Kpreps Game Day - Week 6

Mill Valley receiver Logan Talley (5). (by Lori Wood Habiger)
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Oct 5, 2017

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In this week’s Game Day, we’ll look at how the Class 6A & 5A playoff seedings if the season ended today.  We’ll also look at the best teams in the state that are flying under the radar, preview some key district match-ups, and highlight some other notes to get you ready for Friday night’s action. If you have suggestions for what you would like to see in future Game Day features, send us a message on Twitter or Facebook.

Current 6A & 5A seeds

This is year two of the playoff format that seeds Class 6A and 5A schools based on regular season record. The format splits each classification into a 16-team east side and a 16-team west side, eliminating districts in the traditional sense, and reducing the regular season to eight games with all team beginning bracket play in Week 9. 

After Week 8, all teams will be seeded 1 through 16 on the east and west sides based on objective measures beginning with their win-loss record. This same seeding format will be used in Class 4A beginning with the 2018 season.

Naturally, we’ve started to look ahead at how the seeds would line up if the season ended today.

Here are some items to note:

6A East:

·         Shawnee Mission East is the only team with less than two losses on the east side of the classification. The Lancers (4-1) will travel to Olathe East (3-2) on Friday. The Hawks currently sit as the No. 2 seed on the east side entering Week 6.

·         Like last year at this time, only four of the 16 teams have posted winning records (SM East, Olathe East, Lawrence, Blue Valley)

·         Entering Week 6, the top four seeds are 1. Shawnee Mission East (4-1), 2. Olathe East (3-2), 3. Lawrence (3-2), 4. Blue Valley (3-2)

6A West:

·         Entering Week 6, the top two seeds are the only two unbeaten teams in Class 6A. Top-ranked Lawrence Free State improved to 6-0 last night with a 42-14 win over Olathe Northwest. Garden City is also unbeaten at 5-0, but will travel to Wichita Northwest (4-1) tonight.

·         There are currently five teams tied with a 4-1 record. They are: Wichita Northwest, Topeka High, Manhattan, Derby, Hutchinson. Manhattan holds a head-to-head victory over Topeka High, while Derby has the head-to-head advantage over Hutchinson.

·         On the west side, 9 of the 16 teams have winning records compared to just four teams on the east. At this point last season, 12 teams on the west side had a winning record.

5A East:

·         Two teams remain unbeaten on the east side of Class 5A. Much like last season, KC Schlagle appears the most likely to finish the regular season without a loss. The Stallions are unranked in Class 5A as they were last season when they claimed the top seed. Schlagle grinded out a 24-16 win over No. 16 seed Topeka Highland Park, before being eliminated by St. James Academy 53-17 in the next round. St. James Academy is the other unbeaten team entering Week 6 this season. The fourth-ranked Thunder play No. 2 ranked St. Thomas Aquinas tonight.

·         Two-time defending champion Mill Valley could be seeded as low as 11th if the season ended today. The Jaguars are obviously much better than that draw, but Mill Valley is 2-3 entering tonight’s game against 4A-I No. 1 Bishop Miege. If Miege is able to run its win streak to 18 games, Mill Valley would drop to 2-4 with a tough road game at Blue Valley North next week. How would you like to be a high see and see the two-time defending 5A champion Jaguars fall to your opposite line?

5A West:

·         Goddard and Valley Center are the two remaining unbeaten teams on the west side and would be the top two seeds. The Lions and Hornets will meet in Goddard next week. They would be followed by some order of Kapaun Mt. Carmel, Bishop Carroll, and Maize who are all 4-1.

·         In all, nine teams have a winning record on the west side which is the exact same number as this time last season.

·         Right now, the middle of this bracket would be brutal. Wichita Heights (3-2), ranked fifth in Class 5A, would be the 8th seed on the west side. Emporia and Andover would be 9th and 10th, respectively. Remember top-ranked Goddard scored with a minute to go to top Andover 21-17 in Week 3.



