Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Thank you SFL2016

Thank you for allowing us to bring you this 2016 Football season as we have completed our second year operating the new version of the Sunflower Football Blog with permission of our friend and original writer Eli Underwood. Without Eli's permission to continue on, we could not bring you the coverage we attempt to do our best for our readers, and the Sunflower League community as a whole.

Looking back on 2016, it had its fair share of up's and down's as we all experience.

I want to first thank you, the reader, who is the most important of all who allows us to continue this love and passion of Sunflower League Football.

You, the reader, are our student-athletes, cheerleaders, Administrators, Coaches, coaching staffs, mom's and dad's, our Military service members, and many dedicated and loving grandparents in the stands each and every Friday night, and a shout out to the fans who attend the games. You are the driving force of your student-athletes success, and we want to continue to do our best, and improve each and every year for you.

2016 Thoughts of Thanks to you as we count down this 52nd week of the year:

* Healthy student-athletes

* Great Certified Athletic Trainers who keep our student-athletes healthy each season

* Sunflower League 12 School Administrations: Thank you for the great students you have performing on the gridiron representing your school and district each and every week

* 12 Great Head Coaches, and Coaching staffs who Teach, educate, coach, these young men

* 7 Great Football facilities and Custodial Staffs who maintain the grounds throughout the season and school year. You are noticed, and at times, not thanked often enough for all of the hard work you put in maintaing the school grounds. Thank you!

* Our readers who are outside of Johnson, Douglass, and Leavenworth counties including the KC-metro area: A shout out to good friend and Hutchinson News Sports Editor Brad Hallier for spreading the SFL readership to the rest of the state of Kansas when you can!

* To the SM East student section, and Shark Defense, a shout out from this old alumni, you are a blast to watch and allow me to smile and continue this work each week. The great passion and love you have in the stands is top notch and I will look forward to seeing you next Fall for our 60th season of Lancer Football !!!

* To my US Army family of Veterans/Battles, and all branches of service. With you who I am life time friends with as we found ourselves together from BCT to Ft. Campbell, KY and Taji, Iraq in 2005-06, thank you all for being readers of this blog and to be able to find a way to continue to heal with our own hidden battles we face each day. Your support I receive of co-writing this is a blessing of itself to keep driving each and every day.

Strike Fear & Air Assault HHB & C Btry 2-44 ADA!!!

* My Co-blogger, Austin Lockwood for putting up with my educational/historical perspective of each week as I am the old school historian and he is the Football/played the game knowledgable type that I am not. I was often on the field at halftime representing with the Lancer Drumline back in the day 1997-2000. Austin's game knowledge is far above mine in regards to tactics, rules, and all other information I do not know how to do on the gridiron.

* www.shawneemissionpost.com - Jay Senter & Mike Lavieri - Thank you guys!

Have a safe and wonderful New Years and I look forward to seeing all of you on the flip side as 2017 approaches! Student-athletes: Do the right thing! Make right decisions, stay out of trouble (includes academically), take care of yourselves, and family!

Thank you all again, and to my family,


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Austin Lockwood's Season Awards

Sunflower League Season Awards

Coach of the Year: Dustin Delaney - SM East

Runner-Up: Ben Bartlett - SM North
SM East HC Dustin Delaney is reaching historic achievements
while coaching the Lancers. Photo by SME Harbinger

You could say that SM East dominating the league on its way towards another conference championship is just maintaining the status quo. Nobody really expected the Lancers to drop off and give up the pace to some other team. That said, who all expected anything out of SM North than the respectable 6-5 record that they ended up with?

I didn't see the Indians winning it all simply because they had (arguably) the league's best QB in Will Schneider, but I definitely expected him to counterbalance the atrocious defense that gave up a staggering 39.9 points per game. Considering both coaches more or less met expectations, I'll take the coach that won both head-to-head matches this season. It'll be extremely interesting to see how SM North will live without one of the biggest impact players in school history.

Sunflower League MVP: Will Schneider - QB - SM North

SM North QB Will Schneider
Photo by SM Post
Runner-Up: Trey Moore - RB - Lawrence High

This race was actually a lot closer than I anticipated. After compiling some stats, Trey Moore was an absolute beast for Lawrence as he trucked his way through defenses for 1291 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. If Moore hadn't been injured early into the team's 49-52 loss to SM North in the state quarter-finals, I wouldn't have been surprised if the game had ended very differently.

Despite Moore's impressive stats, you can't really deny a player who has done his best to carry his entire team to their first winning season since 2004 and a nice playoff run like Will Schneider. The senior QB accounted for 70% of the team's total yards; combine that with his 43 touchdowns (31 passing, 12 rushing) and you have easily one of the most entertaining players to watch in the league and one that we may never see again. It'll be very intriguing to see how the Indians even begin to tackle replacing such a dynamic player.

Offensive PoY: Nigil Houston - RB - SM East

Runner-Up:  Milton Braasch II - RB - SM East

So I just looked at the stats for SM East while finishing this article and I honestly thought I saw a typo in the Rushing department. The Lancers had 4,479 total yards on the ground as a team which isn't abnormal for a team running the flexbone. What is abnormal is when 2,936 of those yards are split almost evenly between two players.

