High School Sports

Taylor Eldridge blog: A look at the Class 5A football playoff picture

The Wichita Eagle


1. Great Bend



Garden City (7-0)

Possible seeds: 1, 2, 3, 4

Likely seeds: 1 or 2

Outlook: It’s just too difficult to try to predict what will happen on Friday when Great Bend puts its No. 1 ranking and undefeated record on the line against a Top-5 Class 6A team in Garden City. About the only definite is Great Bend will be a Top-4 seed with homefield advantage through at least the first two rounds. If Great Bend wins, it’s easy: the Panthers are the No. 1 seed and will host the loser of Salina Central-Salina South game. But if the Panthers lose, then any number of things could happen. It would depend how many points Great Bend loses by. If it’s a close loss, Great Bend could still wind up the No. 1 seed if Heights (+104) can’t make up the difference in points. If it’s a double-digit loss, then that opens the door for Valley Center (+95) and Goddard (+85) to potentially sneak up and jump Great Bend.

2. Heights



South (4-3)

Possible seeds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Likely seeds: 1, 2, 3, or 4

Outlook: The stakes have risen for Heights in this revenge game against South after last week’s loss to Carroll dropped the Falcons from the top spot. Now Heights is fighting for a Top-2 seed and could fall as far as No. 5 if it loses. If Heights wins, it nearly guarantees itself a Top-3 seed. Heights (+104) would have to maintain its advantage over Valley Center (+95) if the Hornets beat Andover for the No. 2 seed. If Great Bend loses to Garden City, then Heights could jump to the No. 1 seed but it has 19 points to make up on Great Bend. An 18-point or more win over South would guarantee Heights the No. 1 seed if Great Bend loses. Now if Heights loses against South, then it would depend on the results from Valley Center, Goddard, and Maize to see how far it falls. The Falcons could potentially stay at No. 2 (not likely), drop to No. 3 (if Goddard wins), drop to No.4 (if Valley Center or Maize and Goddard win), or even fall to No. 5 (if all three teams win).

3. Valley Center



at Andover (5-2)

Possible seeds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Likely seeds: 1, 2, 3, or 4

Outlook: Despite last week’s thumping at the hands of Goddard, Valley Center remains in the hunt for the No. 1 seed. The Hornets would need a lot to happen, however. Assuming Valley Center takes the max 21 points in a win over Andover, then it would need Great Bend to lose to Garden City by 8 points or more and then Heights to defeat South by fewer than 12 points — not totally out of the realm of possibility. Of course, Valley Center could win by 21 points and stay the No. 3 seed, it just depends on what Great Bend and Heights do. A victory would only secure a Top-4 seed for Valley Center, as the points will come into play if it doesn’t win by the max. Valley Center (+95) would be chasing Great Bend (+123) and Heights (+104) and trying to hold off Goddard (+85). A loss would also open a host of possibilities: Valley Center would likely be the No. 3 if Heights loses by more points and Maize also loses, it would No. 4 if Heights stays ahead by points and Maize loses, or it would drop to No. 5 if Heights stays ahead on points and Maize wins.

4. Goddard



at Newton (1-6)

Possible seeds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Likely seeds: 3 or 4

Outlook: Even after Goddard defeated Valley Center by 42 points last week, the Lions are staring up at Valley Center in the standings. With the way Goddard has played in recent weeks, it’s looking like the Lions are a favorite to collect the max 21 points against Newton. That puts Goddard in play for the No. 1 seed, but for that to happen Goddard would need Great Bend to lose by 18 points to Garden City, Heights to either win by 1 point over South or lose, and Valley Center to win by fewer than 11 points over Andover or lose. That’s a lot to ask for. Assuming Great Bend doesn’t taken a 20-point loss, Goddard will have to hope Heights loses to South and it can outscore Valley Center for the No. 2 seed. If Heights wins, then Goddard’s best-case scenario is the No. 3 seed if it can outscore Valley Center. Of course, Goddard could win by 21 points on Friday and still finish No. 4 if Heights and Valley Center win and keep their point advantages. An upset by Newton would open the same possibilities, as Goddard’s final landing spot would depend on the results from Valley Center and Maize but it would likely be no worse than the No. 5 seed.

