(click on the SEK-Sports coverage area teams to visit their team page for season information)
CHANUTE (9-1) @ PAOLA (10-0)
Perhaps the 7th time is the charm. Chanute is under the direction of first-year head coach Clete Frazell and finds themselves in the Sectional round of the playoffs once again. However, they have never advanced to the Sub-State Championship game. Senior quarterback Ty Bowman and defensive stud Briley Peavy look to make Chanute history. The Blue Comets held off Louisburg last week at home by a score of 42-14. The Blue Comets are averaging close to 30 ppg offensively and giving up just over 14 points per game. On the road, Chanute is 3-1 on the road with their lone loss to Pittsburg. The Blue Comets have not defeated Paola since 2012 when they ended the Panthers season by a 13-7 decision.
This is the first meeting between the two schools since 2015 when this senior class was in 8th grade. That year Paola defeated Chanute 55-7. Prior to that Paola defeated Chanute in a double-overtime game 21-20. Paola is 14-5 against SEK League opponents in the last 10 years, including the postseason. Paola comes in 10-0 with an offense that averages close to 47 points per game and gives up just 8 points per game. In fact, the Panthers defense has only been scored on multiple times in 3 games and has 2 shut outs. This mixture of versatile scoring options for Chanute, which includes special teams, and a shutdown Paola defense makes this one of the more intriguing match-up’s in Class 4A, if not in the entire eastern half of the state playoffs.
Sub-State Hosting Situation if Chanute wins: Chanute would host if Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege wins; Chanute would travel to Tonganoxie.
FRONTENAC (10-0) @ TOPEKA HAYDEN (9-1)
This is the Raiders’ 2nd trip to sectional in the last 3 years, where they advanced to the State championship with a loss to Holcomb 40-20. More impressively, this is the Raiders’ 5th sectional appearance in the prior 8 years, all led by former Pittsburg State quarterback Mark Smith. The Raiders defense continues to dominate with only one score allowed in three of the last 5 games with 2 shut outs in the other games in that stretch. It has been over a month since any team has scored more than twice on the Raiders.
Topeka Hayden is looking to even the score from 2017. That year Frontenac sent the Wildcats home from Frontenac in the same round of the playoffs by a score of 37-21. In 2019, the game will be held in Topeka Hayden. Other than the lone loss of the season, the Wildcats defense has not allowed more a score for much of the season and has one shut out to their credit. Topeka Hayden’s offense has averaged 37.5 ppg this season.
You will be hardpressed to find a match-up between 2 better defenses in the State for Sectionals.
Sub-State Hosting Situation if Frontenac wins: Frontenac would host Prairie View or Perry-LeCompton.
PRAIRIE VIEW (10-0) @ PERRY-LECOMPTON (7-3)
Prairie View finds themselves in the Sectional round for the first time in over 10 years. It has been quite the ride for the Buffaloes, who are 10-0. Last week, Justin Scott and the Buffaloes offense dominated the Columbus Titans defense with 35 points while the defense continued to shut down opponents, posting their 3rd shut out in 4 weeks. With a balanced ground game from Hunter Boone, Otis Jacobs, and Damien Kline, and the arm of Scott, the Buffaloes offense continues to pose problems for opposing defenses.
Perry-Lecompton has advanced to Sub-State twice in the last 11 years: in 2017 when they lost to Sabetha 28-6 and in 2008 when they beat Holton in Sub-State, but lost to Topeka Hayden in the 4A Championship game. Junior quarterback William Welch leads the Kaws offense, and is top 10 in the State at the quarterback position, with 1,835 yards passing and 20 touchdowns thrown while junior Thad Metcalfe leads the team in rushing with 1,146 yards and 11 touchdowns. While the Kaws defense doesn’t have as many shutouts as the Buffaloes, they have created opportunities for their offenses with 11 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries.
Prairie View’s Scott and Perry-Lecompton’s Welch enter the game with a 119 quarterback rating. With one defense being opportunistic and the other shutting teams down, it’ll be up to them to call perhaps the most sound game of their careers.
Sub-State hosting situation if Prairie View wins: Prairie View would host Topeka Hayden by having fewer home games. Prairie View would travel to Frontenac, as they would have the same amount of home games and Frontenac is further East.
HUMBOLDT (10-0) @ NEMAHA CENTRAL (8-2)
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This group of players for the Humboldt Cubs knew they had big shoes to fill before the first kick-off of the season. A win Friday night will guarantee at least the same record as last year’s team. No Humboldt football team has ever won Sub-State, in fact, last year was the first time in the school’s history that a Cubs football team reach Sub-State.
Nemaha Central reached Sectional back in 2016 and advanced to Sub-State, where they lost 27-22 to Rossville that year in Class 3A. The Thunder are coming into the playoff game led offensively by the arm of Dylan Schultejans, who has over 1,400 yards through the air with 19 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Schultejans is one of the best quarterbacks in the State in Class 2A. He’s completed passes to 10 different receivers this season, including one of the top receivers in Class 2A Andrew Leonard with 449 yards and 10 touchdowns. Their lone losses came at the hands of 3A teams Sabetha and Holton. It’s fair to say the Humboldt secondary has never faced a challenge like Schultejans’ arm and accuracy yet this season.
