While all-class power rankings are incredibly difficult to get right at the high school level, we decided to give it a shot just for fun. While many of these teams won't get a chance to prove these rankings right (or wrong) against each other, here's our best guess at the five best 11-Man teams in the state from all classes:
1. Mill Valley: The Jaguars look Randy Dreiling era Hutch Salthawk good. The Jags are the most complete team in the state led by an incredible defense featuring a big, fast, physical defensive line and an explosive offense led by dual-threat standout QB Hayden Jay.
2. Maize: The Eagles feature the best offense in the state with Avery Johnson, receivers Bryce Cohoon, Justin Stephens, and sophomore speedster Bryson Hayes, big, physical running back Daeshaun Carter, and a quality group of offensive linemen. A Week 5 game with Maize South should tell us more about the defense.
3. St. Thomas Aquinas: The Saints opened with a pair of quality wins over good 6A teams in Blue Valley West and Blue Valley Northwest. STA features the typical effective Randy Dreiling Flexbone offense and potent defense proving they are well equipped to play, and beat, anyone in any classification.
4. Bishop Miege: Frankly, Miege may be tied with Aquinas at the top of 4A and Mac Armstrong and Isaiah Coppage may be the best QB to WR combo in the state. The Stag D has allowed just 14 points through two games, all against 6A Blue Valley North. Last week the Stags shut out a highly regarded 5A BVSW squad, 42-0.
5. Manhattan: While we badly want to put Andale here, it's just not clear that a 3A squad, even as loaded as the Indians are, could consistently beat the best teams in the two largest classes or the 4A private schools that are regularly amongst the best in the KC Metro. Manhattan looks potent with multiple offensive weapons and a big offensive line along with an effective defense. Veteran coach Joe Schartz and his staff are dialing up quality game plans weekly as well.
We thought it would be fun to do an 8-Man top four for both classes as well. Why just four? Because there are just too many teams that could fit into that fifth spot, so we choose to take the easy way out and name only four.
1. Axtell: With everyone back from last year's dominant 8-Man II champion, the Eagles are the best team in both classifications, or at least we'll get a better idea tonight when they go on the road against Clifton-Clyde.
2. Canton-Galva: Or maybe the Eagles from Canton-Galva, who appear to be a very close second to Axtell in 8-Man II, are the best team in both divisions. As everyone now knows, the addition of Jett Vincent in the offseason added to an already potent roster, and when C-G gets Garrett Maltbie back they'll be even better.
3. Clifton-Clyde: Hate to bring it up again, but the Eagles - yes, the third straight Eagle team - need to win a big game in the playoffs to prove they are deserving of sucha high ranking, and this could be the year. But tonight's big game hosting Axtell will give us a lot more information.
4. Little River: With the quality blowout win over Ell-Saline last night, where the Redskins pulled away in the second half, it's clear that LHS is firmly among the best in the state. A healthy Braxton Lafferty is on the ballot with Axtell's Isaac Detweiler and the previously mentioned Jett Vincent for the distinction as 8-Man's best player.
Check out our class-by-class rankings released earlier this week below:
For us, rankings are about trying to guess who is going to make the deepest run in the playoffs. Essentially, who do we think will be the Top 5 at the end of the season. Of course this is incredibly challenging because no one can say how injuries and weather conditions might affect teams late in the season. Nonetheless, we'll give it a shot, but know that our rankings are not necessarily going to be based on who looks like the five best teams right now, but rather, who will develop into the five best teams by the end of the season.
Let's take a look at the Kansas Pregame rankings after two weeks of play.
