2021 Football Preview: Top 10 most interesting high school football games this season

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette

We're diving into Part II of the six part series of our 2021 Football preview for Butler County and we're going to show you the best games to check out this season based off preseason expectations.

In all, there are 73 games played by Butler County teams this upcoming season and every year there are some given ones, like Andover vs. Andover Central and El Dorado vs. either Circle or Augusta. While not every team made an appearance here, there are some doozies that you should mark on a Friday night to attend. 

We are going to rank every game by overall interest and then break down in terms of overall interest.

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No. 73: Kingman at Bluestem

Last year: Kingman won 81-0

No. 72: Flinthills at Chase County

Last year: Chase County won 46-0

No. 71: Bluestem at Garden Plain

Last year: Garden Plain won 57-0

No. 70: Independence at Rose HIll

Last year: Rose Hill won 59-6

No. 69: Circle at McPherson

Last year: McPherson won 41-0

No. 68: Sedan at Flinthills

Last year: Sedan won 48-0

No. 67: Goddard Eisenhower at Andover

Last year: Goddard Eisenhower won 16-7

No. 66: Remington at Stanton County

Last year: Remington won 38-0

No. 65: Rose Hill at Andale

Last year: Andale won 58-10

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No. 64: Wichita Independent at Remington

Last year: Remington won 55-30

No. 63: Augusta at Field Kindley

Last year: Field Kindley won 34-21

No. 62: Labette County at El Dorado

Last year: El Dorado won 32-14

No. 61: Flinthills at Madison

Last year: Madison won 54-0

No. 60: Augusta at Winfield

Last year: Augusta won 41-35

No. 59: Andover at Valley Center

Last year: Andover won 35-20

No. 58: Remington at Conway Springs

Last year: Conway Springs won 44-20

No. 57: Rose Hill at Mulvane

Last year: Rose Hill won 28-13

No. 56: Douglass at Garden Plain

Last year: Garden Plain won 34-8

No. 55: Sedgwick at Remington

Last year: Sedgwick won 42-21

No. 54: Andover Central at Salina Central

Last year: Andover Central won 27-7

No. 53: Inman at Remington

Last year: Inman won 50-7

El Dorado senior Zach Wittenberg (2) races to the end zone against the Winfield Viking defense on Friday, Oct. 30 at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex. The senior had 186 yards and helped El Dorado get thier first playoff win in school history.

No. 52: Winfield at El Dorado

Last year: El Dorado won 46-14

No. 51: Douglass at Kingman

Last year: Kingman won 38-6

No. 50: Belle Plaine at Bluestem

Last year: Belle Plaine won 62-0

No. 49: Newton at Andover Central

Last year: Andover Central won 41-34

No. 48: Remington at Elkhart

Last year: Remington won 33-13

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No. 47: Winfield at Circle

Last year: Cancelled due to COVID.

No. 46: Abilene at Augusta

Last year: Augusta won 47-0

No. 45: Bluestem at Chaparral

Last year: Chaparral won 62-6

No. 44: Flinthills at Cedar Vale-Dexter

Last year: CDV won 44-8

No. 43: Wichita Collegiate at Rose Hill

Last year: Collegiate won 43-31 in OT

No. 42: Andover at Salina Central

Last year: Andover won 35-6

Dalton Hilyard breaks the tackle of a Marion defender in the 34-8 win over Marion on Friday, Sept. 11 at Douglass High School. Hilyard ran for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

No. 41: Douglass at Marion

Last year: Douglass won 34-8

No. 40: West Elk at Flinthills

Last year: West Elk won 42-0

No. 39: Mulvane at Circle

Last year: Cancelled due to COVID.

No. 38: Flinthills at Oxford

Last year: Oxford won 32-28

No. 37: Bluestem at Cherryvale

Last year: Cherryvale won 50-0

No. 36: Bluestem at Humboldt

Last year: Humboldt won 58-6

No. 35: El Dorado at Wellington

Last year: Cancelled due to COVID

Senior Chase White (15) has been the leader of the explosive Jaguar offense all season.

