CIK Preview: Firepower on deck at Panther Stadium, #2 Maize to take on #2 Derby

Two of Kansas' top teams square off Friday night, Oct. 7, in Derby.
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT
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DERBY, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Some of the best talent in Kansas will be on display Friday night at Panther Stadium in Derby. The #2 in 6A Derby Panthers (4-1) will square off against the #2 in 5A, the Maize Eagles (5-0).

“There’s a couple of games on our schedule that we circled,” Maize DT Caden Miranda said. “This is especially one of them just because of the matchups we have. There’s amazing players from both teams. Our defense vs their great offense. Our offense vs. their great defense, so it’s a great matchup.”

The game will feature big time talent, including Iowa State commit Samuel Same, Syracuse commit Bryce Cohoon and Southern Illinois commit Miles Wash. And of course will feature two of the most exciting in Kansas: 24/7 Sports’ number one ranked player in Kansas in Avery Johnson and the Maize Eagles will square off against their #2 ranked Dylan Edwards.

Johnson said that although the pair have been close friends most of their lives, this week there is no friendly chatter to be had.

“It’s silent between us this week,” Johnson said. “When we step on the field or get ready to play each other, nothing is really said between us, but I can’t wait for this matchup.”

The pair have been quite friendly to their offensive coordinators this season as well. They have combined for nearly 2,300 yards in just 5 weeks to go along with a combined 33 combined all-purpose touchdowns.

Friday’s game is bigger than just counting the two’s stats though, big standings implications loom over this one. Maize is unbeaten and hasn’t faltered much all season, but Derby will be their biggest test yet.

“It’s nice to hook up with a team like Derby and see how well we can do against them,” Maize head coach Gary Guzman said. “That’s a pretty good sign. If you can play against those guys you can pretty much play against anybody.”

As for the Panthers, they fell in week one to now #1 Manhattan High School. Since then, they have looked to determined to let that be their only one, showing up in some clutch moments late to pull away with wins, and they look forward to proving they comfortably belong in the conversation as one of the best teams in the state.

“Going up against Maize is always a great game. It’s always a fun one to prepare for and then once you’re there... it’s all fun,” Derby WR Nathan Keener said.

The Derby-Maize matchup has been back and forth for the past three years. In 2019 Derby topped the Eagles by 48 points. The year after was a different story as Maize won their first matchup of the series in 6 years, 36-35. The tight scoring matchup then continued into 2021 as the Panthers were the ones winning by just a point on a 2-point conversion interception to seal the win.

“Last year was a really good game. I still haven’t forgotten about it,” Derby OL Wyatt Jackson said. “It was nerve racking. A nail biter.”