All games 7 p.m. Friday
Central Kansas League
Halstead at Smoky Valley
Halstead is coming off a 9-2 campaign last season, falling to Garden Plain 34-20 in the second-round of the Class 3A playoffs. Halstead returns six starters on offense and six starters on defense. Smoky Valley was 8-3 last season, falling to league rival Pratt in the Class 4A, Division I playoff quarterfinals 38-6. Halstead won 36-6 last season in Halstead.
Heart of America
Marion at Moundridge
Moundridge will look to continue its momentum from last season. After an 1-6 start, Moundridge won its final two games of the regular season to reach the Class 2-1A playoffs, where the Wildcats fell to Smith Center 52-0, finishing the season 3-7. Moundridge returns 13 starters from last season. Marion won its first six games to claim the HOAL title, but lost two of its last three games in district play to finish the year 7-2. The losses kept Marion out of the Class 3A playoffs. Marion won the game 26-0 last season.
Remington at Sterling
Remington was 2-7 last season. A 34-30 loss to Moundridge cost the Broncos a Class 2-1A state playoff berth. Quarterback Kyle Thiessen returns for the Broncos after passing for more than 1,200 yards last season. Sterling finished its first season in the HOAL 6-4 last year, 4-2 in league play. Sterling reached the Class 3A playoffs, falling to Hesston 48-8. The Black Bears debut head coach Matt Hendricks after previous coach Tyson Bauerle went to Hesston. Sterling beat Remington 60-18 last season.
Sedgwick at Ell-Saline
Sedgwick is coming off a 7-3 season last year, falling to Republic County 24-21 in the first round of the Class 2-1A playoffs. Sedgwick was 6-1 in league play last year. Jeff Werner returns to lead the Cardinals after a sabbatical year. The Cardinals return six offensive and eight defensive starters, including quarterback Hooper Schroeder, who passed for 1,779 yards and 20 touchdowns. Ell-Saline was 3-6 last season, losing its last five games. Ell-Saline lost to Sedgwick 21-18 last season, but won its next three straight.
Wheat State League
Goessel at Wakefield
Goessel went 5-4 last season, 3-3 in Wheat State League play and 2-3 in district play. The Bluebirds return six starters from last year, led by tight end Jordan Griffin with 574 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Goessel ended the season with a pair of losses, which kept the Bluebirds out of the Eight-Man I playoffs. Wakefield finished 7-3 last season, losing to Pike Valley in the first round of the Eight-Man Division II playoffs 54-8. Wakefield went 3-1 in league play, tying for second. Goessel beat Wakefield 38-24 last season.
Rural Vista at Peabody-Burns
Peabody-Burns went 5-5 last season, 1-3 in Wheat State League play. After a 1-3 start, the Warriors won four of the next five games to land in the Eight-Man I playoffs, falling to St. Paul 78-32 on the road. Rural Vista went 5-4 last season, starting the season 5-1 before losing its final three games. Rural Vista downed Peabody-Burns 58-8 last season.
Heart of the Plains
Fairfield at Burrton
Burrton was 0-9 last season, while Fairfield was 1-8. The sole win for Fairfield was over Burrton 40-30. Burrton struggled with injuries last season, finishing the year with few subs. The Chargers used four different quarterbacks last season, three of which are expected to return. Several key returnees at other skill positions are also expected back.
Garden Plain at Hesston
Hesston is coming off an 11-4 campaign that ended with a 48-42 overtime loss to Rossville in the Class 3A state championship game. The Swathers lost three of its first four games before catching fire the rest of the way. Tyson Bauerle makes his debut as Swather coach after leading Sterling. While Hesston lost some key components from last season, seven offensive and three defensive starters return. Junior running back Parker Roth had 1,270 yards rushing with 21 touchdowns. Garden Plain was 10-2 last season, tying for the Central Plains League title at 6-1. The Owls won their first six games in a row before falling to rival Conway Springs 21-20. In the Class 3A playoffs, the Owls lost to Hoisington 49-8 in the quarterfinals. Garden Plain edged Hesston 33-27 last season.