Here’s the scoop on this weekend’s Kansas high school football finals, which feature an Eastern Kansas League team in three divisions.
All games are Saturday at 1 p.m.
Blue Valley North (8-4) vs. Derby (11-1)
How to watch Class 6A final: In person at Emporia State’s Welch Stadium, or on Spectrum Sports KC.
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At stake: In his fourth year at the helm, coach Andy Sims led BV North to its first substate championship with a 44-37 double-overtime victory against Blue Valley. The Mustangs will play for their first title.
How BVN got here: Junior quarterback and Wisconsin commit Graham Mertz, who leads the state with 3,222 passing yards, rushed for both overtime touchdowns.
A pivotal third-down stop in the third quarter forced Blue Valley to punt. BV North tied the game 27-27 two plays later on a 60-yard catch by Dylan Freburg.
The opponent: On a 10-game win streak, two-time defending state champion Derby will play in its third straight final and make its ninth overall appearance. The Panthers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter against Wichita Northwest to finish a second-half comeback last week.
Like Blue Valley North, Derby trailed by one possession at halftime. Junior quarterback Hunter Igo threw for 168 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 154 yards and three touchdowns. His three rushing scores came in the second half.
Derby averages 46.3 points per game.
Aquinas (11-1) vs. Bishop Carroll (11-1)
How to watch Class 5A final: In person at Pittsburg State’s Carnie Smith Stadium, or on www.810varsity.com.
At stake: Aquinas, making its third appearance in the state final, seeks its first championship. Coach Randy Dreiling, now in his fourth year at Aquinas, led the Saints to the championship game in 2014. They lost to an undefeated Bishop Carroll 39-7.
How Aquinas got here: The Saints dominated two-time defending state champion Mill Valley for a second time this season in last week’s 55-21 victory.
Jared Flood, Ryan Jurczak and Sam Wolff each had an interception. Flood returned his pick 24 yards for a touchdown. The defense also held Mill Valley to 9.7 yards per pass.
The opponent: Bishop Carroll seeks its third championship in its eighth appearance in a state final. As Aquinas has made its strides to the state final with a powerful running attack, rolling up more than 4,200 yards rushing, Carroll has relied heavily on senior quarterback Braden Howell’s arm (2,762 yards passing).
But Carroll was forced to remain on the ground in the sub-state game against Goddard. Howell responded with 172 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a 29-17 win.
Bishop Carroll’s only loss this season was to defending 6A champion Derby; the teams combined for 978 yards of total offense.
Bishop Miege (12-0) vs. Andale (12-0)
How to watch Class 4A-Division I final: In person at Topeka’s Hummer Sports Complex, or on www.810varsity.com.
At stake: In its 11th title-game appearance, Bishop Miege seeks its fourth consecutive championship with coach Jon Holmes and seventh overall. The Stags, who were the EKL champions this year, have won 24 games in a row since losing to Blue Valley in their 2016 season opener.
How Miege got here: Despite starting off slow, Miege totaled 601 yards of offense, scored 28 points in five minutes and beat De Soto 66-24 in its sub-state game. Carter Putz broke the state record for most passing yards in a career and wound up with 260 for the night. He’s thrown for 2,539 yards and 34 touchdowns this season.
Led by sophomore Brison Cobbins’s 1,221 yards rushing, the Stags have been equally explosive on the ground this year. Miege has allowed an average of 11.5 points per game.
The opponent: Undefeated Andale forced five turnovers in a 20-13 victory over McPherson to win its sub-state game. Quarterback Ethan Baalman found Mason Fairchild wide open on two deep passes to secure the win.
Parker Bruce’s eight interceptions through 11 games ranks second in the state.
Andale has won three championships and is making its fourth appearance in a title game.