That is exactly what happened this year for both Nigil Houston (1,484 yds, 19 TD's) and Milton Braasch II (1,452 yds, 23 TD's). Both players rocked opposing teams one the ground and Houston even snagged two TD passes as well, bringing his total even closer with 21. You could make a case for either player winning the award considering their accomplishments, but Houston had that level of production with 72 less carries. He averaged a staggering 13.02 yards per carry while compared to Braasch's 7.81 average which is still very impressive considering he had 186 attempts. There may have been some other impressive offensive players this season, but these two managed such amazing numbers while splitting carries and that shouldn't be ignored.

Defensive Isaiah Wright - CB - SM East

Runner-Up: Deion Poindexter - LB - Olathe North

Naming a DPoY is difficult considering how hard it is to track defensive stats at the high school level. However, Isaiah Wright's four INT's stands out on the stat sheet. He also managed to take one of those back for a touchdown. The kicker? He's a sophomore. Wright managed to collect almost half the team's turnovers and became a force to reckon with as the season went on. It'll be fun to see him progress over the next two seasons and see how far he goes with the Lancers.

Breakout PoY: Trey Moore - RB - Lawrence High

Runner-Up: Marcos Garcia - RB - SM North

While I wouldn't say Moore had the most stand-out season historically considering the style of offense ran by the Lions, he more than covered for last year's star running back J.D. Woods. It would be a lie to say this year's squad never skipped a beat, but Moore did a respectable job of shouldering a team that was missing one of the best trio of players since Olathe North's '09 squad.

While senior RB Marcos Garcia had a respectable season last year, it was definitely impressive for him to improve his production and become a perfect complimentary piece to MVP Will Schneider. Garcia managed 967 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground and helped SM North truck through the middle of their schedule with three 100+ yard games in a row. Even though he had a blast of a game against SM Northwest where he ran for 259 yards and three touchdowns, his best game came when it truly mattered, as he gashed Lawrence High for 181 yards and two touchdowns in the shootout.

Best Game: SM North 52-49 Lawrence High

Runner-Up: SM East 34-35 Blue Valley

Final Power Rankings:

1. Shawnee Mission East (10-2) - They may have lost to their two non-conference opponents (by a combined seven points), but the Lancers showed they're still at the top of the food chain with their third semifinals berth in four seasons. Coach Delaney needs to make sure to keep his team hungry for another state title in order to keep this run going for SM East.
Free State has managed the West side of the playoff bracket
nicely since they're realignment in 2014. Photo by LJWorld.

2. Lawrence Free State (9-3) - You gotta admit that the Firebirds have done an extraordinary job of taking on the West side of the playoff bracket as of late. They still need to find a way over the mountain of a hump that is Derby, but wins over Garden City (9-1) and Washburn Rural (7-4) can't be overlooked. Free State has a fun playing style to watch and that should remain true come next season.

3. Shawnee Mission North (6-5) - It wasn't pretty, but the Indians overcame atrocious defensive play (39.9 points allowed per game) and managed their first winning record since 2004 when they went
5-4. The main story will revolve around replacing the team's offensive pieces as they try to at least approach the same level of production. A pair of sophomore receivers will return with both Billy Conoway (963 yds, 6 TD's) and Noah Laird (810 yds, 9 TD's) coming back, so the newcomer at QB won't be without any weapons.

4. Lawrence High (6-4) - The Lions showed a strong fight to the very end, but came up short in the big games when they came around. They have managed to reloading pretty consistently over the last half-decade, so we'll have to see who is next in line after Trey Moore's graduation. Junior QB Dante Jackson was successful on the ground in his own right, so the next in line at running back will have good company in the backfield.
SM West had a respectable season despite a dissapointing end.
Photo by LJWorld.

5. Shawnee Mission West (6-4) - This team started out the season with state title ambitions and seemed to keep those expectations going up until a couple losses in the middle of the season brought the Vikings back down to Earth. SM West went through the season quietly beating the teams they were expected to beat and even snuck in a 41-40 win over Free State while they were still adjusting to new offensive playmakers. That said, the Vikings never really threatened when in the underdog position and that showed best in 19-49 defeat to Lawrence and a 0-57 shutout against SM East. SR QB Zach Witters showed immense promise by carrying the team through the first half of the season, but when Witters slowed down, the entire team paid the price as nobody managed to truly supply support as he still managed to lead the team in rushing with 639 yards. JR RB Kirby Grisby will hope to improve this off-season so as to become the next impact player for the Vikings.

6. Olathe South (4-7) - Say what you want about the Olathe School District, but Olathe South showed they were the best of the pack... I guess. The Falcons were the only Olathe school to advanced past the first playoff round and put up a decent fight in their 35-49 loss to Blue Valley, the eventual state runner-ups. 4-7 may not be where a team wants to be, but you can't say the Falcons didn't give there best at the end of the season.

