Week 7 was expected to be one of the best Fridays of the 2018 season.
It did not disappoint. Here are 10 takeaways from the high school football action across the Wichita area:
The football was great. The cause was better.
Student sections and high schools from across the Wichita area banded together Friday night to crush cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Students wore pink and raised money for all kinds of cancer awareness.
The Andover Trojans raised $1,400 for the American Cancer Society.
The Maize South Mavericks brought in $900 for one of their classmates who is battling lymphoma.
And the Derby Panthers and Campus Colts helped support Wichita’s Littlest Heroes, a non-profit organization that gives emotional and physical aid to families with children battling life-threatening illnesses.
These are just some of the best examples from the season’s most important night.
2. Oh my Goddard
There was no better finish.
Maize South beat Goddard 23-22 in double overtime Friday to stay undefeated against the Lions and improve to 4-3 this season.
Goddard stormed back from a 16-0 deficit to force overtime, but a missed game-winning field goal in the first overtime gave the Mavericks life.
The Lions got the ball first to start the second overtime, and sophomore quarterback Kyler Semrad fired a dart on a slant route to junior Blake Mitchell to go up a score. But Goddard missed the extra point.
On the ensuing Maize South drive, senior receiver Corey Minks scored on a 68-yard run, hit the extra point and walked it off.
The Mavericks dedicated the game to Maddy Rodell, a classmate who is battling lymphoma in Houston.
“We play and pray for her all the time,” Minks said. “She’s working her butt off and trying to beat everything that she’s beating … she is a hard fighter.”
3. Curse broken
Coming into Friday, Conway Springs and Chaparral were two of the top teams in Class 2A, District 6 and the Central Plains League.
And over the past four seasons, the road team hadn’t won.
That changed as Conway Springs travelled to Chaparral and walked out with a 53-23 win to take a massive step toward a district and virtual league championship.
“I thought our secondary made some big plays,” coach Matt Biehler said. “We got several interceptions and turned them over and then capitalized on that.”
The Cardinals have now outscored the Roadrunners 173-118 over the past five years despite the two losses.
Conway Springs will finish the regular season against Garden Plain. In all likelihood, a loss against the Owls still wouldn’t push the Cardinals into the No. 2 spot in district play because of their +86 point differential.
Regardless, Biehler said Friday’s win will help the team’s psyche.
“I really like the way we’re jelling on all phases,” he said. “We had to have some younger guys step up tonight. It was a huge team effort.”
4. Whose town?
Before the Backyard Brawl, the Andover students released a hype video with the running text, “This is our town.”
It backfired. Andover Central took the visitors’ side of the stadium and won 16-14 on Friday.
Trojan sophomore quarterback Eli Fahnestock went down with what is feared to be a torn ACL. His replacement, senior Alex Jones hung in for Andover but threw an interception in his own end zone to senior linebacker Sam Thomas to open the scoring.
The Jaguars scored again on the ensuing drive on a pass from Chase White to Xavier Bell for a 14-point advantage, but it wasn’t enough.
The Trojans stormed back in the second half, but a fourth quarter safety sealed the crosstown rivalry.
5. 156 points
The game lasted more than 3.5 hours.
The Wichita Homeschool Warriors beat Sunrise Christian Academy 88-66 on Friday to remain undefeated in one of the area’s most overlooked rivalries.
Warriors junior William Day is in his first season as the varsity quarterback and led the offense with ease, carving the Buffaloes’ defense to shreds hitting senior Marshall Masterson and junior Jonah Wolters for scores.
Warriors coach Bill Turner said that isn’t normally the type of night he sees.
“We’re glad we was on the top end of it,” Turner said. “This is a good win because they’ve got some good receivers, good athletes. This is probably the best we’ve ever faced as far as their receiving corps.”
Sunrise Christian was almost equally as explosive. After junior starting quarterback Jarrod Brown went out with a knee injury, senior Braden Dorsey came in and didn’t miss a beat.
Maybe the wildest part of the game: It wasn’t even the highest-scoring game in Kansas on Friday.
Minneola beat Ingalls 92-80 for 172 combined points.
6. The One in 1
The Varsity Kansas Game of the Week has already been selected.
The No. 1 team in Class 6A, Derby, will travel to fellow undefeated Maize in Week 8 after both teams picked up impressive wins Friday. Their matchup will determine the AVCTL I champion.
The Eagles were featured in the Game of the Week on Friday, hosting Salina Central, but they handled the Mustangs with a 48-26 win. South of Wichita, the Panthers took it to rival Campus with a 48-13 win.
