What a day of football across the state. If you were at a game, feel free to fill us in with your thoughts. Here are just a few quick thoughts of mine from all the games.
Class 6A champ: Olathe North
The Eagles beating Heights probably didn’t surprise many. Olathe North was the preseason favorite to take 6A. It had an experienced team (18 returning starters), it had James Franklin (who ended his career with nearly 6,000 yards), it had big, strong players.
Heights’ defense played pretty well against that offense, but the Falcons’ offense had problems, managing just 27 yards. A tough loss, but what a season for a team that started 2-4 and made a heck of a run into the finals, the schools’ first.
Class 5A: Hutchinson
That Hutchinson won big, doesn’t surprise me. Gardner-Edgerton played with the Salthawks for the first half, but then Deveon Dinwiddie took over. Gardner just couldn’t stop the run around the end. What a powerful one-two punch with Dinwiddie and Smith.
Gardner-Edgerton will be a favorite next season, though, with Bubba Starling coming back at quarterback. That’s a good team that ran into the state’s best team. (Wouldn’t you love to see an Olathe North-Hutchinson game? That would be one for the ages.)
Class 4A: Bishop Miege
Not really a surprise here. Topeka Hayden didn’t have the same team it did last season with TJ McGreevy, but it had been playing well in the playoffs. Miege was just too much, though. Not a bad turnaround for coach Grunhard.
Class 3A: Wichita Collegiate
While I’m not surprised that Collegiate won this game — Marysville put up a great fight, though — I’m surprised that it’s Collegiate as the champ. In the preseason, I thought it would be either Garden Plain or Conway Springs playing for the title.
But a wonderful one-two punch of QB Blake Jablonski and WR-returner Brett LeMaster was too much today. LeMaster scored three touchdowns in three different ways (punt return, kick return, reception). Sounded like it was a fun game.
Class 2-1A: Centralia
The chatter was that Centralia was going to end Smith Center’s streak. Of course we’ve heard that chatter all through the season, right? Well, Centralia did it. What a streak Smith Center had, and what a game this was. It went into overtime, and Centralia wins 20-12.
Congrats to all the champs. What a great season by all who played in the title games.