Varsity Football

Previewing the most loaded week of the season + the Varsity Kansas Game of the Week

No. 11 Salina Central travels to No. 3 Maize in one of the biggest Week 7 matchups in Kansas as our Varsity Kansas Game of the Week.
No. 11 Salina Central travels to No. 3 Maize in one of the biggest Week 7 matchups in Kansas as our Varsity Kansas Game of the Week. The Wichita Eagle

No. 11 Salina Central at No. 3 Maize

To figure out what type of game this will be, look no farther than the backfield.

Salina Central and Maize will bring in two of Kansas’ most heavy-footed runners in senior Taylon Peters for the Mustangs and junior Caden Cox for the Eagles.

Both backs are prone to putting the shoulder down and bowling over defenders, and that has been key to both teams’ success in 2018.

Peters comes in as the No. 1 rusher in Kansas with 1,305 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has helped inspire a Salina Central team that came into the season without a win since 2015.

For Maize (6-0), Cox is the most likely option to get into the end zone, but that might only be needed a couple of times. The Eagles’ defense is statistically the best in the state having allowed just one touchdown this season coming last week at Salina South. But the Mustangs (5-1) are a different animal than anything they have faced all season.

The forecast calls for a cold, rainy night Friday in Maize. As we enter the second week of in October, this game has ‘Football Season’ written all over it.

Prediction: Maize 35, Salina Central 28

No. 9 Conway Springs at No. 8 Chaparral

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If you have an hour to spare Friday night, a trip to Harper could be worth your while.

Two of Class 2A’s best meet in a virtual Central Plains League and district championship, and if history is an indicator, it will be one of the most important games in the state in Week 7. With two weeks to go and both schools holding a one-game lead over Hutchinson-Trinity, this could determine who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t.

The home team has won each of the past four meetings between these two small-town powers, so that would give the Roadrunners an edge, but both offenses are capable of cracking the scoreboard.

Conway Springs (6-0) is coming off back-to-back 60-point performances, and Chaparral (6-0) hasn’t scored under 30 so far this season.

Prediction: Chaparral 35, Conway Springs 34

No. 23 Andover Central at No. 17 Andover

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This is about as close as it gets.

Andover leads the series 8-7 over its crosstown rival, but Central has scored more points, edging the Trojans 314-277 all-time.

Andover’s offense has been hit-or-miss so far this season with eight starting sophomores and a couple of freshmen, but the Trojans are coming off a 42-point performance against Arkansas City.

Central’s defense has been one of the best in the Wichita area. Despite its 2-4 record, the Jaguars have allowed more than 20 points only twice, including last week’s 30-7 road loss to Great Bend.

The Andover (3-3) offense and the Central defense on the field at the same time is definitely what to watch.

Prediction: Andover 18, Andover Central 14

No. 14 Campus at No. 1 Derby

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If there was a year it would happen, this would likely be it.

That was the sentiment coming into 2018 for Campus (4-2), and that has to be the mindset despite a couple of losses on the schedule.

Derby (6-0) has been its same self this season with impressive wins over Salina Central and Bishop Carroll, but the Colts believe they finally have the talent to compete.

The bad news: This might be the best Derby defense in history.

Prediction: Derby 42, Campus 14

No. 15 Wichita Heights at No. 2 Wichita Northwest

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If he plays, it’s a game. If not, it will be tough.

Heights senior quarterback K’Vonte Baker was pulled out at halftime of the Falcons 32-25 overtime win over Wichita South last week with a right foot injury. He didn’t come back.

The Falcons (4-2) are a different team with Baker in the lineup, and they will need him against the No. 1 team in Class 5A.

Northwest (6-0) and its offense has been a train this season, scoring more than 51 points per game. Grizzly running back Breece Hall has proven to come up big on big stages in 2018 with five touchdowns against a then-undefeated Kapaun bunch in Week 5.

Prediction: Wichita Northwest 49, Wichita Heights 28

No. 10 Goddard at No. 19 Maize South

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Goddard has never beaten Maize South.

Weird but true as the Lions head into what could be an AVCTL II clincher against the Mavericks on Friday.

The teams haven’t played each other since 2015 before Goddard went through its renaissance. Maize South (3-3) is starting its third mini-season after three straight losses and three straight wins, but the Lions (5-1) aren’t the same team the Mavericks saw four years ago.

Goddard’s offense has sputtered at times this season, but the Lions are coming off a 40-point performance at Valley Center.

Prediction: Goddard 21, Maize South 14

No. 12 Kapaun at St. James Academy

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There is little reason to believe there won’t be drama.

Last year’s meeting between Kapaun and St. James went to overtime before the Crusaders pulled out a 28-27 road win. Although the Thunder have just one win this season, they have played one of the hardest schedules in Kansas.

Kapaun (4-2) has taken a couple of licks over the past two weeks in losses to Wichita Northwest and Bishop Carroll. The Crusaders will need another road win to get back on track.

Prediction: Kapaun 24, St. James Academy 14

No. 13 Wellington at Winfield

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This could be the most underrated game in the Wichita area this week.

Wellington’s story is well known. Coach Zane Aguilar has built the Crusaders from a winless bunch into a 5-1 contender.

But Winfield (3-3) is having one of its best seasons in recent history, too. The Vikings have already matched their highest win total since 2015 and have a chance to make it four wins for the first time since 2013 when they finished 7-4.

The Crusaders are one of the area’s most well-rounded teams, which should give them an edge in this rivalry.

Prediction: Wellington 28, Winfield 7

No. 25 Douglass at Fredonia

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This is likely for a district championship.

Both teams enter 5-1 this season. Douglass is having a program-revitalizing type of season with the most wins through six weeks since the early 1990s. But the Bulldogs haven’t had a hard-fought win this season.

Fredonia played Douglass to a tight game last season and won it. But this Bulldog bunch seems different.

Prediction: Douglass 28, Fredonia 24

No. 4 Andale at Clearwater

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Even by Andale standards, 2018 has been impressive.

The Indians have completed five straight shutouts, including the past four in which the offense has put up 40 points.

Clearwater (4-2) hasn’t won five games since 2013, and a win over Andale would be its first since 2011. But there is frankly little reason to believe this is the year.

Prediction: Andale 48, Clearwater 0