Let’s take a look at some unranked or below .500 teams on each side of each classification that we expect to make an impact come playoff time.

Class 6A

·         EAST - Blue Valley North (2-3) – This one’s obvious. The Mustangs are actually hanging around the 5-seed line but are below .500 as the result of consecutive losses to St. Thomas Aquinas, Blue Valley, and Bishop Miege. We’ll put that schedule up against anyone’s. This team is talented enough to really make some noise come playoff time. Quarterback Graham Mertz picked up a recent offer from Minnesota and also holds offers from Kansas and Wisconsin.  

·         WEST - Washburn Rural (2-3) – We’ll go with Rural as our mid-season sleeper on the west side of 6A. The Junior Blues dropped three straight games to Manhattan, Shawnee Heights, and Junction City. Washburn Rural rebounded last week by holding on to defeat Topeka Hayden, 30-26. The Junior Blues have a tough task against Topeka High this week before closing the season at Seaman and Topeka West.   

Class 5A

·         EAST – Mill Valley (2-3) – Another easy choice as the two-time defending 5A champions can hardly be called a “sleeper”. Mill Valley is 2-3 with a tough test tonight against, perhaps, the state’s best team in Bishop Miege. We are all aware of what quarterback Brody Flaming can do. Flaming has thrown for 1,291 yards and 11 touchdowns, and Logan Talley has emerged as a top receiving target with 38 catches for 595 yards and six scores.

·         WEST - Andover (2-3) – The Trojans get the designation on the west side of 5A. Andover is only 2-3, but have two losses by four points each. The most notable of those losses came 21-17 to top-ranked Goddard in Week 3. The Lions scored on a Blake Sullivan touchdown run with just over a minute to go to take the lead. Andover’s defense has kept the Trojans in each game surrendering only 15 points per game.

Class 4A-I

·         EAST Labette County (4-1) – The Grizzlies may have four wins, but they are still flying a bit under the radar. Labette County was dominated in a 39-0 loss to undefeated Andale back in Week 2, but the Grizzlies rebounded with a quality 34-7 win over Fort Scott last week. The remaining schedule is winnable, although tonight’s game at Frontenac may present a challenge. The Raiders beat Labette County 43-0 last season.

·         WEST - Hays (2-3) – Hays is a team to watch on the west side of 4A-I. The Indians under Randall Rath have three losses to quality opponents. Hays’ three losses have come to opponents that are a combined 15-0 in Scott City (5-0), Garden City (5-0), and Valley Center (5-0).  The Indians should challenge for a playoff spot in District 8.

Class 4A-II

·         EAST – Topeka Hayden (2-3) – There’s really no secret here, but the Hayden Wildcats are below .500 at 2-3. Hayden has alternated wins and losses this season. The Wildcat’s losses have come to Topeka High, Seaman, and Washburn Rural. Hayden is a member of a challenging District 1 that includes Santa Fe Trail (4-1), Holton (3-2), and Jefferson West (2-3).

·         WEST – Smoky Valley (4-1) – Despite a 4-1 record, Tim Lambert’s Vikings still seem to escape the spotlight when we discuss the top teams in 4A-II. Smoky Valley has won three consecutive games since a 28-14 loss to Larned, including a 49-20 win over Hesston last week. Last season, the Vikings reached the 4A-II state quarterfinals before falling to eventual-champion Pratt. Kyle Anderson (634 yards, 8 TDs) leads a Viking offense that averages nearly 250 yards per game on the ground.   

Class 3A

·         EAST – Galena (5-0) & Sabetha (5-0) – We’ll cheat a bit and name two teams here. Galena and Sabetha are two of 12 unbeaten teams in the state’s largest classification. Galena has its biggest test of the season tonight at home against 4A-II No. 1 Columbus. Meanwhile, Sabetha picked up a solid 28-21 win over Perry-Lecompton last week and has a showdown at top-ranked Nemaha Central looming next week.

