Monday, October 16, 2017

Week-8/2017 Game Previews


SM East vs SM West (SMW leads the series 38-15) @ SM North
* While many, if not all local media outlets believe this to be a "rivalry" it is far from it. On a historic run in the 70s, and 80s, the Vikings went on an 18-2 run with Dick Purdy and Harold Wambsgans leading the way. That run again continued under Tim Callaghan until the 2010 season. From 1996 and again until 2003 the Vikings won 13 straight under three different Coaches (Shelton, Krug, and Callaghan.) The tides have seemingly made an abrupt 180d turn when Chip Sherman, and now Dustin Delaney have taken the reigns of the Lancer Football program. This game should be a lot of fun, as the Lancer Defense is once again hoping for a strong game against the Vikings offense. 3 of the 5 games have resulted in shutouts for the Lancers.


Lawrence vs Free State (LFS leads the series 13-7) @ Lawrence
* Outside of Olathe North vs Olathe South, and SM East vs SM South Football rivalry games, the City League game pitting the Chesty Lions vs. Firebirds should be nothing short of spectacular in 2017. For what will be Dirk Wedd's final game against the Firebirds the Chesty Lions have only won 2 of their 7 games this decade against a powerful Firebirds defense. This is no easy task as the roots of this rivalry have formed such a powerful following locally. For continued coverage, check out Bobby Nightengale's Lawrence Journal World write up!

Leavenworth vs Olathe East (OEH leads the series 14-0) @ CBAC
* In Mark Litrell's tenure at Olathe South, he had no trouble defeating the Pioneers of that era. While at Olathe South, he finished 6-6 in 12 games vs. the Hawks. Moving to Leavenworth a few years later after returning from Texas, his Pioneers have found a winning mentality under his leadership. While the Hawks are undefeated in 8 total meetings at ODAC against the Pioneers, this will be a great evening for the Pioneers to come away with a win as both teams are gaining seeding places for next weeks play-in/playoff game #9. This could be a huge game for the Pioneers prior to their week-9 seeding in the 5A bracket.

Olathe North vs SM Northwest (ONE leads the series 20-4) @ SM North
* The Eagles and Cougars will meet for their 25th all-time meeting at SM North. One thing to look for in this game will be the play of Cougars QB Shawn Stewart, and WR Hayden Goodpastuer to try to break up an Eagles strength defeating the Cougars defense. Olathe North has won 8 of the last 10 meetings and NW can only hope to continue this run, while the Cougars struggled on the road at CBAC last fall.

Olathe Northwest vs SM South (ONW leads the series 6-0) @ SM South
* Six games is enough if not more of a sample size of games played for these two. While the Sunflower has grown to its strength at 12 teams, these two have rarely met consecutively at any one point since 2004 when Olathe NW became a Varsity program. The Raiders have already found a way to surprise many this year, and could find a way to break this winless streak of only six games.

Olathe South vs SM North (OSF leads the series 10-6) @ ODAC
* The Falcons and Indians have met for some great meetings early on in the late 90s and early 00's. With the Indians playing exceptionally well under Ben Bartlett, the Falcons could have some problems. Since 2010, the Falcons are 3-1 in four rare meetings.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Week-7/2017 Game Previews


Lawrence vs SM East (LAW leads the series 42-12) @ SM South
* There is no question that this match up will cause a possible shaking of the top-8 in the final couple weeks of this modern day regular season play. While the Chesty Lions own the series outright, the Lancers have won four of their last five since 2010. The lone loss for SM East came in 2011, but since then domination has been full force. The Lancers Shark Defense has given up only 22 points in their last three games since 2013 against the Chesty Lions. 

Olathe North vs Olathe Northwest (ONE leads the series 9-2) @ ODAC
* A rivalry? Not so much. With the Owls now geographically closer to Olathe North will one be formed? Since the opening of the Ravens program they have struggled mightily against the Eagles from day one. 2006, and 2011 are the last times the Ravens have defeated the Eagles. This could be a toss up  on the books for sure, but this Ravens team is due for an extremely rare win at ODAC. 


Free State vs Olathe East (OEH leads the series 11-8) @ Free State
* In a huge late-season match up for the Hawks, this could be a momentum changer prior to Free State entering their week-9 game against the western 6A schools. Historically the Firebirds have struggled against the Hawks despite their eight wins. Since 2010, the Firebirds have managed a 1-3 record and a first round exit playoff loss in the 2010 season. This will probably be one of the best games of the night.

Leavenworth vs Olathe South (OSF leads the series 19-1) @ Leavenworth
* For possibly the 21st and final time the Falcons will play on the road at Leavenworth. There is no secret that all of the Olathe Four have dominated the series against the Pioneers since they joined the Sunflower in 1981. Can Mark Littrell come away with a win against his former High School prior to leaving for the United Kansas Conference?!

SM North vs SM Northwest - Hula Bowl (Series tied 23-23) @ SM North
* The Indians and Cougars will meet for their 44th all-time meeting at Larry Taylor Field. In their annual Hula-Bowl match up, most everything has gone the Cougars way in the last 10 seasons. Both schools in that time have had multiple coaching changes which have not helped, but the rivalry is stronger than ever with Ben Bartlett, and Bo Black leading the way. The Cougars have won the last 12 of the last 13 games dating back to the 2002 season.

