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Final rankings and playoff predictions

A brief look at the rankings in each class and our playoff favorites

  • A state championship trophy is on the line as the 2022 playoffs start this week. (File Photo)
    A state championship trophy is on the line as the 2022 playoffs start this week. (File Photo)

As we kick off Week 9 of the 2022 Kansas High School football season this evening, which launches the postseason for the majority of the teams in the Sunflower State, the staff at Kansas Pregame has turned much of our attention to the basketball and wrestling seasons that lie ahead in an effort to complete our comprehensive Winter Edition. So, we offer these rankings with limited commentary and an understanding that the playoffs - in most cases - will see the very best teams as the last ones standing come late November.

Rankings like this are just for fun. We know there are hundreds of kids and coaches out there working to reach the ultimate goal of a state championship and any team can win on any given night. There's bound to be upsets and some of the predictions below are certain to be wrong. We wish all the teams and coaches the best as they navigate the postseason landscape.

All that said, here's our look at the poll after the final week of the regular season with a few predictions on the postseason. This is our final poll of the season as the playoffs will determine the rankings the rest of the way.

Class 6A

1. Manhattan (8-0)
2. Derby (6-2)
3. Olathe North (7-1)
4. Blue Valley Northwest (5-3)
5. Washburn Rural (6-2)

Notes: Manhattan appears firmly entrenched at the top of this classification and is starting to feel like a team of destiny, but there are still numerous 6A squads equipped to make a deep playoff run in a classification that looks set for a competitive postseason. Manhattan will likely face a rematch with Wichita Northwest in the quarterfinals and the Grizzlies will try to close the gap after falling to the Indians 56-28 last week. Junction City, Wichita East and Lawrence Free State will try to keep the two squads from playing that rematch. Derby and Washburn Rural are the favorites to face off in the other West side quarterfinal and either team is well-equipped to challenge the Indians after both the Panthers and Junior Blues played within three-points of the Tribe in the regular season. The East side of the bracket appears incredibly balanced. Olathe North is the favorite to make one quarterfinal while Gardner-Edgerton and Blue Valley Northwest appear headed for a great second round game. Olathe West and Olathe South appear headed for a match-up in the other quarterfinal, though Blue Valley - if healthy - is also a factor.

Class 5A

1. Mill Valley (7-1)
2. Maize (8-0)
3. Hays (7-1)
4. De Soto (7-1)
5. Bishop Carroll (6-2)

Notes: More of the same for 5A, Mill Valley and Maize at the top and everyone else hoping for a chance to knock off the giants. Mill Valley's path appears the clearest with a likely semifinal matchup with De Soto the biggest obstacle on the East side. Maize appears to have a tougher playoff run with teams like Kapaun, Bishop Carroll, Hutch, and Hays among the stiffest potential tests, though several other teams on the West side could challenge the Eagles. Even so, a healthy Maize team should be the 5A representative from the West side of the bracket.

Class 4A

1. St. Thomas Aquinas (6-2)
2. Bishop Miege (6-2)
3. St. James Academy (4-4)
4. Chanute (8-0)
5. Wamego (8-0)

Notes: If things play out the way most predict on the East side of the bracket, then Chanute will get a chance to challenge Bishop Miege in the quarters while St. James and Aquinas will meet in the other quarterfinal match-up, though teams like Eudora, Basehor-Linwood, and Louisburg are expected to have something to say about it. On the West, Wamego appears headed for a quarterfinal match-up with Andover Central while McPherson appears equipped to make a run all the way to the semis. Wellington is hitting the playoffs on a hot streak and is just three weeks from a two-point loss to McPherson.

Class 3A

1. Andale (8-0)
2. Holton (7-1)
3. Girard (8-0)
4. Rock Creek (7-1)
5. Topeka Hayden (7-1)

Notes: Andale is likely the heaviest favorite in any one classification and a quarterfinal matchup with Rock Creek seems likely. The East side of the bracket appears more balanced with a potential quarterfinal contest between Holton and Girard a game circled on our bracket.

Class 2A

1. Southeast of Saline (8-0)
2. Nemaha Central (8-0)
3. Kingman (8-0)
4. Sabetha (6-2)
5. Silver Lake (6-2)

Notes: It's our belief that the Top 4 in this classification are a bit ahead of the rest of the field. On the East side of the bracket Nemaha Central and Sabetha look to be headed for a rematch of last week's game that was likely closer than the 24-7 final margin indicates, though Silver Lake and Rossville will try to break our bracket. On the West side Southeast of Saline and Kingman are favorites to meet in the semifinals, though Beloit and Hoisington are playing good football at just the right time.

Class 1A

1. Olpe (6-2)
2. Conway Springs (5-3)
3. St. Mary's Colgan (7-1)
4. St. Marys (6-2)
5. Centralia (8-0)

Notes: No heavy-favorite in this classification, it looks to be anyone's title to win. Colgan will be heavy-favorites to advance to at least the quarterfinals on the East, while St. Marys or Troy appear to be their likely opponent. Olpe and Centralia are expected to match-up in the other quarterfinal. Conway Springs has emerged as the favorite on the West side after an impressive late season run that includes victories over contenders Inman and Hutch-Trinity.

8-Man I

1. Little River (7-1)
2. Wichita County (8-0)
3. Meade (7-1)
4. Hill City (7-1)
5. Chase County (7-1)

Notes: We'll continue to say it, this is either an incredibly deep class, or Wichita County is better than everyone.

8-Man II

1. Axtell (8-0)
2. Canton-Galva (8-0)
3. Victoria (8-0)
4. Dighton (8-0)
5. Thunder Ridge (7-1)

Notes: It will be shocking if Axtell and Canton-Galva don't play in the East side semifinal while Victoria, Thunder Ridge, and Dighton appear to be the leading candidates to represent the West.


1. Cunningham (8-0)
2. Ashland (6-1)
3. Cheylin (7-1)

Notes: Cheylin slips into third after the recent struggles by unbeaten Waverly. A healthy Cunningham should be one representative in the first ever KSHSAA 6-Man Championship while Ashland, Cheylin, and Northern Valley should battle to be the other.