Friday, September 30, 2016

Weeks 3 &4 Under Review

Who's Up/Down

Shawnee Mission East (3-1) - Despite just barely losing to Rockhurst in Week 3, the Lancers rebounded in the best way when they manhandled Olathe North 48-13. The Lancers didn't seem to eager to vent any frustrations from the loss as they methodically cruised through the Eagles' defense and a rivalry match against SM North this week should help the Lancers show off their abilities even more.

Olathe North (1-3) - Unlike the first two weeks where the Eagles seemed to be lacking in effort, a lack of speed and strength spelled doom for ONHS. Blowout losses to Blue Valley South and SM East exposed huge holes in the secondary and that could spell doom for the next few weeks.

 Lawrence (3-1) - Getting crushed 28-7 by Lee's Summit West isn't pretty, but the Lions rebounded just like SM East by running over the Vikings (2-2) 49-19 with 283 yards rushing.

 Sunflower League (0-11) - Good golly that was bad. It's hard to imagine that anybody truly thought the Sunflower League would just walk over a stack Suburban League slate, but to not win a single game in Week 3 is the most humbling gut punch to Kansas football. Granted, some teams like SM East and Olathe East stayed in the game the entire time, but SFL teams lost by an average of 14 points; a sign of how much room there is for improvement.

Week 5 Power Rankings:

SM East QB Luke Kaiser picked apart
Olathe North's secondary last Friday.
Photo by Austin Lockwood

1. Shawnee Mission East (3-1)

The Lancers put themselves in the best position to win out of all the SFL-Suburban games even though they failed to finish the game on top. They showed the rest of the league that they still shouldn't be messed with and an 7-1 record isn't out of the question for this team.

2. Lawrence High (3-1) 

Out of all four teams left on SM East's schedule, the Lions are the only ones that seem to have a real chance at an upset at this point in time. The Lions trashed the next best bet last week (SM West) and should roll against what seems to be the bottom half of the Olathe schools before going up against the big bad Lancers and Free State for the regular season finale. A 5-3 record isn't out of the question, but barring any truly horrible showings, Lawrence might be the best 5-3 team out of the bunch.

3. Lawrence Free State (2-2)

We can now confirm that the Firebirds can dominate lesser competition. They ran the show against SM South and Northwest in blowout wins. Unfortunately, the team failed to come out on top twice against teams that have at least one win. Fortunately for them, their next three opponents are a combined 3-9, so there is a lot of time to prepare for the season finale against Lawrence High.

4.  Shawnee Mission West (3-2)

So much for that hot start to the season. The Vikings offense has been a shell of its former self the last couple weeks, scoring less than half of the numbers put up in weeks 1 and 2. It's still a safe bet that they will enter their season finale with SM East with a 5-2 record, but that defense will have to plug up the holes if they want to at least slow down that Lancer offense.

5. Shawnee Mission North (2-2)

I give in. The Indians deserve a little respect for winning big against Lansing and they could've easily taken out ONW last Friday. I give them a 5% chance of beating SM East this week, but a winning record isn't out of the question for this season assuming they can keep up the offense. If the defense can improve at least a little, this team can easily ride the offensive production of QB Will Schneider (1163 Pass Yds, 12 TD's, 3 INT's).

6. Olathe East (1-3)

What is even happening in Olathe? I've seen all the schools play and I can't tell who to put where. I still think the city ranks above the bottom Shawnee teams, but they're all equally bad right now as shown by Olathe East barely scraping by the ONW and then getting barely beat by Olathe South two weeks later. We can't even decided on a true city champ because they don't all play each other. 

7. Olathe Northwest (1-3)

Well, they won! It took a LOT longer than we thought it would, but the Ravens managed to survive a 25-22 nail-biter against SM North. However, the lack of scoring is the main reason the team still finds itself in this area of the rankings. The team has managed just 17.4 points per game

8. Olathe South (1-3)

Just like rival ONW, Olathe South managed to get its first win. However, that win came against in-town rival Olathe East. That means Olathe schools only have a single win against opponents outside their own district. Really, the Olathe schools are all essentially the same rank until further notice.

9. Olathe North (1-3) 

I want to believe Eagles have more to them than the performances they put up against SM East and Blue Springs South, but it seems that the defense just doesn't have the speed necessary to keep up in the passing game and to close down the edge. Running up the middle seems almost pointless against this team as almost every run outside the box gains at least seven yards.

10. Leavenworth (1-3)

Leavenworth also notched its first win last week... against SM South. Baby steps.

11. Shawnee Mission Northwest (0-5)

Well, the Cougars showed a little more life against SM West on Thursday. They managed to keep a team below 40-points for the first time this season, though the final score was 20-39...

