Topeka-area high school football matchups and picks for Week 9
It’s postseason soccer in Kansas and nine of the ten soccer teams from the Topeka area are in action this week.
Cair Paravel, who did not qualify for the 8-man postseason, host Cedar Vale at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Last week I went 8-1 in my picks.
- Overall: 55-16
- Week 1: 6-3
- Week 2: 9-0
- Week 3: 6-2
- Week 4: 7-3
- Week 5: 6-2
- Week 6: 6-3
- Week 7: 7-2
- Week 8: 8-1
Here are the matchups, with insights from the coaches of the nine state qualifier teams.
Cair Paravel (3-5) vs. Cedar Vale (1-7)
In a tough first season of KSHSAA, Cair Paravel ended his regular season with a win over Maranatha Christian.
This Thursday, players have a chance to end the year on a high note when they host Cedar Vale.
Prediction: Cair Paravel
More:Cair Paravel beats Maranatha Christian to end the regular season
Hayden (7-1) vs. Baldwin (3-5)
Hayden hosts a Baldwin program that saw it last year and won 36-0 in week three.
Baldwin lost his first three games but won three of his last five. Hayden’s only loss came at Holton two weeks ago.
Hayden coach Bill Arnold on the team’s reaction to the Holton loss: We’ve talked about, you know, it’s not the end of the season. These first eight games are the tune-up for the actual season. I thought our kids did a good job at training last week to understand that. Sometimes you worry about a hangover, but I thought our kids mostly came out and executed a pretty good deal (against Hiawatha).
As for Baldwin’s offense, they’re scattering you around the field trying to run some zone read stuff here and there. (The QB) is also a capable passer, they have some nice receivers but he just does a good job of commanding it.
In Baldwin’s defense, you’re defensively aggressive. They always have 6-7-8 guys in the box and they slant a lot with their defensive line.
More:We see a surprise this week. Here are the week 8 high school football picks from the Topeka area.
Highland Park (6-2) vs. Emporia (1-7)
Highland Park hosts a well-known opponent on Friday when two longtime members of the Centennial League meet at Hummer Sports Park.
Emporia won last year’s matchup 42-32.
Highland Park coach Jermaine Monroe on the difference between the two teams since last year’s meeting: I think we were on an equal footing last year. I just don’t think we were in the right physical condition. This year we have more talent in our team.
I think it was two or three years ago, they scored 90 points for HP. That was before I came here. I know a lot of these kids are seniors who were freshmen and they sat in the seats to watch the high schoolers get beaten by so many points. I think it would be nice for us to host them in our house and get the upper hand in this game.
I think the difference is that we’re a year under our belts now. You know, we’ve got some wins on our belt. I think they will definitely see better HP.
Forecast: Highland Park
Rossville (4-4) vs. Minneapolis (5-3)
Rossville ended the regular season with a resounding win over Maur Hill.
For a team that hasn’t had a losing season since 2017, a five-win Minneapolis program stands in the way this Friday.
Rossville coach Derick Hammes on the growth of a young group: just overall knowledge about the system. I think we’ve seen more consistent play from our younger and inexperienced children. So you know, I think that’s where we made the improvement.
About Minneapolis: They are offensively unique. Three different guys can carry the ball and they schedule those transfers to be unpredictable. The movement and displacement presents a challenge.
More:A healthy Ty Weber wreaks havoc on opposing offenses for Topeka’s Washburn Rural
(Defensive) I think when they control ground play and are able to blitz and apply pressure, I think that’s when they’re at their best. I think that in the last two weeks they have also seen an improvement in their football team.
Seaman (4-3) vs. Blue Valley Southwest (3-5)
Seaman faces a familiar opponent this Friday. It’s the third straight year that Blue Valley Southwest has been played in the postseason, and Seaman has lost the last two meetings.
Seaman trainer Jared Swafford on what stands out Blue Valley Southwest Assault: Well, they’re going to put us in a lot of formations. We need to make sure we communicate and line up, and we also need to understand that as efficient as they are at passing, they will complete passes. We need to hit back on the next snap and do whatever it takes to get the ball on the ground or find some takeaways and put some pressure on the quarterback.
