Football returns to 6A title game

Panthers beat Junction City and will play for their third straight title on Nov. 28.

Blake Chadwick

Derby is still dominant.

Despite losing two regular season games, including its first AVCTL loss since 2014. Despite two canceled games due to Covid-19.

But the Panthers (8-2) proved Friday they weren’t done writing their chapter of the Derby legacy by advancing to the Class 6A title game with a 62-27 win over Junction City. The Panthers ended Junction City’s nine-game winning streak.

Coming into the game against Junction City, the Panthers knew that if they wanted to win, they would have to throw the first punch, and that is exactly what the Panthers did. 

Except the Panthers also kept their foot on the necks of the Bluejays like so many Derby teams of the past. 

“We knew that if we brought the intensity, the rest would take care of itself,” senior quarterback Lem Wash said.

The dangerous backfield of Wash and sophomore Dylan Edwards continued to wreak havoc for opposing teams as the two got onto Junction City early.

Edwards scored the first touchdown after the Derby defense forced a Bluejay punt.

Wash ran for four touchdowns and threw for one. He had 265 rushing yards on 32 carries while also completing 7 of 11 passes for 120 yards.

Edwards also had himself a day as he had four touchdowns again, adding a few more exclamation points to his stellar sophomore season. He finished with 252 rushing yards.

“It feels unreal man. This team has been through so much adversity and for us to be going where we are going is amazing,” Wash said about returning to the state championship game.

This win against Junction makes it six straight championship appearances, and a potential three-peat on the way.

The Panthers will play the Blue Valley North Mustangs (7-2) on Nov. 28 at Olathe’s College Boulevard Activity Center. Derby’s lone loss in the title game in the past eight seasons was to BV North in 2017.