12. Shawnee Mission South (0-4)

It's kind of mean to press anymore about this team considering the incredibly small roster. With the whole issue with players leaving, an 0-9 season is the best we can hope for barring an upset against SM Northwest (0-5).

SM West Vikings Tim Callaghan 100 WINS !!!

Tim Callaghan #100 Wins

Congrats to Tim Callaghan of the SM West Vikings on winning his 100th game all-time. 

This accomplishment as mentioned in the previous post earlier in the week had last been accomplished in 1977 by former SM North legendary Head Coach Larry Taylor. 

Of the 46 Head Coaches throughout the SMSD #512 Football history only three (3) Head Coaches have accomplished this in their time: You can now add Tim Callaghan as number four (4). 

* John Davis - SM South - 131-57-5, 193 GC, 6-7 Playoff Record, 681 W%
* Harold Reade - S-M Indians - 114-39-16, 169 GC, No playoffs, 674 W%
* Larry Taylor - SM North - 110-31-4, 145 GC, 7-3 Playoff Record, 758 W%
@ Tim Callaghan - SM West - 100-43, 143 GC, 12-8 Playoff Record, 699 W%+

SM West Football does not go unnoticed. For decades dating back to the 1970's Dick Purdy brought the Vikings in to State Football prominence with 1967 to 1980. Coach Purdy left the Vikings with an impressive 91-44-3 record before taking over the Lee's Summit Tigers in the Fall of 1981. 

During Coach Purdy's tenure his 1972 Football team won the Kansas State Football Title. That team finished the season 8-3 with a one point win over Wichita Southeast 7-6. 

Following in those great footsteps, Harold Wambsgans (a long-time Purdy AC) was rehired by SM West after a two year stint with the Lancers in 1979 and 1980. During Wambs tenure with the Vikings again a winning formula was found. Wambs too finished out his tenure going 69-27, with a 9-7 playoff record, and multiple student-athletes with post-season honors. 

Nearly a decade or more later Tim Callaghan was hired away from the Olathe North Eagles and Gene Weir for the 2003 season. After being part of the second Eagles three-peat of State Titles, filling in for the departed Jon Krug was going to be quite the task. 

After struggling early on to an identical 2-7 record that forced Jon Krug out, the Vikings went on an impressive and powerful run from 2004 to 2015 making the 6A playoffs 10 out of 13 times, and two trips to the 6A Final. 

Under Callaghan the Vikings first trip to the 6A Final was against Hutchinson in 2006. Although the Vikings fell to the SaltHawks that season with a 21-14 loss, retribution would be in short order as the team vowed to return again to the final one day. Six seasons later the Vikings again found themselves playing the SaltHawks and won 19-14 completing an 11-game win streak, and multiple student-athlete post-season honors again showed by the State in post-season voting. 

One special thing about this Vikings program is its Staff and their student-athletes. Every Football team or program is a family. Three years ago the Vikings suffered major losses to their team losing school favorite's Andre Maloney and Houston St. John, both passing away. These fine young men defined what it took to play Vikings Football and are a fitting legacy to the present day Vikings. It is not every day that you can find young men like those two who made a friendly impact on and off the gridiron. Andre was known for his personality and fun loving day to day joy he brought to his friends in the hallways of SM West. Houston St. John was known for his theatrical work and singing that was known class wide as a love of his once the football pads were stored away for the winter. 

Congrats again to Tim Callaghan of the SM West Vikings on this great accomplishment for the SMSD #512, and the Sunflower Football League. Your impact on the hundreds of young men coached has left an impact that will live on for years long after their playing days are over. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sunflower League Previews: Week 5


SM West vs SM Northwest @ SM South (SMW leads the series 32-17)

The Vikings Tim Callaghan is still looking to achieve a historical SMSD #512 accomplishment to win his 100th all-time game at SM West. John Davis' Raiders won it in his 15th season during the 1980 season against STL-Beaumont winning outright 27-6.

For the first time since 1977, Larry Taylor SM North Indians mentor accomplished his 100th win vs. the NW Cougars in week-5 with a 10-0 win in his 14th season. Tonight, the Vikings could possibly repeat this accomplishment as well also against the Cougars.

Under Callaghan's watch, the NW Cougars have struggled going 2-8 in their last 10 games against the powerful Vikings offense. In all, Callaghan is 10-3 in 13 meetings with the Vikings only losing to the Cougars in the 2003-2007-2013 seasons. In that period of time, NW has had four Head Coaches come and go.

