Monday, October 29, 2018

Week-10-2018 - Post-Season


1 GET (9-0) vs. 8 SNW (5-4) @ GET - GET leads the series 1-0
* In week-9, the Cougars Head Coach Bo Black earned his 100th all-time win against their district foe the North Indians.

Now the former Hays Indians Coaches will meet again in a rematch of week-7's 49-27 Trailblazers win. This is a way for both schools to become familiar with each other for seasons to come as the Cougars are in the mood to upset the Trailblazers.

Gardner-Edgerton will look to continue carving their niche in 6A-East deeper in to the weeks ahead. Ryan Cornelson's Trailblazers will come prepared after a strong win over the BV Northwest Huskies.

4 SMS (7-2) vs. 5 BVN (6-3) @ SMS - BV North leads the series 8-7
* Hello neighbor! While the Raiders, and Mustangs are both in different leagues, and only a handful of blocks away from each other geographically, with 435 splitting the two inside Overland Park, KS these two schools are remarkably similar in many ways.

The Raiders will be looking to knock off the reigning 6A Football Champions who are on a six game winning streak. For the Mustangs however, stopping the Raiders will be in and of itself a very tough task to plan for.

In 2015, the two played during the week-7 District game and 50th Anniversary season of Raiders Football. The Mustangs came out early and often winning outright and taking the lead in this neighborly series.

2 SME (7-2) vs. 10 OEH (4-5) @ SMN - OEH leads the series 13-9
* For decades the Olathe #233 has dominated the rest of the Sunflower League, including their fellow SMSD #512 counterparts. This will be game number #23 for both schools.

However, since the 2010 season all of that has changed as the Lancers have turned the tables on every school within #233. Jesse Owen and his Hawks will be prepared for the Hoover pass-offense led by a talented group of Lancers. It will not be easy, with the Lancers having won five of the last six between the both schools since 2011, and clear domination of the week-6 games in 16 and 17.

3 ONE (7-2) vs. 6 OSF (5-4) @ ODAC - ONE leads the series Overall at 33-7; Sunflower 26-5 
* For only the third time in the history of the Eagles, and Falcons Football programs, the two will meet in the playoffs. 07 and 10 were those times.

DYK? Those Falcons wins came in 1981-1988-1989-1999 and 2006.

While it is clear the Eagles are the crown of the City of Olathe, both will be looking to come out starting fast and maintaing tempo of the game. This game will be big for the Falcons who are looking to get back in to deep post-season play. The City of Olathe, KS runs deep in to the lifelines of the two high schools and will expect to see the Birdhouse out in full force.


2 LFS (9-0) vs. 7 CAM (6-3) @ LFS - Series tied 0-0
* In a new match up for the Firebirds, they will face a very good Campus Colts Football program led by Gregory Slade. Coach Slade and his resume have spent a majority of time on the western side of the 6A bracket his entire career. This will be his first chance to take on a Sunflower opponent and it will not be easy coming in week-10.

Look for Coach Lisher's Firebirds to follow through on their game-plan, executing plays early, and often to a first time opponent on the Firebirds Football resume. 


1 STA (8-0) vs. 8 SEA (5-4) @ STA - STA leads the series 7-1
* The Saints and Vikings are no strangers under Randy Dreilings watch. In 2015 and 16, the two met in post-season play, and the Saints came away victorious deep in to post-season play.

While the Vikings have had post-season success in decades past, the Saints have found ways to end the Topeka school with resounding effort and multiple points on the scoreboard.

4 MVJ (6-3) vs. 12 SJA (2-7) @ MVJ - MVJ leads the series 6-1
* Strangers? Not at all. These two EKL members will meet again. Yes, once again twice in a single-season in which both have done in 2016 and 17.

While Joel Applebee's Jaguars have the upper hand coming in to this week-10 game, the Thunder have been impressive in all of their seven games in which they have played. However this season has been down, with a seven game losing streak started in week-2 by these same Jaguars. This could be a great game

3 FLS (6-3) vs. OWO (3-6) @ FLS - Series tied 0-0
* In a first of its kind, the FL Schlagle Stallions will meet the young Owls of the Olathe #233. The Owls themselves in their first Varsity season are now in their second playoff game.