·         WEST - Hoisington (3-2) & Hesston (2-3) – These two teams reached the state semifinals last season where Hesston advanced and almost took down Rossville in the title game. This season, Hesston has dropped two straight to quality 4A-II teams in Nickerson (4-1) and Smoky Valley (4-1). The Swathers have lost to opponents that are a combined 13-2 on the season. Hoisington, on the other hand, is a bit underrated given all they lost to graduation last season. Still the Cards have a pair of close losses to Wichita Collegiate and Pratt in games in which Hoisington led in the second half.

Class 2-1A

·         EAST – Centralia (3-2), Olpe (3-2), St. Mary’s Colgan (3-2) – Three traditional powers that we can pretty much write the same profile about. They may not have the spotless record of some of the teams ranked ahead of them in this class, but they are battle-tested. All three schools believe in littering their schedules with quality programs from larger classifications, a strategy that typically pays off come playoff time and earns these three monikers like “traditional power”. Don’t be surprised if these three all reach the state quarterfinal round next month.

·         WEST - Sedgwick (1-4) – The Cardinals began the season ranked in the top five, but have posted just one victory to date. Sedgwick’s losses have all come to quality opponents. In fact, the Cardinals’ opponents are a combined 22-3.  

Class 8M-I

·         EAST – Central Burden (1-4) – Despite the Raiders’ 1-4 record, our Kpreps staff picked them to win District 2 in last week’s 8-Man, Division I District Preview. Central Burden’s four losses have come to teams that are a combined 18-2. Last week, the Raiders kicked off district play with an 86-40 win over Cedar Vale-Dexter. In their first four games combined, Central Burden had scored a total of 54 points.    

·         WEST – Argonia-Attica (4-1) – The Titans are 4-1 on the season, but have largely flown under the radar thus far. Argonia-Attica’s lone loss came 38-20 to unbeaten Caldwell. One of A&A’s wins came against the aforementioned Central Burden Raiders, 38-20 to open the season. The Titans should be 7-1 heading into a Week 9 showdown with South Central.  

Class 8M-II

·         EAST - Mankato-Rock Hills (5-0) – Rock Hills is unbeaten on the season but hasn’t been ranked because the Grizzlies are largely untested. The combined record of the Grizzlies’ opponents is just 3-22. We’ll find out more about Rock Hills tonight as they host No. 2 Pike Valley.

·         WEST – Sylvan-Lucas Unified (5-0) & Dighton (5-0) – On the west side we’ll mention a pair of unbeaten teams that have also remained outside the rankings all season. Dighton, the defending state runners-up, is unbeaten but is about to begin a challenging district schedule that includes Sharon Springs-Wallace County, No. 3 Otis-Bison, and No. 4 Hodgeman County. The Hornets lost some great players to graduation last fall, but remain unbeaten despite a roster of only ten players. Meanwhile, Sylvan-Lucas has yet to lose, and, like Rock Hills, hasn’t really been challenged. The Mustangs opponents through five weeks are a combined 4-21. Sylvan-Lucas is seeking its first playoff appearance since 2014; the only time the Mustangs have reached the postseason in the past ten seasons.  

Home field advantage leading the way early in eight-man districts

One of key trends in early marquee eight-man district games has been the home team virtually always holding serve.

Last week in Eight-Man, Division I, District 1, St. Paul beat Madison at home in a matchup of previously undefeated teams. Marmaton Valley (4-1) held off Sedan (4-1) in a 36-28 home victory.

In District 4, Victoria (4-1) defeated Logan-Palco (4-1) at home, and Osborne (4-1) beat Solomon (3-2) at home. In District 6, Argonia-Attica (4-1) and Kiowa County (3-2) both won at home to move to 1-0 in districts. However, South Central (4-1) did beat Macksville, 23-16, on the road. The Mustangs fell to 3-2.

In District 7, Spearville beat South Gray in a home game in a matchup of teams that entered with perfect marks. In District 8, Hoxie (4-1) beat Atwood (3-1) at home two weeks ago. Then, St. Francis (5-0) defeated Hoxie at home last week.

