#1 Ranked Teams

6A #1 Olathe North (0-0)
Last: fell 37-27 to Shawnee Mission East in the 6A state semifinals

Olathe North looks to return to prominence under coach Gene Wier who led the school to six state football titles during his first stint as coach from 1981-2002. The Eagles may be the most talented team in the state with nine starters returning on each side of the ball from last season's states semifinal finish. Among those returning are Kpreps All-State selections Josh Moore (6-5, 255), who has verbally committed to Ohio State to play tight-end, and Venus Triplett (5-8, 185), who rushed for 1,324 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2013. Iowa State commit Marcel Spears also returns at linebacker along with Jayden McGaha and Jesse Kendricks. All three registered more than 110 tackles a season ago.

Next: at Rogers-Heritage (Ark.)
5A #1 Bishop Carroll (0-0)
Last: fell 21-19 to Salina South in the 2013 state quarterfinals

After rolling to the 2012 5A state championship, Bishop Carroll extended it's winning streak to 23 games before falling to Salina South by two points in the state quarterfinals. The Eagles have high expectations for 2014 with eight starters returning on both sides of the ball. Kansas State verbal commit Denzel Goolsby (5-11, 190) will be one of the focal points of the offense after rushing for more than 500 yards and totaling more than 300 yards receiving a season ago. Quarterback Colton Howell took over mid-season and was impressive in throwing for nearly 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns. The defense should be strong as always with linebackers Jacob Morgan, Tommy Marquez, and Jarrett Johnson returning. The defensive backfield may be the strength of the unit with safeties Josh Hornback and Mark Quaney roaming the secondary.

Next: at Wichita Northwest
4A-I #1 Bishop Miege (0-0)
Last: lost 38-24 to Blue Valley West in the 5A state quarterfinals

Bishop Miege drops down to Class 4A-I with a talented group that should challenge for the state title. The last time the Stags were in Class 4A they captured the state championship back in 2009. Headlining Miege's team this fall will be Ryan Willis, a Kansas commit, who is probably the top quarterback in the state. He'll be protected by four returners across the offensive line including All-EKL selection Brandon Gonzalez. The fifth OL spot will be filled by Jackson Jenkins (6-5, 300) who is receiving interest from Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. The Stags will have to replace wideouts McKinley Johnson and Michael Murphy who combined for nearly 100 receptions and more than 1,500 receiving yards. On defense, four-year starter Brad Ivey has moved on to Southeast Missouri State leaving some big shoes to fill at linebacker.

Next: at Blue Valley Northwest
4A-II #1 Andale (0-0)
Last: lost 38-24 to Blue Valley West in the 5A state quarterfinals

Andale was one of the top ranked teams in Class 4A last season, but the Indians' playoff run ended with a 24-14 loss at Holton. The Indians return six starters on each side of the ball including All-State selection Hunter Knoblauch. Knoblauch (1,750 rush; 24TD), Anthony Capul, and Hank Eck return in the backfield which will ease transition for Luke Walstad in replacing three-year quarterback Jared Smarsh. The Indians lost some key linemen to graduation, but Jeff Ast (6-5, 260) is a big, talented tight end that will help.

Next: vs. 4A-I No. 4 Buhler
3A #1 Silver Lake (0-0)
Last: dominated the 3A championship with an 82-38 win over Beloit

Silver Lake rolled to the school's eighth state championship last fall by demolishing Beloit 82-38. Decorated quarterback Dailin Kruger passed for five touchdowns and ran for three more in the game. But now the Eagles must replace Kruger under center as well as several key members of the offensive and defensive lines. Ryan Matzke filled in for Kruger at quarterback at times last season and finished with nearly 700 yards rushing. Leading rusher Cody Renfro (879 yards, 16TD) also returns along with fullback/linebacker Zach Boyd. Wideout Jace Freeman is also back after posting nearly 1,100 receiving yards and 14 scores a season ago. The Eagles have plenty back for another playoff run, but their schedule is tough with the likes of Holton, Perry-Lecompton, and Winfield in addition to their Mid-East League slate.

Next: vs. 4A-II No. 2 Holton
2-1A #1 La Crosse (0-0)
Last: finished state runners-up after being shutout 61-0 by Centralia in the 2-1A title game

Perhaps there is no Kansas high school football program more anxious to get back on the field than La Crosse. The Leopards fell to Centralia for the second time in the 2-1A state title game, but this time the buzzsaw Panthers rolled 61-0. La Crosse will once again be among the favorites to get back to Hays with 11 returning starters including quarterback Jack Garcia, Andrew Jay, and lineman Sheldon Schmidt. Jay will likely switch to the backfield this fall and a healthy Schmidt could help lead La Crosse to a fifth straight double-digit win season.

Next: vs. No. 3 Olpe (at Newton)
8M-I #1 Madison (0-0)
Last: lost to eventual state champion Osborne 40-34 in the first round of the 8M-1 playoffs

Madison may be poised for another state title run after injuries have slowed the Bulldogs in each of the past two seasons. If Fred McClain's group is to make it back to Newton, they will need to stay healthy. The Bulldogs have plenty returning to make a run. Owen Reed (6-1, 230) returns in the backfield after rushing for 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns a year ago. He'll be joined in the backfield by Tylen Coe (6-0, 180) who added 825 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground a year ago. Dustin Stutesman is back at quarterback after throwing ten touchdown passes in 2013. Gavin Beyer (6-4, 225) returns at tight end and leads the defense from his linebacker position.

Next: vs. No. 5 Spearville (at Pretty Prairie)
8M-II #1 Thunder Ridge (0-0)
Last: lost 53-6 to Sharon Springs-Wallace County in first round of 8M-II playoffs

Thunder Ridge's only regular season loss came 42-38 on a late score by Beloit St. John's-Tipton in Week 4. As a result, the Longhorns were district runners-up and drew powerful Sharon Springs-Wallace County in the first round. Jerry Voorhees team will look to get past the first round this fall with the help of senior back Trent Reitzke. Rietzke topped the 1,000-yard mark last fall and is poised for a big senior campaign behind an experienced line that features Logan Miller, Jordan Gering, Zach Wallgreen, and Nolan Billings. Senior Laramie Boyle is a strong middle linebacker that will lead the Longhorn defense.

Next: vs. 8M-I No. 3 Osborne

Last updated: September 01, 2014 - 11:40 am