7. Olathe North (3-6) - Well, that season kind of sucked. The Eagles did enough to prove they weren't at the bottom of the barrel by taking out the Falcons, Ravens and Cougars; teams with a combined 8-21 record. The team showed a little life against Wichita Heights (9-2) and SM West, but they never managed to correct the small mistakes and find what was holding them back. The team will hope to build around SO QB Zac Krause, who had some impressive plays despite the expected mistakes of a young player. He will have a decent competition for the spot with fellow sophomore and former starter Mason Myers who showed his own talents on the ground. Another year in the flexbone offense may be the defining factor for this team.

8. Olathe East (3-6) - It's always difficult to pinpoint what direction the Hawks are going in since their fall from glory after the firing of long-time coach Jeff Meyers after the 2014 season. But, things seem like they may be improving with the return of both JR QB Will Scofield and SO QB Hunter Thomas. Both players have game experience and a nice competition can be expected. The team will also see the return of their top three rushers. They will also be returning their top five tacklers, two returners with KOR touchdowns, and three players with two interceptions a piece.

9. Olathe Northwest (3-6) - If you're looking at scores as a defining stat for ranking these teams, the Ravens probably wouldn't be this low. The team lost five games by seven points or less, including a 14-20 OT loss to Olathe East and 14-17 loss to Olathe North. The Ravens struggled to close out games but are by no means a bad team. However, they were the only team to go winless in the Olathe District rivalries and it wouldn't be fair to put them above the two teams that beat them when the accomplishments really aren't that different at the end of the day.

10. Shawnee Mission Northwest (1-8) - They're not the worst team in Shawnee. They proved that when they beat SM South 36-22. It's never easy to rebound from bad seasons, and coach Bo Black is still looking for answers. Hopefully he'll have the chance to find them in the 2017 season.

11. Leavenworth (1-8) - Well, it seems we're back to square one. The Pioneers managed a win over SM South to put themselves in the same spot as SMNW. Leavenworth's position is a unique one which makes improvements in football difficult, but you never know what they might come up with next season.

12. Shawnee Mission South (0-9) - Leavenworth has always had numbers problems in football, but I'm not sure if they've had issues as bad as SM South, a team who had only 24 players on the varsity squad. It certainly didn't help when multiple starters left the team in protest of another being kicked off. Unless they're raising some hidden monster in the science labs, I don't see much improvement for coach Oberzan or whoever ends up coaching the team next season.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Chesty Lions: Dirk Wedd Final Season

Alumnus & Head Coach Dirk Wedd to retire after 2017

Recently announced over the Twitter world 11/30/16, Lawrence Chesty Lions and alumni of the school Dirk Wedd will call the 2017 his final leading the Lions on to the gridiron. 

Coach Dirk Wedd is no stranger to the City of Lawrence, and Lawrence High School. 

Having walked the halls himself, he is a graduate of the '70 class, he had the opportunity to play for Lawrence Football legend Al Woolard. 

Entering the 2017 season, he enters with a record of 99W - 82L - 181GC - 543 W%. Once he attains his 100th win, Dirk Wedd will join some great company of Lawrence Head Coaches with 100 or more wins. Al Woolard (152-12-5 from 1950-1968) and Bill Freeman (134-38 from 1974-1989).  

Currently in SFL History, he stands #10th all-time out of 86 Head Coaches. Counterpart, and fellow Chesty Lion alumnus and Free State Head Coach Bob Lisher is #6 all-time with a record of 128-83. The Chesty Lions and Firebirds will again meet for one of the best rivalries in the Sunflower League in week-8! 

Sunflower Top 10 Career Records - 1954 to Present 

1   - Dick Purdy - SMW & LAW 175-59-3 (1967-1980, 1990-1998)
2   - Jeff Meyers - OE 162-75 (1992-2014)
3   - Gene Weir - ON 153-31 (1989-2002, 2012-2014) - 1981-89 #'s not counted as in EKL
4   - Bill Freeman - LAW 134-38 (1974-1989)
5   - John Davis - SMS 131-57-5 (1966-1985)
6   - @ Bob Lisher - LFS 128-83 (1997-2017)
7   - Al Woolard - LAW 127-7-2 (1954-1968)
8   - Larry Taylor - SMN 110-31-4 (1964-1978)
9   - @ Tim Callaghan - SMW 103-45 (2003-2017)
10 -  @ Dirk Wedd - LAW 99-82 (1998-2017)

@ = Active Head Coach 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

State Title Day - BV Tigers defeated

Unfortunately the BV Tigers lost on a last second FG to the Derby Panthers falling 17-14 earlier this afternoon. It was a great afternoon for our three Football programs representing their School Districts, and the county strong.

Our fellow Johnson County/Sunflower-EKL schools faired well with a record of 2-1 overall.

The Bishop Miege Stags defeated the Buhler Crusaders for the 4A-1 title and the Mill Valley Jaguars won on a last second FG in Double OT to win their second 5A title in a row.

This Mill Valley Jaguars team won it with 9 wins being the last KS 6 or 5A team to win a State Title in single digit wins since the 1972. The SM West Vikings won it all with an 8-3 record! No other Johnson County 6 or 5A Football program has done so since the SMW Vikings of that 1970s era of SFL play.

