Playoff Preview: 3A, 2A & 1A (Regionals)

Brady Welker (35) will try to lead Scott City past Cheney. (Everett Royer,
By: Matt Gilmore & Conor Nicholl for
Nov 2, 2022

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Class 3A

VIEW: 3A Bracket


Highlighted Games:

D1-#3 Columbus (4-5) at D1-#1 Galena (7-2) – Galena

CNC rivals Columbus and Galena will meet for the second time this season, but this time a Regional championship is on the line. Galena won the first meeting, 36-22, back in Week 4. The Titans will return to Abbey Field on a three-game win streak. A few weeks ago, Columbus was 1-5 and in the midst of a four-game losing streak in which they averaged 14 points per game. In their recent three wins, the Titans have averaged more than 36 points per game.

Columbus is coming off of an impressive 46-8 win at Burlington in which they forced five turnovers. The Titans rushed for more than 260 yards in the game led by Brett Hamilton’s 132 yards and Landin Midgett’s 119 yards. Midgett rushed for two touchdowns, while Hamilton and Jaspen Tanner each added one each. Hamilton has passed for 1,290 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. He has also added a team-high 526 rushing yards and ten scores.

Galena will counter with the duo of Tyler Little and Zane Turner. Little and Turner combined for more than 350 yards and five touchdowns in the first meeting back in Week 4. Little is one of the state’s most versatile players and when lined up in the backfield is an opposing figure for defenses to tackle. Meanwhile, Turner has shown the explosiveness to take it the distance on any play.

D4-#2 Topeka Hayden (8-1) at D3-#1 Wellsville (9-0) – Hayden

Maybe the most intriguing game on east side this week is Topeka Hayden traveling to undefeated Wellsville. Hayden has posted two big victories after their lone loss of the season to Holton, 37-13, back in Week 7.

Hayden’s defense has given up an average of 15 points per game, but has allowed 99 of their 138 total points against three opponents (Rossville, Holton, Perry-Lecompton). The Wildcats are averaging nearly 43 points per game. Hayden features an impressive offensive line with Notre Dame commit Joe Otting and Ben Evans. That line opens holes for Jensen Schrickel and JC Cummings.

Wellsville has put up an impressive regular season with standout junior quarterback William Dorsey and senior back Nash Money. Dorsey has passed for 1,759 yards and 24 touchdowns, while Money has rushed for 1,142 yards and 20 scores. Dezmond Winton leads a solid receiving group with 647 yards and seven scores, while Brody Lee, David Signs, Kye Fouts, and Devin Haas each have at least three touchdown receptions.   

Other first-round games:

D1-#2 Frontenac (6-3) at D2-#1 Girard (9-0) – Girard

D3-#2 Bishop Ward (7-2) at D4-#1 Holton (8-1) – Holton


Highlighted Games:

D6-#2 Hesston (6-3) at D5-#1 Rock Creek (8-1) – Rock Creek

Two of Kansas’ top quarterbacks and passing offenses will match up in this one. Hesston will play a tenth game for the first time since 2018. Junior Hudson Ferralez is generally considered a top-three quarterback for his class in Kansas and has passed for 1,630 yards.

Rock Creek led the state in passing yards per game in ’21 and will likely do so again. Dalton Whitworth was a remarkable 44 of 53 passing for 571 yards and seven touchdowns against two interceptions last week. Ethan Burgess delivered 18 catches for 171 yards and four scores in the 78-34 win against Clearwater. Whitworth has thrown for 3,060 yards. Jayden Winans has 1,043 rushing yards, and Burgess is second in Kansas with 1,419 receiving.

Rock Creek has won eight in a row after a Week 1 loss at 2A No. 1 Southeast of Saline. The Mustangs have scored at least 41 points in every victory, including against current 1A No. 3 St. Marys. Hesston has taken losses to Pratt, Kingman and Wichita Collegiate and tallied a combined 35 points in those contests.

