There is a lot of familiarity with some of these teams and some that know very little about the other. District 5 consist of four Tri-Valley league teams and two Central Plains league . The Fredonia Yellow Jackets played Douglass in a regular season matchup in 2017 and came away with a 34-28 victory. But that was then and now we are ready for the 2018 district 5 playoffs. What any of the teams have done in the past or this season up to this point doesn’t mean a whole lot. It matters what they will do in the next five weeks.
With the new classifications and six team districts things will be a little different. A year ago you had to finish first or second in your district to move to the playoffs. In 2018 you need to get in the top 4. District five will match up with district 6 in week 9 . The #1 seeds will play the other district’s number 4 seeds. And the numbers 2’s will match up with the 3’s. If you finish #5 or 6 you will play a meaningless game in week number nine. It will still be good for the younger players getting that ninth game. District 5 is a Class 2A west district.
Cherryvale(2-1),Fredonia (2-1), Eureka (1-2), and Neodesha (0-3) from the Tri Valley league will battle it out with Belle Plain (1-2) and Douglass (2-1) for the chance to advance to the playoffs. Cherryvale is the only team coming into district play with consecutive wins . After losing big to Caney 43-6 the Chargers have fought back with wins against Leon Bluestem and Erie.
Fredonia is coming with a winning record with its only loss coming from the 3-0 Humboldt Cubs. Fredonia has some size and they really like to run the ball. Senior Owen Blandamer has been leading the team in carries and yards. He is a running back once he gets going he is tough to stop. He could be one to really help the Yellow Jackets get back to the playoffs.
Eureka won its first game of the year 10-0 against Leon Bluestem and then had to face to undefeated Tri Valley teams with Caney and Humboldt. Eureka has a really good defensive front and very talented quarterback running back combo with Cade Burden and Brennan Lowe. The Tornadoes also will need contributions from Zach Hare , Cade Larcom , and Quinton Phelan in the passing game.
Neodesha has been really struggling to begin the 2018 campaign. Losing three straight is very uncharacteristic of the Bluestreaks. Once again they are dealing with injuries that are not helping their cause. I do not have confirmation of who all is injured but I have heard it is some key players they are really needing for this district play. They are going to need to get their average of 6 points a game up drastically if they want to get to the playoffs. Maybe the Streaks can do what Douglass did a year ago and just win all of the district games.
The Chargers of Cherryvale are probably feeling the best of the six teams heading into district play. Winning two straight with play of senior quarterback Cade Addis , Garrett Novotny , and Gavin Hooper starting to put up some offensive stats. Last week during the Sek-sports.com podcast I mentioned Coach Hester’s young men better start playing better defense if they wanted to make a run at the playoffs this season. And they sure did that by only allowing a safety in last weeks 32-2 win over league foe Erie.
Douglass is coming at 2-1 with wins over Wichita Independant 36-14 and Marion 50-38. Their only loss so far was to Garden Plain in lopsided game losing 31-0. In 2017 the Bulldogs came into district play without a victory but swept their district to make it to the playoffs.
The Belle Plain Dragons start district play with a 1-2 record. Beating winless Wichita Independent 42-14. Since 2013 the Dragons have a combined record of 5-43. Three of those seasons they were unable to win a game. Those 5 wins have all came from the 2016,17, and 18 seasons.
This district will match up against the toughest district in the state if you ask me. There are four 3-0 teams and two 0-3 teams. The ever so tough Conway Springs , Anthony-Harper, Hutchinson-Trinity , and Garden Plain are no teams to mess around with. Conway Springs ranked #2 and Garden Plain #5 in some of the rankings I have seen.
This Friday’s match ups
Cherryvale @ Belle Plain
Neodesha @ Douglass
Eureka @ Fredonia
I will try to predict how this district will play out and you can all tell me how wrong I am.