Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week Nine Game Scores

Thursday, Oct. 30

Leavenworth 63, Lansing 0

Friday, Oct. 31

Olathe North at Olathe Northwest
Olathe East at Lawrence
Lawrence Free State at Topeka
Gardner-Edgerton at Olathe South
SM East at SM North
SM West at Blue Valley North
SM Northwest at SM South

Week Nine Game Previews

Will Schneider and Co. have the led SM North
to consecutive victories after beginning the
season 0-6. Photo KC Star.
Olathe North (8-0) 
at Olathe Northwest (5-3) at CBAC

Olathe North has already clinched a playoff berth ... to make the playoffs, Olathe Northwest needs to beat Olathe North by any margin ... the Ravens could also lose and make the the playoffs if Lawrence loses to Olathe East ... a win by Olathe Northwest would give them six victories on the season, which would be the most wins in a single season in program history ... Olathe North ranks second in the league in total defense (193 ypg), first in pass defense (61 ypg) and third in rushing defense (132 ypg).

Olathe East (3-5) 
at Lawrence (4-4) 
at Lawrence High Stadium

After beginning the season 3-1, the Hawks have lost four in a row ... Lawrence will clinch a playoff berth with a victory, but be eliminated with a loss ... Lawrence's offense ranks second in the league in rushing yards per game at 270 ... Olathe East has been eliminated from playoff contention, so the Hawks will be playing solely for pride in this game.

Lawrence Free State (5-3) at Topeka (7-1) at Hummer Sports Park

Topeka is 24-5 dating back to 2012 under head coach Walt Alexander ... Free State is 24-7 under head coach Bob Lisher in that same time frame ... both teams have clinched playoff berths, so the outcome of the game will strictly relate to seeding ... Free State has won three games in a row after beginning the season 2-3 ... Topeka quarterback Alex Beatty might be the state's best dual-threat quarterback, having passed for 1,488 yards and rushed for 971.

Gardner-Edgerton (0-8) at Olathe South (6-2) at ODAC

Gardner-Edgerton is on the verge of their first winless season under legendary head coach Marvin Diener ... Olathe South will clinch a playoff berth with a victory, or a loss by eight points or less ... a playoff berth would be the first for the Falcons since their state title run in 2011 ... Olathe South ranks fourth in the league in total offense, averaging 317 yards per game ... since Blue Valley has already clinched this district, an Olathe South victory would most likely match them up against the champion from District No. 2 (BV North, SM South or SM West).

SM East (8-0) at SM North (2-6) at SM North District Stadium

The Lancers are looking for their first undefeated regular season in school history ... SM North has won two straight after losing 25 straight ... SM North has statistically the league's best pass offense, led by sophomore quarterback Will Schneider, averaging 207 yards per game ... SM East has statistically the league's best rushing attack, averaging 327 rushing yards per game ... the Lancers also rank first overall in total defense, allowing just 187 yards per game ... the Lancers need to score 16 points to set the all-time Sunflower League record for points scored by a team in the regular season.

SM Northwest (2-6) at SM South (2-6) at SM South District Stadium

To make the playoffs, SM Northwest must win this game by a margin in which they have a point advantage on SM South and BV North, and have SM West beat BV North ... for SM South, the Raiders will make the playoffs if they win the game and BV North loses, or if they win the game and maintain a point margin advantage on BV North ... SM South hasn't made the playoffs since 2007, while SM Northwest has made the playoffs three of the past four seasons ... last season SM South beat SM Northwest, 28-21, in week three.

