By Blake Chadwick
Derby 56, BV North 31
In the Class 6A title game, a rematch of 2017 and 2018, the Blue Valley North Mustangs took on the Derby Panthers.
It started out as a dog fight, but Derby won 56-31 for its sixth title in eight seasons and third straight.
Senior quarterback Lem Wash accounted for 7 touchdowns and cemented his name in Derby history.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Wash, who completed 16 of 19 passes for 239 yards and had 110 rushing yards. “There’s no way I could do any of this without the rest of the team. They have been my rock all season.”
The Panthers started out fast as Wash found running back Dylan Edwards for an 18-yard touchdown. Edwards had 170 rushing yards.
As for the Mustangs, quarterback Henry Martin was able to march his way right down the field and toss a touchdown himself.
And that’s how it went as the teams traded blows for multiple possessions.
After two straight stops for both teams, the Panthers found the end zone once again as Wash hit his favorite target, Reid Liston, for their first connection of the day. Liston had 142 receiving yards on eight receptions.
The defense got another stop, thanks to an Andon Carpenter sack and the flood gates opened.
The Panthers scored again off of a Liston-Wash connection.
And after an interception on the ensuing possession by the Derby defense, the Panthers got the ball back with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first half.
That’s when Derby dipped into its bag of tricks — Liston threw to Drake Thatcher, who was wide open on a reverse passing touchdown.
In just 4:32, the game went from a 21-all tie to a blowout for the Panthers as they scored 21 unanswered and led 42-21 at halftime.
After a slower-paced second half, Derby remained in control.
Mill Valley 49, Wichita Northwest 35
A back-and-forth battle was the story of the Class 5A state championship game between the Mill Valley Jaguars and Northwest Grizzlies.
It was Mill Valley that got the win 49-35 over Northwest for the second straight year and its fourth title in six seasons.
The offensive shootout took off at a relatively slow pace as Mill Valley jumped out to a 14-0 lead after several empty possessions both ways.
After a pair of LJ Phillips’ touchdowns, the Grizzlies trailed 21-14 at halftime.
Quarterback Geremiah Moore and wide receiver Kaleb Coleman quickly answered the bell to tie up the game at 21 apiece, and the scoring storm started up once again.
The Grizzlies and Jaguars traded stops and scores one after another until the Jaguars were able to pull away after stopping the Grizzlies on the 23-yard line late in the fourth.
Mill Valley quarterback Cooper Marsh found running back Quin Wittenaur wide open for his third passing touchdown. Marsh also ran for three touchdowns.
St. James Academy 56, Arkansas City 34
During the lone game on Friday, the Ark City Bulldogs faced off against the St. James Academy Thunder.
It was a matchup of two teams that had made impressive — and surprising — postseason runs.
St. James won its first Class 4A title in its first championship game, beating Ark City 56-34.
St. James was able to draw first blood by scoring on the opening drive on a Dakota Buritt passing touchdown to go up 6-0.
The ensuing Ark City drive included a 45-yard double pass from wide receiver Cadon Clark to spark the Bulldogs. Wyatt Bahm would later punch in the touchdown from two yards out to take a 7-6 lead.
After a pair of touchdowns from both teams, the Bulldogs led by 1, 14-13.
Then the La’James White show started for St. James. The senior scored his second touchdown of the contest on a 67-yard run.
The Thunder took off after that, going on a 22-0 run, although the Bulldogs added another touchdown late in the second quarter. But the Thunder proved to be too much for the Bulldogs, who failed to convert on several opportunities.
La’James White finished the game with five touchdown runs, an interception and more than 250 rushing yards.
Andale 20, Perry-Lecompton 0
For the Class 3A rematch between Andale and Perry-Lecompton, the Indians looked to go back-to-back and win their 25th straight game.
After a scoreless first quarter the ground game for Andale finally hit pay dirt after a 15-yard Noah Meyer touchdown to go up 6-0.
Just a few minutes later, the Indians found the end zone again, thanks to Eli Rowland, to lead 12-0 just before halftime.
After a third touchdown in a row in the third quarter the Indians would be too much for Perry-Lecompton as the Indians complete the back-to-back feat.
Rossville 27, Hoisington 20
Rossville ended its perfect season with a title. Rossville won its first title since 2016. This is Rossville’s fourth title in seven seasons.
Olpe 14, Oakley 0
Olpe had seven shutouts and gave up 35 points this season. It’s Olpe’s second title since 2014.
Little River 70, Leoti 58
Little River won its first title since 1999 in the highest eight-man championship game in history. Little River led the whole game.
It’s Little River’s sixth title.
Coach Kevin Ayers is the first coach since Tom Young to win titles at three schools.
Hanover 46, St. Francis 24
Hanover, after St. Francis took a 12-0 first-quarter lead, scored 30 points in the second quarter en route to the win.
It was St. Francis’ first loss, while Hanover improved to 11-0.