DERBY (3-1) AT MAIZE (6-0)
Derby returned to action last week after a two-week hiatus due to COVID concerns, rolling past Campus 48-13. Dylan Edwards ran for 223 yards and three touchdowns and Lem Wash added three rushing scores of his own. Edwards has run for 651 yards and seven touchdowns and Wash has 450 yards and eight scores this season on the ground. Maize fell behind early, but came back to beat Maize South 42-38. The Eagles recovered from a 21-7 deficit and tied the game going into the fourth. Maize South went up 38-35 late, but Maize had the final answer with Josh Sanders scoring on a 16-yard run with 36 seconds left to keep the Eagles unbeaten.
Prediction: Derby over Maize
WICHITA NORTHWEST (4-0) AT WICHITA EAST (4-0)
Wichita East gets a chance to prove it’s for real against the reigning power in the GWAL. So far, the Blue Aces have been impressive, outscoring their opponents 234-19. They’ve scored more than 80 twice this season and edged Wichita Heights 16-13 in their only test of the season. Northwest, however, is a different animal altogether. The Grizzlies have been even more dominant, outscoring their four foes 275-28. That includes last week’s 56-21 romp past Heights in which Julius Bolden ran for 197 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries. Bolden has 508 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 33 carries this season and Northwest is averaging 10.1 yards per carry as a team for the season in rushing for 304.5 yards per game.
Prediction: Wichita Northwest over Wichita East
CARROLL (3-2) AT MIEGE (2-2)
It’s not often two of the premier private programs in the state get together and it’s the first of two straight trips to the Kansas City metro area for Carroll, which will take on Aquinas next week. Carroll’s losses are to Class 6A No. 1 Lawrence and No. 2 Derby and the Golden Eagles have a win over Class 6A No. 5 Junction City in facing arguably the toughest schedule in the state this year. Hunter Trail has run for 527 yards and nine touchdowns and Aiden Niedens has thrown for 846 yards and three scores. Miege started the season 0-2 with losses to Aquinas and Missouri power Rockhurst, but has won two straight. Stags end Mack Moeller has caught 30 passes for 536 yards and seven touchdowns in just four games with Timothy Dorsey throwing for 946 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Prediction: Miege over Carroll
HOISINGTON (6-0) AT NORTON (3-2)
While this might seem like a mis-match for Class 2A No. 2 Hoisington with North coming off two straight losses, there’s no way the Cardinals are taking Norton lightly one bit. Last year, Hoisington demolished Norton 38-7 in the district finale. When they met again in the playoffs, Norton shocked the Cardinals with a 10-8 victory that denied Hoisington its first state championship game appearance. Hoisington has reloaded this season and its closest game was a 32-22 win over Halstead in Week 3. Balance has been the Cardinals’ key with six backs over 230 yards rushing led by Joshua Ball (533 yards, 7 TDs) and Holt Hanzlicek (455 yards, 7 TDs). Norton was off last week for COVID reasons and started the season 3-0 before its two-game slide. Jonah Ruder has led the way with 477 yards rushing and 427 passing.
SOUTH GRAY (6-0) AT HODGEMAN COUNTY (4-2)
South Gray passed its first big test of the season with flying colors last week, beating Spearville 48-12. Aaron Skidmore continued his big 2020 season, going over the 1,000-yard mark rushing with 180 yards and four touchdowns while also throwing for two more scores. South Gray’s 6-0 start is its best since 2011. Hodgeman County was stunned 30-6 by Ness City last week but will still be a tough test for the Rebels. Longhorn quarterback Isaac Salmans was bottled up last week, but this season has thrown for 879 yards and 11 touchdowns and run for 487 yards and 13 scores.
Prediction: South Gray over Hodgeman County
WHEATLAND-GRINNELL (5-1) AT ST. FRANCIS (5-0)
St. Francis has been completely dominant in its 5-0 start, outscoring its opponents 254-14. Eight-Man Division I runner-up a year ago, St. Francis faces arguably its biggest test of the season this week against Wheatland-Grinnell, which has won five straight since a season-opening loss to Axtell. The Thunderhawks have gotten 950 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing from Isaac Mendez, while balancing things out with 929 yards passing and 14 touchdowns from quarterback Trey Vincent. St. Francis’ Shadryon Blanka has run for 961 yards to lead the Indians.
Prediction: St. Francis over Wheatland-Grinnell
Last week: 4-2