Week 6 was about taking the next step toward league championships and - for some schools - history.
Here are 10 takeaways from the high school football action around the Wichita area Friday night:
1. Height of the weekend
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Wichita South took Heights to overtime.
Few facts from Friday pop off the screen like that one. The Falcons came out with a 32-25 win over the Titans, but South has beaten Heights only twice since 2004 in 16 tries.
Heights won it on a 9-yard scamper from sophomore running back Joshua Sanders after the Falcons’ defense held on South’s opening possession.
Late in the second quarter, on a play in which Heights fumbled the ball, Heights senior quarterback K’Vonte Baker came up with a limp and didn’t run the same afterward. But the Titan offense was out to prove a point.
With 19 seconds to go in the first half, junior quarterback Jashun Grant hit senior receiver Damion Wells for a 22-yard score that gave South an 18-10 lead. Coming out of halftime, Baker wasn’t in.
Dylan Depperschmidt came in under center, and after two plays, he had Heights a yard outside the red zone. But both defenses held for all of the third quarter.
South went up 25-10 on a Grant touchdown before Heights started its comeback as senior running back Armaad Hubbard got in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter.
After a muffed punt snap, Heights got the ball in good field position, and Hubbard scored his second in less than three minutes. That sent it to overtime.
Baker’s status going forward is unknown.
2. ‘20 years’
After Clay Cundiff started heading back to the Carroll sideline, the sound no Kapaun fan wanted to hear started to ring through Cessna Stadium.
“Twen-ty ye-ars,” the student section chanted.
Carroll beat Kapaun 28-14 for the 20th straight year Friday. The Golden Eagles have won 22 Holy Wars in a row.
Cundiff’s touchdown was the dagger in the win, coming on a 5-yard reception with 1:56 to go in the fourth quarter. But without being at the game, no one would know the drama.
Carroll had to use Drake Unrein, fourth string varsity and starting JV quarterback, in a crucial third and long to keep the Golden Eagles’ game-clinching drive alive.
The game was closer than the 14-point spread indicated as Carroll was forced to “pull out all of the stops,” coach Dusty Trail said. That got both teams to 4-2 this season.
“These guys got a lot of trust and a lot of faith in each other,” Trail said. “That’s what we had to do tonight.”
3. ‘I would not have predicted that’
Andale is going to win its third league championship.
There are two weeks to play, but no team has looked more dominant as consistently as Andale in 2018. They showed that again Friday with a 55-0 win over Collegiate.
It was the Indians’ fifth straight shutout and fourth of at least 50 points.
“I would not have predicted that,” coach Dylan Schmidt said. “I told the guys I just feel like it was a total team effort.”
The Indians are outscoring opponents 308-14 this season. The 294-point differential is among the tops in Kansas this season.
So even with 4-2 Clearwater and one-win Cheney left on the Andale schedule, it’s safe to pen - not pencil - the Indians in as 2018 AVCTL IV.
4. The league semifinal
There was no more important game in the (extended) Wichita area.
An hour southwest in Harper, Chaparral hosted Garden Plain in what was ultimately the Central Plains League semifinal Friday. The Roadrunners came out with a 30-21 win over the Owls.
Chaparral’s defense allowed only one offensive touchdown as Garden Plain scored on a pair of kickoff returns. Runner senior weapon Jarrett Shelton was forced out with an injury. Coach Justin Burke said he is “hopeful” it is not serious.
That is especially true with Week 7 on the horizon.
Friday’s semifinal set up a CPL championship game with defending league champion Conway Springs traveling to Chaparral. Home teams have won each of the past four meetings, giving the Runners hope against a team that hasn’t lost during the regular season since 2016.
“We’ve only beat Conway Springs twice ever, but it’s been two out of the last four years,” Burke said. “We’re excited about this one, but we’ll be ready for the big, red machine.”
5. Hitting reset in a good way
Maize South was ready to hit ‘Panic’, so ‘Reset’ is a welcome option.
The Mavericks started 2018 0-3 but have clawed back with three straight wins to even their record after a 21-7 win at Eisenhower on Friday.
