Northwest football clobbers Wyandotte, secures district title
There’s no such thing as a formality when it comes to the outcome of high school football games, but Friday night might have been as close as it gets.
Claiming their second Class 6A district championship in a row, the Shawnee Mission Northwest football team traveled to Wyandotte High School Friday night and waylaid a punchless Bulldog team, 54-20. The win gave the Cougars a spotless 3-0 record in district play and set them up in a first-round state playoff matchup against Sunflower League foe Shawnee Mission East. The victory also improved the Cougars’ overall record to 4-5.
The Bulldogs had made for easy pickings for their first two district opponents, Leavenworth and Shawnee Mission North who had put up more than 120 points combined against Wyandotte. The Cougars, who had beaten both North and Leavenworth in previous weeks, had a good feeling they might gain the upper hand early in the contest.
“We did exactly what we wanted to do,” Northwest coach Aaron Barnett said. “We dressed 58 kids and we played 58 kids. Our second- and third-string guys got a lot of time and lots of experience. I thought we played good defense and (senior running back) Austin Vanderpool got us started on offense. Before the end of the first quarter we were able to start rotating in at certain positions.”
The Cougars built up a 21-0 lead after one quarter and turned that into a 28-8 advantage by halftime. The scoring pace did not slow with the second and third teams in as the Cougars piled up another 19 points in the third quarter and led 47-8 going into the final quarter. A pair of late Bulldog touchdowns allowed Wyandotte to escape with just a 34-point loss.
Barnett and the Cougars now turn their attention to Shawnee Mission East. The Lancers defeated Northwest, 28-3, in the second week of the season. East is known for its offensive prowess and features a strong-armed quarterback, Dakota Collins, and a vertical threat passing game. Though the Lancers’ starting quarterback was injured at mid-season, he has now returned to the East lineup just in time for the playoffs.
“They’re a very good football team,” Barnett said. “They’ve definitely had our number the past couple of years. They’re better than their 5-4 record indicates. I think a couple of those losses were when they had their starting quarterback out.”
Barnett knows that the Lancers will be hard to prepare for, but he also believes that the November Cougars are a different team than East faced in September.
“Defensively, I think we’re better than where we were when we played them,” Barnett said. “Of course, they probably feel they are better now than they were in September, too. They’re going to throw the ball and get their yards. We’ve just got to stop the big play and keep them in front of us.
“Offensively, in the first game we played against them, we had the ball inside their 10-yard line twice and were not able to punch it in. We’ve got to be stronger in that regard.”
Northwest and East will play at 7 p.m. Friday at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium. The winner will advance to the Class 6A state quarterfinals.