Football teams set their sights on playoff games

Every team in the coverage area for The Times-Sentinel, Haysville Sun-Times and Star-Argosy will be taking part in a meaningful playoff game next Friday.

For the schools in Class 3A through both 8-man divisions, district play is still a way of life. However, 2018 brought new six-team districts, with the top four teams advancing.

In 6A and 5A the past two seasons – and now in 4A starting in 2018 – everybody plays in a playoff game in week 9. The new format means teams are seeded 1-16 in both the west and east divisions, with the higher seed hosting, and then the more familiar bracket tournament comes into play.

Here’s a look at all of our teams.

6A – Campus Colts

The Colts improved to 5-3 with Friday’s six-touchdown performance by QB Evan Kruse. The win made Campus the No. 7 seed in 6A West and earned the Colts a home playoff game on Oct. 26. Campus will host the neighboring Wichita South Titans, who are the No. 10 seed with a 3-5 record. The teams did not play in the regular season.

5A – Eisenhower Tigers

The Tigers will hit the road for their playoff opener, going to Salina to face the Central Mustangs. The teams played the first week of the season in Salina, with Central winning 44-7. Central went 6-2 while the Tigers went 3-5, but in recent seasons Eisenhower has shown itself to be the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs.

4A – Goddard Lions

The Lions are the No. 3 seed in Class 4A West. Goddard took care of business with a 32-3 victory over Andover on Friday. Their seeding could have been impacted by the Mulvane-Wellington game, which Mulvane won 14-13. That brought points into play as Wellington, Goddard and Mulvane all finished 6-2, leaving all three in the same spot. All three teams stayed at the same see, so the Lions will play at home on Oct. 26, hosting the Circle Thunderbirds, a longtime 4A team that went 2-6 in the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League’s Div. III.

3A – Clearwater Indians

A single touchdown separated the Indians from a home game in the first round after Friday’s 35-28 loss to Collegiate. Both teams were 3-1 in district games, tied for the No. 2 spot in District 6. The head-to-head loss by Clearwater means the Indians finish third and will hit the road for a game at the Chapman Fighting Irish, the No. 2 team in District 5. The Irish topped Halstead on Friday to earn the right to host Clearwater. The Indians went 4-4, while Chapman was 6-2. Both were 3-2 in their districts.

3A – Cheney Cardinals

The Cardinals’ spot in the playoffs was already locked in before Friday’s 35-13 home loss to Andale, as was the Indians’ spot as District 6 champions. Not only did the Cardinals know they’d be the No. 4 seed, they knew they would play at Smoky Valley on Oct. 26, as the Vikings had already secured the District 5 championship. The Cardinals are 2-6 overall, having shown improvement after an 0-5 start, and went 2-3 in district games. The Vikings are undefeated.

2A – Conway Springs Cardinals

The Cardinals had already wrapped up the 2A District 6 title with last week’s 30-point win over previously unbeaten Chaparral. The Cardinals put an exclamation point on their district win with Friday’s 28-7 home win over Garden Plain. Conway Springs finishes the regular season 8-0, and went 6-0 in Central Plains League games. The Cards are one of four undefeated teams remaining in 2A. The others are Phillipsburg in the West, and Humboldt and Silver Lake in the East. Conway Springs will host Eureka (3-5), the No. 4 team from District 5.

2A – Garden Plain Owls

The Owls were already locked into the fourth and final playoff spot in District 6. They’ve gone 5-3 but all three of their losses were in district games against Conway Springs, Chaparral and Hutchinson Trinity. All four teams have been in the top 5 of Class 2A at some point this season. The Owls’ district finish means they will travel to face District 5’s top team, the Douglass Bulldogs, who are 7-1 but played in a less competitive district. The Owls hosted the Bulldogs on Sept. 7 and handed the Bulldogs a 31-0 shutout defeat.

8-man Div. I – A&A Titans

Despite Friday’s loss at South Central, the Titans survived District 2, one of the two toughest districts in 8-man Div. I, courtesy of a head-to-head 38-9 win over Medicine Lodge the previous week. The Titans close out the regular season 2-3 in district games, with losses to South Central, Caldwell and Udall. The challenge is, the Titans get to travel to face Sedan, the top team in the other toughest district, District 1. Sedan is 7-1 and went 4-1 in district game. The teams did not play but have two shared opponents – each had wins over Central Burden (5-3) and winless Oxford.