State Championsip Class 6A
Olathe North (12-0) vs Wichita Heights (8-4) @ Washburn University
Olathe North still has to be looked at as the odds on favorite in the big school class. North has hardly been tested on the season, being held to under 40 points only three times on the year, as Olathe East played the Eagles to a 28-14 score in week four, Lawrence Free State held North to 38 points in a 38-20 loss in week six and finally Blue Valley came within an eyelash of upsetting the Eagles in the Sub-state championship game last week by a 16-14 count. Other than those three games, North has consistently put six and seven touchdowns on the board, and even hung 70 points on Leavenworth in the season opener. Heights opened the season 0-2, and stood at 2-4 after six weeks. From there the Falcons have run off six straight wins, including a 14-10 road win over previously unbeaten Manhattan in week two of the playoffs. These are two battle tested squads, playing quality competition on a week-in, week-out basis, but Olathe North is stacked and should finish the unbeaten run to a state crown.
Bill's Pick - Olathe North (21-14) -- Jim's Pick - Olathe North (35-14)
State Championship Class 5A
Gardner-Edgerton (12-0) vs Hutchinson (12-0) @ Emporia State University
It's taken a few years, but Trailblazers Head Coach Marvin Diener has Gardner playing at the same level as his Salina Cental powerhouse teams played at a few years ago. Of course, it helps when you have an all-star line-up that includes Bubba Starling at quarterback. The Blazers have beaten all comers this year, but have the disadvantage of playing in the Frontier League. The Blazers made their farewell tour through the lead in Patton like fashion, crushing all seven opponents. Eudora (26 point loss) and Paola (28 point loss) were the only two Frontier League teams to come with 40 points of the Blazers. St. Thomas Aquinas came within two points of the Blazers in district play, only to be destroyed last week in Sub-state for a 49-7 count. To say the Hutchinson Salt Hawks have not been challenged this year would be an understatement. The Salt Hawks gave notice in week one that they were a force to be reckoned with this year when they laid a 55-27 beat down on perennial Kansas City power Rockhurst 55-27. Since then only one team has come closer than the Hawklets 28 point margin of defeat, at that was last week when Bishop Carroll played to a 42-21 score. The Blazers are good, of that there's no doubt, and this may be Starling's last football game, as the 6'5" junior sports a 95 mph fast ball and a professional baseball career is looming on his horizon. But as good as the Trailblazers are the Salt Hawks are better.
Bill's Pick - Hutchinson (28-21) -- Jim's Pick - Hutchinson (21-17)
State Championship Class 4A
Bishop Miege (11-2) vs. Topeka Hayden (9-4) @ Salina Central High School
Bishop Miege proved last week they are the best 4A school in the state, and probably could have made some noise at their true classification level of 5A. Could they challenge Gardner? We think so, and it would have been nice to see Tim Grunhard's squad bump heads with Marvin Diener's Trailblazers. Unfortunately for a bunch of traditional eastern Kansas powers, namely Holton, Louisburg and Paola, the Stags are playing one more year at the 4A level and those squads all got a first hand taste of the talent of Miege. The Stag's two losses on the season came to Aquinas and Blue Valley Northwest, two teams which went deep in the 5A and 6A playoffs. Hayden is no slouch, after opening the season at 2-3, the Wildcats have gone 7-1 and along the way have handled western Kansas powers including Andover, Andale and Buhler on the way to a state championship berth. It's an all Catholic School final in 4A, but the Stags are loaded and could compete a class higher, look for Miege to prevail.
Bill's Pick - Miege (42-21) -- Jim's Pick - Miege (38-10)
State Championship Class 3A
Marysville (12-1) vs. Wichita Collegiate (13-0) @ Hutchinson Gowan Stadium
Neither one of these teams are used to playing really close games, as each had only two games with margins of less than seven points. Collegiate defeated Marion by a 21-14 count in the second game of the season, and then took a two point 19-17 victory over Scott City in the Sectional Championship two weeks ago. Marysville fell to Class 4A Abilene by seven points, 35-28 in the fifth week of the season and then took out previously unbeaten and prennial 3A power Silver Lake by a 21-14 score two week ago. While we don't know a lot about either of these teams, our money is on the team from Wichita, the talent pool and the competition level of south central Kansas looks to be better than that of North Cental Kansas.
Bill's Pick - Collegiate (35-28) -- Jim's Pick - Collegiate (21-14)
State Championship Class 2A-1A
Centralia (13-1) vs. Smith Center (12-0) @ Fort Hays State University
While we don't know a bunch about these teams, there's a few things we do know. Smith Center is trying to make Kansas State High School Football History. With a win on Saturday, the Redmen will become the first team to win six consecutive state championships. The Redmen are curently tied with several teams with five straight titles. In addition, the Redmen are attempting to remain undefeated through the title run, a streak which has now reached something like 80 consecutive games. It's not like the Redmen have not been challenged, after opening the season with a pair of 59-0 victories, weeks three through six saw Smith Center win games by margins of six, two six and twelve points, before getting on a roll in week seven with a 62-7 victory. The Redmen had another close call against Meade two weeks ago winning 10-0 before advancing to the state championship game with a 33-20 win last week. Centralia opened the season with a 27-7 loss at the hands of Silver Lake, but have since run off 13 straight wins by impressive margins. On paper it looks like Centralia has the horses to pull off one of the biggest wins of the decade in Kansas football, but don't bet the farm against Roger Barta and the Smith Center Redmen.
Bill's Pick - Smith Center (35-14) -- Jim's Pick - Centralia (9-7)
Each week we're going to look into our "crystal ball" so to speak and try and give a quick overview of the games on tap in the Frontier League and Pioneer League. We'll quickly break down the game as we see it and go out on a limb and pick a winner. We're not going to be so bold as to predict a score, just looking for the winner may tax our brains to the limit. We hope you enjoy our "Pigskin Picks of the Week."
email comments to: Bill Hauldren -- firstname.lastname@example.org or Jim Woods -- email@example.com