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Sectional predictions

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  • The quest for a state championship continues. (Photo: Manhattan Mercury)
    The quest for a state championship continues. (Photo: Manhattan Mercury)

We've found this year difficult to pick so far, and in many classifications that really doesn't change this week. We're going to throw some rankings out there, even though we don't have a great deal of confidence in them, so while you could use this article as affirmation or bulletin board material, we fully expect to miss on several of these without complete clarification coming until the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is the way it should be anyway. Best of luck to each of the eight teams left in each classification heading into Friday night!


1. Washburn Rural (10-0)

2. Gardner-Edgerton (9-1)

3. Derby (9-1)

4. Olathe North (9-1)

5. Manhattan (9-1)

It appears there is the thinnest of margins in all the remaining contests. We'll likely be sorry for betting against Wichita East again this week with the Blue Aces coming off the most impressive win of the playoffs so far, but Washburn Rural is healthy and experienced, but even so we rank them at the top of the classification with the least confidence of any of our number one teams. Derby with a healthy Braxton Clark and the best player in the state of Kansas in Da'Saahn Brame looks like they could be equipped to take their rightful spot atop 6A, or maybe Manhattan will just laugh in the face of the doubters and beat them for the fourth straight time. We hope these games are as good on Friday night as they look like they'll be on paper. We'll try to pick the closest game of the week again with an asterisk.

Our picks:

Gardner-Edgerton over Blue Valley Northwest

Olathe North over Blue Valley

*Washburn Rural over Wichita East

Derby over Manhattan


1. Mill Valley (8-2)

2. Blue Valley Southwest (9-1)

3. Kapaun (9-1)

4. Eisenhower (9-1)

5. Maize South (8-2)

This classification has been a little more predictable but Seaman and Maize pulled upsets last week and Great Bend did their darndest to knock of Kapaun but fell just short. It does appear that Mill Valley and Blue Valley Southwest will be significant favorites heading into this week's matchups while Eisenhower looked impressive in blowing out Hays last week and may be hitting their stride.

Our picks:

Mill Valley over Seaman

Blue Valley Southwest over Shawnee Heights

*Kapaun over Maize South

Eisenhower over Maize


1. St. Thomas Aquinas (7-3)

2. Bishop Miege (8-2)

3. St. James Academy (2-7)

4. Atchison (10-0)

5. Wamego (8-2)

This classification is far closer top-to-bottom than we originally thought. Even so the three private schools are the best until someone in 4A proves otherwise, and perhaps that will happen, and if so we'll be the first to admit we're wrong. It's very possible that Saturday morning the state wakes up to hear that Basehor-Linwood found a way to do the seemingly impossible, and if they don't, it's very possible that someone else might along the way, but in the meantime, the Saints, Stags, and yes, a 2-6 Thunder squad will hold down the top three spots in our poll.

Our picks:

*Atchison over Tonganoxie

Aquinas over Basehor-Linwood

Wamego over Wellington

Andover Central over McPherson


1. Cheney (10-0)

2. Andale (9-1)

3. Hayden (10-0)

4. Clay Center (9-1)

5. Wichita Collegiate (9-1)

Can Clay Center prove us wrong again this season? Is Collegiate able to close the relatively significant gap with Andale? We'll say 'No' and agree with most prognosticators that Cheney and Andale will make it through a highly anticipated rematch. Is Hayden the overlooked contender? For most it's a foregone conclusion that Andale or Cheney will win it all, don't tell the fighting Bill Arnolds that.

Our picks:

*Holton over Frontenac

Hayden over Parsons

Cheney over Clay Center

Andale over Wichita Collegiate


1. Nemaha Central (10-0)

2. Southeast of Saline (10-0)

3. Hoisington (10-0)

4. Sabetha (9-1)

5. Ellsworth (9-1)

At this point it's hard for us to envision a scenario where Nemaha Central is not a two-touchdown favorite against any other team in the classification, barring injury, as there are a couple key players that the Thunder cannot afford to lose. Southeast of Saline vs. Hoisington should be a knock-down drag-out. The rest of the top teams in this classification seem to have a razor-thin margin of separation. Struggled mightily to pick the winner and to pick which would be closest for both Southeast/Hoisington and Ellsworth/Norton.

Our picks:

Sabetha over Humboldt

Nemaha Central over Osage City

Southeast of Saline over Hoisington

*Ellsworth over Norton


1. St. Mary's-Colgan (10-0)

2. Marion (9-1)

3. St. Marys (7-3)

4. Conway Springs (8-2)

5. Jeff County North (9-1)

Marion with the big win in physical fashion over Smith Center was impressive. On film, Colgan looks very, very good and we believe they are on their way to a state title.

Our picks:

Colgan over St. Marys

*Jeff County North over Olpe

Marion over Conway Springs

Valley Heights over Medicine Lodge

8-Man I

1. Wichita County (10-0)

2. Lyndon (10-0)

3. Cair Paravel (8-2)

4. Chase County (8-2)

5. Hoxie (9-1)

Wichita County is the favorite to win the title, not sure about much else in this class. Great wins for Chase County and Ell-Saline last week. West Elk pushed Lyndon the brink last year, can they do it again this season? Very hard to pick which will be the closest game.

Our picks:

Lyndon over West Elk

Cair Paravel over Chase County

*Hoxie over Ell-Saline

Wichita County over Rawlins County

8-Man II

1. Axtell (10-0)

2. Victoria (9-1)

3. Osborne (9-1)

4. Minneola (10-0)

5. Frankfort (8-2)

Should be some good games, but it's hard to imagine Axtell not continuing their championship streak.

Our picks:

Frankfort over Hanover

Axtell over Osborne

Victoria over Dighton

*Minneola over South Central


1. Cheylin (10-0)

2. Ashland (9-1)

3. Cunningham (9-1)

4. Waverly (8-0)

5. Northern Valley (9-1)

Things have been pretty consistent here, a healthy Cheylin squad is the favorite.

Our picks:

Waverly over Tescott

Cunningham over Pawnee Heights

*Ashland over Northern Valley

Cheylin over Ingalls