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Rankings after Week 7

  • Olathe North used an incredible defensive effort to hand Mill Valley their first loss of the season and stay unbeaten. (Photo: Josh Price)
    Olathe North used an incredible defensive effort to hand Mill Valley their first loss of the season and stay unbeaten. (Photo: Josh Price)

Here we are, in the final week of the season. As it always seems, another season has zoomed by and after this week the playoff picture will be framed and hung up for all to see. In the meantime, here's our take on the top teams in each class.

Class 6A

1. Manhattan (7-0)
2. Olathe North (7-0)
3. Wichita Northwest (6-1)
4. Derby (5-2)
5. Gardner-Edgerton (5-2)

Notes: We are firmly in the camp that this remains a classification where any of the teams in the top half of the standings are equipped to make a deep playoff run, which hopefully will make for a thrilling playoff bracket. Olathe North made the biggest statement of the week with their second half defensive outburst that allowed them to knock off what was perceived by many as the best team in all classes in 5A number one Mill Valley. Coach McCartney has really done an under-appreciated job with the Eagles since taking over that traditional state power from legendary coach Gene Wier in 2015 and after graduating a load of talent from last year's squad McCartney has yet again reloaded and is primed for another playoff run. On the East side of the bracket Gardner-Edgerton and Blue Valley Northwest look like the biggest challengers to Olathe North while the West appears to offer a bit more depth with Wichita Northwest, Derby and Washburn Rural looking best positioned to challenge Manhattan's path to the title game.

Class 5A

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

Notes: Okay, we're going to fire some people up with this take, but we're still riding with Mill Valley. Fantastic win for Olathe North, but the loss may have come at just the right time for Mill Valley. Hayden Jay is an outstandingly efficient quarterback and we can't imagine a situation where he throws four interceptions in one game, with two returned for touchdowns, again. A focus on offensive line play and play-calling will also likely not allow that to happen going forward either. (Olathe North fans, take it easy, it's clear your defense is outstanding and you earned that win, all we're saying is Mill Valley almost certainly will learn from it.) Maize is still, well, AMAIZEing - see what we did there - but as long as the Jags get better offensive line play and the "scary-good" defense continues to hold teams like Olathe North to just one offensive touchdown we'll give the head-to-head edge to the Jags. The Avery Johnson led Maize offense with all those weapons and a good offensive line against the Jaguar defense is a match-up made in football heaven. We don't want to root against any teams in the class, but we sure would like the Eagles and Jags to face-off this season. One other note, De Soto coach Brian King doesn't get enough credit for the incredible job he's done building De Soto into a consistent winner. King has had to reload pretty significantly the last couple of years and he continues to put one of the best products on the field annually.

Class 4A

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

Notes: Listen, let's be real, it's going to be incredibly difficult for anyone to knock off the private-school powers. Don't get us wrong, we would love to see Chanute or Eudora or Louisburg give the "Big 3" a run for their money, it's just very unlikely to happen. History is clear on this matter. And this is not a shot at the private schools, we realize the target painted on those programs after the past decade of dominance, it would just be nice to see some of the other schools in the classification have a fighting chance to break into the title game from the East side of the bracket. ALL THAT SAID, we're getting closer to believing there are at least a couple 4A teams that could challenge the top three in the rankings, whether that be on the East side of the bracket (Chanute, Eudora, and Louisburg appear best positioned) or whether that be in the 4A title game (a healthy Wamego is the leading contender). One other note, tip-of-the-cap to Atchison who got a quality win over Perry-Lecompton to remain unbeaten and should storm into the playoffs with a head of steam.

Class 3A

1. Andale (7-0)
2. Holton (6-1)
3. Rock Creek (6-1)
4. Girard (7-0)
5. Topeka Hayden (6-1)

Notes: The biggest change this week is Holton's move to the second spot after a dominating 37-13 win over rival Hayden. The East side of the bracket should be fun to watch unfold as Girard, Hayden, Wellsville, Frontenac, Galena, and Parsons all appear to be contenders, though Holton may have put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field, but that's what we thought last year as well, and Frontenac had other plans. As for the West side, if Collegiate and Cheney aren't challenging Andale, then it's hard to imagine Rock Creek or Hesston or Pratt or Scott City closing the gap. Rock Creek and Andale likely hook up in the quarterfinals. Time will tell.