While the Stallions bring the experience of post-season with them, look for the Owls to come out firing quickly as possible. As a first year Varsity program, the Owls have found the endzone multiple times, and have found that discipline will be needed as the weeks of the season quickly disappear.

Do not be taken back by the Stallions overall record, as the program is full of talent and quietly wins off the radar in the KCAL.


4 PIT (8-1) vs. BMS (7-2) @ PIT - Pittsburg leads the series 3-2
* 1988. You read that right. The last time these two played, former Coach Paul Brown in his fifth season lost to the Purple Dragons 23-7 in week-11.

This should be one of the more exiting games of the season, as the Purple Dragons once again return to the grounds of northeast Johnson County for a big road game. Both programs have most post-season experience than others in their 4A class. For an upset to happen for Coach Tom Nickelson and his Purple Dragons would be monumental for the City of Pittsburg, KS. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

"Playoff Master" Makes Random Predictions

As the undisputed ultimate playoff predicting good boy, it only feels appropriate to go all in this year and make bold predictions for the entire playoff season. Since this is high school football and chances are 80% of this piece will be wrong, how about trying out a more laid-back writing style? Here we go...

A SME-ON Rematch in Round 3 - Confidence: 85%

Since the higher ups decided it was a good idea to still have Thursday games in what is suppose to be the playoffs, SME has already had a chance to show why seeding is still important with the expanded system as they shutout win-less Harmon 45-0. Olathe North should follow suit against SM West (0-8) and will then go on to face the winner of OS-BVW.

The Lancers will get the winner of BV-OE and will likely face a similar caliber of opponent for the second round. Both teams should be favorites to win the first two rounds but Blue Valley likely has the best chance of disrupting the status-quo and should never be counted out come playoff time.

Free State will stumble again - Confidence: 75%

Can K-State commit Keenan Garber push the
Firebirds to a state championsip?
Photo by LJWorld.
Lawrence Free State has spent the last four seasons on the Western side of the playoff tree. Each of those years, the Firebirds ended up losing to the team that would go on to play for the state championship. The Derby Panthers have contributed to three of those losses and look as menacing as ever this year. For those not familiar, the Panthers (8-0) have averaged a whopping 49.6 points a game, an even higher average than Free State's 43.5.

Both teams have dominated on defense as well, with both teams only allowing more than 14 points one time each. That said, the Firebirds have faced a somewhat more questionable schedule. Out of their nine opponents, only SM East (7-2) enters the postseason with a winning record. Meanwhile, Derby has faced and dominated some of the top teams in 5A in the likes of Salina Central (6-2), Bishop-Carroll (6-2) and Maize High (7-1). Will Free State's elite playmakers be able to push them over the edge? 

SM South will make a "surprise run" - Confidence: 55%

The Raiders have already blown past previous expectations by winning out after their two losses so far. BV North (6-3) should be nothing to scoff at and Olathe NW (1-7) at least managed to keep it competitive in their first match-up, but SMS has managed to take down a couple decent teams. The run to the 3rd round seems completely possible and a match-up with undefeated Gardner-Edgerton (8-0) would probably be a great game to see. SR QB Jack Roberts has proven to be a decent dual-threat as the leader of the offense and should see an increased workload tonight.

Olathe West will win the 5A East - Confidence: 100%

Sky is the limit when your team is in its first year of existence and has already qualified for the playoffs. Sure, their wins have come against two opponents with a combined 1-15... but the Owls actually had themselves in position to win multiple times and might be one of the better 2-7 teams this writer has seen in a long time. 

To be somewhat serious, the Owls should have at least a reasonable chance to squeak out an upset against KC Washington. The Wildcats (4-4) have alternated wins and losses throughout the season and ended regular play with a win... Coincidence? Don't tell Owls fans that. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sunflower Week-9-2018 - "Play In" - 2 6 & 5A


1 STA (7-0) vs. 16 HPS (0-8) (Series tied 0-0)
* For the Saints to have the week-8 game off prior to facing the Highland Park Scotties of the Centennial League at home will not come easy for Highland Park. A week of healing injuries and solid consistent practice will be a benefit for the Saints.