1. Manhattan (2-0)
2. Derby (1-1)
3. Wichita Northwest (1-1)
4. Blue Valley Northwest (1-1)
5. Lawrence (1-1)
Notes: Class 6A embodies our challenge in guessing the five best teams at the end of the season. While there are a number of 2-0 squads that are among the best in the state – Blue Valley, Olathe North, and Washburn Rural among them – in our estimation there are a few 1-1 teams that would beat them if they were to match-up in the playoffs. ... Once a formidable opponent under Walt Alexander, Topeka High was no challenge for Manhattan, which improved to 2-0 with the 59-7 win. According to Manhattan Mercury sportswriter Zach DeLoach the Indians scored six touchdowns in seven offensive drives against the Trojans and got an interception return and punt return touchdown in the contest. The Indians held the Trojans to just 114 yards of total offense. The Hays High Indians should provide Manhattan a good road test this week as the 5A squad is now 2-0 with wins over Junction City and Great Bend. ... Derby led Salina South 55-6 at the half in their 69-20 win Friday night, but this week's game at 2-0 Bishop Carroll will tell us more about how much the Panthers have improved in the trenches and if they are on target to make another 6A Championship run. ... Wichita Northwest took out their frustrations from blowing a big lead against Bishop Carroll in Week 1 in the form of a 52-6 thrashing of a talented Wichita Heights team. The Grizzlies led 45-6 at halftime and first year starting quarterback Jayce Glasper is continuing his growth in Steve Martin's wide-open offense. The junior targeted multiple receivers in the passing game and ran the offense efficiently. ... Yes, Blue Valley Northwest lost, but Aquinas is good, and not just on offense where they control the ball with Sean Carroll, but on defense, where they grabbed two Husky interceptions and a fumble and held the Huskies under 260 total yards. Grant Stubblefield still rushed for 158 yards on 26 carries behind that experienced offensive line. The Husky passing game still has kinks to workout, though the Connor White to Gavin Hoffman connection continues to yield results. It's possible there could be a couple more losses on this schedule with Blue Valley, Lee's Summit North, and Blue Valley West all providing tough matchups the next three weeks, and another 4A private school power in Bishop Miege in Week 8. Nonetheless, it just feels like coach Rider is going to have this squad clicking by the time we get to the postseason. ... Lawrence rebounded from their Week 1 loss to Olathe South with a 28-21 win over a good Olathe West team. First-year starting quarterback Tyson Grammer rebounded from a tough Week 1 to complete 12 of 16 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns and Tyrell Reed carried the ball nine times for 103 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown run, according to Lawrence Journal-World sportswriter Conner Becker's recap of the game. The Lions will be heavy-favorites in three of their final six games and are well-equipped to win all six.
Others: Olathe West went toe-to-toe with Lawrence in their one touchdown loss to the Lions and even got deep into the red zone late in the game. Mason McGavran is one of the star QBs in Kansas and has plenty of weapons to work with behind that big offensive line. The next three weeks are likely the toughest games of the final six. ... Gardner-Edgerton will get their first test of the season against Olathe West this week after dominant wins over SM East and SM South to open the season. ... Blue Valley has opened with a pair of quality wins against BV Southwest and St. James Academy and will find out exactly where they stand in the 6A East pecking order with this week's matchup against defending 6A Champs Blue Valley Northwest. Trevor Brush and Andre Davis continue to provide a potent pass and catch combo in the Tiger passing game and former Lincoln Prep running back John Price looks like a top prospect in the Class of 2024. ... Olathe North improved to 2-0 behind weapons TJ Porter and Josh Parrish. ... Washburn Rural survived consistent 5A winner De Soto Friday night, 28-21, and could get a test from KC Piper before a pair of key Centennial League games with Manhattan and Junction City. ... Blue Valley West rebounded nicely with a 38-7 win over Blue Valley North where the Jags showed off a dominant defense. ... Junction City and Wichita East rebounded from tough Week 1 losses with a pair of quality wins. Junction City doubled up Dodge City, 42-21, and East posted possibly the biggest win of the weekend in downing highly-ranked 5A squad, Kapaun, 30-20. ... Other notables: Garden City (2-0), SM North (2-0), SM Northwest (1-1)
1. Mill Valley (2-0)
2. Maize (2-0)
3. Bishop Carroll (2-0)
4. Kapaun (1-1)
5. Hays (2-0)
Notes: While Class 6A appears incredibly deep, 5A is starting to look very top-heavy, starting at the very top with Mill Valley, who is likely the best team in the state, all classes. Featuring a loaded offense and smothering defense, the Jags have too many weapons to list. ... Maize pulled away from Andover Central to post another blowout win and continues to show off their plethora of offensive weapons behind a quality offensive line, but the Eagles are getting equally great play from their defense led by senior lineman Caden Miranda. ... Bishop Carroll appears to have an emerging dual-threat star in junior quarterback Jackson King and a stout defense featuring defensive end Walt Gray and D-back Cooper Buessing. Coach Dusty Trail will find out plenty about his team with matchups against Derby and Junction City the next two weeks. The Golden Eagles will then play Wichita North before a game with rival Kapaun at Riverfront Stadium, the baseball home of the Wichita Wind Surge. ... We're going to keep Kapaun in the fourth spot in spite of the loss to Wichita East. The Blue Aces nearly beat a good Washburn Rural team in Week 1 and the loaded East junior class showed out in their 30-20 win over the Crusaders Friday night. Even so, Kapaun still has the makings of a 5A playoff winner and this early season loss and a tough schedule the rest of the way should have Weston Schartz's team battle-tested come playoff time. ... Hays High showed off their defensive prowess in their 33-7 win over rival Great Bend and Tony Crough's squad should give Manhattan a stiff test this week to potentially solidify their 5A ranking. Junior Malik Bah is a potential finalist for Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year and the Kyreese Groen to Keamonie Archie pass and catch combo is one to watch for.
