By RICK PETERSON
Down 16-0 just 1:35 into its 2023 season-opener, Rossville rallied to knock off '22 Class 1A state champion St. Marys 30-22 Friday night on the Bulldawgs' home field.
Derick Hammes' Bulldawgs gave up a rushing touchdown, a pick-six and a pair of 2-point conversions by the 10:25 mark of the opening quarter, but five-time state champ Rossville answered with 30 unanswered first-half points to take control.
Rossville cut its defict to 16-14 by the end of the first quarter, with senior quarterback Camden Horak scoring on a 1-yard rush at the 9:24 mark and junior Seth Catron scoring on a 15-yard run with 2:07 left in the quarter.
The Bulldawgs then tied the game on a safety midway through the second quarter and took the lead on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Horak to sophomore Jack Donavan (5:48 2nd quarter) and Horak hitting junior Kameron Badura for a 5-yard TD with just one second left in the first half to put Rossville up 30-16.
Sophomore Paxton Willett went four of four on extra points for the Bulldawgs.
The scoring pace slowed to a crawl after halftime, with the defensive units taking control.
The Bears scored their final TD with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter, ending the scoring for both teams.
Rossville will be at home next Friday to host Riley County.
HAYDEN 41, OLPE 7 -- Coming off a 10-2 season a year ago, Hayden rolled to a 41-7 season-opening road win over traditional small-school power Olpe
Friday night while giving veteral Wildcat coach Bill Arnold his 200th career win as a head coach (see related story on TopSports.news).
Senior standout Finn Dunshee had two touchdown runs of more than 60 yards while junior quarterback Jett Wahlmeier threw for three TDs.
Hayden jumped out to a 21-7 advantage in an eventful first quarter, with Dunshee scoring both of his long TDs and Wahlmeier connecting with junior Jensen Schrickel for a touchdown pass.
Olpe scored what would be its lone TD of the night with 1:45 left in the first.
Dom Ridley scored on a short plunge to put Hayden in front 28-7 at the half and Wahlmeier connected on TD passes to Schrickel and Treyton Tetuan in the second half.
Hayden will play its home-opener next Friday, hosting perennial state power Silver Lake.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 42, PIPER 0 -- Shawnee Heights avenged one of its five 2022 losses in Friday night's '23 season-opener, rolling to a 42-0 United Kansas Conference win over Piper at Wetter Field.
Jason Swift's T-Birds had dropped a 31-20 season-opening decision at Piper in the '22 opener but was in command from early on Friday night.
Shawnee Heights opened up a 28-0 halftime advantage and tacked on two more touchdowns after the break.
Senior Allen Baughman rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries while senior quarterback Ryeki Tuley completed 15 of 26 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown and senior Jayden Moore had nine catches for 128 yards.
Senior Jon Scott led the Heights defense with seven tackles, including a sack.
The T-Birds will play a UKC contest at Lansing next Friday night.
AXTELL 60, CAIR PARAVEL LATIN 44 -- Cair Paravel Latin put up a fight against Axtell, the defending Eight-Man Division II champion, on the road Friday night, but the Eagles took a 60-44 win.
Cair Paravel will play its home-opener next Friday night against Doniphan West at Highland Park, where the Lions will play all of their home games.
HIGHLAND PARK 33, KANSAS CITY-WYANDOTTE 7 -- Highland Park opened its season with a win over Meadowlark Conference for Kansas City-Wyandotte for the second straight season, rolling to a 33-7 win over the Bulldogs at Wyandotte.
The Scots, coming off a 6-3 season in 2022, will be at home next Friday to host KC-Schlagle in a Meadowlark Conference game at Hummer Sports Park.
MAIZE 43, TOPEKA HIGH 0 -- Carlos Kelly's Topeka High Trojans dropped a 43-0 non-league decision Friday night at Maize, the Class 5A state runnerup last fall.
The Trojans face another tough test next Thursday at Hummer Sports Park, hosting reigning 6A state champion Manhattan in their Centennial League opener.