The Maize and Derby defenses are among the bests in Kansas this season, and the Eagles will need to be better.
Derby has lost to Maize only once since 2007. Panther coach Brandon Clark said through seven games, he likes what he sees - sometimes.
“I feel like we’re taking steps forward, but at the same time, we’re taking steps back in certain phases,” he said. “Today in special teams, I think we took a step back. We’re going to get tested in Week 8 against Maize, and it’s a perfect time to hit ‘em because you’ll get battle-tested before the playoffs.
“We’ve got a busy week ahead of us.”
8. A thunderous statement
A 25-year-old had a city to a knee.
Circle coach Logan Clothier is in his second season in Towanda. Friday, he earned his second win of the season with a 40-34 victory over Independence on senior night.
“All of the kids and the student body all took a knee and I’m talking to everyone,” Clothier said. “To have a 25-year-old kid come in there and lead them, they were all bought in from the get-go.”
The Thunderbirds haven’t won two games in a season since 2011.
Friday’s win was different. Circle trailed 34-12 at halftime but pitched a 28-point shutout afterward. Senior Corbin Ingrim scored four touchdowns in the win.
Clothier said last year’s bunch is responsible for what is happening in 2018, but the mental fortitude makes this year’s group different.
“Last year at this point, we weren’t mentally tough enough to be down like we were tonight and come back,” he said. “I think we would have come out after halftime and just laid down. This year, we came out and said, ‘One play at a time.’ “
8. The goodest boys
The clock has hit zero.
McPherson has clinched its first AVCTL III championship since 2014 after the Bullpups’ 57-7 win at Rose Hill on Friday. They remain undefeated.
The Pups were a truck in league play this season, sealing the title with a game to, beating Buhler in the head-to-head. They have outscored AVCTL III opponents 269-35. Coach Jace Pavolich said that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“It’s a concern,” he said. “We’re going to get off the bus and go play where they tell us to play, but I feel like we have a strong team. Our schedule has been a little bit frustrating.”
McPherson has to play the league opponents in front of it, but the rest of the AVCTL III is a combined 4-11 against non-league opponents. Circle is the only other school with two such wins.
The Pups will likely enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed in Class 4A west ahead of Wellington.
9. Bearing down
Wichita Northwest has scored at least 50 points in every game since Week 1 at Bishop Carroll.
The Grizzlies made it six straight such games with a 65-26 win over Wichita Heights on Friday. They did not have to face dynamic playmaker K’Vonte Baker, who was out with an ankle sprain.
Northwest coach Steve Martin said it was a little bit of everything against the Falcons.
“We’re playing a pretty high level, run and pass,” he said. “I feel like right now you got to pick whether you want to stop the run or if you want to stop the pass.”
10. Hot Dogs
Douglass has its signature win.
Coming into Friday, the Bulldogs’ 5-1 record was a bit inflated with their five victories coming against teams with a combined five wins. That was a different story in Week 7.
Douglass went on the road and beat a five-win Fredonia team 42-21 to take a massive step toward a second straight district championship.
Coach Kelley Sayahnejad said it’s not wrapped up yet.
“Tonight was great for us because sometimes in the past when we’ve been punched in the mouth, we’ve not always responded well,” he said. “Tonight we went down, and our kids got after it and played well later in the game.”
- Belle Plaine’s defense stops Eureka’s 2-point conversion in overtime to hold on for a 27-26 win. It is the Dragons’ fifth game decided by five points or fewer.
- Augusta scores 20 unanswered in the fourth quarter to come back for a 34-27 win at Abilene.
- Kapaun thumps St. James Academy 25-0 on the road behind an outstanding traveling student section.
- Newton goes on the road and picks up a nice 32-7 win over Eisenhower.
- Bishop Carroll handles a hard-fighting Wichita North bunch with 39-19 homecoming win.
- Wichita West’s offense explodes in 57-21 win over Wichita South. The Pioneers are 4-3 with the victory.
- Wichita East earns 41-0 shutout of Wichita Southeast in well-rounded win to improve to 3-4.
- Wellington goes on the road and earns 22-7 rivalry win over Winfield.
- Arkansas City earns first win since Week 1 and its first league victory since 2016 in 34-20 defeat of Valley Center.
- Smoky Valley completes the comeback to stay unbeaten with 20-14 win over Halstead.
- Hesston can’t knock off 5-1 Chapman on the road, losing 38-28.
Audio credit: Bensound.com