By Blake Chadwick
It’s the start of a new season. Playoff season.
Every team 0-0. Every team has a new chance to prove themselves. Every team with a chance to claim bragging rights, history and their names in the Kansas state record books.
Wichita Northwest is a team in just that position.
Sitting at 8-0 for the second straight season, the Grizzlies don’t have the Division I signees that they had in 2018 when they advanced to the Class 5A title game.
But they have continued to dominate opponents, to score in every which way. On Friday they beat Kapaun Mount Carmel 55-14 in the first round of the 5A playoffs.
Still, there’s something different about the Grizzlies — defense.
The 2018 Northwest team gave up points like it was handing out candy on Halloween.
Not this season.
“A big change that was made was our new coaches and schemes,” junior defensive back Todric McGee said. “Those guys really know what they are doing and are great at teaching us what to do. And our speed. We have a lot of ball hawks who all have a knack for finding the ball.”
Derby beat Wichita North 69-7. Tre Washington scored on a 43-yard run to get it started, and then Brecken Kooser scored on a fumble recovery while Cason Lindsey scored after a blocked punt. Derby led 35-0 after one quarter.
Maize South kept up the defensive dominance in its 31-0 win over Salina South.
McPherson beat Abilene 63-7.
Garden Plain advances after a 61-7 win over Fredonia.
Andale beat Clay Center 68-7. Eli Rowland led Andale with 112 rushing yards.
Belle Plaine wins in dramatic fashion against Chaparral 17-14. Chaparral had taken the 14-10 lead, but Eli Wiseman took the ensuing kickoff back for the deciding score.
Collegiate upset previously unbeaten Halstead 35-14.
Andover also upset Salina Central 28-7 to get its third win..
Maize bounced back from its loss to Derby in Week 8 and took care of business against Libera with a 49-14 win..
Andover Central beat Circle 42-7.
Bishop Carroll beat Valley Center 49-7.
Clearwater won its first playoff game in five years over Hesston, 35-28.