Derby beats Maize in battle of unbeatens, claims AVCTL-I title

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MAIZE, Kan. The matchup between the Maize Eagles and the Derby Panthers was a recipe for perfect football. Two undefeated teams, a league championship on the line, and an electric atmosphere all made for an incredible showing of high school football Friday night. While this game lived up to the hype for both of these teams, it was the Derby Panthers who came out on top 35-21.

Oct, 19, 2018; Maie, Kansas, USA; during a showdown between the undefeated Derby Panthers v the Maize Eagles ©Kelly Ross

This game was set up to be a classic from the opening kick. Derby, who normally scores on the first possession of the game was stalled by the powerful Maize defense that prior to tonight, had only given up 26 points all season long. The Panther offense found its rhythm on the second drive of the night when Tre Washington took the option pitch from Hunter Igo, weaving up the middle of the field to find the end zone. Derby’s offense would continue to work in similar fashion later in the corner as Igo found the end zone on a quarterback option to give the panthers a commanding 14-0 lead.

The Maize high offense drove the ball on two separate occasions leading to points for the Eagles, each time wearing down the Derby defense. A healthy dose of quarterback Caleb Grill and running back Caden Cox found the Eagles on the one yard line of the Derby Panthers. Each time it was Grill who capped off the drives with quarterback sneaks for touchdowns.

This matchup came at the perfect time for both of these teams. A last minute test before playoffs start against quality competition, something each team hasn’t had this season. For Derby, the win puts them on pace to claim the top seed in class 6A and home field advantage for the rest of the season.

“It’s good because it was a sloppy win,” said Derby head coach Brandon Clark. “They [Maize] forced us to make some mistakes and now we know, we don’t have all of this confidence that we are going to walk in and beat everybody so now we know what we need to sure up between week nine and week ten.”

Maize is also in a similar position with Derby. Although they may not have the top seed in their bracket, Maize will host a stretch of home playoff games.

Each of these teams is set to host home games next week against opponents who have yet to be determined.

Oct, 19, 2018; Maie, Kansas, USA; during a showdown between the undefeated Derby Panthers v the Maize Eagles ©Kelly Ross