Saturday was a red-letter day for Eastern Kansas League football, with three teams from the conference playing for state championships in the state’s biggest classes.
And in those three games, the league celebrated victories in a rout and a nail-biter, and mourned a heartbreaking loss.
Bishop Miege recorded the rout, rolling over Buhler 53-21 in Topeka for its third consecutive Class 4A-Division I title. Miege, 12-1, led 32-0 by halftime on the way to the Stags’ seventh state title since 1972.
Mill Valley, which competed in the EKL for the first time this season, had a little tougher time in the Class 5A state championship in Pittsburg. The Jaguars needed double overtime to beat Goddard 35-34 and win a second consecutive state title. Mill Valley, 9-4, benefitted from a missed extra point by Goddard and a goal-line stand in overtime to come out on top.
Blue Valley was on the other end of a close finish in the Class 6A championship in Emporia. For the second straight year, the Tigers fell to Derby in the title game, this time 17-14 on a field goal with 27 seconds left in the game. It was the only loss of the season for the 12-1 Tigers.
Still, the EKL showed why it’s the dominant league in Kansas big-class football.