USD 231

Emporia, Kansas — In a thrilling showdown at Francis G. Welch Stadium on November 25, 2023, the Gardner Edgerton High School Trailblazers defeated the Derby Panthers 22-19 to claim the school’s first-ever 6A Kansas State High School Association (KSHSAA) Football Championship.

The championship game was a culmination of an outstanding season for the Blazers, led by Head Coach Jesse Owen. The team's dedication, hard work, and unwavering determination were on full display as they led a comeback after being down 13-0 for the majority of the first half. Before the end of the half, the Blazers were able to drive down the field and score with a Bravin Powell touchdown run. Powell would then come out in the third quarter to hit Colton Hawkinson, who caught an incredible touchdown reception to give the Blazers a 14-13 lead. The Blazers would not look back from that point on. Powell would add another touchdown and score on a two-point conversion to push the Blazer lead to 22-13. The Blazer defense, led by Mark Debiak, pressured the Derby offense the entire game. The defense held the Panthers to only one score in the second half, closing out the game on a 22-6 run.

The Blazers finish the season with a 12-1 record on the year. They also helped the Sunflower League sweep all sports and activities 6A State Titles for the fall season. 

The football team will be honored multiple times this week.

Monday, November 27, 2023
Todd Winter, Gardner Mayor, will recognize the team during the City’s Annual “Christmas in the Park”, at approximately 7:15 p.m. 

Friday, December 1, 2023
Gardner Edgerton High School Pep Assembly (Afternoon - Time is TBD)

Sunday, December 3, 2023
A parade honoring the team is being scheduled for the afternoon. Additional details will be shared later this week.

The entire school community is invited to join in recognizing and applauding the team's remarkable achievement.


2023 Schedule and Results





@ Shawnee Mission East

W 42-7


@ Shawnee Mission South

W 58-0


Olathe West

W 42-0


@ Mill Valley

W 49-10


Olathe North

W 21-14


@ Lawrence

W 35-6


Olathe East

L 21-7


Olathe South

W 53-21


Blue Valley North

W 45-0


Shawnee Mission Northwest

W 49-7


Blue Valley Northwest

W 28-6


Blue Valley

W 35-3



W 22-19

KSHSAA Playoff Bracket

6A Football Championship Derby vs Gardner Edgerton

For further information, please contact:
Gardner Edgerton High School
Jason Radel, Athletic Director
(913) 856-2600

About Gardner Edgerton High School
Gardner Edgerton High School is a public high school known for its commitment to academic excellence and a rich tradition of success in athletics. The Trailblazers football team's recent victory in the Kansas State High School Football Championship game adds to the school's proud legacy of achievements both on and off the field.