Amazingly, we’ve already arrived at the end of the full regular season. The 6A and 5A schools are playing tonight to try and secure playoff seeding. With several important matchups in the area, here’s a preview to get you ready:
WASHBURN RURAL (3-4) at TOPEKA WEST (1-6) (LIVE ON 580 WIBW AND FM NEWS 104.9)
Game In A Sentence: Rural hopes to start a winning streak to take into the postseason while West seeks the upset.
Matchup To Watch: WASHBURN RURAL OW JORDAN WHITE vs TOPEKA WEST DEFENSE. ‘OW’ stands for Offensive Weapon and it’s how the Junior Blues have chosen to deploy White, who started the year at QB before missing several weeks due to injury. He returned last week and played running back, caught six passes, and took some snaps under center. White is a playmaker wherever he lines up, and the Chargers will have to keep their eyes open for him.
Did You Know: West’s last win over Rural came in 2001. The Junior Blues have won the last 11 meetings.
HOLTON (5-2, 1-0 District) at HAYDEN (3-4, 1-0 District)
Game In A Sentence: This year’s Battle of the Wildcats will be as feisty as ever with a district crown on the line.
Matchup To Watch: HAYDEN WR DESHAWN HANIKA vs HOLTON SECONDARY. Hanika had an excellent season against Centennial League play and took it up a notch in the district opener last week against Santa Fe Trail, catching eight balls for 175 yards and three scores. He’ll be a matchup problem against an improving Holton defensive backfield.
Did You Know: Hayden is 28-3 in district games under head coach Bill Arnold. Two of those three losses have come at the hands of Holton.
TOPEKA HIGH (6-1) at HIGHLAND PARK (0-7)
Game In A Sentence: Storylines abound in this matchup of USD 501 foes.
Matchup To Watch: TOPEKA HIGH LINEBACKERS vs HIGHLAND PARK QB WILL WHITE. There seems to be no stopping the Trojan offense, which means White will be called upon to try and match their effors by springing big plays. The five starting linebackers for High have played well all season and will have to keep White from breaking long runs on both designed and broken plays.
Did You Know: A Walt Alexander-coached Trojan team has never lost to Highland Park.
SEAMAN (4-3) at JUNCTION CITY (3-3)
Game In A Sentence: Seaman hopes to secure a home playoff game in 5A with a road win against the always-tough Blue Jays.
Matchup To Watch: SEAMAN OFFENSE vs THE TURNOVER BUG. The Vikings have lost two of their last three games, and the culprit has been easy to spot. Seaman turned it over seven times in losing to Manhattan and six times in their loss to Rural last Friday. When the Vikings take care of the ball, they can move it on anybody, so they’ll have to secure their possessions and make them count tonight.
Did You Know: Junction City’s game last week against Olathe West did not officially count on the Blue Jays’ record as Olathe West is not an official varsity squad this year.
EMPORIA (3-4) at SHAWNEE HEIGHTS (6-1)
Game In A Sentence: The T-Birds hope to end their outstanding regular season on a high note.
Matchup To Watch: SHAWNEE HEIGHTS DEFENSIVE LINE vs EMPORIA QB JACE STEWART. Stewart is a solid dual-threat under center for the Spartans. To keep him quiet, the T-Birds have to win the matchups in the trenches, which they have done with regularity this season thanks to the efforts of Cade Holmes, Connor Hicks, Cooper Finnecum and others.
Did You Know: A seventh win for Heights would be their largest total since their last league title-winning campaign in 1994.