Others: Blue Valley Southwest was pounded by 4A private school power Bishop Miege, but we remain convinced the T-Wolves will still be a factor in the 5A East playoffs, even though they could have at least three more losses in the regular season. Seeding will be a big factor in the T-Wolves ability to make another appearance in the 5A quarters. ... Hutch and Maize South play this week and should give us a better idea of which 2-0 squad is a legitimate challenger from the 5A West, while Goddard is 2-0 after going 0-9 last fall, but the schedule gets tougher from here on out. ... Highland Park, the feel-good story of 2022, is now 2-0 after ending a 65-game losing streak in Week 1. The Scots have potentially the best all-around offensive weapon in the state in coverboy Tre Richardson. HP is likely to pick up at least a couple more wins this season, and could even challenge Atchison for the Meadowlark Conference title, but the competition will get much tougher come playoff time. ... Seaman and Leavenworth are off to impressive 2-0 starts, but the schedule gets much tougher the rest of the way.
1. St. Thomas Aquinas (2-0)
2. Bishop Miege (2-0)
3. St. James Academy (0-2)
4. McPherson (2-0)
5. Chanute (2-0)
Notes: With season-opening wins over a pair of quality 6A teams from the EKL Randy Dreiling's St. Thomas Aquinas Saints appear incredibly well-equipped to challenge St. James and Bishop Miege for 4A superiority. This week the Saints powerful running game and violent defense faces 0-2 Blue Valley North before facing a murderer's row of St. James Academy, KC-Rockhurst, Bishop Miege and Blue Valley. ... The Bishop Miege Stags have now outscored their first two opponents a combined 82-14 and will try to get to 3-0 with a game against two-time defending 4A Champs St. James Academy. ... Speaking of St. James, in spite of their 0-2 start they still appear a contender to make another deep playoff run. In Friday's 42-28 loss to 6A Blue Valley the Thunder defense struggled to hold off the potent Tiger offense, but QB Blake Boydston continues to target his outstanding receiving corps of John Niesen, Callahan Huston, and Finn Burritt and will not make it easy for the Stags. SJA's schedule is absolutely brutal and it is possible the Thunder are 0-7 heading into the Week 8 match-up with Blue Valley North, even so, it is still very likely The Thunder will be the third best team in 4A. ... The Bullpups of McPherson showed off their offensive chops in scoring at least 42 points for the second straight week, defeating Augusta 42-7. The Bullpups have offensive firepower to spare in the likes of QB Hunter Alvord, RBs Dawson Gottwald and Jaytin Gumm, and receiver Tucker Pelnar. A game at 6A Junction City this week should give coach Jace Pavlovich a good gauge for just where his squad is at this far in the season. ... Chanute beat rival Pittsburg 28-13 this week but it appears that Tonganoxie will give the Blue Comets a tough test after beating Spring Hill 27-24 just a week removed from a five-point loss to a good Basehor-Linwood team. If you're into score comparisons, Chanute beat Augusta 38-14 in Week 1 making it appear as though the Blue Comets are just a step behind McPherson through two weeks of the season.
