Rankings are based on the Eastern Kansas Sports Regional Rankings.
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6/5A: Lawrence @ #1 St. Thomas Aquinas
(Preview & research written by Kevin Booker, follow on Twitter @BookerT3 )
LAW vs. STA – First meeting – 0-0-0
You would think these two Football teams would have met at one time or another in their past in either a 5 or 6A match up but that will all start in 2020. With a series at 0-0, this could be one of the best game nights on the weekly calendar for a Joco vs. Douglas County special.
Chesty Lions Head Coach Steve Rampy is no stranger to the Saints Football program during his 25 year tenure as the Head Coach of the Blue Valley Tigers from 1985 to 2009. In that tenure, the Tigers were 15W-10L-25GP-600 W%, and boasted an impressive 4-1 post-season record in his tenure. For the Saint’s Randy Dreiling, a different story to say the least, having never faced the Chesty Lions in a 5 or 6A State Final match up during his SaltHawks tenure come State Title weekend, where the Chesty Lions did not see a State appearance under Retired Head Coach and Chesty Lion alumni Dirk Wedd.
With back to back games vs. the Sunflower League, will the Saints come out on top? It will not be an easy game, as it was a big challenge taking on a very talented SM Northwest Cougars a week earlier.
This past week the Chesty Lions came away with a big home win against 5A power, the Bishop Carroll Eagles, while the Saints squeaked past the Cougars 35-34 over at SM North stadium last week.
5/4A: #5 (4A) Lansing @ #5 (5A) Pittsburg
KansasFootballHistory.com goes back consistently as far as 1983 for the Lansing Lions. According to the site, this will be the first meeting between the two teams.
Lansing head coach Dylan Brown is in the middle of this third year and despite hiccups in scheduling has his team sitting at 3-1. A close loss two weeks ago to 5A #3 DeSoto is the only blemish on the season thus far. Quarterback Caden Crawford is 28 of 49 through the air with 578 yards and 7 touchdowns with 1 interception. Seniors Jack Knutson and Shawn Patton are neck-and-neck for team-leading rushing with 338 and 330 yards respectively. They combine for 5 touchdowns total. Prior to the meeting against DeSoto, the Lions had only given up an average of 1 touchdown a game. Against the Wildcats, DeSoto gave up 40 points.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburg Purple Dragons are reeling a bit after last week’s thumping from Kapaun Mt. Carmel, 49-0. At home the Purple Dragons are 2-0 this season scoring 80 points and surrendering just 12 points, all in week 1 against Labette County. Three of the five opponents that Pittsburg has faced have losing records, Chanute and Kapaun Mt. Carmel.
In terms of their respective classification seedings, both teams are sitting fairly well in potentially hosting a playoff game. That said, neither team can afford to let this game become lopsided on the scoreboard. Fans should expect to see two teams fighting to maintain their positions in their respective classifications.
3A: #4 Columbus @ #5 Galena
The winner of this match-up should cruise the rest of the way to a district championship while the loser will be fighting for a home playoff game.
Galena has been road warriors this season. They have played 3 of their 4 scheduled games away from Galena, going 3-0 and scoring 106 points while giving up only 22 points. The Bulldog’s only home game so far was against Parsons to begin district play. Galena finishes the season with home games against Cherryvale and Baxter Springs, both a combined 1-7 and are on the outside of a playoff spot. With wins over Caney and Parsons, the Bulldogs have some wiggle room to still be in contention for a home playoff game should they fall short of a victory on Friday night.
Columbus’s home and away schedule is much more balanced and more competitive. Columbus will be on the road for the 3rd time this season entering into Friday’s game, compared to 3 home games. The Titans offense has scored 66 points on the road while the defense has surrendered just 14 points, only one score in each game. Columbus’s flashy offense can score through the air with quarterback Jax Haraughty, on the ground with Gabe Martin, and down the field with Lynn Shallenburger. The trio combines for almost 1,500 of total offense. Should Columbus win, they will have to contend with Parsons and Caney Valley, 3rd & 4th currently in the district and would love to sneak up in the final 3 weeks and claim a runner-up position and play the 1st round of the playoffs at home.
1A: #1 Olpe @ #5 Jackson Heights
Two powers on the east side of 1A meet Friday in a non-district contest. This will be the fourth overall matchup between the two, with Olpe winning all three previous contests. (2019,2018,2015).
Junior Damon Redeker spear heads Olpe’s attack on offense. Redeker is a first year starter at Quartberback, but has shown few qualms to leading the Eagles to a 1A best 49ppg.
Jackson Heights enters Friday night with a 3-1 record. 9th year head coach Caleb Wick had to replace a productive Senior class from last year’s 9-3 team. Senior Jason Bosley has made the seamless transition from Tailback to Quaterback this year leading the Cobra’s wishbone attack.
Jackson Heights will have the size advantage in the trenches, seasoned lineman Taylor Wamego (6’1″ 290) and Colby Doyle (5’10” 275) will be key on both sides of the ball for the Cobras. Olpe’s average among their five lineman is 198lbs.
Look for this contest to be low scoring as each team is known for their methodical drives. Each possession will decide the fate of whose victorious.
8-Man D1: Chase County @ #3 Madison
In the battle of the Bulldogs, this will decide who comes out on top in district 2 for 8M-I.
After being pushed in their opening season contest with Burlingame, Madison has rolled in their last four games outscoring their opponents 232-28. Madison has not lost in the regular season since 2017.
Chase County at 4-1 is off to their best start to a season since 2000. Their lone defeat came to undefeated Lebo in week 2, 52-6. In their other four games they have outpaced their opposition 202-8.
Both teams returned key players at multiple positions but have first year starters at Quaterback. Junior Casey Helm has given Madison a weapon in the passing game, in an offense that was historically run first. Helm is 25/35 558 yards 10 touchdowns to 2 interceptions. Last year Madison passed for 708 yards the entire season. The rushing attacked averages 15 yards per carry, led by Seniors Hunter Engle and Ryan Wolgram.
Sophomore Mitchell Budke leads the spread offense for Chase County. Budke has matured at Quarterback as the season has progressed, aided by the Senior leadership of his receivers Trint Rogers, Blaise Holloway, Tylon Ybarra, and Owen Eidman.
This will be the fifth matchup between the schools, Chase County won the first two contests in 1996 and 1997, with Madison winning the last two the previous two seasons.
The game can be heard on Country 101.7FM with audio stream available on kvoe.com.
8-Man D2: #4 Frankfort @ #1 Hanover
No hyperbole: this is for the 8M-II District 3 championship.
These teams share 2 common opponents: Onaga & Axtell.
Hanover defeated Onaga in week 2 58-0 and Axtell in week 4 54-6.
Frankfort defeated Onaga in week 3 62-12 and Axtell last week 36-14.
This will be just the second home game for Hanover this season. Frankfort is 2-1 on the road, scoring 154 points while giving up 56. Their lone loss was to Washington County in week 1.
Hanover has won the prior 8 meetings, 10-0, dating all the way back to 2012. Hanover has outscored Frankfort 497-174.
As of now, both teams have just one game remaining with two weeks to go in the 2020 regular season. Both teams have all but locked up a spot in the 8M-II playoffs at this point and both SHOULD host a “Week 9” playoff game.
It’s just a matter of who will be the District 3 champion and who is the runner-up. This game should determine that.