Saturday, September 2, 2017

Week 1 Under Review

Thursday Games Quick Reactions

Jack Mason (22) punched in his first TD
of the season with a 2-yd run.
Photo from
(Stats taken from, 810 Varsity, LJWorld and PrepsKC)
Olathe East  21-22 Hutchinson (W)

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised that not only did the Hawks keep up with Hutchinson for the entire game, but to keep a lead until the final minute of regulation is a far bigger improvement compared to last season's 41-13 blowout loss to the Salthawks. That said, unless the turnovers can be brought under control, losses will start to add up. The Hawks turned the ball over four times, killing chances to cushion their lead by anymore than two scores.

Despite the critical mistakes in the turnover game, the defense did manage a couple takeaways of their own. JR Trevon Kearney also showed his speed with a 76-yard TD run for the only score of the second half. The Hawks need more runs like that to keep up with the tough teams left in a front-loaded schedule. 

Olathe South 7-28 SM East (W)

The only true surprise here was that SM East didn't drop 40 for literally the 19th time in three seasons. JR Andy Maddox had a good performance in his first game replacing former QB Luke Kaiser from last year. Along with two touchdown throws from Maddox to SR Kelyn Bolton, the Lancers mainly stuck to their traditional ground game, splitting 180 yards among six ball-carriers. SR Milton Braasch II took the brunt of the load, getting 22 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown.

Despite the three-touchdown loss. The Falcons are already showing improvement compared to their rocky 2016 campaign. It may take some time for them to fully come into their own like last year, but a game against a seemingly struggling defense at Olathe Northwest should show give us a better idea of what Olathe South can do in 2017.

Lawrence (W) 42-21 SM Northwest

Krom (33) bulldozed through
defenders all night for 334 yards.
Photo by Nick Krug for LJWorld
I had to check both 810Varsity and LJWorld to verify the stats for this game. Considering they both report the same, I can safely say SMNW showed the #1 way to lose a game while also throwing for a whopping 362 yards. Despite the good yardage from Spencer Stewart, the JR quarterback only managed to complete 54% of his passes on the night while also throwing three picks to only one scoring throw. He did manage to run one in himself on a night where the run game was almost non-existent (11 yards total for the team). I feel it's never a good idea to pass for 82% of your offensive plays, and the issues showed as Lawrence began to not even bother going for the run and focusing on harassing the QB.

On the other side of the field, the almost complete opposite story took place, as SR Hunter Krom showed everybody what they were missing after his season-ending injury in last year's opener. The veteran running back had one of the highest rushing totals in school history after running all over the Cougars for a whopping 334 yards and three scores. As if it wasn't bad enough that the Lions had a running back had what could be considered a good passing game by running the ball, Lawrence also showed much more efficient passing from JR Garrett Romero, who went 7-11 for only 110 yards, but also threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions. The season is still young, but if balance can't be found on offense and the leaky defense can't be plugged, it will be another long one for SMNW.

Friday Night Quick Reactions

Lawrence Free State (W) 56-9 Shawnee Mission West

Opening week was a good one for the city of Lawrence. While the Lions put on a show offensively, rival Free State matched it with solid defense and a nice amount of offense to go with it. Discipline was very much one-sided in this one, with Free State forcing four turnovers with all leading to scores (including one going 60 yards for touchdown off a fumble). Things didn't start too hot for the Firebirds, who gave up a safety not even a minute into the game, but once RB Jax Dineen (70 yards, 2TD) got going, the scoring didn't seem to stop.

There wasn't much to say for SM West, as their struggles were far from what was expected going into Friday's game. The Vikings only managed 169 total yards with only a single touchdown from QB Wesley Clark in garbage time late in the 4th. SM West showed they plan to have returning starter Kirby Grigsby (22 attempts for 36 yards) as the feature back. He did his best to fight through the game despite averaging only 1.6 yards per carry. The hope is that improved performance along the entirety of the offensive line will help the offense bounce back against Leavenworth next Friday.

Leavenworth (W) 13-6 Lansing

Leavenworth is now 2-2 against the
Lansing Lions since 2014
Photo by Alan Dale from LVTimes
The blossoming rivalry between future league partners showed all viewers stout defenses and seemingly inept special teams play on the way to a victory for the Leavenworth Pioneers, who are in their final season as a member of the Sunflower League.

A quiet first quarter from both offenses eventually cracked after a pair of short runs ended the half with a 7-6 Pioneer lead. Both offenses struggled for points, but SR RB Devin Johnston kept Leavenworth on top  with 105 yards and the game-sealing 17-yard TD run with less than two minutes to go. It's still too soon to tell how the Pioneers will fare against the SFL's 6A teams, but what can currently be considered an easy schedule should help the team impress in their final season with the league.

Olathe North (W) 39-25 Wichita Heights

The game started off quietly for both teams with neither side scoring throughout the fourth quarter. The scoreboard operator had to get to work in a hurry from that point onward, as the two teams combined for 64 points in three quarters. Stats have not  been available for Heights players, but the visiting Falcons entered halftime with high hopes after edging Olathe North 18-13 at the break. After that, aside from a score late in the fourth, it was all Eagles, who used their own form of airing it out with JR QB Zac Krause tossing three touchdown passes with 191 passing yards.

Even more unlike tradition, Olathe North generally struggled to get anything going on the ground. Krause also led Eagle backs with 28 yards on three rushing attempts. The team totaled only 45 yards as a unit, with JR's Daymonn Sanchez and Mason Myers getting the remaining 17 yards split into 9 carries. Despite the lack of a running game, both backs did their parts receiving with 57 and 102 receiving yards respectively. Both saw the end-zone with Sanchez nabbing one TD catch and the remaining two going to Myers. The Eagles will need to find a way to either maintain the passing game or fix the running game before their game against a frustrated Olathe East team if they hope to maintain their momentum going into the rest of the season.

Olathe Northwest 20-49 Goddard (W)

I'll be honest, I kind of forgot Goddard existed and had to look them up to find out that they were actually a good team. Anyways, this game hardly met the expectations that were set after last season's double-overtime thriller. While stats are not currently available from the main sources, the Ravens started off well enough, scoring a touchdown early in the half before the floodgates opened as Goddard kept chopping up the classic ONW defense until a 49-6 lead gave the Ravens a chance to improve the aesthetics of the final score with a couple touchdown runs in garbage time. There isn't much else to say until stats are found. The team got whooped by a 5A team coming off a title game loss to Mill Valley.

SM South (W) 22-19 SM North

For just the second time since the start of the 2015 season, Raiders fans can go home cheering for a victory. Despite the close score, SM South managed to hold the lead and squash a comeback attempt from the Indians to nab the win and show that progress has been made compared to last year's 0-9 debacle. On the other side, the Indians will need more production offensively. The team seemed to show that it will still need time adjusting to life without 4-year starter Will Schneider taking snaps at QB.

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