Posted: August 27, 2012 - 4:28 AM
A glance at the Kpreps.com 2012 preseason rankings reveals several of the state’s elite football programs on top. While it’s no secret that these are some of the model programs in the state of Kansas, their level of success is difficult to duplicate. Thus we see many of these familiar names that occupy the state rankings each year.
Hutchinson returns to Class 6A where they won four consecutive state titles from 2004 to 2007. The defending 5A champion Salt Hawks must deal with a loaded upper echelon of 6A that features defending 6A champion Olathe South, three-time consecutive finalist Wichita Heights, and emerging powers in Derby and Gardner-Edgerton.
Could Hutch’s departure from Class 5A open the door for Bishop Carroll to win its first state football title since 1978? The Golden Eagles return a wealth of offensive talent and appear built for another deep playoff run. On the east side of the state, Blue Valley will look to reach the state title game for the third consecutive season and the sixth time in the past ten years. The Tigers must reload on offense to replaced standouts such as Kyle Zimmerman and Justin Fulks.
Two programs familiar to the top of the 4A rankings are Topeka Hayden and Holton. They are the two winningest 4A programs over the past eight years with Hayden having won 89 games and Holton 87 during that span. The two sets of Wildcats will once again battle it out in the same district this fall.
In Class 3A, a relatively young Silver Lake squad advanced all the way to the state championship game last season. Now CJ Hamilton has the luxuary of having 15 starters back with valuable experience. Defending champion Conway Springs took a hit to graduation, but should be a contender again along with Central Plains League rival Garden Plain.
Meade sits atop our Class 2-1A rankings as Scott Moshier’s team returns 13 starters including star running back Trevin Wiens who was injured in last season’s playoff loss to LaCrosse. The west side of the classification is loaded as Meade, LaCrosse, Plainville, and Stanton County all return valuable experience. That’s not to mention Smith Center which returns to Class 2-1A where they posted a 79-1 record and won five state championships from 2004 to 2009.
If Madison is to win a third consecutive 8-Man Division I state title the Bulldogs must have a running back emerge to replace Kole Schankie. All Schankie did in his career was rush for 4,907 yards and 120 touchdowns. Ness City appears to be an early favorite on the western half of the state as the Eagles return eight starters including the talented backfield of Dalton Gantz, Garrett Flax, and Koltyn Ratliff.
In 8-Man, Division II, Baileyville B&B graduated a lot of talent in the likes of Cody Heiman, Eric Huerter, and Mitch Engelken. But remember, the 2011 Falcons were decimated with injuries during their run to a fourth consecutive state title game. Several underclassmen gained valuable experience as a result, and B&B returns a solid nucleus in the trenches.
Click the Rankings tab on the main page to view the Kpreps 2012 Preseason Top 5 for each class.