D7-#2 Cheney (7-2) at D8-#1 Scott City (8-1) – Cheney

Cheney has done an impressive job replacing key pieces, notably Shrine Bowl quarterback Harrison Voth, the 3A Offensive Player of the Year. Kpreps spoke with Cheney coach Shelby Wehrman earlier this season. Wehrman believed there was no limit on sophomore quarterback Josh Burdick, who immensely learned from Voth last season and has thrown for 1,852 yards, in the top-15 for all classes. Jack Voth, one of the few returners back, is among the state’s best with 922 receiving yards. Cheney has had some others, step up, too, including 6-foot-3, 275-pound sophomore lineman Garren Campbell. Caleb Wehrman and Kason Messenger have been stalwarts on the defensive line. Colter McDaniel and Weston Hill notably both delivered pick-sixes for a defense that has allowed just 13.1 points per game.

Scott City has bounced back from a 4-5 season, its first losing record since 1986. Quarterback Dylan Metzger, linebacker JP Harris, fullback Brady Welker and running back/linebacker Jace Thomas headline an experienced team that has not lost to a Kansas squad. The Beavers have posted three shutouts and allowed just 11 points a game.

This is the second all-time meeting between the teams, per Kansas Football History. Cheney won 38-7 in the ’19 playoffs. This one will be closer, and a near toss-up, but Cheney’s pass offense is the edge.

Other first-round games:

D7-#3 Pratt (7-2) at D7-#1 Andale (9-0) – Andale

D5-#2 Clay Center (6-3) at D6-#1 Wichita Collegiate (8-1) – Collegiate


Class 2A

VIEW: 2A Bracket


Highlighted Games:

D2-#3 Humboldt (7-2) at D2-#1 Osage City (8-1) – Osage City

Humboldt will travel to Osage City in a rematch from a Week 6 district game. Osage City won the first meeting by building a 35-14 halftime lead and holding off the Cubs, 42-34.

In that first meeting, Osage City quarterback Landon Boss passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns and added 152 yards and four rushing scores. Humboldt countered with a ground game that produced 318 rushing yards – 198 yards from senior Trey Sommer. Sommer scored three touchdowns, while sophomore Cole Mathes added 104 yards on the ground.

Boss has produced another outstanding season passing for 1,649 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding 1,333 yards rushing and 19 scores. Four different Indian receivers have more than 20 receptions and between 275 and 440 receiving yards.

Sommer has been the workhorse for the Cubs with 1,525 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. He provided more than 200 yards and six scores in Humboldt’s first-round win over Cherryvale. Blake Ellis has passed for nearly 600 yards and seven touchdowns. Balance may be the key if the Cubs are going to pull off the road win.

D3-#2 Rossville (5-4) at D4-#1 Nemaha Central (9-0) – Nemaha Central  

Rossville will travel to second-ranked Nemaha Central in a battle of the two schools that have captured the last three Class 2A state champions. Rossville has won back-to-back state titles and have defeated Nemaha Central each of the last two seasons along the way. The Bulldawgs won 32-12 last season in the second round and defeated the Thunder 31-19 in the state semifinal in 2020. Nemaha Central beat Rossville 29-21 in overtime in the second round on their way to the 2019 state title.

After graduating several key players from those consecutive state title teams, Rossville has posted a 5-4 record this season against a difficult schedule. The Bulldawgs are led by junior Camden Horak who has passed for 1,144 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has added 844 rushing yards and ten scores. Braiden Hensley has added nearly 500 rushing yards and seven scores, while Kade Perine has more than 425 yards with seven touchdowns.

Nemaha Central will counter with a dominant offensive line and standout Cooper Hajek. Hajek has produced incredible numbers this season – rushing for 1,548 yards and 31 touchdowns. Quarterback Brayden Uphaus has passed for 933 yards and eight scores. Gavin Cain is the leading receiver for the Thunder with more than 400 yards and is one of three players with three receiving scores.