SM South vs SM West (SMW leads the series 36-20-1) @ SM South
* The Vikings of SM West under Tim Callaghan have contributed to a run against the Raiders similar to that of the OE Hawks. In each meeting that West has had vs. the Raiders since 2004, they have come out on the losing end of the final whistle. That said, the Raiders, who have been playing far better in all of 2017 than last year could make this a struggle for the Vikings. Streaks are meant to be broken as the Vikings have won 18 straight overall since 1997, and 13 straight since 2004.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Week-6 3 UP 3 DOWN

3 UP

1 - SM East Lancers 

Where to start? Leadership, Coaching, student-athletes, fans? The Lancers of SM East are once again competing an a rate of success never seen before. While that phrase sounds like high praise, the Lancers have a lot of work ahead of them and with two big games left in the regular season. The Chesty Lions recently split two games with Olathe North and South and would love to steal a road win against the Lancers at SM South Stadium. In the last three meetings, the Lancers have called SM North Stadium home in wins against the Chesty Lions. 

2 - SM South Raiders

The Raiders of SM South have gone from zero to hero in a matter of 12 months. Sporting an 0-ffer in 2016, the student-athletes of the Raiders Football team are eager to build this success. This week will be a huge game against sister school SM West. Since the 1997 season the Raiders are winless in 18 tries only having not played the Vikings in 2002 and 2003. There is no better time than now under Coach Brett Oberzan to start breaking these losing streaks as the talent pool is rebuilding for the Raiders. 

3 - SM Northwest Cougars 

Similar to the SM South Raiders, the Cougars of SM Northwest have began their remarkable turnaround after going a combined 2-16 in Bo Black's first two years at the helm. There is no question that learning from the film, and off-season preparations are paying off for the student-athletes inside the Cougar Football program. Two weeks ago the Cougars defeated the Vikings which has given them great confidence going in to the latter part of this 2017 season. 


1 - SM West Vikings

In a very rare season, the Vikings have found themselves at the bottom of the league standings. While this is happening this 2017 season, except the team to learn a lot from what it is going through in a down year to rebound. From 6-4 to 0-6 is a wake up call for sure. This years Freshman will be Sophomores next Fall and looking to find and prove to the Viking Coaching staff that they are worthy of a possible starting spot. Coming up the Vikings will see the SM South Raiders with a chance to find their first win of the season. In all meetings since 2003, Tim Callaghan and his Vikings are 13-0 having never lost to the Raiders.

2 - OS Falcons

In 2016 the Falcons were the surprise of the Sunflower League. With a late season run that took them to a week-10 while the other three Football programs stayed home, it is a tough gig the second time around. QB SR Nick Jouret has either been playing and/or injured which has hurt in the standings. The Falcons should not be underestimated though, this group of young men are talented, and have a quality Coaching staff around them to keep building on. 

3 - SM North Indians

The Indians of SM North have been hit hard this season with its graduation of former SR QB Nick Schneider. Unfortunately from year to year, season to season, creating consistency in any Football program is hard. That said, the Indians have felt the sting as hard as anyone within the Sunflower League. This years program while losing their QB, has many bright spots ahead and a lot to work on for the future ahead. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Chip Sherman to MO HOF

Congratulations to Olathe Northwest Ravens Football Coach Chip Sherman on his selection to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. 

Chip Sherman is in his fifth season as Raven's Head Coach and will be home facing the Free State Firebirds in a big week-6 match up in hopes of getting the Ravens to a 3-3 record and back to 500. 

Coach Chip Sherman is known for his incredible success with the Platte County Pirates, in which he lead the program for 20 years from 1988 to 2007 with a record of 191-37 all-time. This tenure culminated in a series of State Football titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, in which his son was also a member of the Pirates team. While this three year run took place, the Pirates themselves, won a record (at the time) 52 straight games dating from game #1 of the 2000 season to game #10 with a defeat of KC-Southeast High School. Unfortunately the Pirates fell to Chillicothe in week-11 of the MO playoffs and the winning streak ended. 

At the conclusion of the 2007 season, Chip Sherman retired from Platte County as perhaps one of the most iconic figures within the city itself just outside of the Kansas City limits. 

In 2008, the Salina South Cougars came calling from central Kansas, in hopes of reviving a Football program in need of some major repair. With an 8-3 record, Chip Sherman's Cougars accomplished what he set out to do. Although it was only a single season he stayed in Salina, his leadership on, and off the gridiron continued. Following his resignation from the Salina School District, Chip Sherman again applied for positions around the Kansas City metro area and a return to be closer to his family. 

For a school not known for High School Football (traditionally, a Tennis, Swim & Dive, Golf) dominate school, the SM East Lancers of Prairie Village, KS came calling. Athletic Director (former) Jim Ricker found himself in the midst of a Coaching change with John Stonner taking a position as an Assistant Coach for Tim Callaghan at nearby SM West. In the spring of 2009, Chip Sherman was announced as the 9th Head Coach in Lancer Football history. 

