50-0. W-G led 20-0 after the first quarter.
Bucklin has its most wins since an 8-2 year in 1996. The Red Aces beat Wallace County, 38-14, and gets a highly intriguing game at Wheatland-Grinnell.
Defending state champion Hanover had been through injuries throughout the season, though came back to beat Osborne, 24-6. In Week 5, Osborne beat Osborne, 36-26.
Despite a loss in the playoffs, Holden Barker of Crest totaled over 2,000 yards rushing this season for the Crest Lancers. He’s also an all-state baseball player for the Lancers.
Teams Remaining East: Waverly (6-1), Marais des Cygnes Valley (6-3), No. 1 Axtell (9-0), Hanover (6-3), No. 5 Lebo (8-1), St. Paul (6-3), No. 2 Thunder Ridge (9-0), Frankfort (7-2)
Teams Remaining West: No. 3 Victoria (8-1), Caldwell (8-1), Dighton (8-1), Quinter (8-1), South Barber (8-1), Wheatland-Grinnell (8-1), Bucklin (8-1)
Natoma, led by coaches Tyler Masters and Chris Broeckelman, won the first state championship in school history with a 60-12 win versus Cunningham on Saturday night at Dodge City’s Memorial Stadium. Both teams entered the game with undefeated marks. Neither squad had won a state championship. Both had one previous state championship game appearance, in the ‘70s.
Kayden Martinez rushed for 170 yards and four scores. He also passed for a TD. Natoma won its three playoff games all by the 45-point margin. Derek George had nine carries for 98 yards and three TDs and delivered an excellent game on defense, including a key fumble recovery. Jared Griffin and Javon Letsch played well in pass defense. Masters and Broeckelman did a great job in the last two games coaching after former coach Robert Cox became unavailable. Masters is the four-year assistant in football and boys’ basketball.