By RICK PETERSON
(All kickoffs at 7 p.m.)
TOPEKA WEST at SEAMAN
Trey Parker begins his first full season as Topeka West's head coach after serving as interim coach for the final three games of the 2022 season while Jared Swafford begins his third year at Seaman. West went 1-8 a year ago while Seaman is coming off a 4-4 season. Senior lineman Kyrece Robinson is a top returner for Topeka West while junior quarterback Max Huston, senior running back/defensive back Jack Bloom and senior wide receiver/defensive back Callen Barta are standouts for an experienced Seaman team. Huston passed for 1,248 yards and 12 touchdowns last season while Bloom rushed for 483 yards and seven TDs and Barta caught 41 passes for 406 yards and three TDs. Seaman beat West 58-14 in the 2022 season-opener for both schools.
WICHITA EAST at WASHBURN RURAL
Both teams are coming off strong 2022 seasons, with Washburn Rural posting an 8-3 record under Steve Buhler, who is beginning his 11th year at the school, while Wichita East went 6-4 last season. Rural advanced to the third round of the Class 6A playoffs while East won its first-round playoff tilt before losing in the second round. Washburn Rural came from behind to beat the Blue Aces 49-42 in last season's opener. The Junior Blues return a key nucleus of players from last year's team, including TopSports.news All-Shawnee County picks Branton DeWeese (quarterback), Titan Osburn (wide receiver), Packson Bettis (defensive end) and JC Heim (outside linebacker). DeWeese passed for 1,884 yards and 25 touchdowns last season while Osburn had 32 catches for 668 yards and 12 TDS. Heim was in on 73 tackles and Bettis 61 tackles.
PIPER at SHAWNEE HEIGHTS
Shawnee Heights went 5-5 in the 2022 season while Piper is coming off a 7-4 campaign. Piper opened the '22 season with a 31-20 win over the T-Birds. Jason Swift's Shawnee Heights team returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense, led by star senior running back Allen Baughman, who was named the TopSports.news Co-Shawnee County offensive newcomer of the year after rushing for 1,496 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns a year ago. Other top players include senior linemen Christian Gonzales and Rykan Carver, linebacker Alex Dittman and receivers seniors Jayden Moore, Jacob Malcom and Jayden Holly, who all received All-United Kansas Conference recognition last season.
ST. MARYS at ROSSVILLE
St. Marys beat Rossville 20-13 in the 2022 season-opener, with the Bears snapping the Bulldawgs' 26-game winning streak. St. Marys went on to post an 11-2 record on the season while Rossville went 5-5. Rossville senior quarterback Camden Horak completed 91 of 164 passes for 1,260 yards and 12 touchdowns last fall while senior offensive and defensive lineman Barrett Lietz received TopSports.news All-Shawnee County Top 22 honors and junior linebacker Brock Bush received all-county honorable mention.
RILEY COUNTY at SILVER LAKE
Silver Lake opened the Logan Pegram era with a 28-21 win over Riley County in the 2022 season-opener but the Falcons evened the score in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs, ending the Eagles' season with a 23-21 decision. Silver Lake went 6-3 on the year while Riley County posted a 3-7 record. Eagles senior quarterback Tanner Martin and receiver/defensive back Eli Barnes were both All-Shawnee County Top 22 picks in 2022. Martin completed 134 of 228 pass attempts for 2,175 yards and 16 touchdowns while Barnes caught 39 passes for 670 yards and five TDs and also picked off a pair of passes.
HAYDEN at OLPE
With a win Friday night Hayden coach Bill Arnold will record his 200th career victory as a head coach. Arnold enters Friday's game with a 199-65 career mark. The Wildcats went 10-2 last season, advancing to the Class 3A sub-state round while Olpe is coming off an 8-3 season. Hayden took a 21-7 decision over Olpe in the 2022 season-opener for both teams. Hayden senior Finn Dunshee and junior Jensen Schrickel were both TopSports.news All-Shawnee County Top 22 picks a year ago, with Dunshee rushing for 1,150 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns and Schrickel catching 35 passes for 686 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns.
CAIR PARAVEL LATIN at AXTELL
Cair Paravel Latin went 3-5 last season in its first-year as a full Kansas State HIgh School Activities Association member while Axtell posted a perfect 13-0 record and captured the Eight-Man Division II state title with a 78-28 win over Thunder Ridge in the state title game. Axtell beat CPLS 82-38 in last year's season-opener, with the Eagles rallying from a halftime deficit to dominate the second half. Cair Paravel senior quarterback Evan Will completed 90 of 132 passes for 995 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2022 while senior Jesiah Bonura had 40 receptions for 400 yards and five TDs and rushed for 250 yards.
HIGHLAND PARK at KANSAS CITY-WYANDOTTE
HIghland Park opened last season with a 60-47 Meadowlark Conference win over Wyandotte, with the Scots snapping an eight-year, 65-game losing streak. The Scots went on to post a 6-3 breakout season. Highland Park graduated an outstanding senior class, led by Shawnee County male athlete of the year Tre Richardson, but the Scots return some key players, including junior Jamon Wilson, who rushed for 393 yards, caught 10 passes for 116 yards and scored five touchdowns and five 2-point conversions. Also back for the Scots is standout offensive and defensive lineman Adrian Burney.
TOPEKA HIGH at MAIZE
Maize beat Topeka High 78-7 to open the 2022 season and went on to post a runnerup state finish in Class 5A, with the Eagles dropping a 28-14 decision to Mill Valley in the state final. Maize went 12-1 on the season while Topeka High is coming off a 1-8 campaign. Senior running back/defensive back Isaiah Kincade received All-Centennial League honors on defense last fall, and along with senior quarterback BJ Canady, is a four-year starter for the Trojans. High junior receiver Jayden Norman caught 61 passes for 879 yards and five touchdowns a year ago.