State title 1

The stage is set. In one corner sits Derby (11-0), a team gunning for its fourth straight state championship and eighth in program history.

In the other corner sits Blue Valley Northwest (11-1), a team whose current seniors helped rebuild the program from an 0-9 season in 2018 to one win away from its first state football title.

The Huskies are not a team to be taken lightly nor a Cinderella story. BV Northwest has been a force in the 6A East all season long.

Led by head coach Clint Rider, the Huskies went 11-1 this season, with the lone loss coming to St. Thomas Aquinas in week seven. BV Northwest dismantled its closest rivals, including a 35-21 win over Blue Valley North and a 21-0 win over Blue Valley West in week eight.

As the top seed in the East, the Huskies cruised to the substate title game with a 62-0 win over Harmon, a 68-31 thumping of Olathe South and a 56-27 win over Olathe North. BV Northwest defeated Blue Valley West 35-7 in the 6A East sub-state to advance to the state championship game.

Senior quarterback Mikey Pauley rushed for four touchdowns in the sub-state game and will be a player the Panthers will need to contain in the state championship.

“Pauley is a very good quarterback,” head coach Brandon Clark said. “He can run, and he can throw really well. He is huge with a very athletic, fast offensive line. They have a lot of weapons with some good wide receivers, tight end and running back.”

The 6-5, 210 Nebraska baseball commit is a physical runner but has no issue throwing the ball deep or on the run to his many weapons down the field. In addition, Pauley has good scrambling ability that will keep the defense on its toes all game long.

Derby has given up some big pass plays this postseason and that will need to be an area of emphasis all week.

Defensively the Huskies are an aggressive bunch that will show multiple looks out of a 4-3 base defense.

“They are the fastest defense that I’ve seen on film,” Clark said. “They really fly around, play loose, run to the ball and are very aggressive.”

The Panthers may need to open up the playbook to try to throw off the defense. Derby ran a pair of trick plays in the sub-state game that helped open up the run game after Lawrence stacked the box to limit the run.

As the final practices of the season commence, the biggest thing that coach Clark wants to see out of his squad is focus and drive to finish the fight. Clark wants to see his players locked in and bring the energy throughout practice this week.

“We always enjoy it, and we talk to the kids that this is where we want to be, but we are not going to just be excited that we are here,” Clark said. “Our goal is to win the game, so when it comes to meeting and practice, we are going to get our kids locked in and still pushing them. We are still trying to peak, and we want to peak on Saturday.”

Cody Friesen is the sports editor for the Derby Informer. Contact him with sports tips at sports@derbyinformer.com, and follow @Derby_Sports on Twitter for the latest updates. 

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sports@derbyinformer.com

Cody Friesen is the sports editor for the Derby Informer. Contact him with sports tips at sports@derbyinformer.com, and follow @Derby_Sports on Twitter for the latest updates.