Coach Brent Pfeifer said he is proud of the way his young group has battled back from the brink of a lost season.
“We’ve back evened up,” he said. “We’re starting to do things as a team, and that’s fun to see.”
In the first three weeks of the season, Maize South gave up two 99-yard touchdowns. Since then, the Mavericks have gotten much better at defending those explosive plays, Pfeifer said.
That will bode well heading into a home date with Goddard - a team the Mavs have never lost to.
Mathematically, Maize South still has a chance to win the AVCTL II league championship, which seemed laughable after Week 3.
6. Death Valley
Friday was Valley Center’s shot.
Goddard came to town Friday coming off three straight weeks of questionable offense. But the Lions found stride in the valley with a 40-27 win.
With the victory, Goddard takes another step toward a third straight AVCTL II title with a flawless 4-0 league record. And for Valley Center, those hopes are dashed at 2-2 in league play.
Goddard coach Tom Beason said it was good to finally see more than 17 points on the scoreboard. It just became a matter of containing the Hornets’ senior running back Larry Wilson.
“We made some philosophy changes,” he said. “We went right to the drawing board after we lost to Maize last week, and we stayed in the shop til about 2 in the morning, and I really like the direction we’re headed now.”
7. Douglass, yes, Douglass, is 5-1
He has looked, and even he doesn’t know the last time Douglass was 5-1.
Coach Kelley Sayahnejad is thrilled with his team after their 44-8 win over Cherryvale on Friday that included a 99-yard touchdown pass from senior Kaden Pichler to senior Ryan Kiekel. But the Bulldogs are in a position they haven’t often found themselves in.
After a 5-1 start, most teams would start readjusting expectations. Sayahnejad said he is trying to not get caught up in the moment.
“The success is great, but what’s really fun about it is this group of 14 seniors,” he said. “They were freshmen my first year here. Just knowing what all we’ve done to get here, it’s a blast.
“I don’t know that any of us have really talked about that far ahead. We’ve had struggles here, so we’re just trying to win the next game.”
Douglass’ five wins have come against opponents with a combined five wins this season. But that shouldn’t be counted too much against the Bulldogs.
They are outscoring opponents by an average of 27.6 points per game in their wins.
8. The Maize defense has allowed a point
The Maize defense went 329 days without allowing a point, but that streak is over after the Eagles gave up a touchdown to Salina South in their 42-7 win over the Cougars on Friday.
Salina South scored on its opening drive, and that was it. Maize was the only defense in Kansas to hold opponents scoreless through five weeks after Scott City tailed off after Week 5.
With the win, Maize stays undefeated at 6-0 and is poised for a juicy home game against 5-1 Salina Central in Week 7.
The magic is back.
The six-time state champion Salina Central Mustangs are legitimate, and with a turbulent Class 5A picture, they are as much a contender as anyone else after their 33-19 win at Newton on Friday.
Salina Central hadn’t won a game since 2015 coming into this season. It’s a storyline that has been beaten into the ground, but it never gets old.
Coach Mark Sandbo has the program moving in a direction it has not seen since its last state championship season in 2005.
The Mustangs have played a bit of a weak schedule to this point. But a win at Maize in Week 7 would put Kansas on true notice.
10. Week 7 will be better
There were admittedly a lot of blowouts in Week 6.
Friday marked the lull of the 2018 high school football season as the predicted second-best game of the week ended 55-0.
But Week 7 should have some of the season’s best storylines.
If Heights’ K’Vonte Baker is back on the field, you can guarantee points on the board as the Falcons play the top team in Class 5A, Wichita Northwest.
The magic men of Salina Central at Maize and its stifling defense should be a true October grind-it-out football game.
Conway Springs at Chaparral for the Central Plains League championship could be an offensive laser light show.
And Maize South hosts Goddard with a chance at winning four straight and keeping the Lions winless all-time against the Mavs.
Week 6 had more downs than ups. But the Friday to follow will almost undoubtedly be the opposite.