August 6, 2010
KEY GAME Trinity Academy at Maize South October 15
Trinity played several of its home games at Maize South in its first two seasons of 11-man football; this year they actually play Maize South, in its first season of district play in school history (two years), possibly for a playoff spot. South will have to find a way to stop Morgan Burns, who looks to pile up yardage in his senior season.
Two area programs have dominated the headlines the last five seasons: Hutchinson, first, then Andale.
The Indians have lost just four games from 2005 to 2009, none of which have come to a Class 4A team in the area. They have lost to Hayden twice and Winfield and Ulysses once. That’s it in five seasons, yet Andale did not make sub-state in 2009 for the first time since 2004. State champs in 2006 and 2007, Andale fell prey to 7-4 Hayden, less impressive than in recent years, at sectionals, 23-10.
There were no hiccups at the beginning of 2009 as there were in 2008, when Andale escaped with a 6-0 season-opening win over Clearwater, then lost at Winfield. Andale pounded Clearwater and skated past Winfield, then rolled through the season, including yet another win over new contender Buhler, 41-28.
Wellington, formerly tops in 4A, will get an early shot in 2010 at home against Andale, which has beaten the Crusaders six straight. Thereafter, Andale will be challenged by Rose Hill and Collegiate, though their district seems to offer few new challenges.
Maybe not, though. Trinity Academy, lacking size at the line of scrimmage, enters its third season of 11-man football with two senior standout backs and linebackers in Morgan Burns and Austin Kessinger. Two players won’t be able to beat Andale, but first-year coach Tyler Ryan takes over a maturing program.
Cheney, missing from the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, rejoins Andale in district play for the first time since 1999, back when the Cardinals, Andale, Medicine Lodge and Conway Springs used to punch one another out for the one available playoff berth.
While those four schools combined to lose one non-district game in 1998 and 1999 combined, the district of Andale and Cheney rounds out in 2010 with Trinity and Maize South, schools which have combined for three seasons of 11-man football in school history. Maize South, after playing a seven-game schedule in 2009 with no district play, gets its first taste of meaningful October football, with an outside shot at nabbing the second playoff spot up for grabs. –Tom Witherspoon
Advancing: Andale, Trinity Acad.