Bo Black's Cougars are looking to make some noise in hopes of getting their first win as well as the back half of this schedule begins to take place. Separation week is now here and like the Raiders, the Cougars are desperate for a win.


Olathe North vs Lawrence @ ODAC (ON leads the series 19-13)

The Eagles and Chesty Lions have been by far two of the best in the Sunflower in recent seasons.

Tonight is no different as the Eagles look continue to dominate this series.

With Lawrence defeating the Vikings last week, this could be a great game as Lawrence looks to achieve a path of an undefeated Sunflower League season.

2011 and 2015 are the last time the Eagles have lost to the Chesty Lions during regular season play. While these two have not seen each other on the schedule consistently, it is safe to say that come playoff time they could meet again.

SM East vs SM North @ SM North (SM North leads the series 30-21-1)

Entering tonights game, the Lancers have won nine (9) straight since the 2008 season, and the last Indians win coming under Ryan Majors in a crazy 41-38 - OT win against former Head Coach John Stonner.

The Indians are off to an impressive 2-2 start and only seem to be getting better week to week. Despite a tough home loss to the ONW Ravens last Thursday the potential is there for SM North to do close out the regular season on a great note. QB Will Schneider's growth leading this team has been nothing short of impressive now that Harmon and Wyandotte are removed from the Indians schedule. The Indians are for real, and could easily find themselves in the drivers seat come post-season play.

Dustin Delaney's Lancers are coming off a huge road win at Olathe North. Look for the Lancers to continue to improve for the right to have a Top-4 seeding placement. The Lancers games against the Indians have mostly come in District play since the 2007 season.

Olathe South vs Free State @ Free State (OS leads the series 10-6) 

Since the 1997 season the Falcons and Firebirds are once again meeting for a great series match up on the gridiron.

While the Falcons have ODAC, the Firebirds have been impressive in their own right now that they have their own field of play. Home field advantage in games like these mean a lot when there is much on the line, and even in the middle of the 6A standings.

The Falcons played a great game vs. the Hawks, and look to continue against a strong Firebirds offense. Free State's Stadium opened in 2009 and their home record is 28W-12L.
*** Per Bobby Nightengale @nightengale of the Lawrence Journal World Sports/LJW

Olathe Northwest vs Leavenworth @CBAC (ONW leads the series 8-3)

Chip Shermans Ravens are coming off an impressive late game finale win over the SM North Indians. Mark Littrell and his Pioneers ended a five (5) game losing steak against the struggling SM South Raiders.

Since 2010, the Ravens are 4-1 in all meetings having not played in 2013.

While the Pioneers took care of the Raiders on the scoreboard, playing the Ravens will be a much larger task but could be a huge confidence boost as well to rise in the SFL and 5A bracket standings.

Olathe East vs SM South @ SM South (OE leads the series 18-0)

By far one of the most lopsided, series of any of the 12 league schools against each other is the OE vs SMS gridiron series. OE second year Head Coach Jesse Owen is 1-0 against the Raiders, while former Head Coach Jeff Meyers was 17-0 all-time.

Former Raiders mentors: Fred Merrill, Brett Potts, Don Hanna, Brandon Claypool, and Ryan Lonergan were all winless (17 tries) in this series dating to the 1992 first season as a Hawks Varsity program. The Raiders are working hard to get their first win, having put up a great fight against the Pioneers on the road last week.

Can the Raiders end this streak of winless games against the Hawks? It will be a tough goal to accomplish but could be done.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

DEVELOPING: Eight Shawnee Mission South player leave football team

As of this article's creation, eight varsity players on the Shawnee Mission South football team have turned in their pads and will no longer play for the team. According to the Kansas City Star, the departures were sparked when Senior Kamau Kimaru tweeted his displeasure with the team following a 21-14 loss to the Suburban League's Winnetonka (1-4).

After the tweet was published, the player was allegedly removed from the team along with fellow seniors Cam Union and Cody Corbin. Those removals already dropped the team's roster number down to 42 (according to the team's website), but following these dismissals, five more players decided to hang up their Raider uniforms.

All five seniors discussed their options after hearing about their teammates' fates. Bremen Scholz, Will Choate, Quincie Fischer, Zadkiel Stuart and Christian Murrell all decided that there wasn't much point playing out their final season of eligibility due to a lack of confidence in how much the coaching staff cared about that year's team.

This situation is still developing but as of right now, a total of eight seniors have left the team with 37 members remaining on the varsity roster.

Several players still on their team voiced their support for Head Coach Brett Oberzan through Twitter as well after the initial story broke through the Kansas City Star. Multiple sophomore players posted their support and compounded the message by retweeting each other's posts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sunflower League Previews: Week 4


Olathe Northwest vs SM North @ CBAC (ONW leads the series 5-2)

With only a small lineage of games played between the two schools, it would be easy to call for the Ravens to walk away with the W.