The next four years of SM East Football soon changed the face of everything Lancer Football it had not known in its previous four decades of poor gridiron play. From 2009 to 2012, the Lancers went 26-15 and accomplished many achievements together as a team and school. The 2010 season, the Football Lancers finished 8-2, and found themselves defeating the Free State Firebirds and SM West Vikings ending a 20 game losing streak that dated back to the 1993 season. This 8-2 season alone, changed the course of history for the current Lancers playing today. 

In this era of Lancer Football the Chip Sherman run came to an end with a loss to Olathe East in the first round of the 2012 season, and a third consecutive winning season. Also a first for the Lancers of Prairie Village, KS. Chip Sherman had accomplished a lot in this run, including, and most importantly a bout with non-hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer in which he was diagnosed with, all while teaching, and coaching every day. Fighting, and defeating this cancer is perhaps one of his greatest victories of all-time outside of the world of High School Football, and family. 

Following this legendary four year term with SM East, the Olathe Northwest Ravens found themselves in need of a Head Coach with the resignation of the only Head Coach the school has ever known Todd Dain. Coach (Principal of SM South) Todd Dain became an Administrator, the following school year, and Raven's AD Jay Novacek found Chip Sherman as the Ravens next leader. 

These days the fifth year Ravens Coach is making a difference in Ravens Football. The team itself as seen the play change for the better and he continues to make a difference in his student-athletes lives in his 30th year as a Head Coach. 

Congratulations from the Sunflower Football News Chip! 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Week-6/2017 Game Previews


Lawrence vs Olathe South (OSF leads the series 16-15) @ ODAC
* Since the 2010 season, the Falcons have dominated the series against the Chesty Lions. Olathe South is 4-2 in those six meetings, and have continued to be strong despite their last few seasons. Combined, former Falcons Head Coach Jeff Gourley, and current Head Coach Craig Lewis are 8-3 in their last 11 games overall.

Free State vs Olathe Northwest (LFS leads the series 8-1) @ CBAC
* In nine total meetings, the Firebirds have dominated the Ravens from the start. Look for Free State to continue this run, with the Ravens hoping to gain some momentum and possibly a middle of the pack-seeding for week-9 play. This will not be any easy game for the Ravens as the Firebirds continue to take advantage of their experienced play throughout the season.

Leavenworth vs SM North (SMN leads the series 17-10) @ LVP
* Ben Bartlett, and his Indians will only meet the Pioneers for the second time in his young four year tenure as Head Coach. 2016 they came away with a win at home, and will continue to prepare hard for a tough SM Northwest meeting the following week.

Olathe East vs SM East (OEH leads the series 13-5) @ CBAC
* Entering week-6, the Lancers and Hawks will meet for the 19th time in their series. Since the beginning of the decade, these two have met only three times, with the Lancers winning two of the last three. SM East is 69-20 in PF, and PA in their last two games with a 2013 meeting in the 6A playoffs, and a 49-7 drubbing in their 2016 week-6 meeting.

Olathe North vs SM West (ONE leads the series 15-5) @ ODAC
* The Eagles and Vikings will maintain GOTW features for this huge SFL matchup. As everyone is preparing for a better seeding, the Vikings remain the strong side having gone 4-2 in their last six meetings against the Eagles. That said, the Eagles have had three Coaching changes in this time which may, or may not even factor in to this weeks game.

SM Northwest vs SM South (SNW leads the series 25-22) @ SM South
* The Cougars will be on the road in week-6 to an improving Raiders team looking to find a higher seeding in the post-season. With a stronger group and prepared by the Raiders Coaching staff, the Raiders have a chance to make this a quality game providing a cut down in turnovers, and mistakes made in all facets of play. There is no doubt that the Cougars will come poised to play and catch a local road win at the renovated SM South Stadium.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Week 5 Scores

Free State 31 - 6 Olathe South - Final
SM South 14 - 42 Olathe East -Final

Olathe North 33 - 28 Lawrence - Final
SM Northwest 35 - 14 SM West - Final
Olathe NW 48 - 9 Leavenworth - Final
SM North 6 - 59 SM East - Final

Mid-Season Wrap-Up - Weeks 1-4

Suburban Smackdown

Well, there was definitely an improvement in the Sunflower League's record against the Suburban League compared to last year, though that doesn't mean much to most fans aside from those of the Firebirds and Cougars. Each team beat Park Hill (4-1) and Grandview (1-4) respecively; with Free State scraping by with a 21-17 win, while SM Northwest had an easier time on offense, topping the Bulldogs 36-29.

However, aside from a 29-20 Indian win over 5A Lansing (1-2), no other SFL team walked away with a win. Losses ranged greatly in severity from Olathe NW's 1-point nail biter against Lee's Summit North (3-2), to Olathe North's 7-50 thrashing at the hands of Blue Springs South (1-4). At the end of the day though, the league got it's rear end torn off and handed back to itself by the Suburban teams, and the record isn't even close with the home-and-home series ending with a 2-18 tally for the Kansas side. We could go into each loss in detail, but it feels more important to discuss where each team is standing with five league games remaining on the schedule.

