Week 8 is here, and with it comes a handful of high school football games that should captivate audiences across Kansas.
Here are the top games of the final week of the regular season in the Wichita area, as well as some weekly predictions.
Maize at Derby
2018 meeting: Derby 35, Maize 21
Preview: The biggest game of the Wichita area high school football season is here.
Last year, undefeated Maize was the No. 1 seed in Class 5A West when it hosted undefeated Derby. Derby won 35-21 in a game that was far closer than the final score indicated.
This year, there are new faces to the rivalry. Last year it was Maize’s Caleb Grill and Derby’s Hunter Igo. Now, Maize senior receiver Preven Christon and senior running back Caden Cox will face Derby senior running back Tre Washington and senior defensive tackle Tyler Dorsey — all of whom will be in All-Metro contention when the season comes to a close.
Derby hasn’t lost at home in the regular season since Sept. 6, 2013, against Salina South. But Maize has an opportunity here.
Derby’s defense shut out Bishop Carroll at home in Week 4. But the Panthers haven’t seen an offense this season like Maize will offer Friday night.
Prediction: Derby 21, Maize 17
Conway Springs at Garden Plain
2018 meeting: Conway Springs 28, Garden Plain 7
Preview: The district title is up for grabs.
Statistically, Garden Plain is having one of its best years in recent history. The Owls are undefeated, with wins over 6-1 Cheney, 4-3 Hutchinson Trinity and 3-4 Chaparral. But Conway Springs could be their biggest mental test of the season.
The Garden Plain seniors have never beaten Conway Springs. Last year, the Owls lost 28-7. Now they must find a way to finish their final regular season with a bang.
On the other side, Conway Springs suffered a head-scratching loss (at the time) to Cheney, 49-19, in Week 2. The Cardinals hadn’t started 1-1 in more than a decade. Since then, they have been unstoppable.
Conway Springs has beaten teams by an average of more than 36 points per game since that loss. But it’s also true that the Cardinals have played just one team with a winning record since then.
Prediction: Garden Plain 19, Conway Springs 14
Cheney at Andale
2018 meeting: Andale 35, Cheney 13
Preview: If this game was in Cheney, Andale would be on upset alert.
But to decide the Class 3A-District 6 title, the Cardinals have to go to Andale, where the Indians haven’t lost in the regular season since 2012.
Cheney is 6-1, with wins over Conway Springs, Clearwater and Collegiate. The Cardinals beat Chaparral 70-3 in Week 3. They have the athletes to pull an upset, but Andale knows that.
Andale hasn’t lost a regular-season game, at home or away, in three years. The Indians haven’t allowed more than 12 points this season, but they haven’t faced a team like Cheney, either.
Prediction: Andale 35, Cheney 19
East at West
2018 meetings: Wichita West 28, Wichita East 7 (Week 8); Wichita West 47, Wichita East 0 (Week 9)
Preview: East has won five straight games and its only losses came to last year’s Class 4A runner-up, Goddard, and Class 5A runner-up, Wichita Northwest.
Since losing 75-8 to Northwest, East has beaten Kapaun, South, North, Liberal and Southeast. Although the Aces have been impressive, their opponents own just nine combined wins.
West, meanwhile, has been on a roller-coaster. The Pioneers started hot, with wins over Hutchinson and Kapaun ... but those don’t look as good as once thought. They then played Carroll, Northwest and Dodge City; those teams have two combined losses and handed West three losses.
West has gotten back on track with wins over North and South. But this game will be the biggest, most even test of the season for both squads.
Prediction: Wichita West 28, Wichita East 26
Collegiate at Clearwater
2018 meeting: Collegiate 35, Clearwater 28
Preview: It’s a battle for third in the district standings.
Andale and Cheney will wrap up the top two spots across the Wichita area, but Collegiate and Clearwater enter Week 8 with identical 5-2 records, looking to get back to the glory days. A 6-2 regular season would do that.
Collegiate lost back-to-back games against Cheney and Andale by 65 combined points before beating up on Haven last week. Clearwater took its licking vs. Andale in Week 7, but quarterback Tanner Cash is back after recovering from a stress fracture.
It was a good game last year when Collegiate won by a score at home. There is reason to believe this one could swing the other direction in 2019.
Prediction: Clearwater 14, Collegiate 10
Buhler at Winfield
2018 meeting: Buhler 28, Winfield 21 (Week 8); Buhler 25, Winfield 0 (Week 9)
Preview: The winner of this game will capture the No. 3 seed in Class 4A West.
Winfield has rattled off a 5-2 record through Week 7, and Buhler is coming off a shocking loss to Hays. Last year, Buhler beat Winfield in back-to-back weeks to end the Vikings’ season.
Winfield has never beaten Buhler, but there is blood in the water, and the Vikings are back home for senior night.
Prediction: Buhler 17, Winfield 14