Congrats again to all three High Schools, student-athletes, fans, parents, grandparents, Coaches, and Administrators for a great 2016 Football season!

As we move closer towards closing out the year, have a safe holiday season and study for your impending finals! We are proud of your work and looking forward to a great 2017 season ahead!

Thank you!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week-13 Championship Weekend 6A Final

For Up to date Brackets from all classes: www.kshsaa.org 

West vs East
1 Blue Valley Tigers (11-0) vs 1 Derby Panthers (11-0) @ Emporia 1:00 Kick 
*** 18th & Merchant, Emporia, KS 66801 ***

Series Roundups Week-12

West vs East

1 Blue Valley-EKL (12-0) vs 1 Derby-AVCTL (12-0) – Derby leads the series 1-0

The Blue Valley Tigers, and Derby Panthers will rematch for the 6A State Title this Saturday at Welch Stadium, and home of the Emporia State Hornets Football team.

It's not too often a rematch happens but it is always possible. The Olathe North Eagles, and Manhattan Indians met in 2000 and 2001with the Eagles sweeping both Titles those seasons. It happened again to the Olathe North Eagles, and Wichita Heights Falcons in 2009 and 2010. This time the series was tied at 1 State Final for each program.

To see a Sunflower League team represent the East has been quite honor. In 2015 and 2016 that torch has been carried by a strong, and very talented Blue Valley Tigers who have dominated all aspects of the regular season, and playoff play. In their Sub state game hosting the Lancers, it was by far one of the most exiting of finishes in recent history (this decade) many of us have been part of since the season started.

Blue Valley did to SM East, what SM East did to Olathe North to end their season in 2014 en route to a 6A State Title over the Hutchinson SaltHawks in OT and in the final possession with no time left on the clock.

This should be a great rematch for both programs, as the Panthers have won 22 straight games, and the Tigers at 12 straight entering Saturday's game.

For Derby, the path to State started out strong in week-9 with #16 Wichita North, #8 Wichita Northwest, #4 Hutchinson, and #6 Free State (SFL) all at home. With all four playoff games, the Panthers averaged 14 PA a game in which the Panthers alone averaged 54 Points For. It will take a lot for the Tigers to stop a high powered offense,

The Tigers of Stilwell, KS road to the final consisted of a great home slate of games starting out with #16 SM South, #9 Olathe South, #4 BV North, and #2 SM East. Each opponent managed only 20 PA the Tigers, in which it is very tough to win on the road at Blue Valley Stadium. Perhaps, one of the hardest road games to play outside of ODAC (Olathe North & South) home field. As for the Tigers offensive output, the team averaged 43 Points For. The Lancers of SM East gave their best competition prior to meeting Derby.

Best of luck to the Blue Valley Tigers of Stilwell, KS as we look forward to a great game Saturday afternoon!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

SFL 2016 Simone Nominations

Thomas A. Simone Award (Most Outstanding Football Player)
SR - Will Schneider

Buck Buchanan Award (Most Outstanding Linman/Linebacker) 
SR - Jay Dineen 

Otis Taylor Award (Most Outstanding WR/TE)
SR - Trevor Thompson

These awards are a culmination of 34 years of awarding the Best High School Football athletes in the Kansas City metro area. There is a committee made of a panel of 10 media members that chose the 10 best student-athletes. 

The awards ceremony will be held at the High School of the Thomas A. Simone winner. 

From the four finalists the winners will be announced Tuesday, Dec. 6 at the high school of the winner of the Thomas A. Simone Award.

Sunflower Football Alumni - Simone Award Winners
2009 - James Franklin - Olathe North Eagles 
2002 - Jim Bouknight - Olathe North Eagles
2001 - Maurice Mack - Olathe North Eagles
2000 - Darren Sproles - Olathe North Eagles 
1997 - Josh Brewer - Olathe North Eagles 
1995 - Arland Bruce III - Olathe North Eagles 
1993 - Josh Thoren - Lawrence Chesty Lions

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week-12/Sub-State Finals 6A Playoffs

Week-12 Bracket 

1 Blue Valley (11-0) vs 2 SM East (10-1) @ Blue Valley - 7pm 

1 Derby (11-0) vs 6 Free State (9-2) @ Derby - 7pm  

Series Roundups Week-12


Blue Valley (11-0) vs SM Eeast (10-1) – SM East leads the series 3-1

The last time these two met, former Blue Valley Tigers Coaching legend Steve Rampy (AC/Offensive Coordinator at Pitt State Gorillas) and current SM South Raiders Principal Todd Dain was roaming the sidelines for the Lancers in his second season as Head Coach in 2001.

After a coaching change was made in the Spring of 2000 at SM East, the Lancers went the route of a young Head Coach after nearly three decades or more of Coaches who had been together since the mid 1970s when their own careers began. Todd Dain, not new to SM East came over from Jon Krug's West Vikings Coaching staff and immediate changes were made. The Football culture became fresh, updated, and a path was clear to the expectations of Lancer Football more than a decade ago. Former Lancers Head Coaches John Stonner (AC at SM West), Chip Sherman (HC at Olathe Northwest), and Dustin Delaney brought the Lancers Football program in to it's zenith and beyond.

