We’ll have previews for the upcoming state football championships on Friday and Saturday (check out my predictions in Saturday’s paper).
But here’s a brief look at each class. Feel free to weigh in yourself.
Class 6A: Heights vs. Olathe North
It’s tough to ignore Olathe North, which returned all but four players from last season. Then again, it’s tough to ignore Heights, which is on one heck of a hot streak, winning its last six games. Olathe North’s James Franklin is a stud, but Heights has its own running game in Dreamius Smith and Matt Reed. My prediction is Olathe North, but I say Heights makes it interesting.
Class 5A: Hutchinson vs. Gardner-Edgerton
Hutchinson is truly one of the best teams I’ve seen in my career. Josh Smith and Deveon Dinwiddie cause defenses major problems. Gardner-Edgerton has Bubba Starling, though, and the quarterback has lots of college coaches talking about him. I’ll take Hutch, and I’m taking it in a big way.
Class 4A: Topeka Hayden vs. Bishop Miege
Miege has Justin McCay, the Oklahoma commit who is also a stud basketball player, while Hayden has a lot of solid players (Hayden lost all its star power after last season’s championship). This is a tough game to pick. I like how Hayden is playing, but Miege is doing better than I expected it would. I’ll take Hayden in a coin flip.
Class 3A: Collegiate vs. Marysville
Two awfully good quarterbacks will matchup up in this game, Collegiate’s Blake Jablonski and Marysville’s Ben Mallotte. Collegiate is tough to pick against. This team has won with good defense, good offense, solid play, amazing play and in a comeback. I’m taking Collegiate.
Class 2-1A: Smith Center vs. Centralia
Smith Center is, like Hutchinson, going for its sixth straight title. I’m not picking against Smith Center until it actually loses. Smith Center coach Roger Barta just won his 300th game, and Colt Rogers has been having an outstanding season. Yeah, I’m not counting out Smith Center.