The Cubs offense features one of the states’ most prolific ball carriers in senior Conor Haviland. Haviland is now at 2,238 yards on the ground while averaging 18 yards per carry this season. Haviland did not carry the ball in the 2nd half of last week’s blowout win over Southeast, although he did come on to punt. Haviland has shown zero signs of slowing down anytime soon and it will be up to the Thunder’s defense to be the roadblock. The Cubs continue to find ways to get Coronado, Jaro and Page involved on the ground game as well. The Senior Coronado does already have one game with over 100 yards and is tied with Jaro for 2nd on the team in touchdown runs with 6. Even if Nemaha finds a way to slow down Haviland, that’s no guarantee one of coach Wyrick’s other “three-headed monsters” in the backfield won’t have a breakout game themselves.
Sub-State Hosting Situation if Humboldt wins: Humboldt would host either Silver Lake or Riley Co.
CENTRALIA (9-1) @ OLPE (10-0)
Over the course of the last decade, Olpe and Centralia have been no stranger to each other during the playoffs. Friday night will mark the fifth time they have battled for a chance to come out of the East half of the bracket. Last year Olpe came out on top 20-18. Expect another close battle between these two. Centralia comes into Friday night winners of their last nine games, after an opening season defeat by the hands of Rossville. The Panthers will depend on Senior Quarterback Kamble Haverkamp to get the sing wing offense going against the stingy Eagle defense.
The Eagles have surrendered only 62 points on the season. Senior Colby Hoelting will be key from his middle linebacker position in containing Haverkamp and company. Hoelting, along with Junior Tailback Kyndon Robert leads the Eagle offensive attack.
Centralia is looking for their first sub-state appearance since 2013, also the last time the Panthers won a state title. Olpe is looking for their third straight sub-state appearance.
Sub-State hosting situation if Olpe wins: Olpe would host the winner of Colgan / Jackson Heights.
COLGAN (7-3) @ JACKSON HEIGHTS (8-2)
The road to the re-match in the playoffs have been very similar for these 2 squads after Colgan eliminated Jackson Heights last year by a score of 34-7 in the Sectional round. Jackson Heights finished the month of September 2-2, Colgan 1-3. Since then both teams are 6-0. In that stretch Colgan is averaging close to 40 ppg and giving up just 7 ppg defensively. The Cobras are averaging close to 33 points ppg in that same stretch and giving up just under 10 ppg. However, the Cobras have the stronger strength of opponents, who had a combined winning percentage of .527 compared to Colgan’s opponents .250 winning percentage in that six-game stretch. Still, when you get to this point in the playoffs, everyone has earned their spot.
Sub-State hosting situation if Colgan wins: Colgan would host only if Centrailia wins. Colgan would travel to Olpe, due to Olpe hosting 1 fewer home game if the Eagles win.
For the first time since 1998, Madison and Caldwell will be facing off. Caldwell handed the Bulldogs a loss 24-13, in Fred McClain’s first playoff game. McClain would go on to win two state titles for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are back in the round of 8 after steam-rolling their first two opponents in the playoffs in Solomon and Maranatha Academy. The Bulldogs are led by Junior Quarterback Ryan Wolgram, and Senior Running Backs Colton Fife and Nasson Wassum. The Bulldogs are in search for their first semi-final appearance since 2012.
The Bluejays of Caldwell returned five starters on each side of the ball from last year’s 6-3 team. The earned a 30-28 victory over Medicine Lodge last week to advance to this round.
Both head coaches, Alex McMilian of Madison and Sean Blosser of Caldwell, served on the 8-Man All-Star game in 2018.
“It’s going to be a fun one on Friday. He knows what we like to run, and I know what their schemes are,” added McMilian on the matchup.
Caldwell is in search of their first semi-final appearance since 1993.
Sub-State hosting situation if Caldwell wins: Caldwell would host either South Central or Canton Galva.
Sub-State hosting situation if Madison wins: Madison would host only if Canton Galva wins, due to hosting fewer home games than Canton Galva. Madison would travel to South Central, due to the same number of home games and the furthest west team hosting in Sub-State for 8M.
HANOVER (9-1) @ SAINT PAUL (10-0)
The argument against Saint Paul’s 10-0 record is that they “haven’t faced anyone”. At Hanover’s 9-1 record, the argument can also be made for them as well. The Wildcat’s opponents are posting a .559 winning percentage compared to Saint Paul’s .418. Last week, the Indians advanced past a solid Waverly Bulldog program to the tune of 28-18. Adam Albertini continues to be one of the state’s leading rushers with 1,401 yards this season.
Hanover’s offense is posting 48 points per game while the defense is giving up 14.5 ppg. Saint Paul’s offense is putting up an average of 57.5 ppg while the defense is allowing just 9.4 ppg. One thing is guaranteed, at this point in the season both Hanover and Saint Paul will face a quality opponent.
Sub-State hosting situation if Saint Paul wins: St. Paul will be on the road regardless of who wins between Lost Springs-Centre and Axtell.