The college football teams from the Mount Rushmore State are invading Kansas this weekend. No, they won’t be bringing George Washington, Lincoln or Jefferson with them but South Dakota State and South Dakota will provide season-opening action for Kansas and Kansas State Saturday.
Actually it might make for a more entertaining weekend if the two South Dakota schools swapped opponents. SD State plays Kansas and South Dakota plays K-State. The Jackrabbits of SD State are no easy mark. They will be gunning for their fifth straight NCAA playoff berth and are coming off of a 9-5 season. South Dakota is the weak sister of the two and they were 2-10 last year and have struggled to a 3-19 conference mark in the past three years in the bruising Missouri Valley Football Conference.
The Missouri Valley Conference is the home of North Dakota State and Wildcat fans should remember the Bison coming into Manhattan two years ago and taking a victory. ND State has won four straight FCS national championships so the schools in that conference know good football.
The Jackrabbits are a tough assignment for a young and shorthanded Jayhawk team. This one won’t be easy and , in fact, many are calling for a win by SD State. Any win will be a BIG win this year for new coach David Beaty. This could be KU’s best and only chance. New coach enthusiasm should help the Jayhawks. KU 27, SD State 21.
South Dakota U. are Coyotes. Kansas State is called Wildcats. Wiley Coyote succeeds because of his speed but these Coyotes haven’t seen the kind of speed that Kansas State will put on the field.
This is not North Dakota State. K-State 54, South Dakota 13.
LEAVENWORTH AT GREAT BEND-Great Bend couldn’t score last year in a 19-0 loss to Leavenworth. That’s not going to happen this year. Look for improved offensive play from the Panthers this year in coach Tony Crough’s second season. A more wide-open offense looks to score more AND win more. Four starters on offense and defense return and will be bolstered by a solid JV team from last year.
After Leavenworth the Panthers are on the road for three straight so this is an important game to get off to a good start. Leavenworth has the long trip this year and it will show. Great Bend 20, Leavenworth 13.
LARNED AT HOISINGTON- This game could very likely decide the West Division champion of the Central Kansas League so opening game or not, this is HUGE for both ball clubs. Last year Larned nipped Hoisington 21-20 in 2 overtimes and after that the fortunes of the two teams took different paths. The Cardinals won 9 straight and marched into the playoffs. Larned lost a heartbreaker the next week to LaCrosse and won only 3 games the rest of the season.
Both clubs return a lot of offensive weapons so look for more fireworks than last year. Larned struggled to score in the “red zone” last year . Hoisington simply overpowered people. Larned’s A.B. Stokes and Hoisington’s Zach Baird have been aware of the importance of this game since last year. This will be Kansas high school football at its finest. Good teams, season opener, early Fall weather and a big crowd. Don’t miss it! Larned 26, Hoisington 19.
BEST OF THE REST- Ellinwood over St. John, Central Plains over Victoria, Olpe beats LaCrosse , Otis-Bison mauls Macksville and Olathe Northwest ambushes the Hays High Indians.