Varsity Football

Regional playoff preview: HS football rivalries renew across the Wichita area

There are several rivalry games tinged with redemption in the regional round across the Wichita area.

Heading into the second round of the 2019 Kansas high school football playoffs, here are the biggest games:

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It’s a rematch of last year’s Class 5A semifinal as Goddard goes to McPherson for a regional championship. Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Goddard at McPherson

2018 meeting: Goddard 15, McPherson 14

Preview: It’s the only game McPherson begged for.

Last year, McPherson had arguably its best season in school history. The Bullpups went undefeated all the way to the Class 4A semifinals. When they got there, Goddard was waiting.

The game went down to the final seconds, but Goddard pulled out a 15-14 win to reach the state championship game.

The matchup is back.

This year, Goddard and McPherson meet in the regional round. McPherson is undefeated again. Goddard has gone through a lot of challenges in 2019, but the Lions have won two straight and seem to be finding themselves again.

Goddard starting quarterback Kyler Semrad suffered a season-ending knee injury on the second drive of Week 5 at Maize. The Lions lost that game 42-0 as part of a five-game losing streak.

The winner of this game faces the winner of Arkansas City and Winfield. Ark City lost to Winfield in the regular season, and McPherson beat Winfield 47-0.

This will likely be McPherson’s biggest test of the season, and Goddard will be motivated to prove 2018 wasn’t about luck.

Prediction: McPherson 24, Goddard 14


Ark City at Winfield

2019 meeting: Winfield 20, Arkansas City 18 (Week 1 at Winfield)

Preview: The Cowley Cup is back.

For the first time in history, Arkansas City and Winfield will meet twice in one season for the right to move on to the Class 4A quarterfinals.

It is believed Winfield has never won two playoff games in the same season. If the Vikings beat their rival for a second time, it would go hand-in-hand with their Week 9 win over El Dorado.

The Bulldogs are seeking back-to-back regional championships after starting the postseason with a No. 12 seed or higher in Class 4A West.

Last year, Ark City beat Mulvane and Coffeyville to defy the odds after a two-win regular season. In 2019, the Bulldogs went 2-6 in the regular season again.

Whoever wins this rivalry rematch will have quite the story to tell.

Prediction: Winfield 28, Arkansas City 26


Mulvane at Buhler

2019 meeting: Buhler 25, Mulvane 14 (Week 4 at Buhler)

Preview: Mulvane started the season 0-4 with a 25-14 loss at Buhler but hasn’t lost since.

The Wildcats flipped the switch after losing to Buhler. They beat Coffeyville, Rose Hill, El Dorado, Wellington and Independence in the first round.

Those team have a 11-34 combined record. The Wildcats’ opponents through their first four games have a combined 29-7 record.

This will be the truest test if Mulvane is back.

On the other side, Buhler hasn’t found consistency since beating Mulvane in Week 4. The Crusaders are 3-2 since that victory, including a stunning 17-7 home loss to Hays.

Prediction: Buhler 24, Mulvane 21


Andover at Carroll

Previous meeting: Bishop Carroll 49, Andover 19 (Regional round 2012 at Carroll)

Preview: Andover is the surprise team out of Class 5A West.

The Trojans beat No. 5 Salina Central 28-7 in the first round, but the road does not get easier. Andover must now go to Bishop Carroll, a team that has won six straight.

Bishop Carroll’s only losses this season are to the No. 1 seeds in Class 6A and 5A: Derby and Wichita Northwest.

Andover brings one of the best defenses in Kansas.

Prediction: Bishop Carroll 20, Andover 14


Collegiate at Cheney

2019 meeting: Cheney 46, Collegiate 21 (Week 5 at Cheney)

Preview: Collegiate has another chance to be “back.”

Heading into Week 5, the Spartans were undefeated with a chance to prove they were back to their title-contending ways of recent history. They lost 46-21 to a team that won two games last year.

But that game was more about Cheney declaring it was back. The Cardinals have lost two games this season, both came against team that are still undefeated: Garden Plain and Andale.

Prediction: Cheney 38, Collegiate 17


Clearwater at Andale

2019 meeting: Andale 50, Clearwater 12 (Week 7 at Andale)

Preview: Clearwater was supposed to be one of Andale’s toughest competitors this season.

After a relatively close first half, Andale pulled off a 50-12 win in Week 7. Three weeks later, they meet again.

Clearwater is coming off its first playoff win in five years with a 35-28 victory at Hesston. Andale is seeking its sixth quarterfinal appearance in the past seven years.

Prediction: Andale 49, Clearwater 14


West at Derby

Previous meeting: Derby 52, Wichita West 21 (Regional round 2015 at Derby)

Preview: The Wichita area’s last two teams in Class 6A meet in the regional round.

Derby is the overwhelming favorite as the Panthers haven’t played a game decided by fewer than 21 points this season.

Derby beat Bishop Carroll 21-0 in Week 4. Carroll beat West 34-7 the week before.

Prediction: Derby 49, Wichita West 8

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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.