When the preseason rankings were released way back in August, Sedgwick County sat at #1 and West Grand checked in at #6. Throughout the season, the Cougars remained atop the polls while the Mustangs made a steady climb, finally settling in right behind them. Now, they meet in the campaign’s final clash, with the 8-man championship on the line.
In its hunt for a third consecutive title, Sedgwick County has only allowed 114 total points, holding all but two opponents to 14 or fewer. One of those teams that reached the end zone more than twice was Perkins County, who reached the quarterfinals of Nebraska’s D-1 playoffs. During their playoff run, the Cougars have outscored the opposition 134-14. They have posted victories over McClave, Fowler and Holly.
Offense has not been an issue for the Cougars, either, as they have scored at least 40 points in each of their last nine games. They opened the season with a 27-0 win over Yuma in an 11-man contest and then held off Perkins County 33-28. Entering the final game, their highest scoring game was a 57-14 decision over Merino. Outside of the game with Perkins County, the next closest game for the Cougars was a 48-24 win over Akron. In that contest, Sedgwick County trailed 8-0 after just a few minutes of action, but then scored on six straight possessions.
West Grand brings in the state’s top scoring defense, having allowed 80 points on the season. The bulk of those have come during the playoffs. The Mustangs have held off Norwood (24-14), Sargent (30-24) and Soroco (38-28) to make the championship game. Last week, West Grand trailed Soroco 22-8 at the half, before getting things straightened out. Heading into the postseason, the Mustangs had posted five straight shutouts.
While the Mustangs have not had the same kind of success on offense in the playoffs, they still come in with the most points scored in the state. Thanks to a regular season in which they scored 50 or more points five times, the Mustangs enter the championship game having scored 488 points, 21 more than Sedgwick County. During the regular season, West Grand scored at least 40 points every time they stepped on the field.
Neither program is a stranger to state championship hardware. West Grand owns two titles, as does Sedgwick County, but there is more in the trophy cases. The Mustangs reached five championship games in the 1990s, winning two in a three year span. After finishing second in 1991 and 1995, the Mustangs won titles in 1996 and 1998. They also added another second place finish in 1997. All of that was in Class 1A.
This is the third straight title game for Sedgwick County, who beat Akron 36-6 and 41-11 in the last two championship clashes. Those are the only other appearances in the short history of the co-op program, but the individual communities that make up the co-op have a plethora of hardware. Revere, who is tied with Cherry Creek for the fourth most titles in state history with nine, won titles in 6-man, 8-man and Class A. On top of the school’s nine titles, it also finished second three times. Ovid, who would later become known as Revere, won the Class C-6 championship in 1956 and a Class C-8 crown in 1962. Julesburg owns three championships, winning the Class A crown in 1963, and then Class AA titles in 1964 and 1967. Sedgwick claimed second place in 8-man in 1965.
The game can be seen live through a video stream at www.nfhsnetwork.com.
WEST GRAND MUSTANGS (12-0)
|Brady Gore||1,071 yards||10 TD’s|
|Luis Dominguez||310 yards||4 TD|
|Hugh Wheatley||987 yards||14 TD’s|
|Luis Dominguez||937 yards||25 TD’s|
|Brady Gore||362 yards||2 TD’s|
|Luke Mogck||17-533 yards||5 TD’s|
|Hugh Wheatley||9-410 yards||4 TD’s|
|Jake Bentler||16-342 yards||5 TD’s|
|Josh O’Hotto||127 tackles||3 sacks — 2 Fum recoveries|
|Noah Schroeder||103 tackles||5 sacks –|
|Jordan Knight||94 tackles||2 Fum Recoveries|
|Luis Dominguez||71 tackles||6 INT’s — 4 Fum Recoveries|
|Austin Stauffer||65 tackles||5 sacks –|
|Marcos Ramirez||43 tackles||7 sacks — 2 INT’s — 2 Fum Rec.|
|Marcus Sanchez||37 tackles||2 INT’s — 2 Fum recoveries|
|Hugh Wheatley||36 tackles||5 INT’s|
SEDGWICK COUNTY COUGARS (11-0)
|Brennan Ehmke||1,627 yards||20 TD’s|
|Ethan Walter||36 yards||1 TD|
|Layne Green||1,525 yards||22 TD’s|
|Beau Parker||733 yards||11 TD’s|
|Brennan Ehmke||295 yards||8 TD’s|
|Cole McKinley||43-864 yards||13 TD’s|
|Layne Green||10-327 yards||3 TD’s|
|Terrance Heath||11-301 yards||4 TD’s|
|Colton Woodhams||91 tackles||2 Fum recoveries|
|Dalton Carlson||69 tackles||3 INT’s|
|Beau Parker||67 tackles||2 INT’s — 2 Fum recoveries|
|Layne Green||64 tackles||3 Fum recoveries|
|Ethan Walter||50 tackles|
|Cole McKinley||43 tackles|
|Chandon Dunker||35 tackles||2 Fum recoveries|
|Eric Alcala||34 tackles||2 sacks|
|Fabian Lopez||3 sacks — 2 Fum recoveries|
|Brennan Ehmke||3 INT’s|
|Trevor Barowsky||2 INT’s|