Posted: August 24, 2010 - 10:08 AM
The Quinter Bulldogs enjoyed a Hollywood ending to their 2009 season by edging Baileyville B&B in the title game. But the defending state champs graduated a large and talented senior class and will have their work cut out for them if they are going to repeat. Instead, the teams we think will challenge for the 8M-I title have rosters loaded with playoff experience, and feature some of the state’s best players. Perhaps an unexpected team is poised to make a deep playoff run as several teams have made the move down from the 11-man ranks. Just as Quinter did three years ago.
Here's how we rank the Top 5 in 8-Man I:
1. Pretty Prairie
Seven starters return from last season's 11-1 team which fell to B&B in the state semi-finals. RB/LB Daniel Krehbiel (6-3, 200) returns as one of the state's top players after rushing for more than 1,600 yards and 28 TDs last fall. Returning with Krehbiel in the backfield is QB Hunter Pittman and RB Josh Kaufman. The three paced a Bulldog offense that averaged over 40 points per game in 2009.
The Eagles return five key players as they attempt to expand on last season's deep playoff run and capture that elusive state title. Gone is do-it-all QB Brayden Bloomfield who accounted for nearly 2,500 yards and 44 TDs last season. The strength of this year's Eagles will be upfront with returning starters Levi Cyphers (6-1, 220), Reed Bergstrom (6-2, 250), and James Quillen (6-0, 230).
Fred McClain's Bulldogs return several key players from last season's 8-2 playoff qualifier. Kale Schankie returns to lead a Bulldog defense that gave up just 12 points per game and posted four shutouts last season. The offense returns QB Collin Kile and a backfield featuring Kole Schankie and Zach Fox. Madison also has a weapon in all-state kicker Dylan Barnard.
4. Hill City
Last season marked the first playoff appearance in Hill City's long school history. Reggie Jordan was a big part of that. The talented QB returns after amassing more than 1,600 yards on the ground and 750 more through the air for a combined 33 TDs. Adam Pfeifer also returns in the backfield to give the Ringnecks multiple offensive options.
5. Central Burden
Head Coach Jeff Savage worked his turnaround magic last fall in the South Central Border League by leading the Raiders to a 7-3 mark and a rare playoff appearance. Expectations are now high as the Raiders have several impact players back including Savage's son Bo at QB. Bo threw for 2,200 yards and 36 TDs last fall. He will be joined in the backfield by Ky Biddle who finished just shy of 1,000 yards rushing last season to go along with 15 TDs.
Others considered: Burlingame, Cedar Vale-Dexter, Claflin, Colony Crest, Goessel, Kiowa County, Jetmore, Lebo, Macksville, Mankato-Rock Hills, Minneola, Osborne, Oxford, Pratt Skyline, Quinter, Sedan, Southern Cloud, South Gray, St. Paul
Kpreps.com will feature detailed state rankings for each class updated every Monday throughout the season. Be sure to check out the Rankings section of our site to see who is in our Top 5 each week.
Wednesday (8/25): 2-1A Rankings