16 seasons later, that path is still followed, with adjustments made accordingly, the same with the Blue Valley Tigers, and former Blue Valley Tiger student-athlete, Eric Driskell, returning to the classroom and becoming an Assistant taking over for his mentor the great Steve Rampy.

The Blue Valley Tigers, are no strangers to post-season success. With multiple 5A State Titles in hand, winning football is a mantra early on ingrained in to the youngest of Freshman Football players until the day they walk out four years later young men leading a Varsity program.

This will be a true dog-fight from start to finish as both programs carry playoff experience and smart clock management when it comes to taking care of the ball, on both offense and defense in stopping the run or pass. With both teams playing well beyond anyone's expectations, look for a great game at Blue Valley Stadium. The venue alone, outside of Football is a great tailgating location and on of the best in our area! Get out to the stadium early! 


Derby (11-0) vs Free State (9-2) - Derby leads the series 1-0

Derby and Free State met for the first time in 2015 in the 6A State Semi-final. 

The Panthers came away victorious with a 35-14 final score putting away any chance a Sunflower League team would return to the 6A State Final last season. That same week in 2015 the Olathe North Eagles lost to the same Blue Valley Tigers who have returned to the same semi-final this 2016 season.

Derby is continuing its hot-streak of play and has won 21 straight games. The Panthers last loss was on the road taking on the Mill Valley Jaguars in week-3 of the 2015 season 27-20. There is not a 6 or 5A Football team of those 21 games that has been able to slow the Panthers down. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Week-11/Sectional 6A East Playoffs Preview

All Class Brackets can be found on: www.kshsaa.org for up to date Final scores.

Week-11 Bracket 

1 Blue Valley (10-0) vs 4 BV North (7-3) @ Blue Valley

2 SM East (9-1) vs 6 SM North (6-4) @ SM North Stadium

1 Derby (10-0) vs 4 Hutchinson (9-1) @ Derby 

6 Free State (8-2) vs Washburn Rural (7-3) @ Free State

Series Roundups Week-11


Blue Valley (10-0) vs BV North (7-3) – Blue Valley leads the series 20-9

The Mustangs under Andy Sims have been revitalized as a Football program in his three years on the job. 

Last season the Mustangs ended the Tigers string of 10 straight wins that suffered through three different Coaching changes. Stability is in for the long haul as the Mustangs have a chance to upset the Blue Valley Tigers on the road. 

This is the first rematch ever in the history of both programs at any time during their 29 games played. 

Eric Driskell's Tigers are 6-1 since taking over for Steve Rampy. 

SM East (9-1) vs SM North (6-4) – SM North leads the series 22-30-1

These two long-time friends will meet in their very first playoff game in their 53rd all-time series history.

Just five weeks ago the Lancers put up 77 points running away for their ninth straight win against the Indians. The last Indians win came in 2007.

While the Indians are playing great in perhaps the toughest part of the East bracket, stopping the Lancers will be a tough task to be done. Can the Indians defense hold the Lancers? Gardner-Edgerton nearly did only to lose in the final seconds of the game. Ben Bartlett’s Indians are up to the task with the biggest roadblock in front of them, the SM East Shark defense.   


Derby (10-0) vs Hutchinson (9-1) – Derby leads the series 29-22-1

Some of the Best of the West... Describes these two great Football teams.

Derby’s Brandon Clark has been steamrolling the 6A west for better part of this decade with only a few trip ups here and there. Playing Hutchinson is no easy task any time they are on the schedule. Since 2010, the two have met nine times with the Panthers coming away victorious four of the last five games. During both playoff meetings, the SaltHawks came out on top in 2012, and 2014 to end the Panthers season. For a third time in seven seasons they will meet again in another epic rematch.

Hutch’s Ryan Cornelson will have a tough task on his hands but this is what the playoffs are for. The SaltHawks can make some noise, and bracket-bust some more come Friday night.  

Free State (8-2) vs Washburn Rural (7-3) – Free State leads the series 7-0

Looking back on this series, the JR Blues have not faired well in their meetings with the Firebirds.

Throughout the early 2000s these two played multiple times in week 9 of District play. With out much luck the JR Blues have had a tough go both home and away against the Firebirds.  

Having had a handful of Coaching changes since Free State opened in 1997, the JR Blues will need to step up their play from the beginning. One asset the Firebirds will use to their full advantage is QB Dallas Crittendon, who transferred from Hayden. His knowledge will help carry the Firebirds, as he will be the only Firebird on the field with prior game history against the JR Blues. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Week-10/Regional of 6A East Playoff Preview

All Class Brackets can be found on: www.kshsaa.org for up to date Final scores.

Week-10 Bracket 

1 Blue Valley (9-0) vs 9 Olathe South (4-5) @ Blue Valley
4 BV North (6-3) vs 5 SM West (6-3) @ BV North/BVDAC

2 SM East (8-1) vs 10 G-E Trailblazers (4-5) @ SM North Stadium
3 Lawrence (6-3) vs 6 SM North (5-4) @ Lawrence

3 Garden City Buffaloes (9-0) vs 6 Free State (7-2) @ Garden City

Series Roundups Week-10


1 Blue Valley Tigers vs 9 Olathe South Falcons (Blue Valley leads the series 4-0, 7-5 all-time including EKL games 1981 to 1988)

For the Olathe South Falcons, this will not be an easy task marching in to Blue Valley Tigers Stadium. From the outset, this will be a tough game for the Falcons to pull an upset.

