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2022 Class 6A State Football Championship Preview – Presented by Visit Wichita

Class 6A

Who: Manhattan (12-0) vs. Gardner Edgerton (9-3)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Welch Stadium, Emporia


  • The Manhattan Indians took care of business all season, including two wins over 6A powerhouse Derby. The Indians look to win their first state championship since 1988. 
  • After a 4-6 season in 2021, the Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers advanced to their first state title game since 2009. 

Manhattan Indians

Coach Joe Schartz

Key players: 

QB Keenan Schartz, senior, 5-10, 170 pounds (165 rushes, 1148 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, 1344 passing yards,  10 passing touchdowns and three interceptions)

RB DeAndre Aukland, senior, 5-11, 180 pounds (94 rushes, 1182 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns)

RB Jason Sanchez, senior, 5-8, 170 pounds (96 rushes, 583 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns)

LB Jaxon Vikander, senior, 6-2, 212 pounds (57.5 total tackles and 16 TFL’s) 

S Max Stanard, junior, 5-11, 180 pounds (55.5 total tackles, 10 PBU’s and three interceptions) 

DL Ke’Lonnie Patterson, senior, 6-2, 290 pounds (24.5 total tackles and 8.5 TFL’s)

What makes your team special?

“They believe in each other. Incredible leadership from the senior class. They lean into adversity and continue to battle alongside each other.”

Who have been key players for you this season?

“So many of our guys have played huge roles in any given game. Our offensive line has been outstanding most of the season. Our defense is only allowing 15.5 points per game as well, so they are certainly due plenty of credit here. And we’ve also come up with huge special teams plays in multiple games all season. This really is a team effort in finding ways to win all season long.”

Have any players been a surprise?

“On the offensive side of the ball, Dwayne Newby, Andrew Kenney, Logan Stevens. Elijah McFadden.”

What got your team into the state championship game?

“We have players who never quit on each other. There is a relentless desire to win. They continue to show up and compete even in adversity. We have a phenomenal coaching staff who put in so much film work and time preparing for the opponent in every given week. And we played a really tough non-league schedule that gave us the opportunity to have some battle tested games early in the season.” 

What does your team need to do in order to win the state championship game?

“We need to show up ready to work and learn this week in practice. It all starts with preparation and finding a rhythm, consistency and good effort in what we do there. We need to clean up some of the avoidable mistakes we made last week. And finally, we need to take advantage of opportunities within the game.”

Gardner-Edgerton Blazers

Coach Jesse Owen

Key players:

FB Dawson Kindler, junior (303 rushes,1,423 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns)

QB Conner Elder, senior, 6-1, 170 pounds (46-79 for 915 passing yards with 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions)

LB Andrew Kamtio, senior (82 tackles and four TFL’s) 

LB Kaleb Green, senior, 6-0, 210 pounds ( 66 tackles and nine TFL’s) 

DB Eli Blazic, senior, 6-0, 180 pounds (61 tackles and three TFL’s)

OLB Dawson Williams, senior  (58 tackles)

What makes your team special?  

“I am very proud of how unselfish our players have been. We do not have individual egos. Everyone has accepted their role and tried to find ways to make a positive impact on the team.”

Who have been key players for you this season?  

“Offensively, it all starts with our offensive line. Ethan Whittley spearheads that group. He has been a two-year starter for us and he leads that unit. Defensively, our defensive Line has led the charge on that side of the ball.”

Have any players been a surprise?  

“Bravin Powell and Dawson Kindler have given our offense a good one-two punch.”

What got your team into the state championship game? 

Our team has been able to remain focused and motivated throughout the playoffs. They have not been rattled during tense moments of games. They find a way to respond and finish games.”

What does your team need to do in order to win the state championship game?  

“We will have to tackle very well against a good Manhattan team. They have terrific weapons on the offensive side. We will have to finish blocks. They have a very good and sound defense.  Our ball handlers will have to take care of the football.”

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