No. 34: Andover Central at Goddard

Last year: Andover Central won 34-26

No. 33: Belle Plaine at Douglass

Last year: Belle Plaine won 27-6

No. 32: Circle at Independence

Last year: Cancelled due to COVID

No. 31: Andover at Goddard

Last year: Andover won 20-13

No. 30: Sublette at Remington

Last year: Cancelled due to COVID

No. 29: Circle at Buhler

Last year: Buhler won 47-0

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No. 28: Valley Center at Andover Central

Last year: Valley Center won 14-12

No. 27: Flinthills at Central Burden

Last year: Central Burden won 60-14

Junior Jaydon Sundgren runs around the left side in Friday's game against Buhler. The Wildcats fell 36-14.

No. 26: El Dorado at Buhler

Last year: Buhler won 36-14

No. 25: Douglass at Chaparral

Last year: Cancelled due to covid

No. 24: Andover at Arkansas City

Last year: Andover won 21-0

No. 23: Rose Hill at Winfield

Last year: Rose Hill won 48-7

No. 22: Augusta at Buhler

Last year: Buhler won 41-21

No. 21: Goddard Eisenhower at Andover Central

Last year: Andover Central won 45-31

No. 20: Eureka at Bluestem

Last year: Eureka won 68-6

No. 19: Chanute at Circle

Last year: Chanute won 16-14

Spencer Nolan (3) dives into the end zone in the fourth quarter against Winfield on Friday, Oct. 16 at Rose Hill High School. Nolan scored three touchdowns in the victory.

No. 18: Clearwater at Rose Hill

Last year: Clearwater 42-20

No. 17: McPherson at Augusta

Last year: McPherson won 52-20

No. 16: Wellington at Rose Hill

Last year: Rose Hill won 28-20

No. 15: Wichita Trinity at Douglass

Last year: Douglass won 38-21

No. 14: El Dorado at Circle

Last year: El Dorado won 43-10

No. 13: Circle at Augusta

Last year: Augusta won 20-12

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No. 12: Flinthlls at Udall

Last year: Flinthills won 28-14

No. 11: Arkansas City at Andover Central

Last year: Arkansas City won 33-28

Now, here is a breakdown of the entire top 10 games you should circle on your calendar to watch this season:

maize at Andover

No. 10: Maize at Andover, Week 1

Last season: Maize won 20-6

Why to watch: Last year's game was a defensive showdown that saw Maize needing a the running power of a Division I running back and a dirty hit that knocked Andover's quarterback out of the game. 

This year, the Trojans are a year more experienced and there will be some wanting some payback after last year's tough game. with Brady Strausz and Max Middleton returning, the Trojans will be looking for revenge.

Plus, it will be the first season at the newly renovated Trojan Stadium. Gone is the limestone stands that were the visitor's section. There's also a new track and some new turf. Should be a lot of fireworks in this one. 

El Dorado at Independence

No. 9: El Dorado at Independence, Week 1

Last season: Independence won 25-20

Why to watch: The El Dorado Wildcats will have a lot to prove after last year's late game loss to indy and that's good enough reason to tune into this one or just drive yourself down to Montgomery County.

It will also be the first time in year's the Wildcats will be trying to follow up solid expectations after their first winning season in almost 20 years. The Bulldogs were terrible after their win against El Dorado and were saddled with only three games due to COVID. 

There's no getting out of this one this season. Expect El Dorado to be prepared.

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Remington at Douglass

No. 8: Remington at Douglass, Week 1

Last season: Douglass won 40-27

Why to watch: Last year when Douglass ran over Remington in Whitewater, it was an introduction to Douglass running back Dalton Hilyard and it was a nice few games where we saw him go bananas on a few teams. 

Remington improved as the season went along as they were a young team that gained experience, finishing 4-5 and winning three of their final five games. 

One thing to consider for this one, the Bulldog faithful can be some of the loudest in Butler County, will that affect a still young Bronco squad?

Wichita Heights at Andover

No. 7: Wichita Heights at Andover, Week 5

Last season: Heights won 28-14

Why to watch: These two were scheduled to meet in the regular season but USD 259 made a ruling no sports due to COVID. Then, they said no outside city league play until the playoffs. So, Andover was forced to change to Campus — then that was cancelled due to the virus — but Andover eventually were given their match up with Heights in the Class 5A playoffs. It was built as a precursor to the Wichita Northwest second round game, except Covid struck again.

Andover was without a large portion of their roster due to COVID, and fell in the second half. Many felt as Andover's tough defense could have given Northwest a run. However, without many starters, Heights won, building more anticipation for this match up at Trojan Stadium this season.

