1. Derby holds off Maize – The Panthers, No. 1 in Class 6A, had its closest game of the season with Maize, No. 3 in 5A, with a 35-21 win. Both teams were undefeated, and the Panthers captured the AVCTL Division I title. Maize showed itself a strong 5A contender and nearly scored late. Derby stopped the Eagles on a goal-line stand late and earned 14 points, which proved the difference over Lawrence Free State in the tiebreaker for the top seed and home field advantage in 6A West. Maize rushed for 91 yards, which was more than Derby had allowed all season. Derby had 156 passing yards and 390 rushing yards. Tre Washington had 34 carries for 291 yards and two scores.
2. Kapaun, Maize South with big Week 8 victories – The Crusaders, against one of the hardest 5A schedules, defeated Wichita Heights, 33-7, and permitted just 119 regular season points, fourth-best in 5A. Kapaun had lost two straight to Heights. Maize South, after a 0-3 start, has won five in a row and beat Wichita North, 59-22. Multiple players went over 100 yards, led by 222 rushing yards and three scores from Mason Edwards.
3. Sedgwick’s streak – The Cardinals beat surprising Inman, 49-14, at home and won District 7. Sedgwick (7-1) is 11-0 against Inman since 2004 and 28-0 in district contest since 2011. Sedgwick’s home field was under water in the last 10 days due to significant flooding. Sedgwick running back Colton Smith rushed for 217 yards and two scores. Inman (5-3) had just five combined wins in the previous four years. Sedgwick’s only loss came against Ell-Saline. E-S, which had suffered three big shutouts to Smith Center the last three years, nearly pulled the upset against No. 1 Redmen. SC scored a one-yard touchdown with 25 seconds left for a 15-8 win. Ell-Saline is seventh in 1A, Sedgwick is tenth.
4. Ness City’s comeback – In arguably the state’s biggest upset of Week 8, Ness City trailed No. 2 Jetmore-Hodgeman County, 20-0, in the second quarter. Ness City scored 22 straight points, then HC took a 26-22 lead. Ness City responded for a 28-26 advantage, and then stopped HC inside the final minute on 4th-and-1 from the 5-yard line. Eli Salmans rushed 49 times for 270 yards and three TDs for the Longhorns, while Ness City quarterback John Pfannenstiel had 176 passing yards and accounted for four TDs.
5. Big results – In the final week before the postseason, Osborne, ranked fourth in Division II, rolled up Thunder Ridge, 58-12, and won District 5. Osborne led 42-12 at halftime in a matchup of teams that entered the game with a combined three losses. Senior Darnell Holloway totaled 205 yards and five scores. … St. Francis, third-ranked in Division I, defeated Rawlins County, 58-8, in the annual Yoke Bowl rivalry. … In Division I, District 2 with five teams at .500 or better, Caldwell beat Medicine Lodge, 38-20, and clinched a playoff berth. ML, with one of the state’s top passing offenses, did not qualify for the playoffs.