Other first-round games:

D2-#2 Council Grove (7-2) at D1-#1 Caney Valley (7-2) – Council Grove

D4-#4 Riley County (3-6) at D4-#2 Sabetha (7-2) – Sabetha



Highlighted Games:

D8-#2 Russell (6-3) at D7-#1 Hoisington (7-2) – Hoisington

Russell and Hoisington are in neighboring counties, though have not matched up in football since 2013. Russell has not defeated Hoisington since ’02.

What a remarkable turnaround for Russell under coach Christien Ozores. Russell, a Kpreps Potential Breakout Team this summer, has its first winning season since 2003 and first playoff victory since 1979. Russell defeated Cimarron, 58-7, with a running clock last week. Ozores has done an excellent job with getting key players, especially seniors, to come back out for football. Senior Cameron Farmer leads Russell with 81 tackles and before this fall hadn’t played since middle school. Junior Roman Hernandez is a near unblockable presence up front with 18 tackles for loss. Senior Wyatt Middleton has completed 124 of 211 for 1,703 yards with 19 scores against four interceptions. Seniors Jace Peerman and Jackson Cross has combined for 62 catches, 14 for scores.

Hoisington is a longtime power under alumnus Zach Baird. He is 86-17 at his alma mater. The Cardinals have significantly relied on non-seniors at the skill positions, though has continued to run the ball effectively. Hoisington dual-threat quarterback Tony Moore has emerged as a key to the Cardinals’ success.

Especially in a loss to Pratt, Hoisington was a bit leaky in pass defense. Hoisington’s defensive backs against Russell’s athletic wide receivers will be a key pivot point. However, the Cardinals have allowed 9.8 points all season and have significant experience in games like this under Baird. Hoisington is a slight favorite in a likely one-score game.

D8-#3 Norton (6-3) at D8-#1 Beloit (7-2) – Beloit

This has typically been an even series with the squads splitting the last 10 matchups since 2006, per Kansas Football History. Beloit captured the regular-season matchup earlier this season, 28-6.

Both teams at various points have been ranked in the top-5 in Class 2A. Beloit has won seven in a row after an 0-2 start. The Trojans started slowly en route to state semifinals and state runner-up finishes the last two seasons. Each team has survived an injury to a standout running back. For Beloit, Logan Arasmith has emerged with 1,721 rushing yards, top-10 for all classes. Grady Seyfert, the reigning 2A Defensive Player of the Year, has again been an unblockable force.

Norton has struggled running the ball after Garrett Urban went out with injury; he leads with 598 rushing yards, though in five contests. Sophomore Eli Jones has completed 85 of 160 passes for 1,043 yards with 10 scores against seven interceptions. Junior Roman Hauser has 13 tackles for loss. In the first game, Beloit did not complete a pass and outgained Norton, 329-146, behind a big game from Arasmith.

Other first-round games:

D6-#2 Chaparral (7-1) at D5-#1 Southeast of Saline (9-0) – SE Saline

D5-#2 Ellsworth (8-1) at D6-#1 Kingman (9-0) – Kingman


Class 1A

VIEW: 1A Bracket


Highlighted Games:

D4-#2 Troy (8-1) at D3-#1 St. Marys (7-2) – St. Marys

On paper, this matchup between No. 5 Troy and No. 3 St. Marys is the top game in the classification this week. St. Marys, the preseason No. 1 ranked team, has won six straight games since a 1-2 start that included losses to 3A contender Rock Creek and 2A playoff team Silver Lake. The Bears are led by standout quarterback Keller Hurla and a talented group of receivers.

Last week, Jackson Heights controlled the ball in the first half and limited St. Marys possessions. The Bears still held a 16-14 advantage at intermission and took over in the second half for a 46-14 victory. Hurla makes the Bears multidimensional and last week took the game over with his legs.

Troy may be playing as well as any team in the state. The Trojans own a quality victory over 1A West contender Wabaunsee (28-22). Troy’s lone loss came 20-19 to Centralia back in Week 4. Last week, the Trojans rolled to a 59-14 win over Mission Valley. Quarterback Reagan Hartman threw six touchdown passes in the first half for the Trojans. Hartman threw touchdown passes to five different receivers in the game. Hartman has the benefit of several quality receivers, including two of the classification’s best in Jerrit Norris and Boden Benitz.