Full Steam Ahead

Photo by SME Harbinger
Lawrence Free State (5-0)

It's hard to belie that this is the first time the Firebirds entered Week 5 of the season undefeated since they won four straight in 2013 to start off a 9-2 season. Free State sits as the lone undefeated team left in the league with their next three games coming against opponents with a combined record of
4-8. It wouldn't be out of the question t expect a 7-0 record heading into their regular season finale against Lawrence High.

Shawnee Mission East (3-1)

A 21-17 loss to the likes of Rockhurst (4-2
) is what could be considered right for one of the current football powerhouses of Kansas. The Lancers have only lost three regular season games since 2014, and two of them have come against the Hawklets. A rebound blowout win over Olathe North (1-3) was just what the doctor ordered as the Lancers get another seemingly easy game against SM North before taking on Lawrence (3-1) in Week 8.

Hopeful Playoff Runs

Lawrence High (3-1)

The Lions survived a close one against a win-less SM West squad one week after their lone loss so far. The team's season will end with a little more challenge then the rest of the league's top half, with games against SM East (3-1) and rival Free State (5-0), who has a good chance of entering the matchup undefeated.

Olathe East (3-2)

While a 3-2 record may not be in-line with the great Olathe East teams of the past, the Hawks have shown that they are currently the most improved team in the city of Olathe after convincing wins over  Olathe North and South. The team should consider a 4-4 record a blessing heading into the playoffs a blessing though, as they should only be favored to win their season finale against Leavenworth (2-2).

Fighting to Avoid the Big Dogs

Olathe North (1-3) / Olathe Northwest (1-3)

While the Ravens have faired much better in their losses than their rival, ONW's biggest test resulted in a 29-point loss to 5A Goddard. The Eagles haven't faired well, though, as the team enters a contest against Lawrence (3-1) riding a three-game losing streak. Olathe North has one of the easier back-end schedules against three teams with a combined record of 2-10. Both teams will need to fight for every win to improve their seedings heading into the final stretch of the season.

Shawnee Mission West (0-4)

The Olathe schools may not need to worry about facing the top seed of the 6A East thanks to a Vikings squad who's biggest accomplishment is staying within seven points of Lawrence in a 28-35 loss. Most teams want to avoid the bottom seed at all costs, but considering the team fell to 5A Leavenworth, it may not matter who they face at this point.

Mid-Season Power Rankings

1. Lawrence Free State (5-0) - The Firebirds are undefeated against what turned out to be a rather lackluster schedule, but the team showed they mean business with a win over Park Hill (4-2) and they have sufficiently stomped their other competition so far. The combination of RB Jax Dineen (547 yds., 10 TD's) and QB Jordan Preston (7-1 TD:INT) has proven deadly and the team will need even more production from them against the 6A West teams.

2. Shawnee Mission East (3-1) - The Lancers were a couple plays and potentially a fumble away from beating one of the most storied high school programs in the region. Outside of the one blemishon their record, the team is continuing to steam roll through the league and won't face a real test until Lawrence in Week 6. RB Milton Braach II has been as effective as ever, averaging 129.8 yards in a game with seven touchdowns.

3. Lawrence High (3-1) - Very few were spared by Week 3's throttling at the hands of the Suburban League. It really feels like a strangely dull start to the season, as the league's top three teams won't see each other until Lawrence faces both SM East and Free State respectively.

4. Olathe East (3-2) - Out of all of the Olathe Schools, Olathe East seems to have been the only one to truly bounce back after a terrible year for the city in general. A 5-3 record isn't exactly the best stretch goal a team would like, but Olathe East shouldn't be choosey heading into the playoffs.

5. Shawnee Mission South (2-3) - The drop off between the top four teams of the league seems pretty steep. The Raiders have already improving infinitely more compared to last year; but aside from a 35-7 win against what was thought to be a decent Leavenworth squad, it still feels too hopeful to expect a sweep of their last three opponents for a winning record.

6. Leavenworth (2-2) - Dreadful showings against North KC (1-5) and #5 SM South keep the Pioneers down. However, wins have apparently been hard to come by for the league and Leavenworth has two, depending on their seed, a decent playoff run still isn't off the table.

7. Olathe South (1-4) - Disregarding the playoff's first round, Olathe South became the one of the first two teams to exit the running for a winning record after an offensive trainwreck of a loss to Free State. It certainly hasn't been easy for the Falcons, who have already played the three of the Top 4 teams in the league. It won't get any easier with a match-up with Lawrence approaching over the horizon.

8. Olathe Northwest (1-3) - Out of all the one-win teams, Olathe Northwest may have been the closest to a 3-1 record. The Ravens were a single point away from beating their Suburban League opponent, which was a lot better than some may have hoped for.

9.  Olathe North (1-3) - As usual for the lower third of the league, there isn't much to talk about besides which lone win is more impressive or how bad the losses are. Olathe North may still have a chance at a winning record, but starting QB Mason Myers was brought in against SM East and the absence of starter Zac Krause was certainly felt.

10. Shawnee Mission North (1-4) - While averaging a flat 21 points a game isn't a sign of the worst offense ever, SM North has given up an average of 38 points. That is just not acceptable if a team wants to win games and the offense is definitely missing Will Schneider despite the efforts of his successor Dustin McKessor (436 yds., 7-4 TD:INT), who was overall impressive against Lawrence and Lansing.

