The Blue Valley High School football team, in the midst of the biggest week of the season, is just grateful to be spending another six days together as a “family.”
“Coach (Eric) Driskell always talks about how, selfishly, he doesn’t want it to end and I know that’s how we all feel,” Blue Valley defensive end Jeff Gurley said. “I would love for the season to continue forever. I don’t want this group to fall apart.”
The football season will inevitably end on Saturday, when the Tigers face Derby in the Kansas Class 6A state championship game at 1 p.m. at Emporia State University. The Tigers have the opportunity to bring home the program’s seventh state title — and first in Class 6A — when they square off with Derby at Welch Stadium. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 2.
Driskell already has two state titles under his belt at Blue Valley, but those titles were won in Class 5A before the Tigers switched classifications in 2014. With their state semifinals victory over Olathe North last week, the Tigers ended a Sunflower League streak of state championship bids that dated back to 1978. Both Blue Valley and Derby are going for their second state title in three years.
Blue Valley has excelled in the run game, where they have three players with at least 981 rushing yards. One of those three, AJ Totta, is lost to a season-ending knee injury. Running back William Evans and quarterback Colton McCumber have stepped up in his absence.
Evans has 989 yards and 12 touchdowns in 160 carries and McCumber has 981 yards and 15 touchdowns in 141 carries. McCumber has also passed for 1,437 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Derby relies on a versatile quarterback in Brady Rust, who has thrown for 1,563 yards and rushed for 1,809 yards in 221 carries. His two top targets are Kenyon Tabor and Kai Lemons, who have 634 and 500 yards, respectively.