Varsity Football

Previewing the Varsity Kansas Game of the Week, and other top Week 1 football matchups

Northwest and Carroll meet for an instant classic in Week 1

Bishop Carroll hosted Wichita Northwest on Friday night in a game that went down to the final seconds as the Grizzlies kicked a game-winning field goal for the 23-22 win over the Golden Eagles.
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Bishop Carroll hosted Wichita Northwest on Friday night in a game that went down to the final seconds as the Grizzlies kicked a game-winning field goal for the 23-22 win over the Golden Eagles.

A City League matchup takes the season’s first Varsity Kansas Game of the Week, as Bishop Carroll goes to rival Wichita Northwest.

Here’s more about that game along with a look at some of the other top high school football games for Week 1.

Full Wichita-area football schedule

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Bishop Carroll and coach Dusty Trail (left) travel to City League rival Wichita Northwest to visit quarterback Reagan Jones (right) in Week 1. Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Bishop Carroll at Wichita Northwest

Last season, head to head:

Wichita Northwest 84, Bishop Carroll 67 (Sectional Round)

Wichita Northwest 23, Bishop Carroll 22 (Week 1)

About Friday’s showdown:

Last year’s meetings between the City League’s best teams were thrilling.

In Week 1, Northwest won 23-22 on a field goal from kicker Carson Arndt as the clock hit zeros. It was the first field-goal attempt of his life. Months later, Northwest won again in the sectional round of the Class 5A playoffs. The teams scored 151 points as the Grizzlies moved on with an 84-67 win.

Last year’s Week 1 matchup featured three Division I athletes and two All-Americans. The offenses didn’t pop as expected — Northwest running back Breece Hall admitted it was one of his worst games.

All three of those players — Hall, Marcus Hicks and Clay Cundiff — are gone now. Carroll will lean on its defense this season, and Northwest hasn’t scored more than 35 points in a season opener since 2016.

Senior Northwest quarterback Reagan Jones has a year in coach Steve Martin’s system, and senior receiver Zion Jones is back as well, along with perhaps the area’s best offensive line.

Wichita Northwest high school football: Reagan Jones
Wichita Northwest junior quarterback Reagan Jones runs into the Bishop Carroll sideline as thousands of fans look on during the Grizzlies’ 23-22 road victory Friday night. (Aug. 31, 2018) Hayden Barber Wichita Eagle file photo (2018)

Carroll is replacing last year’s Week 1 quarterback, running back, tight end and top three receivers. Its offensive line brings back four of five starters, but the Golden Eagles will need to find points against a Northwest offense with burst.

Prediction:

Wichita Northwest 21, Bishop Carroll 14

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Mulvane at Andale

Last season, head to head:

Andale 42, Mulvane 14 (Week 1)

About Friday’s showdown:

Andale has had a stranglehold on AVCTL IV for the past three years, but teams like Mulvane, Wellington and Collegiate believe that could change.

Last year, the Indians beat those three league foes by a combined 111 points, including two shutouts. Mulvane was the only team to score a point. In fact, the Wildcats were one of just two to score at all against Andale through the regular season.

Mulvane brings back star senior running back Cole Diffenbaugh and an offensive line that could give Andale a test. The Indians lost big bodies like Mason Fairchild, Cooper VenJohn and Ethan Shackleford and will rely on their skill this season.

Andale has a lot of playmakers, in quarterback Easton Hunter, All-Metro cornerback Scotti Easter, running back Mac Brand and others.

Prediction:

Andale 35, Mulvane 14

SALINA CENTRAL AT EISENHOWER.PNG

Salina Central at Eisenhower

Last season, head to head:

Salina Central 20, Eisenhower 6 (Week 9)

Salina Central 44, Eisenhower 7 (Week 1)

About Friday’s showdown:

Eisenhower was embarrassed last year in Salina.

The Tigers came into the 2018 season with high expectations but fell 44-7 in Week 1. The teams met again in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs and Salina Central won again, 20-6.

Central lost All-State running back Taylon Peters, but the Mustangs bring back a lot of key pieces, including tight end Quinn Stewart, who is verbally committed to Oklahoma State.

Eisenhower is mostly the same team from last year, which bodes well. But first-year Tigers coach Darrin Fisher plans to spread it out, a change from the wing offense the team ran last year. Watch out for quarterback Collin Mackey, running back Parker Wenzel and receiver Chance Omli.

Prediction:

Salina Central 21, Eisenhower 17

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Wichita Heights at Maize South

Last season, head to head:

Wichita Heights 35, Maize South 21

About Friday’s showdown:

It was the K’Vonte Baker show last year.

The former Heights quarterback ripped the Maize South defense to bits in 2018, running for a 99-yard touchdown in the Falcons’ 35-21 win. But he is gone now. The Mavericks know what to expect and bring back a lot of college-level talent.

Maize South was one of the hottest teams in Kansas last year at the end of the season, winner of six straight. The Mavs and coach Brent Pfeifer will hope that momentum carries over at home against a City League team that won only four games last year.

Maize South’s offense has looked shaky at times during camp, but it is anchored by quarterback Colin Shields, running back Mason Edwards and All-Metro tackle Cody Fayette, who is verbally committed to South Dakota.

Prediction:

Maize South 28, Wichita Heights 14

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Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.
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