Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sunflower League Preview: Week 2

Week-2 Scoreboard
9/10 - Thursday
Olathe Northwest 12 @ SM West 20

9/11 - Friday
Lawrence 41 vs Leavenworth 14
SM North 29 vs SM Northwest 44
Olathe South 14 vs Olathe East 6
Olathe North 24 vs Free State 20
SM East 49 vs SM South 0


Olathe Northwest vs SM West (@ SM South) 
Entering week-2, the Ravens go on the road to face the Vikings. It goes without saying, that with 12 teams in the league it is impossible to play every one each season. Some times a team can go, two, possibly three seasons without seeing an opponent in a twelve team league. In that time, they could meet in the State Playoffs once District play was over after week-9.

SM West and Tim Callaghan have had quite a bit of success against the Ravens. The Vikings striking first, convincingly won the first five games of this series, including a 2006 playoff win. Since the hiring of Chip Sherman to the Ravens in 2013, the Ravens have won the last two meetings in '13 and '14, and is 3W-3L in all meetings vs. the Vikings from 2009 to 2014 since joining the Sunflower League.  
* SM West is 5-2 All-Time vs the Ravens
* Met in 2006 First Round of 6A playoffs, and 1 of 3 playoff games in ONW history
* Chip Sherman's most notable win against the Vikings came in 2010, when his Lancers finished 8-2 and became Co-Sunflower Champions (with SM West, ON & OS)


Lawrence vs Leavenworth (@ Leavenworth)
The Leavenworth Pioneers joined the Sunflower League in all sports entering the 1981-82 school year. Unlike most teams inside of Johnson County, opponents like Lawrence and even Free State appear often on the schedule of the Pioneers. This season is no different, yet since the arrivals and departures of Kevin Kopecky, and Mark Littrell (formerly of Olathe South) tides have turned towards the Pioneers favor in recent seasons.

At this early juncture of the season it is impossible to gauge any specific teams strengths and weakness' after one week of play. One thing setting this meeting aside unlike their prior 33 games, is that Leavenworth will feature QB Drew Sachen and a much improved offense from previous years. The Chesty Lions will be carrying some firepower as well with Senior RB Amani Bledsoe who is on the watchlist of many college recruiters locally and nationally.
* Lawrence leads the series 31-2 in 33 games played 1981-2014
* Dirk Wedd is 13-2 in 15 games coached
* The Pioneers have fielded 10 different Head Coaches since 1981, while the Lions only three: Bill Freeman, Dick Purdy, and alumnus Dirk Wedd.

SM North vs SM Northwest (@ SM North) - "Hula Bowl"
In a Rivalry Week-2 game, the intra-District game of the Indians and Cougars creates an intriguing matchup. The last time the Indians won this game was in the 2001 season led by former Head Coach, and son Sam and Mack Brown at QB. During a stretch from 2002 to 2014, the Indians have lost 12 straight games. Since that 2001 win by the Indians, they have shuffled through three former coaches to date: Ryan Majors, Dennis Grayless, and Don Simmons.

This is a second straight week the Indians can continue to make strides and in other words "upset" the Cougars. Yes, an upset. For many of us who are familiar with this last decade of SFL Football, the Grand Opening of the new SMSD-North Football Stadium for the 2006 season was a blessing in disguise, and a big step forward for the District in facilities upgrades that were decades overdue.

During that 2006 season and Grand Opening of the new Football field, these teams played their most competitive game to date on that night. SM Northwest upset the Indians "on the road" in the final minutes of the 4Q with a 24-21 win.
* SM Northwest leads the series 24-20 in 44 All-Time meetings
* NW has won 12 straight games spanning two decades
* First Hula Bowl for Bo Black, 13th for Ben Bartlett

Olathe South vs Olathe East (@ CBAC)
In a meeting of another local flavor, the Falcons look to rebound from a disappointing loss to Hutch, while the Hawks too are looking to gain confidence from a long road trip to Garden City.

These two are no strangers to each other. Olathe East opened in the Fall of 1992, and for the longest time, both met in District play the first 14 seasons against each other. That all ended after the '05 season as they began to meet on the schedule throughout random weeks due to the increase of High Schools to the league: Free State in '97 and Olathe Northwest in '04. Look for Falcons RB #22 DeaVonte Nance to make an impact on offense and for the Hawks themselves, stop a young offense.
* The Hawks lead the series 14W-12L in 26 meetings
* OS Jeff Gourley is 4-4 from 2008-2014, while Jesse Owen is 0-0 vs Olathe South
* The Falcons are 4-1 in their last five meetings dating back to 2011

Olathe North vs Free State (@ ODAC)
The Olathe North Eagles are home, taking on the Firebirds of Free State. Both teams are coming off disappointing Week-1 losses byless than 10 points. One of the that could be a tough hole to dig out of.

Both of these teams know each other very well. With both looking to make some bigger strides in the weeks ahead, these two power house programs with playoff hopes in the forefront will compete to the final whistle to come out as the winner.
* Olathe North leads the series 14W-6L
* Olathe North is 3-2 in their last five meetings, with two playoff meetings in '13 & '14
* In 2001, 2009, and 2013, the Eagles swept the Firebirds twice both in the regular season and playoffs

SM East vs SM South (@ SM South) 
With a second Rivalry game inside the SMSD #512, the Lancers and Raiders renew this intense match under a new Raiders regime led by Brett Oberzan. Since the 2005 season, the Raiders have found themselves in the hole with a 1W-9L record against the Lancers. Both teams since the 2000 season have stood the test of time of multiple Head Coaching changes, and both consistently inconsistent play.

Historically, these two teams met forever and a day in week-9 as the final game of the season and District play up until 10 years ago that all changed. The Lancers have won five in a row since 2010, and have no plans of backing off the gas pedal. South is young, with no returning starters from the 2014 season while the Lancers groom a young and talented JR QB Luke Kaiser to fill the cleats of departed Gunnar Englund.
* SM South owns the series record 30-18-1 in 49 all-time meetings
* First year SM South Principal and former SM East Head Coach Dr. Todd Dain is 1-2 All-Time vs the Raiders from 2000-2002
* SM East is 9-1 since 2005. Prior to 2005, the Raiders were 6-4 from 1995 to 2004 (all week-9 District games)
* In 2013, the Raiders took the Lancers to OT, only to fall 27-21

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