5. Maize



at Hutchinson (6-1)

Possible seeds: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Likely seeds: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Outlook: Going on the road and defeating Hutchinson is no easy task, but that’s the challenge facing the Eagles. There is potential that Maize could pull off this upset and still not move up in the standings if Heights beats South, Valley Center beats Andover, and Goddard beats Newton. It’s fairly simple: if Maize wins, it will be the No. 2 seed if Heights, Valley Center, and Goddard all lose; it will be No. 3 if two of those lose; it will be No. 4 if one of those lose; and it will remain at No. 5 if no one loses. Now if the Eagles lose, then that opens the door for Carroll to potentially jump Maize and Andover depending on the scores. If Carroll (at Kapaun) and/or Andover (vs. Valley Center) win by double-digits, then Maize will have to keep the score within a touchdown to retain the No. 5 seed. It will just depend on the scores, but there are very real possibilities for Maize to finish anywhere from the No. 3 seed to the No. 7 seed after this Friday’s game.

6. Carroll



at Kapaun (2-5)

Possible seeds: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Likely seeds: 5 or 6

Outlook: Carroll came through with a huge win over Heights last week, which moved it up the standings and now has Carroll in a favorable position with a guaranteed first-round home game in the playoffs. But the points will prevent Carroll from catching Heights or Valley Center and Goddard is unlikely to lose to Newton, so the next-best scenario for Carroll is if it defeats Kapaun and Maize loses at Hutchinson and Carroll makes up the points and jumps up to No. 5. If Maize wins or is able to stay ahead on points in a loss, then Carroll would remain at No. 6. If Kapaun pulls off the upset, then Carroll could either stay at No. 6 if Andover loses and stays behind on points, or fall to No. 7 if Andover wins or moves ahead on points in a loss.

7. Andover



Valley Center (6-1)

Possible seeds: 5, 6, 7, 8

Likely seeds: 5, 6, or 7

Outlook: Andover has no chance of catching Heights, Valley Center, or Goddard on points, so its ceiling is the No. 5 seed. If Andover wins, it is guaranteed no worse than the No. 7 seed. To move up, Andover would likely need a double-digit victory over Valley Center coupled with a Maize double-digit loss at Hutchinson with Andover (+43) making up the points on Maize (+66) and Carroll (+47). Depending on the points, Andover would finish No. 5, No. 6, or No. 7. If Andover loses, it’s still likely to remain No. 7 since Liberal is considered an underdog against Dodge City.

8. Liberal



Dodge City (4-3)

Possible seeds: 6, 7, 8

Likely seed: 8

Outlook: To make a move up from No. 8, Liberal would need to pick up the max 21 points in a win over Dodge City and then hope Carroll loses by 20 points to Kapaun and/or Andover loses by 16 points or more to Valley Center. Liberal would have the tiebreaker over Emporia in the event Liberal loses by 21 and Emporia wins by 21, which would create a tie in point differential. Barring unlikely circumstances, Liberal is looking virtually locked into the No. 8 seed hosting a playoff game in the first round.

9. Emporia



Shawnee Heights (2-5)

Possible seeds: 9, 10, 11

Likely seed: 9 or 10

Outlook: Emporia can’t catch Liberal on points because of the tiebreakers in place, so it’s best hope is to maintain its 5-point advantage over Arkansas City this Friday if both win. Emporia can ensure itself the No. 9 seed with a 16-point or greater victory over Shawnee Heights. If Emporia takes a loss at home to Shawnee Heights, then it would depend again on Ark City’s results on the road at Eisenhower and if Kapaun could pull the upset over Carroll. It’s looking like either the No. 9 or No. 10 seed, which means Emporia is going on the road in the first round of the playoffs regardless.

