The City League could be decided before Week 2 hits.
Bishop Carroll is the defending champion, and Northwest was the 2017 runner-up. The Golden Eagles are the defending Class 5A state champions, and the Grizzlies reached the 6A semifinals.
Both teams will have the potential to reach the 5A final this season. For Carroll, it will be because of the program’s pedigree. With Northwest, it’s raw talent.
Carroll comes in with three titles since 2012. Northwest already has two players going on to Divison I football and could have more in the near future.
With the game at Carroll, Northwest will be out of its element. That will definitely give the Eagles an advantage, but the degree of that advantage will be a key.
Last meeting: Bishop Carroll 40, Wichita Northwest 35 (Week 1, 2017)
Prediction: Wichita Northwest 35, Bishop Carroll 31
Maize South at Heights
Heights has one of the most electric players in the Wichita area in senior quarterback K’Vonte Baker, and Maize South has one of the most high-powered offensive units in the metro.
The Falcons will field an extremely inexperienced defense and will rely on its option offense to keep them in it. For Maize South, it will be about keeping Baker contained.
Both offenses combined to average more than 34 points per game last season, and that will likely be the case again Friday.
Last meeting: None
Prediction: Maize South 34, Heights 32
Garden Plain at Cheney
One of the best small-town rivalries in the Wichita area is back.
Only a few minutes down Kellogg separate a pair of the metro’s best, and the 2018 edition is expected to be tight. Both teams lost a lot of key players, but neither team has goes into 2018 with glaring holes in the lineup.
The rivalry has produced some high-scoring classics
Last meeting: Garden Plain 18, Cheney 13
Prediction: Cheney 17, Garden Plain 14 (Week 9, 2017)
Andale at Mulvane
Two of AVCTL IV’s top teams meeting in Week 1 is scrumptious.
Andale and Mulvane have created a bit of a rivalry atop the league, and 2018 isn’t expected to be any different. In recent years, the Indians have owned the league, including last year when they beat Mulvane by 28.
The Indians are built to go through transitions in talent, and that will be put to the test in the season-opener.
Last meeting: Andale 48, Mulvane 20
Prediction: Andale 41, Mulvane 17
Valley Center at Maize
A top 25 matchup in my preseason rankings for the Wichita area, this one could get interesting.
Maize is coming off a hot 2017 season, and Valley Center has to replace the face of the program in cornerback Dalton Cross. With the game at Maize, that gives the Eagles a huge advantage, but the Hornets have proven they can hang with even some of the top teams in the area.
Last meeting: Valley Center 27, Maize 13 (Regional, 2016)
Prediction: Maize 31, Valley Center 17
Goddard at East
We’ve got a rare 6A vs. 4A in the opener.
Goddard is one of Wichita’s biggest football machines, and Wichita East is the biggest high school in Kansas. It will be interesting to see if quantity can win out over quality in the schools’ first ever meeting.
Last meeting: None
Prediction: Goddard 42, Wichita East 21
Hutchinson at West
The Salthawks come to Friends University on Friday for what seems to be an even matchup.
Hutchinson is going through a transition, and West is one of the toughest teams in Wichita. The Salthawks have a proven brand of football, but the Pioneers are out to prove they belong among the upper-middle class in 6A.
Last meeting: Hutchinson 62, Wichita West 13
Prediction: Hutchinson 24, Wichita West 21
Newton at Buhler
The last of my top 25 matchups will be one of Buhler’s biggest tests.
The Crusaders have a light schedule in 2018, and the Railers will provide a much-needed early season test before the Buhler hosts McPherson for what could be the AVCTL III title in Week 5.
Last meeting: None
Prediction: Buhler 24, Newton 13