While winning has come easy for the Saints, which speaks for their success on the gridiron early on, the Scotties are riding a 42 game losing streak dating back to the 2014 season. That Scotties team defeated the JC Harmon Hawks in week-2 and has been struggling with 0-9 seasons in 15, 16, and 17 Football seasons of play.

4 MVJ (5-3) vs. TWC (1-7) (Series tied 0-0)
* The Jaguars of Mill Valley will meet the Topeka West Chargers for the first time in school history.

For the last few years, the Chargers have struggled in Centennial play, and will be looking to get a win. However, where they land in the bracket against the Jaguars, playing at cozy Mill Valley Stadium will be very intimidating, as the Jaguars home is a successful place to be for a home game.

5 LAN (5-3) vs. 12 SJA (1-7) (SJA leads the series 2-0)
* Both programs have been very fortunate in the recent seasons to be able to meet in the modern era of Kansas Football.

The Lansing Lions have had a great start under first year coach Dylan Brown, while the Thunder, have fallen on hard times at 1-7 overall. This is rare for a very strong program having lost kids to graduation, and injury throughout the year.

For game time, look for the Lions to be represented well in their home stadium hosting the Thunder, in which the Thunder will be looking to upset the Lions and move on to a week-10 game.

4 FLS (5-3) vs. 13 LVP (1-7) (LVP leads the series 5-1)
* Rare. How rare? Going in to the KCK archives the last time the Stallions and Pioneers played against each other was the 1984 week-1 game in which the Stallions won 18 to 7. That game ended a five game losing streak in 78-79-81-82-83. 

All these years later, both schools have seen an abundant amount of changes on and off the Football field. 

Look to see first year Head Coach Pat Hansen bring his Liberty Bluejays Football style of play versus an experienced Mark Littrell who has seen his Pioneers struggle for most of the 2018 season. The Pioneers are not short of talent, as they can score. One thing that will be tested is the Pioneers defense as the Stallions have won four of their last five games, and won the KCA Title outright 5-0.  

6 WAS (4-4) vs. 11 OWO (2-6) (Series tied 0-0)
* The Washington Wildcats and Olathe West Owls will be meeting for the first time in both schools history. 

For the Wildcats to be successful, they will have their work cut out for them attempting to stop a high scoring first year Varsity program. TJ O'Neill will have his Owls prepared for post-season play, as his pedigree as a Mill Valley Jaguars Assistant will come in to play for his young Olathe squad. 

Can the Wildcats win their first playoff game in school history? It is certainly a possibility for the longtime KCAL school. Prior to the change in playoff format change the last Wildcats appearances were in 1980 for Larry Harless, and 1985 for retired BV Northwest AD-Steve Harms. 

7 TSH (4-4) vs. 10 BSW (3-5) (BSW leads the series 2-0)
* In their first ever 5A post-season meeting, the Thunderbirds of Shawnee Heights will host the SW Timberwolves who have had their best season so far under Anthony Orrick. This is a toss up game for the T-Wolves who can come away from the Thunderbirds with a strong game plan to steal a game from  a top-8 seed. 

The last time these two met was in a non-conference week-2 game in the 14 and 15 regular seasons. Former TW Head Coach Bill Lowe played them in his final season in 2014, while Orrick met them in 2015. 


5 BMS (5-3) vs. 12 Altamont-Labette County (BMS leads the series 1-0)
* The Bishop Miege Stags are taking on the Grizzlies of Labette County for the second time in school history. Week-11 of 2017 was the first time both meet after a successful week-10 win.

With the move to 4A in 2014, the Stags have played nearly every school to the east side of the state you can find in post-season from week-10 on. 

This time around, the Grizzlies (4-4) will be one of many for the Stags in the following weeks. Should the Stags come away with the win, they have a chance to meet the winner of the Spring Hill Broncos or Pittsburg Purple Dragons, who had an exceptional season finishing (7-1) overall and (2-1) versus Johnson County schools. 

Those Dragons defeated BV North in week-3, 34-31, lost to Mill Valley in week-7 35-13 and defeated Olathe East 28-21. 

Spring Hill is no stranger to playing the Johnson County schools as well should they too defeat the Purple Dragons which is no easy task. The Broncos have fallen victim to #StagNation in week-9 during the 16 and 17 seasons in the old playoff format.

