TOP GAMES IN STATE PLAY­OFFS

The Wichita Eagle - - Front Page - BY HAY­DEN BAR­BER hbar­ber@wi­chi­taea­gle.com

Bishop Car­roll trav­els to Wi­chita North­west and Derby hosts Topeka in the Kansas high school foot­ball state play­offs.

NO. 4 BISHOP CAR­ROLL AT WI­CHITA NORTH­WEST

It called for a re­match. Like a world cham­pi­onship box­ing bout, Bishop Car­roll and Wi­chita North­west first meet­ing could have gone ei­ther way. The Griz­zlies won it in Week 1, 23-22 on a last-sec­ond field goal from sopho­more Car­son Arndt.

That was one of North­west’s ugli­est per­for­mances. Since then, the Griz­zlies have been on a roll. Car­roll has gone through more in­juries than al­most any other team in the Wi­chita area.

North­west coach Steve Mar­tin didn’t like his team’s per­for­mance in its re­gional cham­pi­onship win over Em­po­ria. He said they will feel chal­lenged to tighten it up go­ing for­ward.

On pa­per, North­west is the more tal­ented team. But Car­roll has only missed the state semi­fi­nals once since 2014. The Griz­zlies have made it only once in that span.

It came last year. Pre­dic­tion: Wi­chita North­west 31, Bishop Car­roll 28

Other big games this week:

NO. 4 TOPEKA AT NO. 1 DERBY

Derby is play­ing like a No. 1 seed.

The Pan­thers had the largest mar­gin of vic­tory in Class 6A last week, beat­ing Dodge City by 47.

Derby will likely get one of its top two op­po­nents of the 2018 sea­son in Topeka in the quar­ter­fi­nal round. The Tro­jans don’t have that sig­na­ture win, but they lost to No. 3 Man­hat­tan 21-20 in Week 2.

The Pan­thers are look­ing for their fourth straight state semi­fi­nal ap­pear­ance. In fact, Derby has only missed out on the fi­nal four once since 2011.

Derby will come in as the deeper and more tal­ented team. The Pan­thers must find a way to con­tain one of the most elu­sive play­ers in Kansas, ju­nior run­ning back Ky Thomas.

Pre­dic­tion: Derby 35, Topeka 24

NO. 3 GREAT BEND AT NO. 2 MAIZE

Maize put in one of its most im­pres­sive per­for­mances of 2018 last week.

The Ea­gles shut out crosstown ri­val Maize South 35-0 to clinch their sec­ond straight re­gional

cham­pi­onship. It was a mas­sive step for the pro­gram.

Fri­day, Maize has a chance to make his­tory with its first state semi­fi­nal ap­pear­ance in re­cent his­tory.

Se­nior quar­ter­back Caleb Grill has hit his stride with one of the deep­est re­ceiv­ing corps in the Wi­chita area.

The Great Bend of­fense hasn’t scored un­der 30 since Week 2 against Hays. But the Pan­thers haven’t seen an of­fense like the one they will see Fri­day since they lost 56-34 to Wi­chita North­west.

Pre­dic­tion: Maize 45, Great Bend 35

NO. 3 GOD­DARD AT NO. 2 WELLING­TON

Points are not com­ing. God­dard and Welling­ton have pro­duced two of the best de­fenses in Class 4A this sea­son. Their of­fenses have been streaky.

The Li­ons have held six op­po­nents un­der 10 points, and they are start­ing to hit their peak. Fac­ing An­dover, Cir­cle and An­dover Cen­tral in the past three weeks, God­dard has al­lowed just 16 points com­bined.

Welling­ton is right there, too. Against Win­field, Mul­vane, Rose Hill and Buh­ler in the past four weeks, the Cru­saders are 3-1 and have al­lowed 41 points to­tal.

Pre­dic­tion: God­dard 17, Welling­ton 14

SCOTT CITY AT ANDALE

Th­ese could be the top two teams in a loaded Class 3A.

Six of the re­main­ing eight teams are un­de­feated, but Andale and Scott City have proven to be in an­other tier.

The In­di­ans are likely the most com­plete team in 3A with a pow­er­ful de­fense and an of­fense that con­tin­ues to chug through in­juries. The Beavers have the sec­ond-best de­fense in the class.

To­gether, Andale and Scott City have al­lowed just 113 points in 2018.

Pre­dic­tion: Andale 28, Scott City 26

PHILLIPSBURG AT CON­WAY SPRINGS

Con­way Springs has drawn the short stick.

The Car­di­nals will face un­de­feated Phillipsburg, a team some be­lieve is the top team in Class 2A. On the other side of the bracket, Hutchin­son-Trin­ity and Hois­ing­ton have a com­bined three losses.

Phillipsburg is seek­ing its fourth state semi­fi­nal ap­pear­ance in the past five years. Con­way Springs is af­ter its first.

But the Car­di­nals have proven their qual­ity this sea­son af­ter sweep­ing ar­guably the deep­est district in Kansas. And they get this one at home.

Pre­dic­tion: Con­way Springs 31, Phillipsburg 28

NO. 13 ARKANSAS CITY AT NO. 1 MCPHER­SON

Arkansas City is one of the best feel-good sto­ries of the Kansas state play­offs, but, as the Bull­dogs have been all sea­son, they are un­der­dogs.

Ark City is the high­est­seeded team left among all classes at No. 13 in Class 4A West. Their per­se­ver­ance has been re­warded with ar­guably the best team in McPher­son foot­ball his­tory.

The Bullpups have set countless records in 2018 and are seek­ing more his­tory with their first state cham­pi­onship in school his­tory.

Ark City might be the strong­est team the Pups have faced this sea­son, but it will un­de­ni­ably be the most mo­ti­vated.

Pre­dic­tion: McPher­son 42, Arkansas City 21

PRATT AT SMOKY VAL­LEY

An­other un­de­feated team will fall vic­tim to Class 3A on Fri­day.

Pratt and Smoky Val­ley haven’t lost in 2018 and for good rea­son. They boast two of the top run­ning backs in Kansas.

Pratt’s Travis Theis is one of the best small-class ath­letes in the state. He has the third-most rush­ing yards with 1,955, av­er­ag­ing al­most 200 a game.

Smoky Val­ley’s Tim Lam­bert is one of the fastest high school stu­dents in Kansas, and that has been re­flected on the field with 1,395 yards in 2018.

Which­ever de­fense can con­tain the top weapon will likely move on to the fi­nal four.

Pre­dic­tion: Pratt 28, Smoky Val­ley 21

SMITH CEN­TER AT SEDG­WICK

Sedg­wick’s of­fense has been the talk of Kansas in 2018, but the Car­di­nals showed rea­son to be­lieve they are more than a gim­mick last week.

The Cards de­fense shut out Meade to cap­ture a re­gional cham­pi­onship. It was the Car­di­nals’ first de­fen­sive shutout of 2018.

Smith Cen­ter will be a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal.

Some be­lieve the Red­men to be the top team in Class 1A. They have the sec­ond-best de­fense in the class, hav­ing al­lowed just 75 points in 10 weeks.

Sedg­wick gets its quar­ter­fi­nal at home, but the Car­di­nals are still try­ing to take that next step in pro­gram his­tory into the state semi­fi­nals.

Pre­dic­tion: Smith Cen­ter 28, Sedg­wick 21

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