SM West (4-4) at Blue Valley North (2-6) at BVDAC

With a victory, SM West would claim the district championship, and most likely the No. 4 overall seed in the 6A East bracket ... BV North has won two of three after losing 22-straight games ... BV North will make the playoffs if they beat SM West AND SM Northwest beats SM South, or they beat SM West and gain a point margin advantage on SM South ... SM West leads the league in takeaways with 24 ... BV North quarterback Joey Dolan stands out as the Mustangs' most important player, having thrown for 1,689 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sunflower League Extra: VIII

Free State's Bryce Torneden has passed for 628 yards,
rushed for 949, and combined for 17 touchdowns through
eight games. Photo LJWorld.
Week Eight Players of the Week

Bryce Torneden, Lawrence Free State: If you track Free State's progress through the season, you can tell the Firebirds go as Torneden goes. Torneden was one of the league's best players in the early portion of the schedule (Free State began 2-1), slumped in its mid-portion (Free State went 0-2) but he's picked back up, of late (Free State's gone 3-0). On Friday he played flawless, completing eight of his 13 passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns, and rushing for 114 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

David Burton, Olathe Northwest: Burton has been the unsung hero of Olathe Northwest's 5-3 campaign. He made a statement on Friday, recording 19 tackles and an interception, helping the Ravens to a 34-7 victory over Olathe East. With the impressive effort, Burton climbed to the top of the league in tackles, with 110. The most impressive thing about those 110 tackles? Seventy-three have been solo.

Week Eight Coach of the Week

Ben Barlett, SM North: In week seven Barlett helped his team to slay the dragon that was the Indians' 25-game losing streak, and in week eight he coached his team to a victory which earned them a playoff berth. SM North was left high and dry just weeks before the season began, when former head coach Don Simmons unexpectedly bolted for a coaching job in Arkansas. Barlett, a SM North alum, and assistant coach, stepped up and accepted the interim head coaching tag for the 2014 season. Through eight games, he's already won two games, which is the same amount of wins the Indians combined for in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Statistics

Passing Yards (QB Rating)
Will Schneider, SM North: 1,613, 18 TDs (91)
Gunnar Englund, SM East: 971, 15 TDs (120)
Jake Seurer, Olathe South: 958, 8 TDs (93)
Chase Miller, Olathe East: 837, 6 TDs (53)
Jack Hatzfeld, Olathe Northwest: 723, 7 TDs (80)
Matt Hollingsworth, SM South: 717, 4 TDs (34)
Landry Hodges, Leavenworth: 699, 6 TDs (54)
Bryce Torneden, Free State: 628, 7 TDs (78)
Cole Murphy, Olathe North: 611, 6 TDs (93)
Adam Rellihan, SM West: 511, 6 TDs (52)
Ron Kopp, SM Northwest: 327 (21)
Alan Clothier, Lawrence: 292 (20)

Rushing Yards
JD Woods, Lawrence: 1,230, 14 TDs
Venus Triplett, Olathe North: 967, 15 TDs
Bryce Torneden, Free State: 949, 10 TDs
Wyatt Edmisten, SM East: 759, 18 TDs
Tarik Watson, SM West: 688, 5 TDs
Jalen Branson, Olathe East: 659, 6 TDs
Duron Lowe, SM Northwest: 572, 5 TDs
DaeVonte Nance, Olathe South: 566, 6 TDs
Sanchez Williams, Leavenworth: 555, 6 TDs
Calvin Jones, SM East: 507, 4 TDs
Dalton Lewallen, SM South: 499, 6 TDs
Adam Harter, Olathe Northwest: 470, 1 TD
Marshall Bland, SM South: 453, 2 TDs

Receiving Yards
Nick Perez, SM North: 830, 11 TDs
Alec Dean, SM East: 485, 7 TDs
Zach Cahill, Olathe East: 367, 5 TDs
Jeighlon Cornell, Olathe North: 332, 4 TDs
Isaiah Ross, Leavenworth: 325, 3 TDs
Tyler Burnett, SM North: 292, 3 TDs
Manny Psihountas, Olathe Northwest: 286, 2 TDs
Joel Spain, Free State: 270, 3 TDs
Coleman Clanton, Olathe South: 256, 2 TDs
Marshall Bland, SM South: 246, 1 TD

Tackles
David Burton, Olathe Northwest: 110
Price Morgan, Lawrence: 108
Anthony Hunt, Leavenworth: 107
DJ Turner, SM West: 95
Dalton Lewallen, SM South: 85
Nick Perez, SM North: 84
Josh Morgan, Leavenworth: 78
Jake Seurer, Olathe South: 78
Joe Fales, SM South: 74
Zach Gerber, SM South: 72
Josh Compton, SM West: 70
Jadon McGaha, Olathe North: 70
Micquel Riddle, Leavenworth: 70