However, with the season reaching its mid-point, both programs are heading in the opposite directions and in to uncharted post-season territory. Based off their recent week-3 games, the Indians and Ben Bartlett are coming off a strong win against a quality Kaw Valley opponent in the Lansing Lions. The Ravens are coming off a road loss at the hands of the Lee's Summit North Broncos.

Look for both teams to get off to a quick start. The Indians have had troubles forever on the road at CBAC and ODAC, but if they are able to sneak away with a Win, it would be a big step forward and towards a possible higher seed as the new playoff system takes shape.


SM East vs Olathe North @ ODAC (ON leads the SFL series 15-4)

Where to start?!

The Lancers and Eagles are no stranger to each other in these recent seasons. Since the 2013 season the Lancers have gained the upper hand over the Eagles. Having won three of the last four games played. SM East is wanting to recoup their post-season road loss to a very talented Eagles Football team last year with a return trip to ODAC.

Both programs are looking to get back on track after losing to Missouri powerhouses Blue Springs South and Rockhurst in consecutive days of week-3. Despite the losses, consider both learning experiences for the near future. This game could be considered a run for the Sunflower League championship, as that will be hard to give away this season while some SFL programs play 6, and others play 7 league games.

Entering Friday's game, the Eagles have never lost a home against the Lancers since joining the SFL for the Fall 1989 season.

SM West vs Lawrence @ Lawrence (SMW leads the series 28-14)

Series slam!

With two great Football teams meeting on the gridiron, and no stranger to each other during the regular season and post-season play the Vikings and Chesty Lions are looking to write another chapter in their great history together!

Unlike past seasons, these two are looking to rebound from a loss to their Suburban League-MO counterparts Blue Springs and Lee's Summit West and poor performances by both. Can the Lions get on track against this powerful Vikings team? The Vikings are 8-1 in all nine meetings under Coach Tim Callaghan.

Should the Vikings win tonight, this will be Tim Callaghan's 100th Win all-time in the history of the Football program, joining the elite company of John Davis (SM South - 131 Wins), and Harold Reade - 114 Wins and Larry Taylor - 110 Wins both of S-M North).

Olathe South vs Olathe East @ CBAC (OS leads the series 14-13)

City Slickers...

With an incredible and topsy-turvy game history after 27 meetings, these two schools are great to see get at each other and fight for Olathe dominance. Despite their losing records, this is statement time for both to start making a post-season push for the best possible seed available.

Since the 2010 season the Hawks are 2-5 against the Falcons and looking to regain a hold of a tightly contested series. From 2002 to 2009 the Hawks went on an incredible 9-2 run that lead to multiple playoff berths and success at times shutting down a great Falcons program led by current Pioneers Head Coach Mark Littrell.

This will be the first meeting for Craig Lewis and Jesse Owen taking place.

Leavenworth vs SM South @ Leavenworth (SMS leads the series 20-3)

What will it take to break in to the win column?

A lot of work, attention to detail, clock management, and controlling the ball (no turnovers). These two programs have not met in the last couple seasons, but the Raiders are coming off a five-game win streak from 2005 to 2012 with dominating wins at home and on the road. The 2004 Pioneers was the last team to defeat the Raiders.

Tonights game will be the first time the Raiders will be playing at the Pioneers new field. That said, can recent success of the Pioneers shut down the Raiders? It will take a lot of work and discipline for both teams to cut down on turnovers and more. Getting the experience at the Varsity level will be essential for both to succeed in the near future.

SM Northwest vs Free Sate @ SM North (Free State leads the series 7-4)

Coming in to Friday's game, the Cougars are still looking to find their identity on the gridiron. This is a tough game to chose if you are an odds maker. The Cougars, like SM West in week-1 could probably make a lot of noise with a home field advantage vs. the Firebirds.

This road game at SM North will be no easy task, as the Firebirds find themselves 1-1 vs. their SMSD counterparts splitting games with SM West and South.

The last 10 games have not been easy with Coaching replacements for the Cougars and lack of consistently good play week-in, and week-out. Their 4-6 record in their last 10 games played could easily be 5-5 or better with their game history far better at home (SM North) than their current road record at Free State.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Weeks 1 & 2 Under Review

Two weeks have passed and each team has had the opportunity to show off their work and we now have a better idea on where each team is heading going into a Week 3 clash against the Suburban League.
SMW transfer Nigel Houston has been a nice
fit in the Lancer scheme. Photo by SM Post 

Who's Up/Down

Shawnee Mission East (2-0) - Every fan wishes their team could reload like the Lancers have over the last half a decade. You don't destroy your first two opponents by a total score of 110-13. That's 110 points in just two weeks. Granted, the wins came against Olathe South (0-2) and SM Northwest (0-2), but great teams destroy lesser competition.

