So much can change in the last three weeks of the regular season, but as it stands, there are three undefeated teams remaining on the east side of Kansas in Classes 4A through 6A. There just happens to be one unbeaten in each classification—Blue Valley Northwest (6A), Spring Hill (5A) and Basehor-Linwood (4A). Let’s take a look at how these three teams have reached 5-0 and their respective paths to potentially running the table in the regular season.
Blue Valley Northwest
It basically goes without saying, but there aren’t any gimmes in the Eastern Kansas League. The Huskies opened the season by handing Blue Valley its lone loss of the season, upending the Tigers, 35-21, behind a powerful rushing attack. Running back Grant Stubblefield tallied 196 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries, while quarterback Mikey Pauley racked up 167 yards and two scores on 18 totes.
Next up for Pauley, Stubblefield and company was a tough test against Bishop Miege. The Huskies passed the test in Week 2 by proving the Pauley can make it happen in the air as well in a 49-36 victory. Pauley completed 21 of 29 passes for 358 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. His touchdown passes went to four different receivers—Steven Whitter (six catches for 135 yards), Max Muehlberger (seven receptions for 113 yards), Nick Cusick (four catches for 66 yards) and Chase Wernimont (two receptions for 32 yards). Stubblefield added two touchdowns on the ground for good measure.
The Huskies then went up against St. Joseph Central in a non-league matchup. It marked the first of three straight games that the BV Northwest defense has held opponents to 10 points or less. In the Huskies 49-6 win over St. Joseph Central, Pauley threw for four more touchdowns and rushed for another before giving way to Connor White, who had one touchdown and one interception. Whitter, Muehlberger, Cusick, Wernimont and Jashon White each hauled in a touchdown catch, and Stubblefield found pay dirt against in the run game.
In the Huskies’ return to EKL play, BV Northwest had an extremely balanced showing in a 47-10 triumph over St. James. Stubblefield rumbled for 128 yards and three touchdowns on 25 touches. Cusick led the BV Northwest receiving corps with five catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Pauley’s other touchdown pass went to Whitter.
Last week, BV Northwest made quick work of BV Southwest in a 55-8 rout. Stubblefield once again had three touchdowns on the ground after rushing 20 times for 120 yards. Pauley added three scores—two passing and one rushing. Stubblefield and Muehlberger were on the receiving end of Pauley’s touchdown passes, while Gavin Hoffman corralled a 54-yard touchdown toss from White.
The Huskies’ game on Friday against Blue Valley North could very well be featuring the two most high-powered offenses in the state. Henry Martin and the Mustangs were also off to a torrent 3-0 start before a 28-27 overtime loss to Lee’s Summit North and district 45-23 defeat against Blue Valley. It’s safe to say that neither team will be overlooking Friday’s big matchup. Should the Huskies be victorious, they’ll need to upend St. Thomas Aquinas and Blue Valley West to enter the postseason undefeated.
After Mill Valley’s loss to Free State on Friday, Spring Hill was the lone undefeated team in the 5A East. Spring Hill’s defense has been sensational through five contests, allowing just 8.2 points per game. Mark Debiak set the tone for the Broncos in their season-opening 31-0 shutout of Louisburg with three sacks and five tackles for loss. The Broncos tallied 16 TFLs, six sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception by Carter Meade. That was plenty of support for Fletcher Pankey and the Spring Hill offense. Pankey completed 19 of 28 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns. Daniel Mitchell caught a pair of touchdown passes, and Zach Knowlton and Kameron Crotchett added one apiece.
The Broncos’ first road tilt against Paola featured more of the same with Pankey throwing four more touchdown passes. Draven Pipken helped keep the Paola defense honest by running for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 18 totes and catching a 4-yard touchdown pass. Mitchell caught two more touchdown passes and Knowlton had another as well.
Spring Hill then put up back-to-back 54-point outbursts against Ottawa and Bonner Springs. Knowlton led the way for the Broncos in a 54-7 win over the Cyclones by only needing five carries to rack up 170 yards and two touchdowns and corralling two receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown. Pipken also scored twice in the run game, as he rushed for 94 yards on 13 totes. Pankey and Carter Meade tacked on rushing touchdowns, while Mitchell made it three straight games with a touchdown reception.
The Broncos scored six more times with their rushing attack against the Braves. Pankey and Meade found pay dirt two times each. Pipken paced the run game with 103 yards and a score on 16 touches. Norian Terrill rounded out the Broncos’ rushing touchdowns, while Knowlton was on the receiving end of Pankey’s touchdown pass.
Next up for the Broncos was a 28-14 win over De Soto that saw Pankey complete 16 of 24 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Mitchell and Crotchett hauled in the touchdown passes from Pankey, and Knowlton added two touchdown runs.
The Broncos will hit the road to take on Tonganoxie on Friday before turning their attention to Piper and Eudora to round out the regular season.
Tonganoxie was Basehor-Linwood’s Week 1 opponent, which was dominated by Bobcats running back Zack Sisemore. The leader of the Bobcat backfield rushed 24 times for 132 yards and three touchdowns in Basehor-Linwood’s 27-6 win. Sisemore also caught three passes for 44 yards and caught a touchdown pass from Brady Garrison.
Garrison threw the ball all over the lot in Basehor-Linwood’s 42-13 victory over Leavenworth. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 314 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Sean McGowan, Chants Nelson, Brant Wilson and Sisemore all hauled in touchdown passes from Garrison. Sisemore found pay dirt two times in the run game after rushing for 96 yards on 18 carries.
The Bobcats were slated to take on De Soto in Week 3, but had to make a quick schedule change to play Center after De Soto couldn’t play due to COVID-19 issues. Basehor-Linwood edged Center, 26-21, after a rushing touchdown by Garrison in the final minute. It was one of two touchdowns on the ground for Garrison. The Bobcat quarterback also connected with Nelson for a touchdown pass. It was another big game for Sisemore as well. He tallied 202 yards and a touchdown on 32 rushes.
After the close call with Center, the Bobcats have held Turner and Shawnee Heights to single digits in back-to-back games. Basehor-Linwood rolled to a 57-6 win against Turner. Garrison had a touchdown apiece on the ground and through the air. Brady Vandonge also threw a touchdown pass. Sisemore and Isaac Neil tacked on rushing touchdowns, while Nelson and Ty Hofer corralled receiving touchdowns. Nelson scored again after recovering a fumble for a touchdown. The special teams unit also got in on the scoring when Aidan Baker scooped up a blocked punt and returned it for a touchdown. Along with forcing five turnovers, the Basehor-Linwood defense had a safety from Juan Avila and pick six from Caden Swartz.
The last victory for the Bobcats was one of the sweetest, as Sisemore set the school record for career rushing touchdowns in their 42-7 win over Shawnee Heights. Sisemore rumbled for 144 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and caught two passes for 23 yards and a touchdown. Garrison and Jekai Harris tacked on rushing touchdowns. Nelson and Wilson each had a touchdown reception.
The Bobcats will put their perfect record on the line again Friday with a home matchup against Washington. Basehor-Linwood will conclude their regular season late against Lansing and Pittsburg.