10. Arkansas City



@Eisenhower (2-5)

Possible seeds: 9, 10, 11, 12

Likely seed: 9, 10 or 11

Outlook: If Arkansas City can go on the road and beat Eisenhower, then it’s going to finish no worse than No. 10. If Ark City (-40) is to move up to No. 9, then it will have to make up the differential between Emporia (-35) or hope Emporia loses. If Ark City loses, it would only fall to No. 11 if Kapaun loses to Carroll and Eisenhower passing it on the head-to-head result. But if Kapaun pulls off the upset over Carroll, then that would push Ark City to No. 12 if the Bulldogs lose.

11. Kapaun Mount Carmel



Carroll (5-2)

Possible seeds: 9, 10, 11, 12

Likely seed: 11 or 12

Outlook: If Kapaun is able to pull off the major upset and knock off Carroll, then it very well could still not move up in the standings if Emporia and Ark City both win their games. If either loses and Kapaun wins, then the Crusaders would move up due to the points. If Kapaun takes a loss, then it could be jumped by Eisenhower if Eisenhower beats Ark City but that’s it. The Crusaders are basically locked into either the No. 11 or No. 12 seed.

12. Eisenhower



Arkansas City (3-4)

Possible seeds: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Likely seed: 10, 11, or 12

Outlook: In a way, Eisenhower controls its fate because it plays a team in Ark City that is directly ahead of the Tigers in the standings. Eisenhower is one point away from potentially catching Emporia, so the No. 10 seed is the ceiling here. Eisenhower can earn the No. 10 seed if it beats Ark City, giving it the head-to-head tiebreaker, and then if Kapaun loses to Carroll. If Kapaun pulls off the upset, then that pushes Eisenhower back to No. 11. If Eisenhower loses at home to Ark City, then it’s more than likely going to stay at the No. 12 seed.

13. Newton



Goddard (6-1)

Possible seeds: 12, 13, 14, 15

Likely seed: 13 or 14

Outlook: Newton faces a difficult challenge with Goddard, a team that has been rolling over all teams not named Derby lately. It’s unlikely Topeka West picks up a win on the road at Washburn Rural, so the concern is the winner of the Salina Central and Salina South game. Newton (-97) currently has a healthy lead on both Central (-123) and South (-124), but if one team wins that game by double-digits and Newton takes a double-digit loss to Goddard then it’s going to be close. It’s looking like Newton will likely either be the No. 13 seed if the Central-South winner isn’t able to make up the points or No. 14 seed if they do.

14. Topeka West



@Washburn Rural (4-3)

Possible seeds: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Likely seed: 15

Outlook: Topeka West is likely going to take a 21-point loss at Washburn Rural, so it’s safe to assume West will drop behind the winner of the Salina Central-Salina South winner. They’re virtually locked into the No. 15 seed.

15. Salina Central



Salina South (0-7)

Possible seeds: 13, 14, 15, 16

Likely seed: 13, 14, or 16

Outlook: If Salina Central wins, then it’s moving up to either No. 13 or No. 14. Right now Central faces a 26-point margin against Newton for the No. 13 seed, but Newton could take a double-digit loss to Goddard, which means if Central can defeat South by a touchdown or more than it will be in striking range of moving up to the No. 13 seed. If it wins and is unable to make up the points, it would move up to No. 14 with Topeka West taking a likely loss at Washburn Rural. Of course if Central loses, then it will finish No. 16.

16. Salina South



Salina Central (0-7)

Possible seeds: 13, 14, 15, 16

Likely seeds: 13, 14, or 16

Outlook: The winner of the Salina showdown will not only get its first victory of the season, but also have the potential to move up to as high as the No. 13 seed. South would need Newton and Topeka West to lose, which would ensure it jumps up to at least No. 14, and then if South (-124) can make up the points against Newton (-97) it would move up to No. 13. If South loses, then it will be No. 16