Quick Key: 

STA - ST Aquinas Saints
HPS - Highland Park Scotties
MVJ - Mill Valley Jaguars
TWC - Topeka West Chargers
LAN - Lansing Lions
SJA - SJ Academy Thunder
FLS - FL Schlagle Stallions
LVP - Leavenworth Pioneers
WAS - Washington Wildcats
OWO - Olathe West Owls
TSH - Tucumseh-Shawnee Heights
BMS - Bishop Miege Stags
LBC - Labette County Grizzlies

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sunflower Week-9-2018 - "Play In"


1 GET vs 16 BNW (BNW leads the series 5-3)
* Of the eight games played, the Huskies and Trailblazers have held quite the series.

Since joining the EKL, the Trailblazers have been very competitive until their last four seasons before joining the Sunflower. GET has the hand up in this game from the beginning should they have their foot on the gas from kickoff. These Trailblazers were 6W-31L over the previous four years from 2014 to 2017.

The Huskies have an uphill battle from the start of the whistle to to stop defeat the Trailblazers.

8 SNW vs. 9 SMN (SNW leads the series 24-23)
* In a rare post-season "Hula Bowl" match up, the Cougars, and Indians will have to fight hard to earn the fifth win of their season to move on to week-10.

The Indians started the season cold, and have came on hot as of late, winning four of their last five games. On the opposite end, the Cougars with the fast start at 3-0, have gone 1-5 in their last six games. Look for this Hula Bowl to be high scoring for two very offensive minded programs.

4 SMS vs. 13 ONW (ONW leads the series 8-1)
* In a rematch of the 2017 week-9 playoff, the Raiders, and Ravens will once again reunite to work to make it to the week-10 round. In a reversal of fortune, the Raiders have worked extremely hard to make it in to the top four of the bracket and securing a home game. The Ravens, will have their work cut out for them as they hope to knock off a #4 seed after doing so in 2017.

This will not be easy for the Ravens as they will now return to SM South a week after finishing against fellow Olathe foe in the Eagles for week-8. For those recalling the 2017 season, these two met in back-to-back weeks.

5 BVN vs. 12 DOT (BVN leads the series 4-0)
* 13 years ago in 2005, the Mustangs and Bulldogs last met on the gridiron.

It will be safe to say the Bulldogs will have a tough go taking on the Mustangs who have won five straight.

It is reasonable to conclude at the conclusion of this game, the Mustangs and Lancers could possibly reunite for a great week-10 game. This time around, there should be no shortage of excitement as Justin Hoover's Lancers will be up to the challenge to avenge last years loss to the defending 6A State Champions. Those 2017 Lancers lost in week-11 45 to 10.

*** Thursday Kick-off
2 SME vs. 15 JCH @ SMN (SME leads the series 18-3)
* The Lancers will find themselves playing the JC Harmon Hawks as the second of the top four seeds will look to continue on to week-10. For those curious as to the losses SM East suffered to JC Harmon? They are as follows 1986 (2-7), 1991 (0-9), and 1996 (2-7).

If you recall, the last time these two played in 2015, the final score on the road at Art Lawrence Stadium was 69-0. The 2014 Lancers defeated Harmon 83-0 at SM North en route to their 13-0 State Championship season.

7 BVT vs. 10 OEH (Series tied 0-0)
* In a first of its kind, the Tigers, and Hawks will meet for the first time in ever.

While Blue Valley and Olathe School District Football have been notable in most recent years to meet in the old District format of play, these two were never paired together in weeks 7 to 9. Both schools of course have great post-season history to boast while the Hawks are in the mood to quietly end the post-season of the Tigers who are prone to making it deep in to 5 or 6A State playoffs.

3 ONE vs. 14 SMW (ONE leads the series 17-4)
* The last two years have been a struggle for the Vikings, who are trying to stop a winless streak at 18 games.

That will not be an easy task, and even harder to stop while on the road at ODAC. All that said, the Vikings are 4-6 in all games under Tim Callaghan and have been successful against the Eagles. Their last win against Olathe North was in week-6 of the 2016 season.

6 OSF vs 11 BVW (OSF leads the series 3-1) 
* Remember District play?! Yep, that is where you will find the series of the Jaguars and Falcons taking place.