Class 2A

1. Southeast of Saline (7-0)
2. Nemaha Central (7-0)
3. Kingman (7-0)
4. Sabetha (6-1)
5. Silver Lake (5-2)

Notes: Southeast of Saline, Nemaha Central, and Kingman continue to impress. Interested to see if Sabetha can challenge rival Nemaha Central this week, should tell us a lot about both teams. Great, great season for Ellsworth so far, but the biggest challenge is ahead as the Bearcats travel to Steve Fritz Field to play the top-ranked Southeast of Saline Trojans in one of the toughest environments in all of Kansas high school football. Beloit is making a late season push behind a talented offensive line and the emergence of Logan Arasmith in the backfield.

Class 1A

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

Notes: Thanks to Conway Springs for busting our bracket, so to speak. Brayden Kunz continues to pick up steam as the Cardinals knocked off consensus number one Inman in one of the biggest upsets of the year last week. Honestly, this classification is a guessing game. Centralia is getting loads of credit from other outlets but their schedule doesn't seem to measure up to the likes of Olpe, Colgan and St. Marys. Should Inman fall out of the Top 5 after one loss to a Conway Springs team that came into the game with question marks? Who knows! Fortunately, it will all play out in the playoffs, but our belief is that Olpe, Colgan, St. Marys, Troy, and Centralia will battle for 1A East superiority, with Riverside a dark horse, while Inman, Hutch Trinity, Conway Springs, Wabaunsee, Smith Center, Sedgwick and a surging Marion team will all be tough outs from the West. Would love to have the 1A teams give us a load of close playoff games and a thriller in the title game.

8-Man I

1. Little River (6-1)
2. Wichita County (7-0)
3. Burlingame (7-0)
4. Hoxie (6-1)
5. Hill City (6-1)

Notes: Another difficult classification. As we mentioned last week, 8-Man I is either extremely deep, or maybe Wichita County is just quite a bit better than everyone, even so, we're going to continue to ride with Little River by a slim margin. Burlingame makes the move to three this week after their solid victory over Madison. East side contenders: Little River, Burlingame, South Sumner, Chase County, Madison, and Lyndon. Our apologies to West Elk and Wichita Independent, fantastic year so far, the schedules just don't stack up to the rest of the classification. West side contenders: Wichita County, Hoxie, Hill City, Meade, Clifton-Clyde and Macksville.

8-Man II

1. Axtell (7-0)
2. Canton-Galva (7-0)
3. Victoria (7-0)
4. Dighton (7-0)
5. Thunder Ridge (6-1)

Notes: We all know it's Axtell and Canton-Galva and everyone else, but beyond that it appears like a competitive field and some new contenders appear to be emerging. Colony-Crest, Osborne and Lebo appear solid - though staying healthy is essential - but Stafford's big win over South Barber continues an undefeated season in Mitch Engelken's first year as head coach. Sharon Springs-Wallace County is making a return to the winning tradition of Kevin Ayers and Jeff Hennick in the first year under Kyle Gfeller and will play for the District Championship this week at Kensington against Thunder Ridge.


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

Notes: Well, we'll stick with Waverly at number three - because frankly we don't know any better - though close wins over Wetmore and Peabody-Burns leave us with questions marks even though they delivered a first ever 6-Man District Title for the Bulldogs. Cunningham and Ashland have the hay in the barn, so to speak, as Southern Cloud forfeited this week's contest with top-ranked Cunningham and Ashland has an open date. Cheylin feels like they are just outside the top three, or perhaps they are third, while Tescott and Northern Valley likely round out the Top 6 heading into the final games of the regular season.