The Tigers are 4-0 in their meetings with the Falcons all coming in District play week-8. In most recent time these two played in 08, 09, 14, and 15 seasons. For the Falcons to come away with a win, it will take everything in the Falcons defense to stop one of the top offenses in the 6A East bracket. Playing well in these last three weeks has been a huge boost 

4 BV North Mustangs vs 5 SM West Vikings (SMW leads the series tied 8-4)

While these two may play in different leagues, locally they are no strangers to each other.

In their 12 games, each has been in either a week-8 or -9 District game of seasons past dating back to the 1989 season. Since 2010, the Mustangs are 1-3 in 4 District games played, with only the 2015 season making it into the 6A State playoffs.

Tim Callaghan's Vikings will have a big task on their hands with the Mustangs having won five in a row, and on a hot streak while the Vikings rebounded from a big loss to the Lancers with a strong defeat of the Wyandotte Bulldogs. 

2 SM East Lancers vs 10 Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers (SME leads the series 2-0)

The Lancers and Trailblazers will reunite for the playoffs after playing in a home and home series during the 2014 and 15 seasons. 

With a chance to move on to the Quarter-finals, the Trailblazers have made drastic improvements after two down seasons in the EKL. With a tough task on their hands, the Trailblazers will have to muster a strong offensive output against the Lancers Shark Defense. It will not be easy to score against, as the Trailblazers themselves have given up 85 points against in both meetings against the Lancers. Scoring from the start will be key in gaining momentum to pull away with a win for either team. 

3 Lawrence Chesty Lions vs 6 SM North Indians (Lawrence leads the series 50-20-3)

The Chesty Lions will have a tough chore ahead of them with the Indians on a hot streak defeating the Eagles of Olathe North this past Friday.

With all of the momentum swinging the Indians way, the Chesty Lions will need to find an offensive spurt and create some turnovers from the Indians throughout the game. QB Will Schneider of SM North continues to carry his leadership role in the most crucial of times deep in to this playoff run that has not happened since the 2000 season. Ironically, both playoff opponents were the Eagles, and Chesty Lions. 


3 Garden City Buffaloes vs 6 Free State Firebirds (First meeting, series tied 0-0)

For the first time in Sunflower League history, the Firebirds will travel to Garden City to take on a red hot undefeated Buffaloes Football team. As good as the Firebirds have been playing the last six weeks, they will have one of the toughest road playoff games of the season ahead of them.

The Buffaloes are led by 7th year Head Coach Brian Hill, who is 45-23 overall, 19-9 in the Western Athletic Conference, and 3-3 in the playoffs. This will be a first hosting a Sunflower League Football team west of Topeka.

Bob Lisher's Firebirds will look to end the Buffaloes season with Dallas Crittendon's leadership at QB that could make it very tough to defend. The playoff experience of the Firebirds will be key to ending Garden City's momentum in the west bracket. Derby and Manhattan also field 9-0 records with teams looking to knock them out.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Darren Sproles NFL All-Pupose Damage!

NFL All-Purpose Top #10

Congratulations and many cheers to Olathe North Eagles alumni Darren Sproles ('01) who recently accomplished a goal of climbing to #8 all-time on the NFL All-Purpose Yards charts. 

This past week, Darren Sproles reached 18,498 total yards covering a span of 12 seasons from 2005 to present. Those 12 seasons cover stints with the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, and Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to entering the NFL, Darren was a standout for the Kansas State (K-State) Wildcats of the Big XII. Moving up to #8 all-time allows him to be in the company of NFL Greats Barry Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, and many more.  

Long before the NFL was in the picture, Darren Sproles was a hidden gem within Johnson County, KS starring at Football powerhouse Olathe North. During Darren's time at Olathe North, he was coached by legendary Head Coach Gene Weir (1981-2002 (1997-2000), 2012-2014) leading the Eagles to 3 6A State Football Titles in four years from 1997-2000. 

Below are additional accomplishments Darren Sproles earned while an Olathe North Eagle:
* Thomas A. Simone Award Winner 
* Kansas Hall Of Fame Player of The Year 2000
* USA Today Player of The Year  
* Career at Olathe North: 5,230 Yards/79 Touchdowns
* High School All-American by Student Sports Magazine
* Kansas City Star Player of the Year 2x
* Starred in Spring Track & Field

NFL Draft Status: 
* 2005 Draft
* Round #4/Pick #130

Monday, October 31, 2016

Olathe West Owls: Beginning 2017-18

Next fall the Olathe West Owls will become a reality for the Sunflower League. 

For now, the Owls will become a Junior Varsity squad made up of several student-athletes from all four Olathe High School Football programs. 

Recently the Olathe #233 announced the hirings of several key positions within the structure of the new high school. 