Others: A loaded Eudora squad has erupted for 96 points through two games, but this week's match-up with Spring Hill will provide a much better measuring stick for the Cardinals. ... Wamego continues to show how deep their roster is and in spite of the well-documented loss of standout QB Hayden Oviatt the Red Raiders posted a second consecutive dominant victory, this time over Marysville, 34-8. ... After back-to-back close wins over Tonganoxie and Piper the Basehor-Linwood Bobcats will face a Turner team that has been outscored 131-0 through the first two games. ... Circle coach Logan Clothier continues to build the T-Birds into a winner and last week he led his squad to their first ever win over Buhler. A Walt Alexander disciple, Clothier is one of the top young coaches in the state. ... Atchison rode the strong legs of Kansas Pregame coverboy Jesse Greenly to a win over Sumner and may have the inside track to a Meadowlark Conference championship as a result, but the Week 7 contest at Perry-Lecompton will give the Phoenix more info about their preparation for the postseason. ... Abilene and Coffeyville are off to great starts with tougher games further down the schedule. ... Always tough 4A squads Piper, Louisburg, Paola, and Tonganoxie could have something to say about the 4A East race.
1. Andale (2-0)
2. Wichita Collegiate (2-0)
3. Topeka Hayden (2-0)
4. Holton (1-1)
5. Rock Creek (1-1)
Notes: What can you say about Andale? Frankly, it would be fun to see where they stand in the larger classes because it appears like this team has what it takes to compete with the best the larger classes have to offer right now. Andale remains the heaviest favorite in any classification. ... It's imperative for coaches that they not allow their team to play the game of comparing scores. However, we have the luxury of being able to do so with no consequences. No, it doesn't tell the whole story, BUT...Collegiate beat Rose Hill 28-6 in Week 1, Andale beat them 60-7 in Week 2. Collegiate beat El Dorado 40-14 in Week 2 and Andale hosts El Dorado this week. So, we'll likely play the comparison game again next week. ... After kicking the season off with a quality 21-7 win over 1A power Olpe the Hayden Wildcats showed significant improvement in their 43-10 win over perennial 2A power Silver Lake on Friday. The Wildcats looked especially impressive on defense in turning the Eagles over multiple times. Hayden gets another test from 2A power Rossville this week. ... Holton rebounded from their loss to Nemaha Central in Week 1 with a 35-14 win over a good Sabetha team Friday. Garyson Booth continues to shine for the Holton running game and talented senior quarterback Matthew Lierz showed off accuracy and arm-strength in the seldom used passing game. ... Rock Creek rebounded from a tough loss to 2A top-ranked Southeast of Saline in Week 1 with a quality win over 1A top-ranked St. Marys 41-20 in Week 2. The offense showed off the explosiveness we all anticipated in this contest as Dalton Whitworth distributed the ball to multiple receivers with Yanci Spiller, Logan Sturdy, and Ethan Burgess showing off a nice mix of speed, quickness, and power.
Others: Girard picked up a quality 38-12 win over Colgan and Kansas Pregame coverboy Luke Niggemann continues to look like one of the best QBs in the state. The next two contests, at home against Galena and at Frontenac, look to be the toughest remaining on the regular season schedule. ... Pratt picked up a quality win over Hesston, 28-14, to improve to 2-0, but a tough schedule will leave the Greenbacks battle-tested when they head into a Week 8 match-up with Andale. ... Holcomb junior Damon Mesa is a rising star in southwest Kansas. Making the move to quarterback this season, Mesa executed the Longhorn Zone Read at a high level in the Longhorns' 54-6 win at Cimarron where he rushed for 218 yards on 10 carries with three scores and showed off accuracy in the passing game completing 8 of 10 passes for 77 yards and two more scores. Mesa displays a great mix of speed and power and the Longhorn offensive line appears well-equipped to challenge most of the top defenses in the state. Mesa is also an excellent defensive player and his 4.4 speed and lateral quickness could see him emerge as a top prospect on that side of the ball. The Longhorns will be favorites in the next three contests against Ulysses, Goodland, and Colby teams that are a combined 1-5, before a pair of tough matchups with Scott City and Hugoton. ... Don't look now, but a forgotten Scott City team improved to 2-0 with their second straight shutout and appear bent on improving on a rare 4-5 season of a year ago. ... Parsons spotted a Labette County team mired in a 13-game losing streak 14 points before rallying to post the 38-29 win. Viking QB Tra Mack continues to be one of the most exciting players in southeast Kansas. Key injuries to Cade Brown and Chris Beard could be challenging to overcome if they are unable to return this season.
