Class 6A Rankings

#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.)
#2 Shawnee Mission East (0-0)
Last: lost 28-21 to Derby in the 2013 6A state championship game

The Lancers surprised many in the state by making a run to the 6A state championship game before falling 28-21 to Derby. Expectations are high in Dustin Delaney's second season in Prairie Village as the Lancers return 16 starters from last season's 11-2 squad. Among those returning are defensive end Kyle Ball (6-2, 230) who was a Kpreps 6A All-State selection a year ago. Gunnar Englund returns at quarterback where he led the Lancers on a playoff run after stepping in for injured starter Christian Blessen. He'll likely look to receiver Alec Dean (6-4, 200) who returns after catching seven touchdown passes in 2013.

Next: at Gardner-Edgerton
#3 Blue Valley (0-0)
Last: won the 5A state championship 27-26 over Salina South

Blue Valley bumps up to Class 6A for the first time since 2009 when the Tigers fell to eventual champion Olathe North in the state semifinals. Last season, the Tigers captured the 5A title by holding off Salina South 27-26. Quarterback Logan Brettell rushed for two touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass, and kicked two field goals in that win. Brettell has graduated; however, along with all-state runningback Chance Nelson and linebacker Henry McGrew who went to Illinois. The Tigers do return all-state selection and Missouri verbal commit A.J. Harris (6-4, 290) on the offensive line along with tight end Beau Bequeaith, but that's it. The defense brings back six starters and although the Tigers may be less experienced, they will be talented enough to make a playoff push.

Next: at Shawnee Mission Northwest
#4 Derby (0-0)
Last: won the 6A state championship 28-21 over Shawnee Mission East

The Derby Panthers were the preseason favorite to win the 6A championship in 2013, and after falling to Salina South in the opening week, the Panthers rolled off 12 straight wins to capture the 6A title. But graduation has hit the Panthers hard. Derby returns only two defensive starters from that talent-rich team from a year ago in defensive end Chase Branstetter and linebacker Dan Connor. There is reason for high expectations; however, as the Panthers recieved help in for form of transfers Darreon Jackson, a safety from Mesquite, Texas, and running back Curtis Whitten from Wichita Heights. Whitten rushed for more than 700 yards as a sophomore in 2012 before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 last year. He'll join the speedy Garrett Xanders in the backfield and give a chance for the Derby offense to be explosive once again.

Next: at 5A No. 4 Maize
#5 Topeka High (0-0)
Last: lost to Wichita Heights, 55-48 in the first round of the 6A playoffs

Topeka High continues to build momentum under coach Walt Alexander. The Trojans have gone 17-4 over the past two seasons including a pair of playoff appearances and Centennial League titles. The Trojans return 11 total starters from last year's team and are particularly strong at the skill position. Quarterback Alec Beatty returns after passing for more than 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushing for nearly 1,100 yards and 14 more scores. He'll have strong receiving targets in Khalil Austin and Dante Brooks. The Trojans will have to replace standout RB/LB Austin Tillman, but may have a prospect in Mike McCoy (6-3, 210), a bruiser with good speed. The offensive line will be big, but inexperienced, and will be the key to a strong playoff run.

Next: vs. KC Schlagle

Others Considered: Gardner-Edgerton, Hutchinson, Lawrence Free State, Olathe East, Wichita Northwest

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