By Blake Chadwick
With the 2019 football season finally concluded Saturday, special congratulations to all teams and their accomplishments.
Kicking off the 2019 state championships was the 8-Man I state championship game between St. Francis and Canton-Galva. St. Francis led 36-0 when a huge momentum shift happened and Canton-Galva scored 66 unanswered to secure the win 66-36.
The words State Champions and the Derby Panthers belong in the same sentence yet again as the Panthers have won their fifth Class 6A championship since 2013.
The Panthers asserted their dominance early on, scoring 21 unanswered points to start the game. Olathe North answered with Arland Bruce IV with two straight scores to get within 21-13.
But, once again, the Derby Panthers proved why they are and have been the best team in the state.
The Panthers went up 42-13, had 387 total yards and junior quarterback Lem Wash accounted for five total touchdowns — four rushing — to end the first half.
“It feels amazing to win state my senior year and win my third (championship) ring for high school,” said senior running back Tre Washington as the Panthers got the repeat with the 63-26 win over Olathe North.
The Panthers amassed over 674 total offensive yards, setting a new 6A state championship record.
“I did a lot of good, but I couldn’t do it without my coaches and teammates,” Washington said.
Derby has won 29 straight games.
Derby scored at least 48 points in all but one game and scored 63 or more points four times.
In Class 5A, Wichita Northwest, which was playing in its second straight title game, faced off against Mill Valley, which had knocked off St. Thomas Aquinas, the defending champs, in the semifinals..
As the first quarter started off fast, the teams were on pace for an old-fashioned shootout, but thanks to some defense from both teams, both fast offenses were neutralized for a bit.
At halftime Mill Valley led Northwest 21-17. Mill Valley junior quarterback Cooper Marsh had four rushing touchdowns, but Northwest quarterback Reagan Jones started a late-game rally to tie the score at 31-all with 9:02 left in the fourth quarter.
But with Marsh scoring his final touchdown of the game, and a late field goal the Mill Valley Jaguars were able to capture the 5A state championship with a 40-31 win for the third Mill Valley football state championship since 2015.
Northwest finished the season at 12-1.
In Class 4A, the Andover Central Jaguars met their match in the Bishop Miege stags.
The Stags won 68-7 for its sixth straight championship.
The Bishop Miege Stags finish the season 11-2, and capped it off in dominant fashion.
The Jaguars finished 11-2 and made it to their second state championship game in school history.
In the Class 3A championship game, the Andale Indians won their first state championship since 2014.
The Andale Indians were one of two teams to finish the season with a perfect 13-0 record, beating Perry-Lecompton 35-7.
“Yeah, this is just awesome,” Andale coach Dylan Schmidt said. “To be so close the last few years and it hadn’t been done, it was kind of a thorn in our side.”
Andale lost to Pratt in the semifinals in 2018 and lost to Miege in the 2017 championship game.
Andale took a 21-0 lead over Perry-Lecompton after a blocked punt that led to Mac Brand’s touchdown.
Eli Rowland had two touchdowns.
Andale was dominant all season, scoring at least 35 points in 12 games and only gave up 95 points on the season with four shutouts.