Sacks
Amani Bledsoe, Lawrence: 10
Kyle Ball, SM East: 7
Eli Pruss, Olathe Northwest: 5
Parker Soukup, Olathe South: 4.5
Mitch Holsinger, Olathe Northwest: 4
Noah McGinnis, SM North: 4
Jonathan Pressler, SM North: 4

Forced Fumbles
David Burton, Olathe Northwest: 3
Shane Hofer, Free State: 3
Nick Perez, SM North: 3

Fumbles Recovered
Joe Fales, SM South: 3
(15 tied with two)

Interceptions
Johnathon Sands, Olathe South: 7
Isaiah Ross, Leavenworth: 6
Asher Goldston, SM West: 5
Isaiah Macklin, SM West: 5
Andrew Keating, Free State: 4
Jordan McKinney, SM West: 4

Kick Return/Punt Return Touchdowns
Juwan Potts, Leavenworth: 2 KR TDs
Venus Triplett, Olathe North: 2 PR TD
Nyle Anderson, Lawrence: 1 KR TD
Duron Lowe, SM Northwest: 1 KR TD
Isaiah Macklin, SM West: 1 KR TD
Charley White, SM East: 1 PR TD

Field Goals
Devin Antcil, Olathe Northwest: (5/9)
Chris Diddle, Olathe East: (5/6)
Jonathan Killeen, SM Northwest: (4/5)
Tyler Thayer, SM West: (4/7)
Logan Swartz, Olathe South: (3/4)
Jake Boyce, Leavenworth: (2/6)
Cody Corbin, SM South: (2/2)
Daniel Clarke, Free State: (1/1)
Paige Miller, SM North: (1/1)
Ellis Springe, Lawrence: (1/2)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunflower League Extra, News & Notes

Olathe North's Josh Moore (with the ball) committed
to Kansas on Thursday, then helped Olathe North
beat Lawrence on Friday. Photo LJWorld.
Eli's News and Notes

**On the recruiting trail, this past Thursday Olathe North tight end Josh Moore decommitted from Ohio State, and subsequently committed to Kansas. According to sources, the decommitment was a mutual decision between Moore and the Ohio State coaching staff. Moore had originally selected Ohio State over an offer list that included Auburn, Florida State and Oklahoma, among others.

**In week eight we saw five Sunflower League teams punch their playoff tickets: Free State, Leavenworth, Olathe North, SM East and SM North. On the flip side, one team -- Olathe East -- was eliminated from playoff contention.

**We knew the Blue Valley was for real (they always are) but their 49-0 thrashing of Olathe South firmly implanted that notion. On paper, it appears there are three favorites to advance to the state title game from 6A East: Blue Valley, Olathe North, and SM East. What's really amazing is that despite there only being 16 teams in East 6A, none of those three have played one another this fall.

**Has the Royals' playoff run impacted game attendance around the league? Absolutely. But I don't think anybody's complaining about it. The hope is that it means we see an influx in attendance throughout the playoffs, as students, fans, etc., try to make up for lost time.

Trending Up

Lawrence Free State: Life in 6A West hasn't been too bad for the Firebirds so far. They traveled to a completely unknown environment (Manhattan) last week and took down a formidable opponent, and did so in dominating fashion. There's no telling where in Kansas they could end up in their playoff journey, but we know it's going to be an exciting setting. Is this team capable of running through the playoffs to the state title game and becoming the first ever Sunflower League team to represent 6A West? It seems a bit premature at this point, but a big victory against Topeka this week could probably put them among the favorites in the west.

SM West: When SM West was 1-4 they had the look of a team that might go 2-7 if they didn't find their groove. Well, they found it alright -- and it's come on the defensive side of the football. The Vikings forced seven turnovers on Friday, six the week before, and four the week before that. They now lead the league in turnovers by a comfortable margin with 24. The offense still isn't anything to write home about (how do you force seven turnovers and only win by four points?) but I think the program has got to be pleased with the strides they've made since week five.

