Kpreps 2013 Preseason Rankings

Sep 1, 2013

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The 2013 Kansas high school football season is upon us and with it comes the Top 5 rankings powered this season by Pinamonti Physical Therapy. Our Kpreps rankings are a collaborative effort from multiple media sources across the state and will be released each Monday throughout the season. So let’s take a look at the preseason rankings for each classification.

Derby is the top team in Class 6A to begin the season.  The Panthers return several key starters from last year’s 10-2 team that reached the state semifinals before falling to Hutchinson, 29-28.  Brandon Clark’s team is loaded with talent and seeking its first state football championship since 1994. Defending champion Shawnee Mission West sits at No. 2 in our poll. The Vikings return 13 starters from the team that edged Hutchinson 19-14 for the 2012 crown.  Among those back for Tim Callaghan's team are Division I commits Andre Maloney (Kansas) and Austin Chambers (BYU). 

When you see a program as dominant as Hutchinson at No. 3 in the poll, it says a lot about the talent in Class 6A this season.  Randy Dreiling’s Salthawks have played for a state championship in nine of the past ten seasons and claimed seven titles.  Last season’s 10-3 record and run to the state runner-up trophy included two victories over Derby by a combined four points. Rounding out the 6A rankings is Lawrence Free State and Gardner-Edgerton.  Free State will highlight Kansas commit Joe Dineen at quarterback and safety, while the Trailblazers feature another future Jayhawk in running back Traevohn Wrench. 

Perhaps the most dominant team in the state last season was 5A champion Bishop Carroll.  Many across the state believe that Salina South may have that type of team this season. The Cougars return 15 starters from their 10-2 team that fell to Carroll in the state semifinals.  South opens the season on the road against 6A top-ranked Derby this week.  Although Bishop Carroll graduated 35 seniors from that undefeated title team, the Eagles have a solid nucleus returning to make another run.  Factor in that Carroll won by an average of 40 points per game last season, and it’s easy to see that several returners have varsity experience. 

Rounding out the 5A Top 5 are Emporia at No. 3, last season’s runners-up Bishop Miege at No. 4, and Blue Valley at No. 5.  Emporia returns a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball but will have a new leader after Dustin Delaney left to coach Shawnee Mission East.  Miege will look to junior Ryan Willis to lead the offense as he tries to become the third consecutive Division I recruit at quarterback for the Stags.  Fellow Eastern Kansas League member Blue Valley checks in at No. 5 with a big offensive line and linebacker Henry McGrew who has committed to Illinois.

Holton is the first defending champion to remain atop our poll in the preseason rankings.  The Wildcats are 4A’s No. 1 team as they return a lot of experience on the offensive and defensive lines along with last season’s leading rusher Drake Ewing.  Andale looks to return to prominence as several starters are back including quarterback Jared Smarsh and most of the offensive line.  The Indians finished 9-2 last season and fell 42-36 to McPherson in the second round of the 4A playoffs. 

Coach Kevin Kopecky inherits a strong program at Eudora where departing Gregg Webb led the Cardinals to consecutive 4A runner-up finishes.  The third-ranked Cardinals return 13 starters in 2013 including a talented quarterback in senior Andrew Ballock.  Maize South begins the season at No. 4 after the Mavericks put together a strong 2012 campaign which ended in a 7-0 loss to Mulvane in the second round.  Brent Pfeifer’s group returns 11 starters, including seven from a defensive unit that allowed only nine points per game. Rounding out the top five is Tom Young’s McPherson Bullpups which opened their first season in Class 4A with a state quarterfinal appearance where they narrowly lost to eventual champion Holton, 31-27.

Silver Lake is a familiar name on top of the Class 3A rankings.  The Eagles held that distinction most of the 2012 season, but fell to Scott City 28-21 in the 3A title game after leading 21-0.  Silver Lake has played in ten of the past eleven 3A state championship games; winning the title in 2006 and 2010. C.J. Hamilton's group returns 14 starters this season including quarterback Dailin Kruger.  The Beloit Trojans begin the season ranked second and look to break through after falling in the state semifinals in two of the past three seasons.  Defending champion Scott City checks in at No. 3 but brings back only seven total starters from last season’s undefeated title run.  Traditional power Garden Plain begins the season at No. 4, while Sedgwick opens at No. 5 and features a talented senior back in Dalton Brandt  

Centralia was so close to winning back-to-back Class 2-1A state titles last season.  The Panthers led Meade 25-14 with just under three minutes left in the game, but two late touchdowns gave the Buffaloes the 28-25 victory.  This season, Centralia is primed for another title run and most people believe they are the team to beat.  The Panthers return nine starters on offense and all eleven on defense, including J.T. Rosine and Sam Steinlage.  Meade returns ten total starters from last season’s title team and has been a model of consistency under Scott Moshier.  Oakley may challenge the Buffaloes on the western half of 2-1A as the Plainsmen return 15 starters from last season’s quarterfinal finish.  La Crosse opens the season at No. 4, but must replace the talented backfield duo of Kip Keeley and Levi Morss.  Lyndon rounds out the top five and has the pieces to make another strong playoff run, but must fill several holes on the offensive and defensive lines.

Madison fell one game short of a chance to bring home a third consecutive state championship in 8-Man, Division I.  Instead the Bulldogs fell to Mankato-Rock Hills in the 2012 state semifinals.  Madison is again the favorite in the division thanks to a core group of returners including running back Dallas Thompson.  Solomon opens the season at No. 2 after the Gorillas reached the semifinals before falling to eventual champion Ness City.  Third-ranked Kiowa County will be led by senior Trevor Powell and a young, but talented offensive line.  The Mavericks fell 54-42 to Solomon in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.  Marais des Cygnes Valley may be the team to challenge Madison in the East.  The Trojans return 12 total starters from a team that reached the playoffs under veteran coach Butch Jones.  Osborne opens the season at No. 5 after missing the playoffs last season, but don’t let that fool you.  The Bulldogs reached the state semifinals in 2011 and 2010 and return 13 total starters under former Baileyville B&B coach Steve Tiernan.

This will be the final season for Baileyville B&B before the school consolidates with Nemaha Valley in 2014.  The Falcons open atop the 8-Man, Division II poll and look to reach the title game for the sixth consecutive season and 12th time in the school’s history.  The defending champs return eight total starters and open the season against 8-Man, Division I No. 1 Madison.  Trying to derail B&B’s historic season will be familiar names in No. 2 Thunder Ridge, No. 3 Hanover, No. 4 Sharon Springs-Wallace County, and No. 5 Victoria.  Thunder Ridge looks to reach their third consecutive title game after winning the championship in 2011 and finishing runner-up to B&B last season.  Baileyville’s Twin Valley League rival Hanover returns 12 starters and is looking to get back to the title game for the first time since back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009.

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