August 10, 2010
Last season, Conway Springs made its earliest exit from the playoffs (regionals) since 2000, losing 33-28 to Trinity Catholic on a miracle play in the final minute. Caleb Brill, who accumulated 2,340 all-purpose yards and 37 touchdowns in 2009, graduated, but a large group of backs return capable of such statistics by committee, including Brian Doffing, Cory Misak, Matt Seiwert and Austin Pauly.
The playoff road for the young Cardinals will get difficult quickly, just as in 2009. With the movement of Garden Plain to District 10, there could also be a Cardinals-Owls re-match as soon as this season’s regionals.
Following two consecutive winless seasons, Kingman drops down to Class 3A, in addition to entering the new Central Kansas League. Three schools are on the schedule which Kingman has played in the past five seasons. One team which was winless last season will end the streak in the season opener on September 3 – Haven at Kingman.
Chaparral is on a skid of five consecutive two-win seasons, though they begin anew under first-year coach Justin Burke, who is 61-34 as a head coach, most recently for five seasons at Dodge City (26-22). One of his assistants is Taylor Zeka, a state champ quarterback at Wellington in 2001 who returns next door to Sumner County after coaching quarterbacks at Broken Arrow (Okla.).
Medicine Lodge, stuck behind Garden Plain and Conway Springs the last two seasons in district play, looks to return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2006 and 2007 seasons, which ended in bi-district play against the Owls. Medicine Lodge has beaten Chaparral seven consecutive times, though the Roadrunners should give them their best shot since Tony Cincelli ran for 282 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-21 win over the Indians in 2002. –Tom Witherspoon
Advancing: Conway Springs, Medicine Lodge