Monday, September 7, 2015

Weekly Recap 2015: Week 1

Rough week for the Sunflower League in terms of out-of-conference. The SFL finished 3-5 against other leagues coming against a struggling Gardner, BV West, and Hays (Class 4A). With that said, it was a great day for a good number of teams.

The Good:

Both teams fought hard in what should be a Top 5 game this year.
Photo by LJWorld, 2015
  • We got to see some really competitive games at the SMW-LFS and ON-RH games. Despite losing, I hear the Leavenworth Pioneers played well.
  • SM Northwest's 27-55 loss wasn't pretty, but it's nice to see the offense show some progress and score this time around. The game was 27-41 at the half according to and the Cougars scoring 20 points against the starters is always good to see.
  • SM East steamrolled over Gardner-Edgerton in expected fashion. I wonder if this is a sign of Gardner's fall or that the Lancers are just as great as before? Both facts be true is likely.

The Bad:

  • What stings more about losing five games to other conferences is when the losses are so close. Olathe North was about to experience a miracle late in the game when scoring two touchdowns off of a blocked punt and a drive after recovering the ensuing kickoff. Penalties put the War Eagles in position to score and they capitalized to crush the hearts of all the Eagle fans at ODAC.
  • Just like Olathe North, I assumed Leavenworth and Olathe South were favorites to win as I followed the scores in the first half. Things went south (Get it?) fast and both teams lost.

Trending Up:

SM East - The Lancers completely destroyed their opponent and that is never a bad thing. They haven't missed a step so far but their first real test will likely a few weeks away when SM West comes knocking.

▲ SM West - These guys showed me they're for real by beating Free State. I'm sure there are some holes that I'll look into more; for now though, I'll just say good job.

Trending Down:

Olathe North - This one especially hurts since I saw the game first hand. I don't have an exact number, but the Eagles had to have had at least 20 penalties called on them that game. Twenty. Most of them involved encroachment and false starts, but there was at least one late hit in the fourth quarter (On the drive that scored the winning TD for Heritage) and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The offense clicked though despite the issues, and special teams played a big role in spurts.

▼ Olathe South - That was bad... really bad. I really hope the Falcons were able to take something away from that beating and work towards improving. Things seemed fine scorewise at halftime, so maybe conditioning is a factor? Kevin Booker was at the game so he may be able to shine some light later this week.
▼ Olathe Football - The entire week was bad for Olathe as a whole really, the only team to win was Olathe Northwest who beat a 4A school (no disrespect to Hays who beat the Ravens last year). Shawnee Mission was 3-2 and two of the schools played each other so one of the losses can't be helped. I think Olathe North and East still have good chances, but Olathe South needs to regroup fast to make it this year.

Power Rankings:

1. -- Shawnee Mission East (1-0) - The Lancers killed it last week and are expected to kill it for a few more weeks. It's a safe bet to pick them to be (3-0) by the time East vs. West becomes the talk of the league.

2. ▲3 Shawnee Mission West (1-0) - With Olathe North losing, it was bound to be Free State or SM West in this spot. The Vikings came out on top and thus, here they are! The next test comes up immediately against ONW who might be tougher than most of us remember.

3. ▲1 Lawrence (1-0) - If this game is any indicator, the Lions have turned things around and should be considered a contender for at least a Sunflower League championship. I had my doubts in the preseason, but this game was impressive.

4. ▲3 Olathe Northwest (1-0) - Just like Lawrence, ONW turned the tables this year and won nicely while visiting Hays. You could say they are in the same position as Lawrence completely, but their opponent was significantly smaller than what other SFL teams faced. Let's see how they do next week against SM West.

5. 2 Lawrence Free State (0-1) - The Firebirds played a good game but couldn't pull out the win. I'm still very confident that they will play well, it'll just take a week or so for them to climb back up.

6. ▲4 Shawnee Mission North (1-0) - I can't guarantee the Indians will remain here past next week, but they handled SM South nicely to start a hopeful comeback year for the program. QB Will Schneider continues to impress and they were the only team in the lower half of my previous rankings to win so... yeah. 

7. 6 Olathe North (0-1) - The Eagles are here mainly due to their loss being very close and the fact that I saw a ton of good things despite the final result.

8. -- Leavenworth (0-1) - Leavenworth lost a close game, but they need to beat 5A teams to have any hope of competing with 6A competition before districts. The Pioneers could still benefit from playing SFL teams, but a few wins are a must.

9. -- Olathe East (0-1) - I don't have much to say on this one besides that I feel we should get a better feel for the direction this team is heading after Week 2 when they play Olathe South.

10. 5 Olathe South (0-1) - As I said before, that was bad. I was tempted to put them lower but I think they still have something to show everybody and a rebound win against rival Olathe East should do just that. Assuming they win.

11. ▲1 SM Northwest (0-1) - The bottom two of the league is a classic case of "Who Lost Worst?". I think that while the final score was bad, they were at least able to score at a respectable rate against a team that is usually fairly decent. Their ability to score some points makes me even more curious about how the Hula Bowl will turn out.

12. ▼1 Shawnee Mission South (0-1) - I was hoping for a little bit more than eight (8) points to open the season... The Raiders aren't lost for the season, but the road won't get easier anytime soon with SM East, Olathe East, and Olathe North lined up to take them on.

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