Varsity Football

Week 5 preview: One of the toughest decisions for the Varsity Kansas Game of the Week

This could be the biggest week of the regular season in the Wichita area.

There are 14 teams left in the Wichita area. Six of them play one another. With that, here is the Varsity Kansas Game of the Week and a look at the other top games in the area Friday.

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Two of the Wichita area’s 14 undefeated team meet in Week 5 of the Kansas high school football season as Andover Central goes to Maize South in what could be the AVCTL II title game. Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Andover Central at Maize South

2018 meeting: Maize South 21, Andover Central 20

Preview: Maize South is one of the hottest teams in Kansas, and Andover Central has become one of the region’s surprise stories.

Andover Central went 5-5 last year. The Jaguars have a chance to match their win total before even hitting Week 6. And the Mavericks have lost one game since starting 0-3 last year. They have won 10 of their past 11 games.

Maize South hit its stride last year at Andover Central. The Mavericks scored with 39 seconds left to win 21-20. Now Andover Central must go on the road for its biggest test away from home this season and do what the Mavericks did to them in 2018.

Maize South and Andover Central are tied atop AVCTL II with 4-0 records and 3-0 in league play. A loss would likely bump the loser alongside Eisenhower. A win might capture the league championship.

Prediction: Maize South 17, Andover Central 16

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Buhler at McPherson

2018 meeting: McPherson 46, Buhler 7

Preview: McPherson and Buhler’s opponents through four weeks have a combined 11-21 record, so they will be eager to get after each other Friday night.

Rivals and undefeated teams, Buhler and McPherson have gone back and forth since 2012, when they were reunited in AVCTL III. Since then, McPherson leads the regular-season series 4-3, outscoring the Crusaders 216-204.

Between the, these schools have one state championship, a runner-up finish, two semifinal appearances, six quarterfinals and eight regionals.

Last year, McPherson rolled through Buhler 46-7. The Bullpups reached the final four in Class 4A. But Buhler is back and 4-0 for the sixth time in 11 years.

This game will undoubtedly decide the AVCTL III championship.

Prediction: McPherson 35, Buhler 24

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Hesston at Halstead

2018 meeting: Hesston 31, Halstead 28

Preview: Few people would have pegged the Week 5 matchup between Hesston and Halstead as a meeting between two 4-0 teams.

Halstead has started 4-0 only twice since 1993, and Hesston is coming off a 6-4 season. But the Swathers and Dragons have turned heads this season, beating a state runner-up twice and a quarterfinalist from a year ago.

This one should be close. Both teams have played Pratt — Hesston won by 26, Halstead by 22. These two Central Kansas League powers also met in a preseason jamboree (score was not kept).

Prediction: Hesston 31, Halstead 28

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Collegiate at Cheney

2018 meeting: Collegiate 28, Cheney 7

Preview: If Collegiate is back, the Spartans will show it Friday.

Cheney has scored 167 points over its past three games since losing to undefeated Garden Plain in Week 1. Collegiate has looked impressive this season, with wins over Wellington and Mulvane, but the Spartans’ opponents have a combined 1-15 record.

Cheney routed then-unbeaten Clearwater last week 48-10, but the Indians were without standout quarterback Tanner Cash.

There are no more excuses for either team. Week 5 will show who the real contender out of Class 3A is in the Wichita area.

Prediction: Collegiate 38, Cheney 35

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Goddard at Maize

2018 meeting: Maize 27, Goddard 2

Preview: The Lions have lost two straight for the first time since 2014, when they finished 3-7. The panic button hasn’t quite been pressed, but losing at Maize would be a blow.

The Eagles were predicted by some to take a slight step back this season, coming off their first state semifinal appearance in school history. But Maize is undefeated again and outscoring opponents 195-33.

Maize has standouts across the field on both sides of the ball, including recent Kansas pledge Caden Cox at running back and All-Metro receiver Preven Christon.

Goddard’s season doesn’t rest entirely on Friday’s non-league, non-class contest, but an upset win would instill confidence in a group that could use it after a 21-20 defeat at the hands of rival Eisenhower.

Prediction: Maize 35, Goddard 21

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Garden Plain at Hutchinson Trinity

2018 meetings: Hutch Trinity 20, Garden Plain 7 (Week 5); Hutch Trinity 16, Garden Plain 7 (Regional)

Preview: Garden Plain has been building toward Friday.

The Owls have lost four of their past five meetings with Hutch Trinity, including two last season and one that ended their season. But the Celtics are bleeding.

Hutch Trinity has lost two straight, to Conway Springs and Ell-Saline, by a 77-8 combined score. And Garden Plain is undefeated.

Since beating 3-1 Cheney in Week 1, Garden Plain’s opponents have a combined one win. If the Owls are legitimate contenders in Class 2A, a win at Hutch Trinity would prove it.

Prediction: Garden Plain 38, Hutchinson Trinity 24

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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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