KSHSAA released postseason football assignments over the weekend. Seven of the eight schools in The Mercury’s coverage will be continuing their seasons into the playoffs.
All area teams will play their opening-round games at 7 p.m. Friday except Frankfort, which kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday.
Manhattan High (7-1) is the No. 2 seed in the west region of the Class 6A bracket and will host Wichita North (1-7). If seedings hold, Indians will be in line to host until the state semifinals, where they could run into undefeated, top-ranked Derby (8-0).
Wamego (7-1) is the No. 2 seed in the west region of the 4A playoff bracket and will host Great Bend (0-8). The Red Raiders were a one-point, quadruple-overtime loss away from a perfect regular season. They could face one-loss Andover Central (7-1) and Buhler (7-1) on their way to the state championship game. Rock Creek (5-3) and Riley County (8-0) both will be competing in the 3A bracket.
The undefeated Falcons finished first in their district and will host Russell (4-4) in the first round, while Rock Creek finished second in its district and will host Bishop Ward (4-4).
Galena (7-1), Frontenac (6-2) and Hayden (7-1) stand in between the Mustangs and the state semifinals, while undefeated defending state champion Andale (8-0), undefeated Cheney (8-0) and Wichita Collegiate (7-1) will be in the way of the Falcons returning to the state championship game for the first time since 2018.
In the 1A playoffs, Wabaunsee (5-3) will host Northern Heights (0-7) after a second-place district finish, while Valley Heights (3-4) will travel to Pleasanton (2-5).
Both teams most likely will have to get through district-champion Centralia (6-2) to reach the state semifinals. Wabaunsee beat the Panthers 45-40 last week; the Panthers walloped the Mustangs, 41-16, earlier in the year.
In the 8-Man Division II bracket, Frankfort (6-2) has quite a test in its opening round matchup, as it hosts Lakeside-Downs (6-2).
A win there will pit the Wildcats against undefeated Thunder Ridge — the same team that beat them 60-12 on Oct. 15.
Fellow 8-Man Div. II team Blue Valley-Randolph is the only area team left out of the playoffs.
But the Rams’ season isn’t over.
Blue Valley will take on Pike Valley in a non-playoff matchup Thursday.