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Augusta at El Dorado

No. 6: Augusta at El Dorado, Week 2

Last season: El Dorado won 14-7

Why to watch: I don't think El Dorado is going to hold Augusta to only 28 plays on the night this season. That said, Augusta has something to prove in how El Dorado dominated on the Orioles' home turf. They'll want to exact some revenge.

We're also going to see a bit of new look El Dorado in the backfield. The questions still arise on who will be able to carry the load Zach Wittenberg did last season. The Wildcats have a lot of options and that's a huge plus for this team. 

While both teams are still relatively young, the Wildcats have been playing their starters for the last two seasons and that may be the difference. We'll see what Augusta head coach Jason Filbeck can build on. He's known to create some magic.

rose hill at Augusta

No. 5: Rose Hill at Augusta, Week 4

Last season: Rose Hill won 28-26

Why to watch: last season, Rose Hill's Spencer Nolan ran for four touchdowns in the first half and the Rockets held on for a hard fought win over Augusta. Nolan has since graduated and it's a whole new ball game. 

Both teams will be filling holes, as Ryan Andrews has graduated and the Orioles will figure things out as it moves along but you know they will remember last season's loss and want to avenge it. 

The best part of it it's in Augusta, in one of the most entertaining venues in the stadium, Hillier Stadium

Bluestem at Douglass

No. 4: Bluestem at Douglass, Week 6

Last season: Cancelled due to COVID

Why to watch: This game would have been fun to watch last year but the virus took over and Douglass missed some games. In return, Bluestem had to play Larned, which was only a cherry on top of a rough season.

Now, the two will get to play this season and it's just exciting. Current Douglass head coach, Kelley Sayahnejad, coached at Bluestem. So, that's a great story line. Plus, the two schools are separated by a combined 23.2 miles. 

This could be have huge implications as you could see these team's giving others trouble as they try to sneak into the playoffs.

Central at Andover

No. 3: Andover Central at Andover, Week 7

Last season: Central won 7-0

Why to watch: Many thought Andover had the best defense in 5A last season and it was Central who showed up and stole the show with a shut out. 

While Andover has some holes to replace on defense, offensively they should be stronger than last season. Middleton is a beast and a year under center did nothing but wonders for Strausz. 

How will their defense adjust after losing All-State player, Ashton Ngo and players like Isaiah Maikori? Probably decently under veteran coach, Ken Dusenbury in his second season.

This game always brings out the toughness in both. Even the previous year when the Trojans were the large underdog, they hit the Jags in the mouth and waking them. Costly errors sent Andover to the loser's column but it wasn't for not trying. 

Both teams have high expectations this season and this one should live up to the hype.

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Week 5

No. 2: McPherson at El Dorado, Week 5

Last season: Cancelled due to COVID

Why to watch: As we mentioned above, El Dorado has some stuff to adjust but to find out how really good they are they will play Buhler in Week 4 and then they will play the Bullpups in Week 5. They didn't play last year due to COVID and they'll get their shot this season. 

The best part of this? It's inside the friendly confines of BG Products Veterans Sports Complex. With full capacity this season and the rise in expectations for the Wildcats, this could be a loud venue and may become one of the bigger home field advantages in Class 4A. 

McPherson will be loaded and will go through the ringer early in the season. They'll be as physical as they usually are, whether their record matches their talent. It could look a bit like how Buhler didn't resemble their record last season. 

While teams say they don't look forward, we do and we look forward to this one. 

Buhler at Andover Central

No. 1: Buhler at Andover Central, Week 2

Last season: Cancelled due to COVID

Why to watch: in the last of the COVID games, this one has the anticipation of a playoff game so early in the season. Buhler should be stacked and so should the jaguars. After Central had a COVID scare and had to cancel the game, they'll be ready for this one. 

Buhler will have Sam Elliott back and a really young team last season had to learn the hard way and were better every week as the season went along. Though Elliott is not playing college football after this season, he's going to hit the line hard and he punishes defense. 

Speaking of defense, Central's defense should be stacked. While they will replace players like Jack Bell, they'll have a stout front seven and should give Elliott some early troubles. 

If everything goes as expected, this could be a quarterfinals or a state semifinal game. That's how talented these two programs should be this season.

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.