While BV West opened in 2001, their local neighbors, the Falcons are just a few minutes of a drive from one to the other. Eight years in to existence the Jaguars came off an undefeated 13-0 State Championship season and looking to continue that success. However, first year Coach Jeff Gourley and staff had other ideas and defeated BV West in week-7.

During the Falcons State Title year four years later in 2011 the series and district wrapped up and both disappeared from each other's schedule. Jags Coach Josh Korkenmeier has a strong class of students building on a successful year and ready for more each week, while Craig Lewis is looking to get his Falcons back on top after a week-8 loss to the Hawks in a big Olathe district game.

1 DER vs 16 LAW (LAW leads the series 2-1) 
* DYK? The last time these two met was the 1996 6A State Final Championship game in Dick Purdy's sixth season of nine with the Chesty Lions. Well, to be more complete, the third of three straight 6A Finals in which the Chesty Lions and Panthers met.

The Chesty Lions won it all in 1993 going 12-0, and defeating the Panthers 27-23, only to do the same again in 1994 getting shutout by Derby 21-0. The 1995 Title again touted both as the Chesty Lions and Dick Purdy returned the favor 20-0 to finish the season 12-0 and on a 22 game winning streak.

This time around, Brandon Clark and Steve Rampy will face off. While the numbers favor the Panthers, look for the Chesty Lions to play hard. All Rampy teams are known for giving 100% from the whistle to final game buzzer.

2 LFS vs. 15 WNR (LFS leads the series 1-0)  
* In the second match up of Sunflower League schools on the 6A West bracket, the Firebirds will be taking on a very young Redskins Football program led by Scott Mosier in his second season. While the Redskins started hot with two road wins against the South Titans, and Liberal Redskins a cooling off period happened with six straight losses.

While this is a tough task for the young Redskins to take on a Firebirds squad full of post-season experience, look for the Firebirds to get the work done that is needed to accomplish a win. These two will again meet in week-9 as they did in the 2017 season with a 69-6 Firebirds win at home.

Monday, October 15, 2018


OWO vs. SME (Series tied 0-0)
* The Owls and Lancers will meet for the very first time in team history. The Lancers, while meeting the Owls in week-8, did the same many seasons ago in 1997 against the Firebirds in week-1. The Owls, Firebirds, and Lancers ties to opening games is something that is rare depending on the school and when it opens as a Varsity program.

The Owls will be building on this great learning experience and preparation for a week-9 game in the 5A East bracket.

SMN vs. LVP @ SMN (SMN leads the series 17-11)
* The Indians, and Pioneers will meet for the first time ever as non-conference foes in Fall Football. Although these two have had struggles against others within the league, the Pioneers are 6-4 in their last 10 games since the 2007 season. There will be no doubt, non-conference game or not, Zach Rampy will have his student-athletes ready to come out against the Pioneers.

GET vs. SMW @ GET (Series tied 0-0)
* The Vikings and Trailblazers will be playing for the very first time. This will be a second time this season Coach Tim Callaghan will be 0-0 against another Sunflower opponent. While the Vikings will be on the road for this game, it should be a great match up of Football wits for Ryan Cornelson to exercise his playbook as both programs will be fighting for 6A East seedings.

For the Vikings, playing a strong game and with the hopes of stealing a win from the Trailblazers can be done.

OEH vs. OSF @ CBAC (Series tied 15-15)
* Solid ground. If it is CBAC or ODAC, these two have been fighting from the first whistle when their series first began in 1992. Having never missed a season playing against each other, this is one of the best off the radar games played of the Olathe #233. While it goes un-noticed by many, these two schools have been going back and fourth since 2008. Both teams have been streaky in the win and loss column going 3-0 and 0-4, and but never in a format of W-L-W-L-W in any kind. The Falcons are 7-2 and have won four straight from 2013 to 2016. Olathe East came out with the win in 2017, and will again look to move the series record above 500.

LFS vs. LAW @ LFS (LFS leads the series 13-8)
* Outside of Olathe North vs. Olathe South, the Lawrence vs. Chesty Lions City Rivalry is perhaps one of the best to close out the regular season. Both teams have experience and great coaching that will push the teams to reach their best potential to come out with the win.