In Eight-Man, Division II, District 6, Otis-Bison (4-1) pulled away from Wallace County (1-4) in a critical home win. Otis-Bison gets Dighton and Hodgeman County, the other two District 6 contenders, at home in Weeks 7 and 9, respectively.

In District 7, South Barber (4-1) beat Pretty Prairie (3-2) at home in a game that likely matched the top two teams in the district.

This week, another round of high-profile matchups continues. In District 1, St. Paul plays host to West Elk in a matchup of 5-0 teams.

In District 4, Victoria plays host to Bennington (5-0). Osborne travels to Logan-Palco. In District 5, Central Plains (4-1) plays at Little River (4-1) in a matchup that should decide both playoff spots for the third time in the last four seasons. In District 8, Atwood travels to St. Francis.

In Division II, District 4, Rock Hills plays host to second-ranked Pike Valley in a matchup of 5-0 squads. Dighton (5-0) hosts Wallace County. The Wildcats have made the playoffs every year since 2006.

Logan-Palco, Atwood, and Wallace County all entered the season with either ranked in the top-5 or receiving votes. Each squad won at least seven games in 2016. Atwood has made the playoffs four straight seasons. Logan-Palco is looking to end a long playoff drought for both schools in the co-operative agreement. Each team now has one district loss entering its key game Friday.

In the last four years, just six eight-man teams have lost two district games and still qualified for the postseason, including Lakeside-Downs, Little River and Solomon last year. None of those teams opened 0-2 in districts.

Key First Half Numbers in 8-man I

Spearville’s single wing offense has again tallied big numbers with 268 points. Junior back Kolby Stein, in his second year as a starter, has completed 12 of 12 passes for 373 yards with five touchdowns.

While Satanta is known for its offense with junior Gabe Salas, the Indians have posted a drastically improved defense. The Indians are 5-0 and permitted just 20 total points. Last year, against the same teams, Satanta opened 3-2 and permitted 120 points. The Indians face struggling Kinsley at home this week and then close with at Spearville, versus Ness City and at South Gray, a run that will likely determine District 7. Seniors Ty Blair and Willy Garcia and junior Kris Wagner have combined for 41 TFLs.

Macksville, which is at Kiowa County in a key District 6 contest, has again enjoyed a big passing attack. Junior Kody Mead has completed 58 of 111 passes for 837 yards with an 18/4 TD/INT ratio. Senior Jacob Rein, who played some at quarterback last season, has emerged as the top receiver with 293 receiving yards and eight scores. Junior Karson Waters, an all-state pick last year, is at 14 catches for 198 yards and four TDs. Senior Kreed Parr leads with 22 grabs and has delivered 291 receiving yards and six scores.

Kiowa County, a 2-7 team last year, has received a huge year from junior dual threat quarterback Cale Thompson. He has 461 passing yards, 385 rushing yards and 15 scores accounted for.

Current Longest Winning Streaks:

17 - Bishop Miege (4A-I)
17 - Hanover (8M-II)
13 - St. Mary’s Academy (KCAA)
13 - Pratt (4A-II)

Current Longest Losing Streaks:
34 - Bishop Ward (4A-II)
30 - Topeka Highland Park (5A)
29 - Flinthills (8M-I)
25 - Quinter (8M-I)
24 - Southeast-Cherokee (3A)
19 - Sublette (2-1A)
17 - KC Harmon (5A)
17 - Kinsley (8M-I)
17 - Northeast-Arma (3A)
17 - Wichita North (6A)
17 - Deerfield (8M-II)
16 - Lyons (3A)
15 - Atchison County (3A)
14 - Salina Central (5A)
13 – Fairfield (8M-I)
13 – Valley Falls (8M-I)
12 - Towanda-Circle (4A-I)
12 – Central Heights (3A)

** Congratulations to Thunder Ridge for snapping a 19-game losing streak last week with a 62-12 win over Wilson. 

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