11. Shawnee Mission Northwest (1-3) - The Cougars may have been one of just two winners against the Suburban League, but every other game has been a true disaster. Giving up 40 points on average while only scoring an average of 15 is a recipe for bad times as the Cougars try to regroup for the fight to avoid the top seeds of the playoffs.

12. Shawnee Mission West (0-4) - You can't avoid the bottom of the list if you don't win and the Vikings have not done that so far. With the way things are looking, it may not happen at all this year.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Week-5/2017 Game Previews


Lawrence vs Olathe North @ LAW (ONE leads the series 19-13) - Since 1989 
* Since the Eagles joined the SFL in 1989, the Chesty Lions, and Eagles have played in many memorable games. Coming off a very tough road loss to the Lancers, the Eagles will have to find a way to defeat the Chesty Lions. Since the 2013 season, the schools are at 2-2 apiece in the Weir2/McCartney era. Should the Eagles find a way to come away with a road win, this would boost the confidence of a great fan base prior to the last half of regular season games to play.  

Free State vs Olathe South @ ODAC (OSF leads the series 7-10)
* As the SFL has found itself growing, playing the opponents you are used to see in the previous decade at times decline. Since 2010, both teams have met in four games splitting at 2-2. From 1997 to 2008 they met in 13 straight seasons. Throughout 2013 to 2015, both teams have not faced each other from their prior stretch of mentioned game logs. This is a toss up game should the Falcons come out with a strong game. It will take everything the Falcons defense can achieve to stop a high-flying Firebirds offensive line.


Leavenworth vs Olathe Northwest @ Leavenworth (ONW leads the series 9-4)
* In what could be a clincher game of sorts for the Pioneers, a possible third win could help them a lot come 5A bracket seeding. This will be a tough task as well, Chip Sherman's Ravens have played well against the Pioneers as of late, and are 4-2 since 2010. Should the Raven's come away with a win, it will boost the team moving forward in their final regular season games.

Olathe East vs SM South @ CBAC (OEH leads the series 19-0)
* With the only modern day losing streak still alive of all 12 SFL teams, the Raiders are looking to continue their winning ways against the Hawks. All that said, for any non-Olathe team making a road trip to ODAC, or CBAC has a very tough task ahead of them trying to get a win. Even with it being the Ravens home field, the Olathe Records at CBAC are as high as ODAC against road teams. Both teams managed to get a "W" last week, and are looking to continue building up for a better bracket position as regular season games are beginning to disappear.

SM East vs SM North @ SM North (SMN leads the series 23-30-1)
* As the Lancers were thus born from the Shawnee-Mission Indians, a traditional "Nut Cup" Championship Commemorative Cup, constructed by the 1958 Lancers, and Indians, decided to bring together something both programs could swap back and fourth throughout the Football seasons, come and gone. To this day, the "Nut Cup" tradition exists entering its 60th season between both schools. Entering the nights game, the Lancers have maintained the Cup since 2008 winning 10 straight games. Tonights game will the 55th all-time meeting. Ben Bartlett and his Indians are hoping to change this course of meetings and end their current 10-game losing streak.

SM Northwest vs SM West @ SM South (SMW leads the series 34-17)
* In a rare struggle to find wins this season, the Vikings are looking to end this four-game skid. Since the 2010 season, the Vikings are 6-2 in their last eight games. The last win for the Cougars came during week-9 of the 2013 season, as the Vikings have won three in a row since then. Historically SM West' Tim Callaghan has had great success against all four of his fellow SMSD-4 opponents at the final whistle. Bo Black's Cougars are ready for a great game, and with some quality play by Stewart at QB, and Goodpasteur out wide, the Vikings could be in for a long evening under the lights.

Monday, September 25, 2017

3 UP - 3 DOWN

3 UP

1 - Free State Firebirds

Head Coach Bob Lisher, and the Firebirds are off to another fast start to the 2017 season. With a couple huge defeats in recent weeks, upsetting the Park Hill Trojans, and the SM Northwest Cougars the Firebirds have found a rhythm of play. Over the course of the next two weeks, they will have a road trip to Olathe playing at both "Dacs."  

2 - SM South Raiders

Coming off a huge win against the Pioneers last week, the Raiders will meet a fellow 2-2 team in the Olathe East Hawks. In 19 previous tries since 1992 when Olathe East opened as a Varsity Football program, the Hawks have never been defeated by the Raiders at any one time. This 2017 team, has the opportunity to end the streak of 19 straight losses, which is currently the longest losing streak of any of the current 12 Football programs. 

3 - SM East Lancers

Dominance. Unfortunately, the Olathe North Eagles found themselves a victim of the scoreboard again to the Lancers, this time on the road at SM North this past week. SM East, led by Andy Maddux, and Milton Braash, are once again taking the league as a whole by storm. While setbacks in taking care of the ball are early problems the Lancers are facing, they are quick to get the ball back with the Eagles, as well as the Hawklets from week-3 punting the ball away with their great Shark Defense. 


1 - SM West Vikings 

In what is perhaps one of the slowest starts in the 15 years of Viking Football under Tim Callaghan, the Vikings can redeem themselves against their sister school the SM Northwest Cougars. While both teams are down, and giving up Points For totals that are out of character, each team will be fighting hard until the final whistle to come out on top with a win. Despite their current records, these two teams are no strangers to each other and always playing tough Friday night games. 

