Weekend Takeaways: State Championship Matchups Set

Norton defeated Hoisington 10-8 in the 2A West Semifinal game in Norton on Saturday, November 22, 2019. (Photo: Everett Royer, www.ksportsimages.com)
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State Championship Matchups:

Class 6A: Derby (12-0) vs. Olathe North (10-2)

Class 5A: Mill Valley (9-3) vs. Wichita Northwest (12-0)

Class 4A: Bishop Miege (10-2) vs. Andover Central (11-1)

Class 3A: Andale (12-0) vs. Perry-Lecompton (9-3)

Class 2A: Norton (9-3) vs. Nemaha Central (10-2)

Class 1A: Smith Center (12-0) vs. Centralia (11-1)

Eight-Man, Division I: St. Francis (12-0) vs. Canton-Galva (12-0)

Eight-Man, Division II: Osborne (12-0) vs. Axtell (11-1)

1. Northwest with massive offensive night; sets state mark – For the second straight year, Wichita Northwest defeated Maize in the Class 5A semifinals. Last year, Northwest beat Maize, 67-60, in a wild game that had 168 plays and 1,421 yards of total offense. It was not expected this year would match the '18 fireworks – but it nearly did. Northwest beat Maize, 80-42. The game had 146 plays with 1,359 yards of total offense, including a remarkable 891 from the Grizzlies. Northwest had set several state yardage records, notably for yards per game and total offense, in 2018.

But the Grizzlies have potentially another state mark, pending verification from the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. The current record is 852 yards from Conway Springs versus Wichita Independent in 2005. Northwest led 21-14 after the first quarter and 45-28 at halftime. Julius Bolden has 31 carries for 292 yards and five scores. Reagan Jones finished 8 of 12 passing for 142 yards, along with 31 carries for 285 yards and four scores. Jones has cleared 1,500 yards rushing and passing this year.

2. Holloway returns for Osborne – Osborne senior running back Darrien Holloway, a key four-year player for Bulldogs and one of the state's top running backs and track hurdlers, announced via Twitter after Week 10 that his career was done because of a foot injury. Holloway missed last week's 28-20 victory versus South Barber. He returned Saturday and keyed the Bulldogs in a 52-26 home victory versus Hutchinson Central Christian in the Eight-Man, Division II West semifinal contest. Osborne, the defending state runner-up, improved to 12-0 and will face Axtell (11-1) next Saturday at Newton's Fischer Field.

The game was scoreless after the first quarter, before Osborne outscored CC, 38-8, in the second. Holloway tallied three touchdowns in the quarter. He finished with 29 carries for 195 yards and the three scores. Osborne delivered 63 carries for 345 yards and six touchdowns. As well, Holloway paced the Bulldogs with 12 tackles. He had season highs for carries, rushing yards and tackles. Overall, Holloway has delivered 1,165 rushing yards and 68 tackles in 2019. Last year, he finished with 1,574 yards and 77 tackles.

3. Norton upsets Hoisington in 2A – Hoisington had defeated Norton, 38-7, at Travis Field in Week 8 to win the district title. Hoisington running back Wyatt Pedigo rushed for 290 yards in the win and has cleared 2,100 yards in each of the last two years. For the rematch Friday, Norton tweaked its defense and clogged the middle.

The defense, a spectacular performance from Bluejay senior quarterback Kade Melvin and a game-winning 32-yard field goal from Luke Wahlmeier with six seconds to go led to a 10-8 win Friday at Travis Field.

All the points came in the fourth quarter. Norton improved to 9-3 and into its first state championship game in 30 years. Hoisington, stunned after the game, finished 11-1 and is 0-3 all-time in state semifinals. Norton limited Pedigo to 100 rushing yards. Melvin had 281 yards of total offense, including several huge plays on the final drive. The Bluejays will face Nemaha Central (10-2) in the 2A final. NC defeated Riley County, 39-13, in a Saturday game. Nemaha Central (formerly Nemaha Valley) has never played in a state championship game, while Norton has a pair of titles in '85 and '86.

4. Smith Center rallies to beat Plainville – Smith Center is historically known its wishbone running attack that the Redmen has run for three-plus decades. SC, though, defeated Mid-Continent League rival Plainville, 20-19, in a Class 1A home semifinal win Friday at Hubbard Stadium with a game-winning passing touchdown. With 1 minute, 26 seconds left, Trenton Colby delivered a 33-yard touchdown pass to Griffin Kugler. SC's two-point conversion failed. Then, Sergio Lambert sealed the win with an interception at the Smith Center 20-yard line with 33 seconds to go.

SC beat Plainville in the regular season and semifinals for the third straight year. SC (12-0) has won 22 straight contests and is back-to-back state titles. Smith Center will have an opportunity for state title No. 11 next Saturday at Fort Hays' Lewis Field Stadium, which would be the most in state history for any school. Centralia has won 11 straight games and captured titles in '09, '11 and '13. The '09 game is one of the more memorable in state history, a 20-12 overtime win at FHSU versus Smith Center that ended the Redmen's state record 79-game winning streak.

5.Derby with another big start, into state game – Derby is in his fifth straight state championship game after titles in '15, '16 and '18 and a runner-up in '17. The Panthers have captured 25 straight victories following the 63-35 victory versus Topeka. Derby has continually enjoyed massive first quarter starts and led 28-0. Topeka running back Ky Thomas, the second-leading rusher in state history, enjoyed a huge game with 48 carries for 358 yards and three scores. However, Lem Wash continued his great season after he stepped in for the injured Grant Adler. He had 13 carries for 216 yards and four touchdowns, and completed 5 of 5 for 99 yards and two scores, according to the Derby Informer.