Back to back to back: Football wins third straight 6A title

Panthers win sixth title in eight seasons, seven overall

Blake Chadwick

In the Class 6A title game, a rematch of 2017 and 2018, the Blue Valley North Mustangs took on the Derby Panthers.

It started out as a dog fight, but Derby won 56-31 for its sixth title in eight seasons and third straight. 

Senior quarterback Lem Wash accounted for 7 touchdowns and cemented his name in Derby history. 

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Wash, who completed 16 of 19 passes for 239 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 110 yards. “There’s no way I could do any of this without the rest of the team. They have been my rock all season.”

It was emotional, especially for the seniors, after a season that included a season-opening loss and two games canceled due to Covid-19.

“Nothing can describe what this means to me,” senior Tanner Knox said. “It is truly a blessing to be able to do this, and I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.”

Senior Cason Lindsey, who had an interception in the game, agreed.

“We are a part of something greater than just football — a program that creates legacies after legacies,” Lindsey said.

The Panthers started out fast as Wash found running back Dylan Edwards for an 18-yard touchdown. Edwards finished with 170 rushing yards.

As for the Mustangs, quarterback Henry Martin was able to march his way right down the field and toss a touchdown himself.

And that’s how it went as the teams traded blows for multiple possessions. 

After two straight stops for both teams, the Panthers found the end zone once again as Wash hit his favorite target, Reid Liston, for their first connection of the day. 

The defense got another stop, thanks to an Andon Carpenter sack and the flood gates opened. 

The Panthers scored again off of a Liston-Wash connection. Liston finished with eight receptions, 142 yards and three touchdowns.

And after an interception on the ensuing possession by the Derby defense, the Panthers got the ball back with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first half.

That’s when Derby dipped into its bag of tricks — Liston threw to Drake Thatcher, who was wide open on a reverse passing touchdown. 

In just 4:32, the game went from a 21-all tie to a blowout for the Panthers as they scored 21 unanswered and led 42-21 at halftime. 

After a slower-paced second half, Derby remained in control.


Editor Sara Brown contributed to this story.