Monday, August 10, 2015

Regular Season Predictions 2015: Week 1 (Part 2)

In preparation for the new season, we will be taking a look at the season on a week-to-week basis. This can also be seen as my season preview each team this season. I'll split the first week up into two parts considering the unusually large amount of games. Onto the second half of opening week!

Olathe North vs. Rogers Heritage (Ark.)

Photo by "Unknown", 2014
This is another case where I know almost nothing about the non-Sunflower team aside from recent records and how they did the year before. The Rogers Heritage Eagle finished 4-9 last season. Among those losses was an 18-13 loss to Olathe North. From what I heard, the game was far from perfect for either team and Olathe North barely escaped Arkansas with a win.

A year has passed and we'll be looking at a fairly new faced squad for ONHS. However, I don't really see this being as big of an issue as others may think. The only issue the Eagles have is the offensive line and some spots on the linebacker side. A lot of starters were lost on both sides but I wouldn't bet against their replacements. The major skill positions on offense should be just fine assuming QB Matt Wright is capable of starting and playing at the same level we saw him play in Arkansas last year. Arkansas may be crazy about football, but that doesn't necessarily mean every school is good. Heritage never really competed in most of its losses (They lost by an average of 19.56 points). I have a lot of faith that our Eagles will be able to persevere against a relatively unknown opponent just like they did last year.

We see a game very similar to last year. Olathe North gets off to the usual slow start to the season and gets stuffed on their first few drives while giving up a couple scores going into halftime. They finally get into gear and in a mad dash to score, manage to hold off Heritage and score on short drives and turnovers. North does it's best to show it's still good and sends Heritage back home with a very close and mind-boggling loss.
Winner: Olathe North 16-12

Olathe South vs. Hutchinson

I currently work with a graduate of last year's Olathe South squad and after talking with him for a few hours about the state of team, I'm not as sure about how this year's squad will turn out. I initially picked the Falcons to win but with this new information and the fact that Hutchinson is the current 6A State Runner-Up, I'll have to change my mind.

Olathe South obliterated the Salthawks last year 24-2 and went on to finish 7-3 while Hutch actually finished 8-5 at the state championship game. Both teams should be motivated but Olathe South and Hutch both lack any defined playmakers who could tip the scale either way. What makes Hutch the favorite here is the rash of injuries that plagued the team last year and forced them to test their depth. That should benefit them greatly to start the season.

Both teams struggle to score as the mental mistakes of either offenses turn everything into a big game of hot potato. Hutch's experience helps them in the fourth quarter as they are first to find their groove and run out the clock just enough to make a comeback impossible.
Winner: Hutchinson 17-10

SM East vs. Gardner-Edgerton

Remember when everybody feared the big bad Trailblazers during districts? It feels like decades ago now after watching the team fail to win a single game last season. I wouldn't have said this two years ago but now, it doesn't take an in-depth analysis to tell which team is clearly better. Maybe Gardner has improved enough to make a game out of things (compared to last year's 40-0 shutout anyways), but I wouldn't expect things to be much better this year unless there are some magical starters returning for the Trailblazers.

SM East rolls over a Gardner team that might spend another season looking for answers. The flexbone proves effective once again and we witness a 400-yard rushing frenzy in a huge blowout.
Winner: SM East 49-6

SM North vs. SM South

A good number of people (myself included) are curious about these two teams. They combined to go 5-15 (.333 win %), which isn't anything to write home about, but many are wondering if either of these teams are close to becoming truly competitive and winning the close games. It'll really be a battle between SM North's offense and South's defense which should both be good units that might regress a bit due to losing some key seniors like WR Nick Perez and RB Dalton LeWallen.

If any matchup showcases two teams working out a lot of kinks, it would be this one. Both teams struggle out the gate on offense and only a touchdown is scored by each side by halftime. SM South experiences the same struggles they had last year and fail to capitalize on the week Indian defense and bow out for the second half.
Winner: SM North 21-7

SM Northwest @ Blue Valley

Photo by the Kansas City Star, 2014
There isn't much to this one. Blue Valley showed how good they were last year and blue away the hapless Cougars who aren't expected to do much better this year. This game ending even relatively close would be a huge step forward for SM Northwest.

Blue Valley jumps out early by three scores and hold off a poor Cougar offense throughout the entire first half. Northwest scores a few times in garbage time late in the fourth, but it's too little too late in a bad opening game.
Winner: Blue Valley 37-14

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