With the state quarterfinals falling upon Kansas, the storylines are beginning to ooze out.
Here are 10 takeaways from the regional championships heading into the sectional round of the 2018 Kansas high school football playoffs:
1. The Big One, Part 2
There will be a rematch of one of the Wichita area’s best games of the 2018 season.
In Week 1, Wichita Northwest went on the road and beat Bishop Carroll 23-22. The Golden Eagles will get a shot at redemption as both teams won their regional championships Friday.
Carroll smoked Salina Central 52-14, and Northwest eased past a dangerous Emporia group 56-21. But Grizzlies coach Steve Martin said he wasn’t happy.
Martin said his leaders like senior linebacker Josh Carter and senior defensive end Marcus Hicks - the glue of his program - will carry out the message he said he doesn’t even need to say about focusing and not getting too far ahead of themselves.
Carroll hit a bump in the road in the first round of the playoffs before righting it in the regional. The Golden Eagles gave up 34 points to Newton and weren’t happy about it.
But with the City League’s top two finishers meeting again, Carroll coach Dusty Trail said he is excited for what it might bring.
“It’s going to be a dog fight, it’s going to be a battle,” Trail said.
2. One Maize
With 4:47 to go in the first quarter, junior receiver Camden Jurgensen gave Friday’s biggest rivalry juice.
Jurgensen hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Caleb Grill, and soon after he scored, he turned around and flashed the Mavericks’ “Hook ‘em” hand signal upside down.
There was only room for one Maize team in the Kansas state playoffs after the regional round, and that was the Eagles who blasted Maize South 35-0 for the first time in school history.
Maize entered 0-2 against its crosstown rival. A lot of the players know one another and are friendly off the field, but Friday was about bragging rights, Grill said.
The Eagles’ defense was as advertised again, holding Maize South out of the red zone all but a couple of times. And when the Mavericks got there, Maize was excellent at forcing turnovers on downs and blocking field goals.
Offensively Maize hit a lull for two quarters. The Eagles went up 21-0 after the first quarter and didn’t score again until the fourth, but their showing helped prove there had been a change in momentum in the city’s two high school football programs.
3. A big hit
Midway through the second quarter, Goddard snagged the momentum.
Junior linebacker Dhimani Butler spied Andover Central quarterback Shomani Parnell, and when a shot opened up, he took it and forced a fumble that helped set a tone in the Lions’ 21-7 third straight regional championship victory.
Goddard coach Tom Beason said Butler was outstanding.
“He played lights out, and I think he actually knocked some lights out,” Beason said. “Dude is an animal. I’m sure glad he plays on our team.”
The Lions’ defense was the reason Friday, forcing four turnovers and swarming to the ball-carrier all night.
With the win, Goddard moves to 8-2 and will play Wellington (8-2) in the state quarterfinals. Andover Central coach Tom Audley said the Lions looked the part.
“You could tell that was a team that’s been to the playoffs and state games,” Audley said. “They played like they wanted to get back there in the second half.”
4. Ark you kidding me?
Arkansas City continues to prove doubters wrong.
The Bulldogs pulled off a remarkable road regional championship Friday, beating Coffeyville 28-6.
Ark City never trailed.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring with 4:25 to go in the first quarter on a 3-yard pass from senior quarterback Cevin Clark to senior receiver AJ Wilson.
Coffeyville answered before halftime, but Clark etched out a lead again with a 1-yard run late in the third quarter.
Ark City delivered the dagger a minute later on a 27-yard touchdown run from senior Ike Abrams.
With the win, the Bulldogs (4-6) move on the state sectionals against undefeated McPherson.
5. All unbeaten
Andale will play at least two undefeated teams if it makes it to the Class 3A state championship game.
The Indians won their regional title 66-22 over Chapman on Friday. They play 10-0 Scott City in the sectional round next.
If Andale wins that game, it will play the winner of Smoky Valley and Pratt, also two undefeated teams.
And if the Indians win that, too, they could potentially play Galena or Sabetha, another pair of 10-0 teams.
Andale coach Dylan Schmidt said 3A is going to be one of the toughest classifications to win in Kansas.
6. Avoiding history
Conway Springs knows about the regional round too well.
Last year, the Cardinals were surprisingly bounced by Hesston in a 2-point loss. In 2018, they were out to make sure that didn’t happen again.
They didn’t, beating rival Chaparral 21-14 on Friday to reach the sectional round for the first time since 2013.
Conway Springs never trailed, but the regional matchup was a rematch of Week 7. The first time the teams met this season, the Cardinals won by 30 on the road.
Biehler said Friday was different but that it will give them momentum going into their quarterfinal game against fellow undefeated Phillipsburg.
7. Between you and Meade
Sedgwick played its best game in Week 6.
That Friday, the Cardinals beat Meade by 35. That didn’t happen Friday in a regional championship rematch, but Sedgwick pulled out a 20-2 win to clinch the school’s third regional title in history.
Sedgwick has become known for its high-powered offense, but it was the defense that rose under the spotlight, Werner said.
The Cardinals pitched a shutout thanks to moster performances from linebacker Eric Kohncke, defensive end Andrew Hoffsommer and linebacker Gannon Resnik.
Sedgwick (9-1) will play Smith Center (9-1) for a chance to go to the state semifinals Friday.
8. Lone Panther
Derby is Wichita’s only 6A team left.
The Panthers beat Dodge City 54-7 to clinch their regional championship. It was the largest margin of victory in Class 6A from Friday.
Derby is one of the favorites to win a state championship in 2018, and it showed why Friday, reaching a running clock before the end of the third quarter.
With the win, Derby moves on to the 6A sectionals against Topeka (9-1).
The offense was almost a no-show Friday.
Wellington beat Buhler 14-7 to clinch its regional championship and move on to play Goddard in the Class 4A quarterfinals.
Wellington won it with 52 seconds to play on a 1-yard touchdown. Buhler had a chance to tie the game on the last play, but a 4-yard pass fell incomplete.
Both defenses were outstanding Friday, living up to their billing. The Crusaders will try to do much of the same Friday in its sectional against Goddard.
10. Turning the Kapaun
Kapaun’s season is over.
The Crusaders fell on the road to Great Bend in the regional championship 31-7 as the Panthers’ offense came to life late and their defense stiffened.
Kapaun trailed by only three, 10-7, at halftime. But Great Bend made adjustments that stifled the Crusaders’ offense in the second half.
The Crusaders finish the 2018 season 7-3 with losses only to teams that are still alive in the Class 5A playoffs - Wichita Northwest, Bishop Carroll and Great Bend.