Principal Jay Novacek (formerly of Olathe South & Olathe Northwest, and student-athlete at ST Aquinas Saints) is leading the core of the of the Administration for the 2017-18 school year. 

Joining Jay Novacek, is current Olathe Northwest Raven Pat Butler, who also opened Olathe Northwest with Jay Novacek and a handful of others as the schools first Athletic Director. Coach Butler currently assist Chip Sherman and the Ravens Football team. Prior to going in to education, Pat Butler was a student-athlete for the SM South Raiders Football team. In his four years as a Raider, he was able to play for legendary Head Coach John Davis, and Fred Merrill. 

At this time, all Head Coaching positions for the Varsity sports programs are now open to begin applying for. 

The position of Head Football Coach will be posted on the www.olatheschools.com  on 11-01-16.

Interest in the position, and Teaching/Coaching resumes should be sent to the Olathe School District, and Athletic Director Pat Butler.   

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Week-9/Round-1 of 6A East Playoffs Preview

All Class Brackets can be found on: www.kshsaa.org for up to date Final scores.

1 Blue Valley (8-0) vs 16 SM South (0-8) @ Blue Valley
8 Olathe East (3-5) vs 9 Olathe South (3-5) @ Olathe East/ODAC
4 BV North (5-3) vs 13 BV Northwest (2-6) @ BV North/BVDAC
5 SM West (5-3) vs 12 Wyandotte (2-5) @ SM South Stadium

2 SM East (7-1) vx 15 SM Northwest (1-7) @ SM North Stadium (10-27-16)
7 Olathe NW (3-5) vs 10 G-E Trailblazers (3-5) @ Olathe Northwest/CBAC
3 Lawrence (5-3) vs 14 BV West (2-6) @ Lawrence
6 SM North (4-4) vs 11 Olathe North (3-5) @ SM North

6 Free State (6-2) vs 11 Wichita South (4-4) @ Free State

6 ST Aquinas (5-3) vs 11 Leavenworth (1-7) @ ST Aquinas

Series Roundups Week-9

1 Blue Valley Tigers vs 16 SM South Raiders (Blue Valley leads the series 1-0)

Two years ago in 2014 the Tigers and Raiders met for the very first time. That time also happened to be in Round 1 of the 6A playoffs after the Raiders won two of their final three games in District play to advance.

This game will take everything for the Raiders to get some points against a dominant powerhouse in the Tigers.

8 Olathe East Hawks vs 9 Olathe South Falcons (Series tied 13-13)

These two Olathe foes have been meeting every season since 1992 when Olathe East opened.

Since the start of this decade, the Falcons have held the upper hand going 5-2 in 7 games played, and a playoff win during the 2011 State Football title run. 2014 and 15 have gone the Falcons way bringing the series to a .500 overall record.

4 BV North Mustangs vs 13 BV Northwest Huskies (BVNW leads the series 15-8)

For the first time in the history of this District series, the Mustangs and Huskies will rematch from week-1 play.

These two have met like OE and OS every season on the gridiron since 1994. Since the start of 2010, the Huskies have come away with a 4-2 record and a streak of four straight wins from 2011 to 2014.

Look for the Mustangs to continue to stay hot, while the Huskies look for an upset against a very up and coming program.

5 SM West Vikings vs 12 Wyandotte Bulldogs (Wyandotte leads the series 6-1)

Dating back to the opening of SM West in 1962 the Bulldogs met SMSD #3 for the very first time.

From 1962 to 1967 the Bulldogs won six straight games in dominate form with SM West first year Head Coach Ross Correll going 0-5. In 1967, the Football revolution of the Vikings took place with the hiring of Dick Purdy. During the 1968 season the Vikings won 14-0 after ending a six game losing streak and finishing 1-1 all-time before Wyandotte was removed from the schedule.

Although these two have not played in 48 years, this should be a great game and the Bulldogs will see quite a versatile Football program in Tim Callaghan's Vikings. It will take everything for the Bulldogs defense to stop a distraught Vikings who lost to the Lancers last week.

2 SM East Lancers vs 15 SM Northwest Cougars (SMNW leads the series 25-20)

This is a rematch of week-2 at the beginning of the Sunflower season.

Coming in to this game, the Cougars finished the season with a win over the Raiders, and lost two consecutive games over the Indians and Eagles. This will be a tough task ahead for the Cougars looking to upset a strong Lancers offense who shutout the West Vikings last week.

With this rematch taking place, anything goes now that District play is out of the picture. This is a time that upsets can happen, and seasons can come to an abrupt end.

7 Olathe NW Ravens vs 10 G-E Trailblazers (G-E leads the series 2-0)

The Ravens and Trailblazers will meet for only the third time in this young match up.

Three years ago both met in week-9 during the 2012 and 2013 District games to close out their regular seasons. Olathe Northwest has a chance to make some good happen against a down Trailblazers Football team over the last couple years. This

3 Lawrence Chesty Lions vs 14 BV West Jaguars (Series tied 1-1)

In this young series of play, the Chesty Lions and Jaguars are looking to make some noise in the playoffs.

