Saturday, November 10, 2018

Sub-State Overview: Olathe North vs Blue Valley North

Image result for olathe north high school mascotImage result for blue valley north mustangs

- Olathe North (9-2) vs Blue Valley North (8-3) -
Friday, November 16th @ ODAC


Let's get the disappointing part out of the way. BV North showed once again how unbelievable it is that this team started the season 1-3. Despite Edgerton's 10-0 record, the Trailblazers were honestly the underdogs as hosts. For those who don't follow non-SFL schools, you will be in for an absolute treat next Friday.
Image result for Graham Mertz
SR QB Graham Mertz
Photo from Hudl

To put things simply, there haven't been many QB-WR duos like the one Seniors QB Graham Mertz and WR Cameron Burt have created over the last couple years. While Burt was more of a role player in 2017 and fully grew into his role as a star pass-catcher; Mertz is having a slightly less productive year, only throwing for 2850 yards and 38 touchdowns so far in 2018 compared to his monstrous 3684 yard, 45 Touchdowns. Excuse me while I take a minute to hyper-ventilate at the thought of such numbers at the high school level. If you need further proof that Mertz is for real, an official commitment to Wisconsin, roughly 18 scholarship offers from FBS schools ranging from Kansas (HA, of course you had a chance Jayhawks) all the way up to even Alabama. Being ranked the #2 Pro-Style QB in the country by Rivals.com doesn't hurt either. 

Despite all the attention I just gave Mertz, his top receiver for 2018 should never be overlooked on any given play. With a whopping 1400+ receiving yard total to go along with 17 TD catches. Burt is close to having one of the most historic seasons for a wide receiver in Kansas football. While not receiving nearly the same attention as his teammate, several FCS have reportedly sent offers with the likes of Drake University and Stetson standing out. 

Image result for Daymonn Sanchez
SR RB Daymonn Sanchez`
Photo from Hudl
Now, with the two superstar Mustangs covered, let's cover some things that will help Olathe North as they strive to find a way to effectively limit such a high-powered offense. While we've been pumping up the BV North passing game, their Olathe counter-parts are nowhere near outclassed in terms of offensive production. The Eagles will bring their own offensive stars to the field with both SR RB Daymonn Sanchez and SO QB Arland Bruce IV being expected to step up once again for the Eagles.

In contrast with the Mustangs' hail of touchdown passes, Olathe North has never resembled its old state-champion teams more than now. With a team rushing total nearing a whopping 4000 yards and around 53 touchdown runs, the Eagles are an offensive powerhouse all their own. Sanchez has proven to be an incredible gem, not so much building off an impressive JR season, but rather exploding for over 2,000 yards in just 10 games of action. 32 Touchdowns (27 Rushing, 3 Receiving, 2 Kick Return) isn't too bad either. 

Not to be left out, Arland Bruce IV has become a proven leader in his first year as the starter. With over 1000 yards in both rushing and passing, Bruce has been a perfect compliment to ONHS's run-heavy attack. The sophomore has been proficient in scoring in his own right as well, notching 28 total TD's (17 Rushing, 11 Passing)  before their Week 11 match-up.

What Will Happen:

I could go on about both teams. Hell, I didn't even manage to cover their actual defenses because of their star power on the attacking side. If I'm being honest, their past performances in that regard probably won't matter anyways. Both sides are just too dominant and can score from anywhere on the field. 

Image result for Arland Bruce IV Olathe North
SO QB Arland Bruce IV
Photo from Hudl
With that said, it would be poor form to ignore a rather large flaw that the Eagles will need to shore up if they want to avoid giving up 80+ in a very Bishop-Carroll style. That flaw is unfortunately, the secondary and their passing defense as a whole. There's no getting around it. SM East seemed to figure it out in their first meeting of the year and Olathe South looked to be on the same wavelength. If you pass the ball on this defense, you will find a shocking amount of success; assuming your players actually catch the open passes. 

Considering the players we've covered before, you could fix the coverage problems and it might not even matter in the end. I neglected to mention that Burt is 6'4", 230 lbs. and runs a roughly 4.6 40. The tallest starting member of their secondary is roughly 6'2" in a best case scenario. I could be overestimating the value of physical attributes, but the statistics show that this young man is putting everything available to him to good use.

If by some miracle the Mustangs are at least slowed down or kept off the field, ONHS should be able to just ride the Bruce-Sanchez combo throughout the game, eating up clock and hopeful adding as many points as possible. This match-up is too crazy to choose a definitive winner, but if I had to set a spread, I'd put BV North as a 10-point favorite. I would also be shocked if this game doesn't hit the 50-point total when it is all said and done.

Final Comment: You are kidding yourself if you don't think this is the best Sub-State game this side of Kansas. If you want to take the kids to a game or don't have anything to do next Friday; drive out to ODAC and bear witness to these two teams. 






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