A 5-minute guide to Week 1 of high school football in Butler County
High school football returns to Butler County tonight and there are a handful of great match ups. We're hoping COVID-19 won't derail the season too much this season but as the start of the season, we've been pretty good.
There's big time match ups between Circle and Chanute to a heavily requested rematch between Andover and Maize. El Dorado and Augusta both look for revenge after last season.
Here is a 5-minute guide to Week 1.
All point spreads are from MasseyRatings.com.
Maize (-14.5) at Andover
A rematch of last year's physical game that saw Maize come out on top in a game that was closer than the final score. Josh Sanders is gone but the Maize Eagles still have 5-star quarterback, Avery Johnson. He's had a heck of a summer but how will that correlate onto the gridiron?
Andover returns a bulk of their offense, starting with Max Middleton at tailback. He's going to dictate how the Trojans go. Last year against Maize, Middleton had almost 200 yards rushing, putting the Trojans in good position time and time again.
Match up: Johnson vs. Trojan defense
Last year Andover's defense was probably the best in 5A but they did graduate a handful of players. If they can find a way to replace League MVP, Ashton Ngo and make things difficult for Johnson, they have a legitimate shot at stealing this from 5A No. 3 Maize.
If Johnson has time to throw and get out on his own, it could be a long night for Andover. However, a Ken Dusenbury-led team probably aren't going to get burned like that all night.
Prediction: Maize 27, Andover 20
Chanute (-0.5) at Circle
The Circle Thunderbirds have been waiting almost a full year for their shot at Chanute again. Circle scored last but a last second kickoff return for a score stunned the Thunderbirds in their season opener.
Chanute led 10-0 going into the fourth quarter but McGinnis led the comeback, scoring twice in in the game's final nine minutes. That's when Jackson Coombs had an 82-yard return for the game-winning touchdown.
For Circle, they return Luke McGinnis and Ty Smith in key positions on offense. Smith may be the best wide receiver in the county and that's a wonderful target to have for McGinnis. McGinnis had 182 yards passing and two touchdowns against Chanute last year. Smith caught both touchdowns.
Sophomore Kaiden Seamster could be trouble for Circle. He can play almost any position Chanute needs him to play and could be the starting quarterback for the comets.
Smith vs. Coverage
Ty Smith is going to face a lot more scheming his way as the No. 1 wide receiver for the Thunderbirds. He has blazing fast speed and if he can use this for separation, he'll be that difference maker many know he can be. At 6-1, his size gives him a distinct advantage over almost every defensive back.
This should be another close, tough contested game.
Prediction: Circle 21, Chanute 20
Remington (-6) at Douglass
These two played a high scoring affair last year with a combined 67 total points and almost 600 yards of total offense. However, Douglass was the one who came out on top (40-27) behind the running of Dalton Hilyard.
The way the season ended for each team was vastly different as Remington saw themselves in the playoffs and Douglass was at home. COVID didn't help with that but Remington ended with some momentum they hope to carry into this season.
Remington has key players like Braden Scribner and David Fasancht back on offense and then there is Angel Lopez on the line. Could Remington find a way back to glory, like they had 20 years ago? We'll see.
Hilyard vs. Bronco defense
Dalton Hilyard had a great season last year and will be looked upon to do so this season as a senior. He was an all-county selection at running back last season amongst the plethora of running backs, it was no easy feat in only seven games. Last season, Remington had no answer for him. He finished with 144 yards rushing and three touchdowns against Remington and probably could have gone for 200 yards if they needed him to do so.
Will Remington load the box and force Junior quarterback Jordan Stoffel to beat them? That remains to be seen but it wouldn't be the worst game plan.
This one comes down to location. The outcome would be different if we were in Brainerd but we're heading to Douglass instead.
Prediction: Douglass 24, Remington 22
El Dorado (-13.5) at Independence
There's a lot of expectations for a team that has a history of not being great. However, El Dorado should be locked in after last year's last second stunning loss to Independence.
The Wildcats won't admit it but the loss eats at them. They knew they should have beaten Independence but shot themselves in the foot. So, there will be some revenge to be paid.
Independence will be looking to improve on last year's 1-4 record, with most of it shut down due to COVID. Outside of their win over El Dorado, they were not remotely competitive in their losses. They lost their four games by an average of 39.3 points per game, with the closest being 28 points.
El Dorado secondary vs. Indy passing game
The Wildcat secondary was a bit of an issue at times last season. The key was to get behind the secondary, which didn't happen often, it made them pay. We saw that again in the scrimmage against Wichita South. They were able to pass the ball with a little consistency.
Last season, Independence had over 120 yards passing in their win over El Dorado, with most of that coming on the final drive. The Wildcats need to force the Bulldogs into a one-dimensional offense and this came could be over quickly.
Prediction: El Dorado 23, Independence 7
Other games in the county
Augusta (-7) at Field Kindley
Augusta will run with sophomore quarterback Gavin Kiser. He's expected to be an explosive player. The Orioles are looking for revenge after last season's tough home loss to Field Kindley.
Newton at Andover Central (-2)
Andover Central won a shoot out last season with Newton but they are re-tooled and ready for a run this season. They're a consensus preseason ranked team throughout the many class rankings. Newton will be breaking in a new quarterback in their heavy passing offense.
Rose Hill at Andale (-26.5)
The two-time defending champions, Andale, puts their 25-game winning streak on the line as they host Rose Hill. Andale will be good but expect Keegan Beavers to step into that role Spencer Nolan cultivated last year. He's a stud on defense as well. Andale may be just too consistent on offense for this one.