These two programs are no strangers to each other, having met in a home and home series in 2014 and '15. During the 2015 meeting in Lawrence, the Chesty Lions came away with a dominating win.  

6 SM North Indians vs 11 Olathe North Eagles (Olathe North leads the series 23-1)

For the 25th time the Indians and Eagles will be meeting in Sunflower League play.

While the Eagles have notably dominated the series, and the Indians last win came in 2003 under former Head Coach Sam Brown, much has changed with both programs. In a rare season, the Olathe 4 are all down for the first time in the history of the school district.

SR Indians QB Will Schneider will have a chance to turn the tables at home on the Eagles. Not having to travel to ODAC has caused problems for all SMSD Football teams in the playoffs. Could this be an advantage? Time will tell, the Eagles are 2-2 in road games this season.

6 Free State Firebirds vs 11 Wichita South (First meeting, Series tied 0-0)

This will be the very first meeting between the Firebirds and Titans.

While most of NE Johnson County does not know much about the Titans, they have played to a strong 500 season finishing at 4-4. Their biggest defeat of the season was against Wichita East in which they put up 60 points in which W-E had no chance from the beginning.

Playing a Wichita school for the Sunflower League teams has not come since Gene Weir was in his first Coaching tenure with the Olathe North Eagles. Head Coach Bob Lisher can continue to build on the great Firebirds playoff runs they have had and come out strong on the west side of the 6A bracket.

3 ST Aquinas Saints vs 14 Leavenworth Pioneers (STA leads the series 1-0)

This will be the second ever meeting for the Saints and Pioneers. Both teams previously met in the 2014 playoffs with the Saints coming away with the victory.

While the series is new to the student-athletes, Leavenworth's Mark Littrell is 0-3 in all-time meetings against Randy Dreiling. Those two meetings came in 6A State Championship play, where his Falcons lost in '04 and '07. While the Pioneers only win came against SM South five weeks ago, ending their four game losing streak would be ideal against ST Aquinas.

Nine seasons later these two reunite on the gridiron in far different circumstances meeting in the first round of playoffs instead. The Saints have lost two straight coming in to this game against the BVSW T-Wolves, and Blue Valley Tigers (#1 seed).

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Historical Run at "45" - Unheard of Sun #'s

While the modern day Sunflower League is seeing growth in so many areas, we have individual Football programs making strides that have never been seen before by any of its current or former member schools.

Having done some digging deep in to the Sun Football archives from 1951 to this 2016 season, the #45 seems to have found a new meaning for the SM East Football Lancers. That said, this is a team accomplishment, that includes all of the Coaching staff who have been able to see the student-athletes at SM East grow in to a Football program since the 2010 season.

After 45 games played, only three Head Coaches within the history of the League, and SMSD #512 only have reached some unparalled Football heights. 

In just six (6) seasons Larry Taylor (SM North) and John Davis (SM South) have made the Football programs that they took over in to State Football powerhouses of their respective era's. From 1964 to 1969 the Indians reeled off a 36-7-3 record. This included 2 State Titles in '65 and '67 and multiple League titles in 65-66-67-68-69. 

John Davis did the same with the Raiders, from 1966 to 1970 (5) in a similar fashion. Coach Davis' record was an incredible 31-10-4 with losses to Dick Purdy's West Vikings, and the Lawrence Chesty Lions that owned the SMSD schools in that era of time. 

These days, with a record that none of the current (12) or former (87) Head Coaches can brag about is that of the SM East Football Lancers led by Dustin Delaney in his fourth season. 

In 45 total games, Delaney's Lancers have done something no other relatively new Head Coach to the league can bring about to the 15 Sunflower Football programs. Even Bill Freeman's 15 year tenure with the Chesty Lions, first five (5) seasons are no where close to Delaney's Lancers averaging 3.5 losses per season. From 1978 to 1989, Freeman's Chesty Lions went on to win 5 State Championships and retire with a 134-38 record. Coach Bill Freeman's first State Title came in his sixth season 1979. 

Of all 87 Head Coaches, only Dustin Delaney, and SM North Football Coaching legend have one thing in common, winning a large Kansas Class State Title in their second season. In 1964, the Indians were a paltry 3-5-1 after 9 games. The following year in 1965 the Indians completed their first of many 9-0 seasons under Larry Taylor, and were declared the State Champions at that time. A State Tournament was not played or started by the KSHSAA until 1969-70 school year. Delaney's Lancers have finished 11-2, and 13-0 (24-2 overall) respectively in his first two seasons. That stands alone bettering former Olathe North Eagles Head Coach John McCall who finished 22-4 in 2003-04 after Gene Weir left for to become the Head Coach of the Richland Rebels TX.  

Coach Delaney's Lancers are on pace to reach, and surpass those numbers of Larry Taylor, John Davis, and SM West Coach Tim Callaghan at the conclusion of the Lancers season after four complete seasons.  

Run at "45" Games: 
School - Head Coach - Overall Totals
@ SME - Dustin Delaney - 40-5, 45 GC, 888 W%
SMN - Larry Taylor - 36-7-3, 45 GC, 800 W%
SMS - John Davis - 31-10-4, 45 GC, 688 W%

@ = Active