The Kansas State High School Activities Association's Eight-Player football championships return to Newton's Fischer Field for the 13th year on Nov. 24. Here are a few highlights of what fans can expect:
1. Double the fun
Unlike most championship sites, Newton hosts not one but two state title games, with teams from Division I and Division II battling it out for the ultimate football bragging rights this weekend.
2. Going for the trifecta
Not only is there the potential for a repeat champion this year, but the Hanover Wildcats will in fact be seeking their third straight title in the Eight-Player Division II final. It's a feat Hanover attempted just less than a decade ago after earning back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009 before falling to eventual champion Baileyville B&B in the sub-state round in 2010.
To cap off the three-peat this time around will be no easy feat, either, as Hanover will face off with perennial contender Osborne in Saturday's championship game. For fans of high-octane football, it should be a good game. Both teams enter the contest averaging 50-plus points per contest and have one loss between them — one Osborne took to defending Eight-Player Division I champion Hoxie.
Hanover and Osborne will face off at 11 a.m. Nov. 24 for the Division II state title.
3. A new dynasty?
Roughly two decades ago, Claflin-Central Plains was in the midst of an impressive run in Class 2-1A football, reeling off three straight state titles from 1997 to 1999. Things have changed a bit since then, as Class 2-1A is now two separate classes and the Oilers are now competing in Eight-Player Division I (instead of 11-man football).
Since that switch, Central Plains has already collected one more state title (2014), but as strong as the team has been this season it might be looking at the start of another dominant tradition — as the Oilers have shut out all but two opponents (Ness City and defending Division I champion Hoxie) on the road to the title game.
In contrast, the Oilers' opponent will be looking to start a new tradition — as the Solomon Gorillas are making their first state title game appearance in 2018. After avenging its lone loss of the season to Canton-Galva in the sub-state round, Solomon is looking to claim its first-ever football championship.
The Division I title game will kick off at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
If you go:
When: 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Nov. 24
Where: Fischer Field, Newton
How much: Tickets are $6 for students (K-12) and $8 for adults.