There is much to be said about this rivalry, and you can read up more from Lawrence Journal World's own Bobby Nightengale who now is a Cincinnati Reds beat writer. His run-down of the Lawrence history is stories these two schools share is what makes the Sunflower League a great one each and every season.

ONE vs. ONW @ ODAC (ONE leads the series 12-2)
* Since 2004, the Eagles have dominated from the start the Ravens program begin. In their last 10 games, the Eagles are 9-1 with both teams going through multiple-coaching changes. Under Coach Aaron Hafner, the Ravens will look to stop the Eagles, as this will never be an easy game. This at one time was considered a rivalry early on in the 2000's but had never materialized.

SMS vs. SNW @ SMS (SNW leads the series 25-24) 
* In which will be the schools 50th game against each other. Unfortunately, these two have fallen on hard times against SM East, North, and West since the 2010 season. While Bo Black is 2-1, Brett Oberzan is 1-2 against the Cougars since they both took over in 2015. These two will have to fight hard in this final week to maintain spots in the upper eight seeds to begin playoff week which begins soon.

Both programs have improved immensely over the course of the year which is a great sign for the league in the seasons ahead.

Monday, October 8, 2018


SNW vs. GET @ SMN (Series tied 0-0)
* For the first time in NW Cougars and Trailblazers history these two will meet. Although this could be the first of many meetings, it also is a first for former Hays Indians Head Coach Ryan Cornelson, to take on Bo Black, who succeeded him in 2014. This has only happened two other time's in Sunflower Football history a following year, with Chip Sherman of Olathe NW taking on Dustin Delaney at SM East in week-3 of 2013. The other being Gene Weir facing Bud Wheeler with Olathe South opening in 1981 vs. who was his Assistant Coach and taking over the Eagles from 1981 to 2002.

These are rare to happen where both Head Coaches who have started their teaching/coaching careers in the western side of the state meet in the northeast part of Johnson County five years later. That being said, Ryan Cornelson departed for the Hutchinson SaltHawks, and Bo Black to SM Northwest after leaving Hays, KS. In other news, Randy Dreiling is at St. Thomas Aquinas to cover all ground east of Hutchinson, KS who are all now in northeast Johnson County.

NWC Bo Black currently sits at 99 all-time wins, and 72 losses and looking for Win #100.

OSF vs. OWO @ ODAC (Series tied 0-0)
* The Falcons and Owls will meet in their very first intra-district match up, and will follow with many to come. With this being their first game, there will be a feeling period of play as the Olathe Football pool which at one time was only Olathe North and South has maxed out its reach geographically in the city.

OEH vs. Pittsburg @ ODAC (Series tied 0-0)
* The Hawks and Purple Dragons will meet for the first time in their history. While it seems odd for a non-conference game, the Purple Dragons are no strangers to playing against Johnson County and Wyandotte Football teams. Since 2010, they are 10-16 combined against the two counties as a whole.

Do not take the Purple Dragons lightly, as they are a very good program led by Tom Nickelson is 48-21 since taking over in 2011 to 2017. The Purple Dragons are 4-4 in 8 playoff games, and is 10-13 against the Johnson County high schools, all of which have been District games in seasons past. Those were against the Blue Valley Schools.

The BV North Mustangs lost a close game to the Purple Dragons 34-31 back in a non-conference week-3 match up on the road. For Pittsburg, this will be their first ever time playing at ODAC.

SMW vs. SMN @ SMS (SMW leads the series 33-21)
* At one time decades ago, the roost was ruled by Larry Taylor of SM North, and Dick Purdy, who began the Vikings run in to greatness, and was further built on by Harold Wambsgans, and Tim Callaghan of this modern era. The Vikings have dominated the series since Tim Callaghan took over in 2003. While he lost his first game in that 2-7 season, the Vikings have since won 11 in a row since 2004.

This could be a great game for the Indians if they can come out strong, but expect a good fight in the trenches by the Vikings from the first snap. A strong start from both will be all one team needs to keep up the momentum of the game. The Vikings will hope to snap a 16 game losing streak.