1. Southeast of Saline (2-0)
2. Nemaha Central (2-0)
3. Rossville (1-1)
4. Sabetha (1-1)
5. Kingman (2-0)
Notes: Class 2A is starting to look similar to 3A in that Southeast of Saline is looking more like a big favorite in this classification, though Nemaha Central has the makings of a close second place contender. Outside of the Top 2 in the classification the next six to eight teams appear to be incredibly balanced at this point in the season and it feels like that will play out in the playoffs. ... Southeast of Saline appears to have all the pieces for a State Title winner, but remaining healthy is key as this year's Trojans' squad doesn't appear to have the depth of a season ago. ... Nemaha Central followed up their big Week 1 win over Holton with a dominant victory over a struggling Royal Valley squad and will get a much stiffer test from Perry-Lecompton this week. ... Rossville rebounded from their Week 1 loss to St. Marys with a good win, 36-15, over Riley County. The Dawgs ran the ball effectively with a stable of running backs and their big offensive line. This week RHS has a big challenge at 3A third-ranked Topeka-Hayden as part of a loaded six-game stretch to start the season with Atchison County, Silver Lake, and Holton following the matchup Hayden. ... Sabetha took a tough loss to Holton and allowed more than 440 yards of offense in the 35-14 loss, though showed off some fight in an early goal line stand where the Bluejays held the Wildcats from the end zone on four tries. ... The Week 1 win over Cheney looks even better after CHS dispatched Garden Plain 37-7 and a dominant 36-0 win over perennial power Conway Springs on Friday leaves Kingman firmly entrenched in the 2A Top 5.
Others: Humboldt's 24-0 shutout over consistent winner Caney Valley leaves the Cubs on a roll heading into a stretch of three games in which coach Logan Wyrick's team should be favored before a highly-anticipated Week 6 match-up with Osage City that very well could determine the champion in a District 2 that currently features five teams boasting 2-0 records. ... Osage City will get a tough test this week from an Olpe team that is 0-2 against excellent 3A competition. ... An inexperienced Hoisington team rebounded from their Week 1 loss to Hesston with a 28-0 win over Halstead. The Cardinals will be favored in the remainder of their contests outside of a Week 5 matchup with 3A Pratt in a game that will likely be one of that week's premier contests. ... District 8 has the makings of an absolute slugfest with Norton looking like the favorite after last week's win over Smith Center. Running back Garrett Urban is a workhouse back for the Bluejays and he'll lead the way as Lucas Melvin's team tries to hold off TMP, Beloit, Phillipsburg, and an emerging Russell squad. ... Ellsworth's schedule sets up nicely as the Bearcats should be 5-0 heading into a tough three-game stretch to close the season. ... Atchison County is backing up their breakout 6-3 season of a year ago with a 2-0 start that includes a quality win over Jeff Co. North last Friday. The Tigers should be 3-0 heading into next week's matchup at Rossville which will have major district implications. ... Silver Lake fell hard to Topeka-Hayden last week, but still should be a team that is a factor in the District 3 race.
