Varsity Kansas

Semifinal football

What a night of football this was. Heights has advanced to the Class 6A championship game. Find me a person who expected that after the Falcons’ season-opener. Or after Week 6, for that matter.

Hutchinson has moved on to the Class 5A title game, beating Bishop Carroll. There’s not many who didn’t predict that happening before the season.

Buhler fell at Topeka Hayden, and Smith Center continues to win.

The Heights victory over Derby was amazing. What a fantastic ending — a goal-line stand in the final seconds. Sounds like it was one of the most exciting games of all those played tonight.

Heights has been through so much this season. The Falcons lost a ton of players from 2008, quarterback John Moreland got hurt, just as he was finding his rhythm. But Heights handled it. Sophomore quarterback Matt Reed has been a key.

For Derby, it’s a disappointing end. The Panthers were back where they were in 2008, but fell short again.  That is just so tough.

Heights will face Olathe North next Saturday in Topeka. (I was kind of hoping Blue Valley would win because it would be two teams that had started out poorly, only to peak at the right time. Alas,….)

Buhler surely will be experiencing a whole lot of what-ifs. What if Jorden Oden hadn’t gotten hurt? Would the Crusaders be playing for the 4A title? I’m betting on it. But Hayden took care of Buhler tonight and will face Miege next Saturday in Salina.

In 5A, Bishop Carroll traveled to Hutchinson, and there weren’t many who believed the Eagles could pull off the win. Not because the Eagles aren’t talented — they are. Extremely talented. But because Hutchinson is a juggernaut. Hutchinson was just as big and fast and physical as I expected. (They are who we thought they are! — Dennis Green)

Carroll played pretty well, even getting compliments from Hutch’s Josh Smith and coach Randy Dreiling. But in the end, that offense of Hutch’s was too much. Smith had 302 rushing yards. Bell threw for 248.

Hutch is now back where it’s been the past six seasons. Hutch played in five straight 6A title games, winning four straight, and the Salthawks won 5A last year. And yes, Hutch was once in a 26-game losing streak. (I told Dreiling I was definitely going to mention that.)

Hutchinson will face Gardner-Edgerton next Saturday at Emporia State.

3A, we’ll find out who that will be on Saturday.

In 2-1A, many thought Oakley was going to be the team to end Smith Center’s losing streak. I chuckled at each person who thought that because I just won’t believe that anyone can beat Smith Center until it actually happens.

Oakley kept it tight. It was 20-20 at the half. But Smith Center scored 13 in the second half, Oakley didn’t score.

So there you have it. We’ve got 8-Man I and II championships today, so if you’re dying for football, check it out.

Otherwise, we’ll be chatting here for the next week about the upcoming championships. It should be fun.