2 - Olathe North Eagles

The Olathe North Eagles have been outscored 21 to 95 in their last two combined games against the Blue Springs South Jaguars, and SM East Lancers. The last time this feat took place was in former Head Coach Gene Weir's 2011 return season to the Eagles. Looking back on that 2011 start, the Eagles lost four straight games before closing out the late season with a 3-3 record and first round playoff exit. While these numbers are bad, historically speaking, the Eagles can, and do have an opportunity to change this current path of play. 

3 - SM Northwest Cougars

In the SMSD-5, the Cougars, similar to the Vikings are off to very slow starts. With week-5 now in the forefront, playing quality Football, and finding a way to get some additional win's under their belt is a huge goal to accomplish, that requires everyones participation. While the Cougars record stands at 1-3, they have a chance to finish out with a 2-2 record before week-9 game assignments take place entering the post season. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Week-4/2017 Game Previews

ONE 14 SME 45 - Final
SMS 35 LVP 7 - Final
LAW 00 SMW 00
LFS 00 SNW 00
OEH 00 OSF 00
ONW 00 SMN 00



Olathe North vs SM East @ SM North (ONE leads the series 17-6)
* It's no secret that the Eagles and Lancers have became somewhat of a rivalry game over the last 10 meetings. While the Eagles have dominated this series since the 80s, the Lancers have come on strong under their resurgence of play led by the Lancers Shark defense and strong offensive prowess in the last four seasons. The Lancers are 4-1 since 2013 and are looking to continue this run against Olathe North.

Leavenworth vs SM South @ SM South (SM South leads the series 20-4)
* While the Raiders have consistently dominated the series, as a team, taking a team led by Mark Littrell has been very tough to defeat overall. Despite the 5A status of the Pioneers, the Raiders should look to take advantage of this game and to end their 2016 frustrations. Maintaing possession, and few turnovers will determine who comes out with a win.


Lawrence vs SM West @ SM South (SMW leads the series 28-15)
* In one of the best competitive series of Sunflower opponents, the Chesty Lions and Vikings meet again only this time in the rehabbed SM South Stadium. For nearly a decade, the Chest Lions have struggled heavily against the Vikings, at home, and even worse on the road. The Vikings have won 8 of the last 10 games, going away and have a great chance of continuing to dominate this series of play.

Free State vs SM Northwest @Free State (LFS leads the series 9-3)
* The Firebirds and Cougars will meet for the 13th time with the Firebirds dominating in every part of the season. With the Cougars working hard the last couple years, it would be a great upset on the road for a tough schedule ahead. The Firebirds have won six straight dating back to the 2008 season.

Olathe East vs Olathe South @ ODAC (OSF leads the series 16-14)
* The Falcons lead the series overall by two games. While historically both are intra-district rivals, the Hawks are 4-6 in their last 10 games. With 2016 behind them, and at the midway point of the season, both schools are hoping for winning records.

Olathe Northwest vs SM North @ CBAC (ONW leads the series 6-2)
* With only a limited series of games played, the Raven's will have a tough game ahead of them vs. an upstart Indians Football team. The Indians motivation from last seasons with defeating an Olathe school will carry on with hopes of returning to the top of the league standings early on. This game alone can help both teams on seeding for week-9.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Week-3/2017 Game Previews


LAW 35 vs LSW 49
LFS 21 vs PHT 16
LVP 6 vs NKC 27
OEH 13 vs LIB 34
ONE 7 vs BSS 50
ONW 23 vs LSN 24
OSF 15 vs LST 28
SME 17 vs ROC 21
SMN 29 vs LAN 20
SNW 36 vs GRA 29
SMS 0 vs WTG 7 - OT
SMW 0 vs BSW 42


In an unprecedented turn of events in 2016 the Sunflower League Football programs O-ffered (0-10) against the Suburban League in all 10 gridiron games. Can 2017 change that course of events? Only the SM North Indians managed the non-conference win against the Lansing Lions, while the Lancers lost on the road at Rockhurst (0-11) overall.

Below are the listings and locations of game fields for week-3 to take place. With only the Lancers, and Hawklets having a game history against each other, many of the Sunflower Football programs had yet to face a team in Missouri since SM Northwest was built in 1969. Outside of all of the SMSD-5 Football programs all playing Rockhurst at one time or another in their past, the Cougars played the Winnetonka Griffins going 3-1 from 1975 to 1978.

The Lawrence Chesty Lions, and Shawnee-Mission Indians were fortunate to play in a league decades ago with a handful of Missouri schools and both faced the William Chrisman Bears in the mid-1930's!

Lawrence vs Lee's Summit West (LSW leads the series 1-0) @ Lawrence
* In another great game, the Chesty Lions and Titans will meet for round two. The 2016 Titans gave up a touchdown last year at home in a 28-7 route. This should be a great night in Lawrence with both the Titans and Trojans attempting to come out winners in this non-conference battle week-3.