1. St. Marys (1-1)
2. Inman (2-0)
3. St. Mary's-Colgan (1-1)
4. Hutch-Trinity (2-0)
5. Olpe (0-2)
Notes: Who's the best team in this classification? Your best guess is as good as ours. One thing we know for sure, the early season records will have little to do with who ends up playing deep into the playoffs. Olpe very well could start the season 0-3 with a loss to Osage City this week a definite possibility, but the Eagles will remain the heavy-favorite in their district and be in line to make another deep playoff run. St. Marys could get a test this week from Silver Lake after a tough loss to 3A ranked Rock Creek, but the Bears will also be the heavy-favorite to win their district. Colgan fell 38-12 to a very good 3A Girard squad and could find themselves on the losing end against 3A Columbus in Week 6, but the Panthers, too, remain a heavy-favorite in their district. Inman's team speed is impressive and a matchup with Hutch-Trinity in two weeks will very likely determine the champion in District 7. Sedgwick is the forgotten team in this equation after opening 0-2 against outstanding Hutch-Trinity and Inman teams. The Cardinals will be heavy-favorites in all but one game the rest of the way - a matchup with 2A power Osage City in two weeks - and the offense will only get better as sophomore QB Cory Crumrine continues to settle in as the leader of Jeff Werner's wide-open offense. Smith Center, Oakley, and Wabaunsee all will to have something to say about the west playoff bracket, while Centralia, Jackson Heights, and Troy should do the same on the east side of the bracket, where all three play in a tough District 4.
1. Clifton-Clyde (2-0)
2. Little River (1-1)
3. Chase County (2-0)
4. Meade (2-0)
5. Hill City (2-0)
Notes: There's no reason to get too fired up about these rankings, there will likely be plenty of fluctuation in this before it's all said and done. ... We'll find out if Clifton-Clyde is deserving of their position at the top of this poll in their matchup with defending 8-Man II Champ, and current DII #1, Axtell, this week. C-C has the horses up front to play with Axtell, but the question mark will come in the form of team speed. Axtell plays fast and their offense presents multiple challenges in both the run and pass game. C-C's once run-heavy three-back offense, now employ more spread schemes. The good news for C-C is they generally perform well in these regular season contests against the toughest opponents. ... Little River will get a good test this week against new 8-Man team, Ell-Saline. The Cardinals were a consistent contender among small 11-Man teams and an experienced team made the move to 8-Man with significant optimism. Ell-Saline dispatched Hanover with relative ease last week behind 358 combined passing and rushing yards from senior QB Kade Wilson. While Hanover is a state power the Wildcats are undergoing a rebuilding year. The Redskins continue to break in an entirely new line but the loaded skill positions remain a constant. Little River will play at Ell-Saline in Brookville Thursday evening. ... Chase County got a good win over a quality opponent in Colony-Crest last Thursday night in a shootout and even though Goessel was dispatched with ease by Canton-Galva last week the Bluejays could still present a test for the Bulldogs this week. Mitch Budke continues to tear up opposing defenses and the Bulldogs appear to have a complete team on both sides of the ball. Chase County plays in the state's toughest district with Burlingame - who posted an impressive blowout win over Lebo last week - Madison, and Lyndon joining CC at 2-0 and new KSHSAA 8-Man team Cair Paravel looking like a squad that could make some noise as well after leading Axtell at the half in Week 1 and blowing out Doniphan West last week. ... Yes, Meade graduated 8-Man All-Stars Korben Clawson, Torren Haynes, and Cullen Lumry from their State Championship winning squad of a year ago, and their coach took the Liberal job, but the Buffs still look like a potent team this fall. Meade has posted consecutive 48-0 victories and very well could have three more by the time they face Wichita County in Week 6, most likely for a District 8 title and postseason momentum. ... Hill City dispatched Trego with ease, 62-14, and now travel to Kensington to face 8-Man II third-ranked Thunder Ridge. The Ringnecks first three games is their toughest stretch of the season. HC will be heavy-favorites in four of their final six contests of the regular season with the Week 6 matchup with Hoxie joining this week's matchup with the Longhorns as the two toughest games on the schedule.
Others: Wichita County and the Hermosillo brothers could easily fit anywhere in the Top 5 as well and this week's game with Hoxie will give us plenty of information about a pair of good 2-0 teams. ... Burlingame got a dominant win over solid 8-Man II Lebo last week. Colby Middleton continues to impress at QB for the Bearcats and sophomore Dane Winters is an emerging threat. Star high jumper Matthew Heckman presents an incredible challenge for opponents as well. ... Madison and Bryson Turner continue to roll up wins. ... South Sumner and electric QB Keiondre Smith appear to be contenders but their toughest measuring sticks won't come until the final three games of the regular season.