Olathe Northwest (0-2) - Granted, ONW has lost their first two games by a combined seven points in a double overtime loss to 5A Goddard (1-1) and a single overtime battle against  Olathe East (1-1). However, Goddard went on to get blown out by Derby (2-0) while East got stomped 41-13 by Hutchinson (1-0) the week before.

 Shawnee Mission West (2-0) - A shootout-victory over a strong Free State (1-1) squad and a blowout against the still flailing Cougars showed everybody that the Vikings are on a mission this year. Senior QB Zach Witters is putting up League MVP stats with 696 total yards and five touchdowns after two weeks. The biggest problem about that for opponents is the fact that he is putting up those numbers through the air and on the ground. if he maintains an average of 230 passing yards per game, SM West will be a mainstay in the state title race.

 Shawnee Mission South (0-2) - Not too much to say about this one, the Raiders showed a couple glimmers of hope in the first half against SM North (1-1), but the transmission fell out after half time as they lost 7-38. SM South followed that performance by laying an egg while giving up another 38 points to Free State.

Week 3 Power Rankings:

1. Shawnee Mission East (2-0)

Beating independent powerhouse Rockhurst should cement SM East's spot in the Top 3 for the rest of the season if the Lancers can pull off the win.

2. Shawnee Mission West (2-0)

Being the only team to beat an opponent that everybody can agree is good gets you put in the top portion of the rankings; even if your QB is summing up basically your entire offense.

3. Lawrence High (2-0)

The Lions quietly took care of business against both the Indians and Cougars. Their first true test will come against Lee Summit West (2-2) this coming Friday.

4. Lawrence Free State (1-1)

The Firebirds fought hard despite falling so painfully short against SM West in Week 1. They got back on their feet with a thrashing of SM South; a much needed confidence boost before hitting the rode to face Park Hill (2-2).

5. Olathe East (1-1)

Olathe North SO QB Mason Myers (right) managed
to settle in as the starter with 3 TD's during an early
game Friday. Photo by Austin Lockwood
Well, I guess I owe the Hawks an apology. I mentally gave them a 5% chance of heading into Week 3 with any wins and here they are with an overtime win over Olathe Northwest, the team widely picked to pull away from the other local schools.

6. Olathe North (1-1)

The Eagles may have won, but things are far from sunshine and daisies after seeing parts of their blowout loss to Wichita Heights and then getting to witness them barely scrape past a struggling Falcons squad. The team showed spurts of potential, but if they can't at least put a stopper on the fumbles (the team has fumbled 11 times and lost seven of them), Blue Springs South (2-2) will crush that pretty fast.

7. Olathe Northwest (0-2)

Maybe we're looking at the 2016 version of last year's Free State squad? It's not like the Ravens were blown out in either of their losses like the teams below them. Hopefully they can right the ship against a rebuilding Lee Summit North (0-4) team.

8. Shawnee Mission North (1-1)

The Indians can still claim to dominate rival SM South, but Lawrence destroyed pretty much all momentum in a 52-26 blowout. At least the Indians can still score, but QB Will Schneider will need to keep his cool if he wants to carry this team like he'll probably need to. He seemed jittery in the first half against the Raiders before settling in.

9. Olathe South (0-2)

I'll give the Falcons another week before making a final judgement, mainly due to the fact that I'm not sure how much value a one-point loss to Olathe North holds. At least putting up a fight against Lee's Summit (3-1) would be a good stepping stone while another blowout loss would

Olathe South HC Craig Lewis addresses the team after a
heartbreaking 20-21 loss to rival Olathe North.
Photo by Austin Lockwood
10. Leavenworth (0-2)

Just like how Lawrence quietly won its first two games, Leavenworth quietly dropped a nail-biter to Lansing and a 23-point loss to the Vikings. They have a chance to notch their first win against North KC (1-3), but they're right about where they're expected to be.

11. Shawnee Mission Northwest (0-2)

Just like the Pioneers, SM Northwest is right where they're expected to be. Near the bottom of the pile with some hints of an offense shrouded by defensive ineptitude.

12. Shawnee Mission South (0-2)

Well, the Raider's haven't given up a full 40 points yet, but a single touchdown against what should be a porous SM North defense leaves very little hope for a sudden turnaround even against a struggling program like Winnetonka (0-4).