Takeaways from Football Sectionals

Nov 15, 2019; Maize, Kansas, USA; during a 5A regional playoff game between the Maize Eagles and Maize South Mavericks ©KellyRoss

1.Moscow wins 6-man state championship Saturday in Dodge City – In a matchup of undefeated teams, Moscow defeated Bird City-Cheylin, 52-6, and won the Wild West Bowl for the six-man state title. Six-man is in fourth year of existence, and both Moscow and Cheylin were vying for its first titles. Each squad had big improvements from last year when Cheylin was 4-3 and Moscow 4-5, though three of the losses came by 14 points or fewer. Moscow opened the game with 33 straight points. It marked the first time Moscow and Cheylin had matched up in the six-man ranks.

The six-man coaches and Kpreps organize the all-state team. Cheylin quarterback Colton McCarty earned classification offensive MVP, and Moscow senior Austin Snyder was the defensive MVP. Cheylin's Chris Walden and Moscow's Brett Harp shared coach of the year honors. While most six-man teams are known for big offensive numbers, Moscow relied on defense, running game and a solid kicker in Argentine transfer Simon Gognait. Harp is currently in his 18th year with the Wildcats and led Moscow to 21.5 points allowed per contest, an improvement from 33.8 points per game in '18. Cheylin (9-1) had tallied at least 45 points per contest in every contest.

2. Rematches, rematches, 11-man – The theme of the 2019 playoffs has been all the rematches. That continued this week – and is on tap for the semifinals next week.

In Class 5A East, Mill Valley again meets Eastern Kansas League rival St. Thomas Aquinas. Earlier this season, Aquinas beat MV by seven. This is the fifth straight fall the teams have also met in the quarterfinals or semifinals in the postseason. In 5A West, Wichita Northwest beat Bishop Carroll in the regular season and again in the quarterfinals in '18 and '19. NW now gets Maize in the semifinals – the exact same scenario as '18.

Both of the 3A semifinal games are rematches from the regular season. Perry-Lecompton defeated Topeka Hayden, 21-20, in overtime in district play for Hayden's only loss. Also in a district contest, Andale beat Cheney, 29-22, in easily the Indians' closest game. Cheney is into the state semifinals for the first time in school history.

In 2A, Norton will play host to Hoisington. In Week 8, Hoisington won 38-7 at Norton for the district title. In Class 1A, Smith Center faces Mid-Continent League rival Plainville – the fourth straight fall SC and Plainville have met in the regular season and again in the semifinals. Smith Center is 5-2 in those meetings, though the 40-14 regular season win in Week 4 came without Plainville senior standout Jared Casey, who missed the game with injury.

3. Rematches, 8-man – In Division I West, St. Francis faces Leoti-Wichita County in the semifinals. SF has its second straight semifinal trip, while WC is in the semifinals for the first time in 29 years. In Week 6, SF easily defeated Wichita County, 46-0, for the district title. St. Francis has posted four straight shutouts and has allowed just 42 points this year. In Division II East, Twin Valley League rivals Hanover and Axtell are both 10-1. This is the second straight year the squads have matched up in the regular season and state semifinals. In Week 6, Axtell won at Hanover, 28-26, and ended the Wildcats' eight-man KSHSAA state record 43 game winning streak. Hanover earned both wins last fall en route to its third straight state title.

4. Canton-Galva beats Coldwater-South Central in emotional week – For the second straight year, Canton-Galva beat South Central, 42-16. SC coach Billy Nichols' wife passed away after a long battle with cancer this week. C-G improved to 11-0 and into the semifinals for the second straight fall, and SC completed a great four-year run with a 10-1 mark. South Central has lost in the quarterfinals the last four years. The game turned midway through the third quarter. SC led 16-8, but was called for an holding penalty in the end zone that resulted in a safety. The T-Wolves had completed a first down pass on the play.

5. School history for Central Christian, Derby in highlighted matchup – Hutchinson Central Christian led by 38 at halftime and held on to defeat Thunder Ridge, 64-60, in Eight-Man, Division II West. CC is into the semifinals for the first time in school history, and will travel to Osborne for the semifinals. Osborne is the defending state runner-up, and the only undefeated squad in the classification at 11-0. While Central Christian quarterback Caleb Lambert has received plenty of attention, Garrett Burns has enjoyed a great season. He rushed 23 times for 216 yards in the victory. ….Possibly the state's most highlighted semifinal matchup is 6A West with 11-0 Derby playing host to 10-1 Topeka. It's arguably the state's best team vs. possibly the best player in Topeka running back Ky Thomas, a Minnesota commit with more than 7,300 career rushing yards. Topeka is into the semifinals for the first time since 1973. Derby has won 23 straight games and is on pace for statistically one of the best years in recent state annals. Derby beat Topeka, 38-7, in the quarterfinals last fall. That is the only matchup versus Topeka in Panther school annals, according to Kansas Football History. Derby has outscored teams, 575-94, and is first in 6A in both scoring offense and defense. Topeka is second with 501 points, though has permitted 201.