SME vs. LFS @ SMN (LFS leads the series 8-6)
* In perhaps one of the best regular season games to be played, the Firebirds and Lancers will again meet at SM North. The Lancers have struggled at SM North to defeat the Firebirds in their recent home games losing in 2013 (17-10) and 2015 (32-20). In an odd turn of scheduling events, and unbalanced scheduling, both have not faced each other during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

This game will also be a new challenge for Bob Lisher taking on Justin Hoover in a great meeting of coaching minds that know the game inside and out.

Look for the Firebirds offense to test the Lancers defense early on, as this is the biggest home game of the season prior to closing out the season on the road at Olathe West.

LAW vs. ONE @ LAW (ONE leads the series 20-14)
* In recent times, the Chesty Lions have struggled against the Olathe North Eagles. While these two have played consistently and throughout seasons and not seeing breaks, the move to get to (.500) is not far away.

Steve Rampy will have his Chesty Lions ready to go against a revamped Eagles that went from 3-6 to 7-4 which is a great improvement. Steve Rampy is 2-4 all-time against the old-school Gene Weir Eagles, but now finds himself against a strong Eagles team under Chris McCartney. The Eagles will be out to prove themselves and seeking out a good seed in these final regular season weeks.

ONW vs. SMS @ CBAC (ONW leads the series 8-0)
* The Ravens and Raiders, will be meeting for their ninth all-time meeting. Any year, is a good year to end a streak. In 2017 the Raiders ended a 20 game losing streak against the Vikings, and can do so again this week against the Ravens and Coach Hafner.

This could be a big game for both teams as the Raiders look to end this losing streak against the Raven's and continue their momentum carried on from the beginning of the season.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mid-Season Form and Second- Half Predictions

Mid-Season Form

The first five weeks of Sunflower football have passed and each team has been able to show what it's capable of against a wide range of competition. Surprise teams like Gardner-Edgerton (5-0) and Shawnee Mission Northwest (4-1) have set themselves up at the top rung of the league's standings while the likes of Olathe East (1-4) and Lawrence (1-4) have struggled to finish out games after 5-5 seasons in 2017.  The next few sections will cover some of the interesting bits from the first half of the season.

  • 5A Olathe West had about as rough of an introduction to the SFL as any school entering its first season. The Owls opened the year against Free State with Gardner waiting in Week 2. The team managed to learn from those experience and was eventually rewarded with the school's first varsity win, a 40-14 shellacking of win-less SM West (0-5). The regular season won't get easier with Olathe South (3-2) and SM East (4-1) waiting at the end, but a Week 6 bout against fellow 5A school Turner should provide another good opportunity to taste victory.

  • This may just be a personal assumption, but it feels like kickers have become a little more relevant compared to other seasons in recent memory. Most stats come from so there may be so discrepancies or missing data, but so far SFL teams have actually attempted around 10 field goals combined with mixed results. SM South Will Huggins (Jr.) has had the most success in the field goal department, connecting on three kicks out of four total. His leg power was put on display in Week 4 as he drilled in a kick from 50 yards out in a 24-54 loss to Olathe South.

  • Kansas still has a ways to go before it can hope to compete against high-end schools out of state, but Olathe North (4-1) has continued its trend of searching for interstate matchups to fill up some of its open weeks with a road trip to a scary good Columbine (6-0) team. Things didn't go so well as the Eagles were stomped 48-12 in Colorado, but the story still brought intrigue as a pair of unbeaten teams went up against each other. Here's hoping more teams broaden their horizons now that teams have more choice in who they play. 

Second-Half Predictions

Fortunately for some teams, the new playoff format has no requirement to actually enter the tournament with all teams getting a spot. Despite this, teams still have plenty incentive to either keep up momentum or salvage a couple wins to avoid the juggernauts in the first round. As much as teams and fans hope for the best, not everybody can win-out and get a good seed. Here's a few thoughts on where certain teams are trending.

  • Shawnee Mission South - Trending: DOWN - Despite a somewhat historic 3-0 start (The Raiders haven't started 3-0 since the '89 season), the Raiders have come back to earth to some extent after losses to both Olathe South (3-2) and SM East (4-1). A winning record is still completely possible with Lawrence (1-4) and ONW (0-5) still on the schedule, but to see this team going deep into the playoffs as a bit of a reach. The team's already matched last year's win-total so anything past this is still progress though.

