Week 11 (Sectional Playoff) 2019 Preview

And then, there were eight. Well, eight in all eight classes, so technically there are 64 high school football teams across the state of Kansas whose seasons survived into the Sectional playoff round. The quarterfinal action in the state tonight includes two teams from the capital city, so let’s have a look at their matchups…

Hummer Sports Park, Topeka
Envista Credit Union Game of the Week – LIVE on AM 580 WIBW/FM News 104.9

What will these teams do for an encore? Their Week 4 Thursday night matchup might have been the game of the year in the city so far, with the Blue Jays breaking the Trojans’ hearts with a last-second touchdown in a 48-41 triumph. The Trojans will hope things are different this time around as they seek to win their first state quarterfinal game ever and reach the state semifinals for the first time since 1973 (when the 5A playoffs were a four-team format). Ky Thomas is coming off the most prolific game of his amazing career at Topeka High, rushing 49 times for 373 yards and six touchdowns last week in their win over Lawrence, and the Trojans will happily continue to feed him the rock. He had 256 yards on 25 rushes against Junction City in the first meeting, and Da’Vonshai Harden ran for 164 yards himself in that game. Topeka High was missing their standout sophomore linebacker J.P. Deeter for much of the first meeting due to illness, and they hope his return helps their defense better handle the Blue Jays own dynamic backfield duo of quarterback Andrew Khoury and running back Russell Wilkey.

KEY TO THE GAME: Both offenses are so good that they can score any time they get the ball. That was the case in Topeka High’s game last week against Lawrence, as well, but the Trojan defense got the first stop of the game – breaking serve, so to speak – and later scored a defensive touchdown. Moments like that will be critical in giving one defense or another the confidence to get enough stops to win what should be another high-scoring affair.

FRONTENAC (10-0) at HAYDEN (9-1)
Hayden Field, Topeka

After grinding out a 14-6 win over Jeff West last week, the Wildcats are back in the quarterfinals after a one-year absence, and now face the Raiders, who eliminated them from the 4A-II postseason in the semifinals in 2017. If you’re hoping to see two teams light up the scoreboard, this isn’t the game for you. Rather, this one features two of the very best defenses in Class 3A. Hayden has allowed just 73 points all season, but Frontenac has outdone that, permitting just 71 opposition points. With points expected to be at a premium, the winning team will be the one to take full advantage of any scoring opportunities and protect the football.

KEY TO THE GAME: Scoring first is always critical, but even more so in a game like this one. A 6-0 or 7-0 or even an 8-0 lead could feel like twice that size of a lead with the proficiency of the defenses on display.

And elsewhere, by class, in the 580 Preps coverage area tonight…

#4 Manhattan (9-1) at #1 Derby (10-0)

D3 #2 Perry-Lecompton (7-3) at D2 #1 Prairie View (10-0)

D2 #1 Silver Lake (10-0) at D4 #1 Riley County (8-2)

D3 #1 Jackson Heights (8-2) at D1 #1 St. Mary’s Colgan (7-3)