While it’s Week 9 officially, it’s playoff time in the state of Kansas. We’re breaking down all of the playoff match ups within week 9. A handful of teams will be home on Friday night and the Trojans will be on the road for a Thursday night showdown.
#9 Andover (5-3) at #8 Wichita Heights (4-2)
Andover is going to be missing some players due to COVID-19. At this point, it’s unsure of which players that will miss tonight’s game. That could be the story line if it is impactful players.
However, from top to bottom, the Trojans have bought into what Ken Dusenbury has been selling all season. When you talk to players, they all point to his accountability as a key to the success they’ve had this year.
With Wichita Heights being the No. 1 rushing team in the state against the No. 1 rushing defense in the state is going to be storyline No. 2. If the defense is largely healthy for Andover, they will be faced with a task that is pretty impactful with what Heights does on the ground.
Heights has four players who have over 30 carries this season. They’re led by the sophomore John Randle, who has 861 yards through only six games. Junior Adrian Patterson has 492 yards rushing on only 34 carries (14.5 yards per carry). The two only have combined for 18 touchdowns.
Much like Andover, they don’t throw it much and will just look to attack on the ground.
Winner moves on to play No. 1 seed Wichita Northwest next week. I mean, technically Northwest plays Salina Central on Friday night, but we’re calling this one early.
Andover is 0-2 all-time against Heights, with both losses coming in 2014 (42-13) and 2015 (35-14).
The prediction is made on the missing players. If Andover was full strength, 21-14 Trojans. However, they are not going to be. So, Heights takes this.
Prediction: Wichita Heights 20, Andover 14
#15 Great Bend (0-6) at #2 Andover Central (6-1)
As the Andover Central Jaguars get set to defend their 4A West title, they have to go through the Great Bend Panthers first.
The Jaguars defense has been on fire over the last four games. We’ve talked about that in other editions of this article. That probably will not be put to the test tonight as Great Bend is averaging less than 200 yards per game (197.8) and have been shut out twice this season.
Junior Joseph Moeder is the quarterback for the Panthers. He’s averaging 108.3 yards passing per game and 37 yards on the ground as he is a dual threat.
Junior Gavin Haberman is the other offensive producer for Great Bend as he has 183 yards on the year, with 116 of that coming against Liberal.
The Jaguars have not allowed more than more than one score since they lost to Valley Center 14-12 on Oct. 2. Since then, they’ve been tearing opponents up. They have outscored their opponent 77-13, including the shut out over rival Andover. During that 3-game winning streak, they are only allowing 181.7 yards per game.
The all-time series is tied at 1-1, with Andover Central winning in 2019 (41-7) and Great Bend in 2018 (30-7).
Prediction: Andover Central 45, Great Bend 7
#9 Ulysses (3-5) at #8 Augusta (3-5)
A bit of sweet reward for a tough season as Augusta is getting back-to-back home games for the first time since the 2005 season.
The Orioles have been dealt with so many issues on and off the field, it is a testament to their mental toughness they were able to close the season on such a high note.
Their reward? They get a Ulysses team that ended the season on a low note as they dropped their final two games of the season by a combined 79-8.
For the Orioles, if Ryan Andrews plays, they have a chance to control this game on the ground as Ulysses will try to throw the ball. The Tigers are ranked ninth in Class 4A in passing, while Augusta ranks 12th in rushing yards.
The Tigers are led by junior quarterback, Ben Scott. Brennan Vagher, Koy Kenny, and Jesse Rosales will handle the running for the Tigers.
Their wins have come over Liberal (2-5), Borger (TX) (1-8), and Wellington (3-5). When they’ve played anyone with a winning record, they’ve been beaten by an average of 26 points per game.
With the research I’ve tried to find, it does not appear the two schools have ever played one another.
Are the Orioles healthy? If so, I think they get the rematch with McPherson.
Prediction: Augusta 28, Ulysses 14
#14 Winfield (1-7) at #3 El Dorado (4-2)
The Wildcats are off to one of their best seasons in recent years. They have clinched a winning record for the first time since 2000. It’s the most wins in a season since 2017 and with a win, it’ll be the most since 2002.
Winfield’s season isn’t what it was expected. After making the second round last year, losing to Arkansas City in an upset, the expectations were high. However, the loss of last year’s senior class has been significant more than many anticipated.
Ar’mon Acosta hasn’t been healthy the last few weeks, which have led to some big losses. It feels as if their offense has changed from the first few games. Maybe the head coach took over play calling or they changed some of their plays up due to the losses, it remains to be seen. They are trying to change it up and it hasn’t been good.
Winfield ranks 23rd in rushing (118.4 per game) and 19th in passing (94.9). Defensively, the Vikings are in the same boat. They are 22nd in rushing allowed (202.0) and 16th passing allowed (122.3).
The Vikings are going to come into this with nothing being held back. This is their season. They are the underdog. If they are going to shock the world, they believe this is the time to do it.
Zach Wittenberg and Co. aren’t ready to let the world see them lose just yet. Since their loss to Buhler, the Wildcats have been a forced to be reckoned with. They are averaging 37.5 points per game and have rushed for 353.0 yards per game in those two wins. Wittenberg is averaging 228 yards per game in the two victories.
El Dorado is 41-42 all-time against Winfield, dating back to their first ever head-to-head clash in 1920, a 14-0 Winfield win. Since 2000, El Dorado is 4-12 against Winfield. Their win in Week 8 over the Vikings was the first win over Winfield since 2008, snapping a 10-game losing streak.
Prediction: El Dorado 24, Winfield 21
#12 Circle (1-5) at #5 Buhler (4-3)
Circle missed a few players last week and as a team, they’ve missed a few games this season due to COVID-19. When they missed those games, probably both easy wins for Circle, it pushed them to the bottom of the standings and left tough games remaining. Thus, leading to the rematch of last week’s game.
With multiple starters, including Luke McGinnis out last week, it made things difficult for the T-Birds. Plus, when you have a monster senior like Sam Elliott running against freshman and sophomores, it creates his advantage. Sometimes, the youth gets to you.
It’s unknown what the status of McGinnis and others will be heading into Friday night’s game. Buhler appears to have their key players ready.
Circle has to be able to control the clock and score points early against Buhler. Taking care of the ball is crucial as they turned it over twice last week.
Circle is 0-4 all-time against Buhler.
Prediction: Buhler 34, Circle 16
#13 Mulvane (1-6) at #4 Rose Hill (5-3)
Rose Hill is one of the hottest teams in the state, regardless of class.
It’s coming at the right time, too.
Expect much of what you saw the first time these two teams played: A lot of shutting down the Mulvane offense. Rose Hill’s defense reminds me a lot of what Andover Central did at the beginning of the season. They struggled but over the last half of the season, they’ve turned it up and have made it their strength.
Mulvane is the second worst offense in 4A. They are last in rushing (23.9), 25th in passing (83.1) and second to last in total offense per game (107.0).
Their defense isn’t much better. While they are 16th in rushes allowed (190.7), they are second worst in passing defense (181.1) and 24th overall (371.9).
On offense, can the Wildcats remotely check Bryce Bischler? The man is like a flaming arrow flying down the field over the last few games. He had 236 yards on 10 catches in the win over Independence.
Rose Hill is 13-25 all-time against Mulvane, dating back to their first ever meeting on 1918, a 24-6 Mulvane win. Since 2000, Rose Hill is 10-12 against Mulvane.
Prediction: Rose Hill 49, Mulvane 7