Free State vs Park Hill (PHT leads the series 1-0) @ Free State
* Coach Josh Hood's Trojans are off to a fast start averaging 44 PPG, and could prove to be a thorn in the Firebirds side. While this game will not mean all that much in the overall Sunflower table it could set the Firebirds back. This will be the first time the Trojans will find themselves in the State of Kansas for a game dating back to the 70s of the original Sunflower League era. While at home, Bob Lisher can use this to his advantage and split the series carrying over in to week-4.

Leavenworth vs North Kansas City (NKC leads the series 1-0) @ Leavenworth
* Can the Pioneers continue on their current streak? The Hornets are struggling big time at 0-4, and are looking for their first win of the season. The edge goes to the Pioneers if they can keep going strong prior to their week-4 game against the SM South Raiders.

Olathe East vs Liberty (Liberty leads the series 1-0) @ Liberty
* The Hawks are coming off a big win over their district rivals the ON Eagles. Can this carry over to a powerful Liberty Bluejays Football program? This game will prove to be a tough go from the kickoff as Liberty has proven to play well in their new digs, and as advertised is a beautiful new stadium to play.

Olathe North vs Blue Springs South (BSS leads the series 1-0) @ Blue Springs South
* For two schools with traditionally strong Football programs, both teams are looking to find their identity on the field of play. Under second year Coach and alumni Jon Oyler, returning the Jaguars to regular season dominance is a weekly goal.

Olathe Northwest vs Lee's Summit North (LSN leads the series 1-0) @ LS North
* In only their second meeting, the Ravens and Broncos will meet in their history. This game is a break that the Ravens will need to get a win prior to resuming SFL play in week-4.

Olathe South vs Lee's Summit (LST leads the series 1-0) @ Lee's Summit
* While Coach Craig Lewis is no stranger to the Lees Summit Tigers, the Falcons will meet them for the second time in the history of the program. This game will be another strong suit that could fit the Falcons for a win while the Tigers finally found the win column in week-4 over the Columbia Rock Bridge Bruins. If the Falcons can come away with a win, it will be a great momentum swing for the Falcons entering the middle of their schedule.

SM East vs Rockhurst @ SM North (First time hosting since 1981; Rock leads 9-3)
* In their second meeting since the 1982 season (34 years) the Lancers look to avenge their road loss and multiple turnover game in their home at Larry Taylor Field. Rockhurst knows how this works, and will come out fast looking to score and maintain possession away from the Lancers offense. This will be a great game for Lancers the SM East offense to make a statement and defeat the Hawklets. Below is the game history since the 1965 season.

SM East vs. Rockhurst Hawklets                           
Arch Unruh (2-1, 3, 333) - Last 10 games played                                         
            65-7     W         35-27               2-1       1-0       
            Glen Percy (1-3, 4, 250)                             
            75-8     W           7-6                 3-1       2-0       
            76-8     L            6-12               3-2       2-1      
            77-8     L          15-22               3-3       2-2      
            78-8     L            7-13               3-4       2-3      
            Harold Wambsgans (0-2, 2, 250)               
            79-3     L            6-7                 3-5       2-4     
            80-3     L            9-26               3-6       2-5      
            Emerson Wilson (0-2, 2, 000)                                  
            81-3     L            0-27               3-7       2-6       
            82-3     L          14-34               3-8       2-7     
            Dustin Delaney (0-1, 2, 000+)              
                        vs.  Tony Severino (1-0, 1, 1.000+)
            16-3     L-8       20-26               3-9       2-8                  
SM North vs Lansing (LAN leads the series 1-0) @ Lansing 
* In the second of two games not including a Suburban foe, the Indians will meet up with the Lions, only this time of Lansing coming off a big win over the Bishop Ward Cyclones in week-2. SM North should bring a stronger competition from the start and should be able to defeat a very confident youthful Lions Football program.

SM Northwest vs Grandview (GRA leads the series 1-0) @ Grandview
* The Bulldogs are 1-3 in all games played, with a win over the PH South Panthers in week-2. This is a good chance for the Cougars to take advantage of this game and get in the win column.

SM South vs Winnetonka (WIN leads the series 1-0) @ SM South 
* This is perhaps a game that can solidify the Raiders coming back on to the SFL scene and in a strong way. The Griffins have struggled early on to keep up with their opponents giving up an average of 52.2 PPG. With the win against the Indians in week-1, confidence will be a great factor on the field, and sidelines with improvement from Brett Oberzan's Raiders.

SM West vs Blue Springs (BSW leads the series 1-0) @ Blue Springs
* The Vikings reverse their fortune after a slow 0-2 start? The unusually cold Blue Springs Wildcats are 2-2 to start the season in the Suburban League.

Monday, September 11, 2017

3 UP - 3 DOWN

3 UP

1 - Leavenworth Pioneers

In a very rare Sunflower start, the Pioneers have found themselves at the top of the standings with the Chesty Lions, Firebirds, Eagles, and Lancers. Although things are bound to change, which they always do, this is still proof (regardless of the play on the field) the Pioneers can, and will compete with anyone. The last Pioneers win against the Vikings, came on the night Andre Maloney suffered a stroke and passed away only days later. 

