Junction City ( 9-1 ) hosts the Derby Panthers ( 7-2 ) in the substate ( semifinal ) round of the Class 6a postseason football playoffs Friday night. The winner advances to the state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 28th, at the Olathe-College Boulevard Activity Center.
Derby has played in five consecutive 6A state championship games and has won four of the five. Blue Jay coach Randall Zimmerman said Derby is a very good football team but so is Junction City. "I really like our chances when we're playing fast, playing with discipline, when we're playing with our eyes right." Zimmerman added it will take a great effort because the Blue Jays know what kind of team is coming into Al Simpler Stadium.
Derby averages 397 yards of rushing per game while the defense gives up an average of 241 yards per contest. The Blue Jays have thrown for 2,918 yards this season and have a strong running game.
This is the third playoff meeting in recent years between the two teams. Junction City defeated Derby 22-3 in 2008 while the Panthers defeated Junction City 46-27 in 2015.
The winner of the Junction City - Derby contest plays the winner of the Blue Valley North - Olathe North semifinal game in the state championship game.
Junction City and Derby will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday, with the pregame starting at 6:30 p.m. The contest can be heard on 107.9 FM / 1420 KJCK AM.