1. Axtell (2-0)
2. Canton-Galva (2-0)
3. Thunder Ridge (2-0)
4. Victoria (2-0)
5. Dighton (2-0)
Notes: Axtell and Canton-Galva are 1 and 1a in this class and appear to be alone as the two best 8-Man teams in either division. Axtell looked human in their first two quarters of the season against Cair Paravel but have since been dominant. AHS will get their toughest test of this early season this week in the form of our 8-Man I top-ranked Clifton-Clyde in one of the most anticipated games of the season, while Canton-Galva will travel to Solomon after dispatching an experienced and talented Goessel team with ease a week ago. Following the game with CC this week Axtell will be a heavy favorite in the final five games of the regular season, as will Canton-Galva. ... Thunder Ridge continues its hold on the third spot behind a blowout of Rock Hills. Longhorn senior quarterback Dylan Bice continued his All-State caliber start to the season completing 7 of 15 passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 144 yards on 20 carries with another score just a week removed from piling up 300 yards rushing and three TDs in the Week 1 win over Alma (Neb.). Bice now has 452 yards rushing and 163 yards passing with nine total touchdowns accounted for in two games. Bice is equally important to the defense with 25 total tackles, two TFLs, and an interception. Kaleb Wagenblast continues to be a force on the defense for the Longhorns with 17 total tackles, two TFLs, and an interception through two weeks. The Longhorns will be severely tested this week as they host Hill City, but the final five games of the season will see the Longhorns installed as favorites. ... Victoria looked impressive in dispatching a quality La Crosse team with prejudice last weekend, 60-14. Senior Thaddeus Wohler and Carson Werth are a potent one-two punch for the Knights, who will be favored in the rest of the games this season, including this week's matchup with 2-0 Ness City. ... Dighton got a quality win over an experienced Rawlins County team this week and could get a test from Quinter this week, but if the Hornets are truly the fifth best team in the classification then Bucklin is likely the only real challenge left on the schedule, though Minneola is off to a good start behind standout junior QB Eli Lang. Dighton QB Max Neeley, a 2022 coverboy, looks every part one of the top players in DII with 210 yards and three touchdowns on 14 of 20 passing and 201 yards rushing and four more scores on 43 carries through two games. The Hornets are getting excellent play from their defense with seven different players with at least 10 tackles through two games and four different players with at least one interception including junior Carson Shimer who has three picks in the first two weeks of the season.
Others: South Barber is 2-0 behind talented junior quarterback Briggs Jewell who has passed for 286 yards on 24 of 42 passing with six touchdowns, but has thrown three interceptions. Jewell has also rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. Three different receivers have at least six catches led by junior Bryson Rathgeber's nine for 84 yards and a touchdown. Rathgeber is also the second leading rusher with 120 yards and five TDs on 20 carries and the leading tackler with 20 stops on the year. The Chieftains are still a young team with only two key senior contributors. ... Coach Trever Powell continues his quest to keep Bucklin a consistent winner and appears well-equipped to do so even though his team lost a talented class to graduation and has very few key senior contributors this fall. ... Minneola is also a factor out of District 8 making it one of the toughest in the classification. ... Osborne rebounded from a tough Week 1 loss to Hill City with a blowout of Stockton and the Bulldogs will be favored in the majority of contests the rest of the way though the three-game stretch of Hanover, Lakeside, and St. John's-Beloit/Tipton provide a trio of competitive opponents. ... Colony-Crest looked impressive in their shootout loss to Chase County last Thursday night.
1. Cunningham (2-0)
2. Ashland (1-1)
3. Waverly (2-0)
Notes: Cunningham and Ashland remain the class of this classification with Waverly and Cheylin nipping at their heels. In fact, Cheylin hosts Ashland this week in one of 6-Man's top games of Week 3. Tescott, a long-struggling 8-Man team, improved to 2-0 with an impressive 25-24 win over previously third-ranked Northern Valley. Ingalls is 2-0 in their first year as an 8-Man team and will be tested by Northern Valley this week, while Burrton could be well positioned to enter the Week 5 game with Tescott at 4-0.