EMPORIA, Kan. - It's district football season in Kansas, and here's your guide to what to watch for, where to watch it at... and who I think is going to be around on Thanksgiving weekend. So we'll start going class by class, I'll give you a look at some of the best games for you money. Check back on Monday for a breakdown of Class 4A through Class 1A and Tuesday I'll tackle 8-man.
The three best teams in the east are all three in different districts which means, alot of lousy football played out east. Shawnee Mission West should roll through district number one and likely be joined by Shawnee Mission Northwest in the state playoffs.
I feel like Olathe East is incredibly overrated in district two, but they should escape to the playoffs. I like Blue Valley Northwest to upset them though and take top prize in district two. In district three Olathe North may be the best team in all of 6A, and should have no trouble making it through districts. Olathe South could find their way out of District play as well.
Game to Watch: Olathe East vs. Blue Valley Northwest
This is a trap game for Olathe East, I think it screams upset for the overrated Hawks
Okay, so this is the best district top to bottom in 6A, two teams are ranked in the top five, and Rural is receiving votes. Look for Junction City to be the class of this district after Manhattan struggled with Emporia last week.
Game to Watch: Junction City vs. Manhattan
This game will likely feature two undefeated teams (barring a Washburn Rural upset) and will likely be for seeding with both teams advancing to state. That doesn't mean this game won't be really fun to watch, against like opponent Emporia both teams needed fourth quarter comebacks to seal victories.
District Winner: Junction City has faired better against like opponents and has proven strong offensively, look for them to knock off Manhattan in a shoot out.
Who's going to play for the State Championship
Junction City vs. Olathe North
The three best teams in the state are in the east division. Olathe North is the class of this group and should find their way into the State Championship. Junction City should escape from the very weak west portion of the bracket. Olate North wins running away in the championship.
This is the only bracket in the East and that promises the winner a chance to move along in the playoffs. The class of this group is last years surprise team Gardner-Edgerton who has rolled so far this season. Last year's 5A runner-up St. Thomas Aquinas will have alot to say though, as they again look to return against Hutchison.
Game to Watch: Aquinas vs. Gardner
Coach Diener has things pumping in Gardner and it looks like he can make it deeper this year than they did last year. The winner of this game has a real chance to meet Hutchison in the Championship. This game could be a shoot-out as well so very fun to watch.
District Winner: Coach Diener has the Trailblazers firing on all cylinders, so Gardner should roll here.
Though Topeka West is very much down, the rest of this district promises to be very entertaining. Emporia has surprised alot of people this season and Mark Kolmer could really help them make it farther in the playoffs. The two Salina teams are always trouble though, and could ruin the Spartans surprise season.
Game to Watch: Emporia vs. Salina South
Salina Central likely has this district wrapped up, but the game between South and Emporia could prove to be for the chance to advance. It's also the last game of districts and everything could be on the line. I like the Spartans in this game, they need to perform strongly on the ground.
District Winner: Central will win this district, it's gets entertaining after that though.
This may be the best district in all of the state, all classifications. Three of the four teams in this district could contend for the state championship. Only one will win however, and Hutchison looks to be the class of the field.
Game to Watch: McPherson vs. Hays
Hays has been a little bit of a surprise this season and this game will be their chance to shine. I think if there's going to be an upset on the west side of the bracket, this is where it will take place. And like all the good games listed above this game takes place in the final week of districts.
District Winner: Hutch won the state championship 38-0 last season, and this year won't be any different. They are the best team in the state in any classification.
Who's going to play for the State Championship
Hutchinson vs. Gardner-Edgerton
Coach Diener has his team in the perfect position to make a run in the less talented East. The real questions remains, can anybody beat Hutch in the final. This is the TV game in Emporia.