To this day, the Sunflower League continues to honor the leadership, fun, smiles, passion, and love for the game Andre Maloney brought to his fellow Vikings on and off the field and in the hallways of SM West High School. To our current student-athletes, don't hesitate to ask your Coach about Andre Maloney. He was a one of a kind athlete and a joy to watch, compete against, and make friends with any day of the week. 

2 - Chesty Lions & Firebirds

Same class?! Probably so. With both of the programs off to a fast start, and with no signs of slowing down these two are a fitting tandem at the top of the Sunflower League. While these two do not meet until week-8, both will continue to succeed until another team will attempt to knock them off in the standings. 

3 - Olathe East Hawks

The Olathe East Hawks came away with a huge road win on the road at ODAC against the Olathe North Eagles. Although these two did not meet in 2016, the Hawks came out on the short end in their last three meetings in 13, 14, and 2015. The 2012 season netted their last win against the Eagles in Gene Weir's return to the Sunflower League after nine seasons with the Richland Rebels of TX. 


1 - SM West Vikings

Of the 12 Football programs, the Vikings 0-2 start is the most surprising of the standings. Digging throughout the depths of the West Vikings program, the 2014 program started 0-2 as well finishing with a 6-5 record. There is still plenty of time, and win's to happen for the team as it enters the meat of the schedule. That said, a huge road block, and a possible huge road win could be possible against a 2-2 Blue Springs Wildcats led by Kelly Donahoe. 

To the Viking faithful "Nordic Nasties" continue to carry on the strong traditions each any every game, and that of Andre Maloney

2 - Olathe Northwest Ravens

The Ravens have seemed to find themselves once again behind the 8-ball similar to the SM North Indians. Coming up a road game to a very much improved Lee's Summit Broncos Football program could provide a quality challenge, and perhaps a revenge win needed to 'right the ship'. Olathe Northwest is better than what their record consists of, now its time to see them succeed. 

3 - SM North Indians 

With a slow start to the season, the Indians seem to be reeling a lot from leadership lost to graduation. The 2017 season is still young and there is plenty of time to raise their level of play. With a game on the road against a strong Lions program, no doubt a quick non-conference break could do some good and bring confidence to a good Indians program.  

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Week-2/2017 Game Previews

LAW 69 vs SMN 31 - Final
OEH 29 vs ONE 12 - Final
OSF 21 vs ONW 7 - Final
SME 41 vs SNW 0 - Final
SMW 14 vs LVP 16 - Final
LFS 49 vs SMS 0 - Final


Lawrence vs SM North (LAW leads the series 50-21-3) @ SM North
* Once again, two of the longest tenured Sunflower schools will meet on the gridiron.

Dating back to the early 1940's these two will meet for the 75th time. Since Ben Bartlett took over four years ago, he has led the Indians to a 1-1 overall record vs. Dirk Wedd's Chesty Lions. There is no doubt, having this game at home can prove to benefit the Indians well coming off a strong 2016 season.

Free State vs SM South (LFS leads the series 7-2) @ Free State 
* With the season kicked off, the Raiders will look to bring back some experience vs. a very strong Firebirds program. Can the Raiders do the unthinkable and walk away with an upset victory? It will be hard to tell this early on, but do not count them out. With 2016 behind them, the Raiders are looking to make changes for the best each, and every week ahead.

Leavenworth vs SM West (SMW leads the series 24-3) @ SM South
* The Vikings will host the Pioneers one final time at SM South stadium. Although the Pioneers success's are few and far between, Mark Littrell is one who can change that with his knowledge of the Vikings play in hopes of an upset. Tim Callaghan is no stranger to Mark Littrell's old Falcons teams, and knows that this will be a great game from the start should the Pioneers come out with a strong offensive push.

Olathe East vs Olathe North (ONE leads the series 18-8) @ ODAC
* Can the Hawks dethrone the Eagles from the top of the nest? One will find out tonight, as the Eagles are coming off a tough non-conference loss to the Hutchinson SaltHawks. These two teams have met for many great games on the gridiron in the past, and one can only look forward to more in the future!

It will be a tough call to see how the Eagles will play as well with the Heights Falcons in their back-pocket, and an intra-district game can only bring. Since 2010, the Hawks are 1-6 in seven meetings.

Olathe South vs Olathe Northwest (OSF leads the series 11-1) @ CBAC
* In another great Olathe #233 matchup, the Falcons will take on the Ravens at CBAC. Unfortunately, at home, the Ravens have had a rough time against their fellow Eagles, and Hawks, at the CBAC. The only time the Ravens have defeated the Falcons was in week-4 of the 2015 season. That game ended a 10 game losing streak with the arrival of Chip Sherman to the gridiron of Olathe.

The Ravens do have a good chance of making this a game, providing the Falcons can recover from the Lancer loss a week prior.

SM East vs SM Northwest (SNW leads the series 25-21) @ SM North  
* While the series is misleading with the NW Cougars four games above 500 vs. the Lancers, the Cougars have struggled since 2009 to get a win against SM East. Under Chip Sherman, and Dustin Delaney the Lancers have reeled off 10 straight win's while the Cougars too, have had three Coaching changes. Despite all of that Bo Black, is looking to see his NW Cougars take the chances they need to take to upset the Lancers at Larry Taylor Field.