  • Shawnee Mission North - Trending: UP - Even with a match-up with league-leading Gardner looming, things should still be looking up for the Indians if they can keep things together after that tough draw. SMN is the one Sunflower team lucky enough to still have 5A Leavenworth (1-4) on their schedule while also getting to beat up SM West (0-5) before that. North will need to capitalize on these final games if they want to get a good chance at a strong playoff start.

  • Olathe East - Trending: EVEN - Obviously a 1-4 start is not where anybody wanted the Hawks to be heading into the last portion of the season, but things have a chance of rebounding if things go well. East gets SM West up next and will play somewhat of a wild card in Pittsburg High (5-0), a 4A team that has struggled against smaller teams and has only dominated one exceedingly good team early in the season. It's a stretch, but another two wins is not out of the question and a 3-5 record is WAY better than 1-7 when it comes to seeding in the 6A East.

  • SM Northwest - Trending: Always UP -  The sky is the limit for this Cougar team that hasn't had a start this good since they went 5-1 in 2008. Olathe Northwest could always surprise everyone and Gardner will be a big deal in Week 7, but if this team can get out with at least one win and maybe even clean up, I'd lean more toward this team coming out on top against SM South in the regular season finale.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Sunflower-Week-6-2018 Preview

OEH vs. SMW @ CBAC (OEH leads the series 13-9)
* The Hawks and Vikings will meet again in a tightly contested match up. This will continue to be a great game as the teams are 5-5 against each other in their last 10 meetings. Maintaining the clock and turnovers will be key for both young squads of athletes. While the Vikings were winless in their 2017 campaign, this will be a much different outlook.

OWO vs. Turner @ CBAC (Series tied 0-0)
* Entering week-6, the Owls will meet Julian Parks and his Turner Golden Bears in a non-conference game. This will be a first for both as well, as the Golden Bears have never played at CBAC stadium before. These two could meet again in the 5A East playoffs down the road depending on where in the bracket they end up after week-8.

GET vs. SMN @ GET (GET leads 1-0)
* DYK that the Shawnee-Mission Indians faced the Gardner Football team in 1922? Gardner came away with the 8-0 win and the Indians led by A.L. Berry in their first season. It was again a known series a few years later in the mid-1920's but due to poor reporting of scores at the time, many games go unaccounted for throughout the earliest of times in the Kansas City metro-area.

Today, the modern day Trailblazers, and Indians, are no longer, "miles, and miles away" due to local driveway's and byways. Should these two continue to meet down the road, this could build a great series of High School Football from one of the northernmost High Schools to southern most in Johnson County.

LFS vs. OSF @ LSF (OSF leads the series 10-8)
* The Falcons lead the series all-time but only by a handful of games as the Firebirds have 7been playing catch up winning in 2016 and 2017. This game will also be their third meeting in a row, as they did not play from 2013 to 2015.

ONE vs. SME @ ODAC (ONE leads the series 0-0)
* Since 2013, the Lancers are 6-1 against the Olathe North Eagles. With Chris McCartney now in his fourth year at the helm, taking on Justin Hoover, and a new-look Lancers will hope to return to ODAC and come away with a win, any school in the Sunflower League to get a win on the road at ODAC is a tough accomplishment. This could be a great game, and possibly very high scoring depending on who shows up to come out on top of a great league game.

SMS vs. LAW @ SMS (LAW leads the series 30-10)
* In a great match up of the Raiders, and Chesty Lions, the two look to meet again after not playing in 2016 and 2017. From 2010 to 2015 the Raiders have lost five straight and struggling against most every Sunflower program. Should the Raiders come out ready to play, the Chesty Lions could have a game on their hands with the Raiders

SNW vs. ONW @ SMN (ONW leads the series 6-4)
* In which will be their 11th game all-time, the Cougars, and Ravens will meet at SM North District stadium. the Raven's when on the road at SM North have always played very well. In fact, it is one of the better places they play outside of CBAC and are consistently successful year in and year out. From 2013 to 2015 the Ravens won three straight against the NW Cougars, yet did not see each other in 2016 and 2017.

The Cougars are looking to fire on all cylinders as they bid for a top eight seed in the 6A East bracket.