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NCKL Fall Preview

Christian D OrrAugust 29, 2022

The calendars in the world have turned to September, which means fall is in the air, and here in Kansas, fall in the air also means crowds grow each Friday night at local high school football stadiums to watch the current year’s athletes try to bring honor for their respective schools and towns.

The North Central Kansas League is no different as the six NCKL teams will all kick off the 2022 season on the gridiron Friday, September 2.

Over recent years, with so many schools across Kansas changing classifications and leagues, the NCKL has had a difficult time fulfilling its NCKL football schedule, and simply naming whichever team had the top winning % in NCKL contests as that year’s team champion.

In 2022, however, things are slightly different.

This year, the majority of the NCKL teams will meet up on the gridiron at one point or another during the regular season, thus allowing, probably, a true NCKL football champion to be crowned this year.

It, however, still remains a possibility to not be the a “true” champion, as 4 of the 6 NCKL teams will face the other 5 NCKL teams this year in football. Chapman and Wamego are the two schools that will not face each of the other teams, as those two schools were unable to set a date to meet each other on the grid iron. So, IF either of those two schools is in the running for the team title in football this year, there is a chance that a true champion will, once again, not be crowned.

Here is a look at each NCKL school and a look inside at each fall team each team will present for the 2022 fall campaign :

ABILENE

The Cowboy football team has fallen on rough times in recent years and is currently looking to snap a 25-game losing streak, which dates back to the end of the 2018 season when they lost to Ulysses 28-0 in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs. The previous week, the Cowboys defeated the same Ulysses team, 26-21, to close out the regular season, but the Abilene football team has not earned a victory since October 19, 2018. … The Cowgirl volleyball team is coming off a 24-14 record in 2021 and are scheduled to begin the 2022 season on September 1 when the Cowgirls will host Concordia, Hays-Thomas More Prep and Smoky Valley in a quadrangular. … The Abilene cross country teams will open the 2022 season when they run on Thursday, September 1 when they open the season by hosting the Abilene Invitational on Abilene’s Great Life golf course. … The Cowgirl tennis team will open its season on Thursday, August 25 when they compete in the Hesston tournament.

CHAPMAN

The Fighting Irish football team is looking to repeat as NCKL champion in 2022 as the Irish finished the 2021 season undefeated in their four NCKL games in 2021. The Irish were knocked out of the Class 3A playoffs in the opening round after falling 52-6 against Southeast of Saline. The Irish will open the 2022 campaign when they travel to NCKL foe Concordia on opening night. The Lady Irish volleyball team is looking to rebound this year, after suffering through a season that saw them post a 4-28 overall record and lost all 9 of their NCKL matches. The Lady Irish will open the 2022 season August 30 at Wabaunsee High School. … The Chapman harriers are schedule to open this season on Thursday, September 1, when they run at the Abilene Invitational. … The Lady Irish tennis team is also scheduled to begin their 2022 season on Thursday, September 1, when they play host to a quad against NCKL rivals Abilene, Concordia and Wamego.

CLAY CENTER

The Tiger football team is coming off a season in 2021 which saw them put together a 4-5, 1-4 record, with their lone NCKL victory coming against Abilene. The Tigers, who are scheduled to open the 2022 season at Wamego, did not qualify for the playoffs in 2021, but were able to close the season with back-to-back victories, topping Council Grove 66-8 and Scott City 28-0. … The Lady Tiger volleyball team is coming off a season that saw them post a 26-6 overall record and went 9-1 to win the NCKL team championship. The Lady Tigers are scheduled to begin the 2022 season on August 30 when they host a triangular with Southeast of Saline and Minneapolis. … The Clay Center harriers are scheduled to begin the 2022 season on Thursday, September 1, when they run at Concordia. … The Lady Tigers tennis squad is scheduled to begin this season on Thursday, September 1 when they serve as host to the Clay Center Invitational. … Clay Center is one of two NCKL schools to host girls’ golf and the Lady Tigers are scheduled to open the season on the links August 30 at Concordia, the only other NCKL school to have a girls’ golf team.

CONCORDIA

The Panther football team is coming off a 2021 season that saw them win their first 8 games of the season, before falling 54-14 against Andale in the Class 3A sectional round. Andale went on to win the 2021 Class 3A state championship. The Panthers are set to begin the 2022 campaign on Friday, September 2, when they play host to NCKL foe Chapman. … The Lady Panther volleyball team is coming off a 2021 season that saw them put together a 10-24 overall record and won just one NCKL match, to finish 1-8 and in 5th place. The Lady Panthers will open the 2022 season Saturday, August 27 at the Marysville tournament. … The Lady Panther tennis team is scheduled to begin the 2022 season Tuesday, August 30 at the Ellsworth Invitational. … The Lady Panthers are one of two NCKL schools to offer a golf team for girls and the Lady Panthers are scheduled to begin the 2022 season by serving as host to a golf tournament.

MARYSVILLE

The Bulldog football team is coming off a 2021 season that saw them put together a 2-7, 1-3 campaign, with their lone NCKL victory coming against Abilene. The Bulldogs did not qualify for the Class 3A playoffs, and are scheduled to begin the 2022 season September 2 when they play at Abilene. … The Lady Bulldog volleyball team posted a 28-13 record and went 5-5 in their 10 matches against NCKL opponents, to finish in third place in the league. The Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to begin this season Saturday, August 27 when they compete in the Shawnee Mission West tournament. … The Marysville cross country team is scheduled to begin the 2022 season on Saturday, September 3 when they host the Marysville Invitational. … The Lady Bulldog tennis team is scheduled to begin the season Saturday, September 3 at the Salina Central quad.

WAMEGO

The Red Raider football team is coming off a season that saw them post a 10-1 overall record, winning the first 10 games of the season, which propelled them into the Class 4A sectionals, before falling 48-0 against Andover Central, which played all the way into the Class 4A state championship game before falling to St. James Academy in the title game. … The Lady Raider volleyball team is coming off a season that saw them post a 17-20 overall record and a 5-4 mark to finish in 3rd place in the NCKL. The Lady Raiders are scheduled to open the 2022 season on August 29 when they play a triangular against Basehor-Linwood and Silver Lake. … The Wamego cross country teams are generally amongst the tops in not only the NCKL, but also the state, last year was no exception as the Red Raiders boys finished 2nd in the Class 4A meet with 67 points while the Lady Raiders finished 6th with 158 points. The Wamego harriers will open the 2022 season when they compete in Manhattan on Saturday, September 3. … The Lady Raider tennis team will open the season on August 25 when they play host to the 2022 Wamego Invitational on their home courts.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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