D3-#2 Jefferson Co. North (6-3) at D4-#1 Centralia (9-0) – Centralia

Centralia is the lone unbeaten team in Class 1A and ranked No. 1 in the latest Kpreps poll. The Panthers have been a consistent contender and are now under the direction of first-year head coach Roger Holthaus – the schools’ long-time defensive coordinator. The Panthers are led by Trenton Talley, Drew Gibbs, Brock Reinecke and Maveryck Becker on offense.

Jefferson County North rolled to a 64-22 first-round win over Riverside behind a huge offensive night. The Chargers led 52-8 at halftime and racked up more than 525 yards of total offense in the game. Jeff Co. North rushed for 416 yards with three Chargers rushing for more than 100 yards. Ethan Noll rushed for 163 yards and three scores, Grady Noll added 148 yards and two touchdowns and Connor Keirns added 105 yards and a score. Grady Noll passed for 113 yards and three touchdowns – two to Ethan Noll and the other to Keirns.

For the season, Grady Noll has rushed for 1,193 yards and 18 touchdowns and added 436 passing yards and six scores. Ethan Noll has added 462 yards and five scores. Keirns has added 642 and eight scores on the ground.

Other first-round games:

D2-#2 Jayhawk-Linn (8-1) at D1-#1 St. Mary’s Colgan (8-1) – Colgan

D2-#3 Pleasanton (7-2) at D2-#1 Olpe (7-2) – Olpe



Highlighted Games:

D6-#2 Marion (6-3) at D5-#1 Wabaunsee (8-1) – Wabaunsee

Marion, a Kpreps Potential Breakout Team, has improved from 5-4 last fall to 6-3 this season. A win for Wabaunsee would yield the Chargers’ top finish since 1983. The Chargers’ best all-time showings are quarterfinals in ’78 and ’83.

Wabaunsee has won eight in a row, including a huge comeback against Smith Center in district play, after a turnover-filled Week 1 loss versus Troy. The Chargers are a highly experienced team. Junior Wyatt Wurtz has emerged at quarterback with 87 of 142 passing for 1,187 yards with 16 scores against seven interceptions. He has 75 carries for 545 yards and 12 scores. After seven turnovers in Week 1, Wabaunsee has nine the rest of the year. Junior Tate Deever has 65 tackles, while senior Maverick Havenstein and Lanson Perry both have 10 tackles for loss.

Marion lost the district title with a 35-32 defeat against Sedgwick when the Cardinals made a big comeback. Quarterback Jack Lanning has led a veteran squad. He has thrown for 652 yards and rushed for 791.

D8-#2 Plainville (4-5) at D7-#1 Conway Springs (5-3) – Conway Springs

These two squads have multiple commonalties. Highly experienced coaching staffs paced by Conway Springs’ Matt Biehler and Plainville’s Grant Stephenson. Run-heavy attacks paced by a standout fullback with Conway’s Brayden Kunz and Plainville’s Kyle Werner. Losses to larger classification teams earlier this season and at least one, on-paper upset.

Plainville beat Hutchinson Trinity, 23-17, in overtime last week on a Werner touchdown. Plainville has not allowed more than 27 points since Week 1. Conway Springs defeated then-No. 1 ranked Inman, 35-14, in the regular season, and beat Hutchinson Trinity, 42-7.

This year, Kunz has 197 carries for 1,547 yards and 18 scores. When he scores a touchdown, the Cardinals are 5-0. Conway Springs defeated Plainville, 14-7, and 27-14, in the playoffs the last two years.  This will be a low-scoring game, but Kunz has played like a Top 11 all classes player in the last five weeks.

Other first-round games:

D5-#2 Smith Center (7-2) at D6-#1 Sedgwick (5-4) – Smith Center

D7-#2 Inman (8-1) at D8-#1 Oakley (6-3) – Inman


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