On what stands out Blue Valley Southwest’s offense: They have a defense similar to ours, but what they do well is run to the ball. They had a monster plan and they were playing against really tough teams and they’re showing that they can be very physical and they’re going to keep fighting and scraping and scraping to get things done and so it’s going to be a tough four-quarter fight. We have to make sure we get that physicality and then stay efficient and not turn the ball around.
Forecast: Blue Valley Southwest
Shawnee Heights (4-4) vs. Lansing (3-5)
Shawnee Heights takes on a conference opponent this Friday in Lansing. It won the regular season matchup 46-23.
Shawnee Heights coach Jason Swift on how Lansing has grown since Week 2: They’re a lot more physical than they were in the first few weeks of the season. A first-year coach, it takes some time to adjust. You are now in the ninth week of the season. They know how to do things and that’s why they play much better football than when they started.
On Allen Baughman’s 222-yard, 5 TD performance against Lansing: It was Allen’s breakout game. It was his chance to show we had a great running game and our offensive line proved we can move the ball. It was a fantastic night, but there are no more secrets.
Prediction: Shawnee Heights
Silver Lake (6-2) vs. Riley County (2-6)
Silver Lake hosts a familiar opponent in Riley County, another Mid-East League team, on Friday after beating Riley County in Week 1, 26-21.
Silver Lake Coach Logan Pegram on how his team has grown since Week 1: I think we’re a little more aggressive. I think we’re a bit more mature. That’s the way the season goes and I’ve told the kids it’s the funnest thing to see how much you’ve grown and who’s gotten better since week one.
On Riley County’s growth: They still play good football. I mean, a lot of people might look at the 2-6 record, but I told the guys this might be one of the best 2-6 teams I’ve seen. You’ve gotten better. They fly around the ball, they flock around it and they ride their horses.
More:Silver Lake Football wins for fourth straight game, defense plays out in second half
Prediction: Silver Lake
Topeka High (1-7) at Derby (6-2)
One of, if not the toughest, Kansas high school football schedule continues Friday when Topeka High takes on Notre Dame, signing Dylan Edwards and Derby.
Coach Carlos Kelly on the outstanding thing about Derby: What stands out is simply the consistency and then simply delivering it. The effort they make just to stay good. I mean it’s hard to stay up. The culture they have just pops out. Everything is done right, everything is clean and everything has a purpose.
In this week’s news: Finish the project. Keep chopping wood, keep trying to swing the hammer and destroy the concrete terrace. Don’t look for the easy way out. Do what you say, you will do it, and do it fairly do your job.
Topeka West (1-7) at Sumner Academy (6-2)
Topeka West ended his regular season with a loss to Washburn Rural and travels to Sumner Academy this Friday.
Prediction: Sumner Academy.
Washburn Rural (6-2) vs. Dodge City (4-4)
Washburn Rural Coach Steve Buhler on Familiarity with Dodge City Coach Glenn O’Neil: Coach O’Neil, who was up here with Seaman for a few years, helped us know he was down there. His systems are pretty consistent with what he was doing up here at Seaman. This allows us a little better preparation time.
It’s such a double-edged sword. He knows us pretty well too.
In Dodge City’s defense, they’re physically up front, they’re running a four-man front, which makes our spread play a little problematic at times because they can put a little more pressure on the linebackers from the outside lines. They have got some good athletes on the corners. For us, our success is built on having a complementary running game to this passing game. We have to work really hard to keep the running game as strong as it has been in recent weeks and give our passing game. some possibilities.
Focus on defense: For us, it means stopping the running game. Coach O’Neill and his teams have always prided themselves on being a physical football team and handling the ball. And this team really is no different. Your bread and butter will run football. They seem a bit unbalanced. They run a lot of things from a Wing-T point of view with a lot of downblocking, trapping and gapping schemes. This will be a big test because the programs they run are really good and beneficial for their blocking programs. Our front seven must be really good.
forecast: Washburn rural
Tips or story ideas? Email Seth Kinker at [email protected] or DM him on Twitter @SethKinker.