Olathe North: When I think of the great Olathe North teams of the past the first players that come to mind are the Simone winners. Names like Bruce, Brewer, Sproles, Mack, Bouknight and Franklin. While some of those guys played defense, each won the Simone because of their prowess on the offensive side of the football. The Eagles' have a great legacy of outstanding defense (you don't win eight state titles without it), but it's a muted legacy. This season, however, the attention is finally being drawn to the guys on the defensive side of the football. The Eagles pitched a shutout against LHS on Friday, and limited the Chesty Lions to just 123 rushing yards on 45 carries, and zero passing yards. If a team ever wins a state title because of its defense, it will be this one.

Trending Down

Olathe South: I'm confident the Falcons will bounce back, and play like their 49-point shutout loss to Blue Valley never happened, but it does make you question whether this team can actually win a state title. More than likely, assuming the Falcons handle Gardner-Edgerton Friday, Olathe South would have to beat two undefeated teams to make it to the state title game. They've shown when they're clicking they're capable of beating anybody, but Friday was a stark reminder this team probably doesn't have the horses of their 2011 club.

Quarterback touchdown-to-interception ratios: I don't know if the secondaries are just that much better in 2014, but the league's quarterbacks have had a penchant for tossing picks this fall. The league's top 12 passers have combined to throw 73 interceptions, which is an average of six interceptions per quarterback. The overall touchdown-to-interception ratio among those 12 players stands at 83:73. Compared to previous years, that's a terrible ratio. And we still have week of regular season play to go.

Boring regular season play: To have a compelling regular season you have to have dominant teams, and intriguing matchups. After all, the games don't have legitimate implications until week six. There's been a bit of a lag to date this fall. Part of that's because Olathe North and SM East never matched up. Part of it has to do with seven teams being .500 or worse after eight weeks. But it all gets very real this Friday, and I wouldn't be surprised if we're on the brink of some of the most exciting 6A East playoffs we've seen in years.

Week Nine Power Rankings

1. SM East (8-0): It basically became a formality the Lancers would make the playoffs the next two years when their district was announced last offseason. But as we enter week nine, there's actually one thing they can prove -- that they're the highest scoring regular season offense in Sunflower League history. They need 15 points to tie the all-time record, and 16 to set it. Also, a win would mark the first undefeated regular season in Lancer history.

2. Olathe North (8-0): If Olathe North can close out the regular season with a victory against Olathe Northwest -- which doesn't look as simple as it did early in the season -- it would mark the eighth time Olathe North has finished the regular season undefeated in Gene Wier's 25 seasons as head coach. The Eagles won a state title in five of those previous occasions.

3. Olathe South (6-2): Week eight was a bit of a reality check for the Falcons, something which nobody could have predicted with how well they had been playing. It was an uncharacteristically bad loss and really, probably more of an enigma than anything. Olathe South will be expected to roll Gardner-Edgerton (0-8) this Friday, and clinch a playoff berth.

4. Lawrence Free State (5-3): It would have been easy to write off the Firebirds after week five. They were 2-3 at that time, coming off a 42-14 loss to SM East. But, through some magic (probably Bob Lisher) they made midseason adjustments and have gone 3-0 since. Their comfortable road win against a 6-1 Manhattan team (in their first ever trip out west) was a thing of beauty.

5. Olathe Northwest (5-3): You can look at moral victories in many different ways, but regardless of how week nine turns outs (Olathe Northwest very likely needs to beat Olathe North to make the playoffs, which is a tall order) the Ravens have had a successful second season under Chip Sherman. Win Friday and you can declare it the best season in Olathe Northwest history.

6. Lawrence (4-4): A wild playoff run not withstanding, it's become pretty clear the Chesty Lions are still a season away from being in the league's upper echelon. Fortunately for LHS, they won their most important game of the season two weeks ago against Olathe Northwest, and need to beat a seemingly lifeless Olathe East club on Friday to make it into the playoffs.

7. Leavenworth (4-4): The Pioneers have always struggled in the Sunflower League, so it's nice seeing them having some success by dropping down to Class 5A (they've gone 3-0 against 5A opponents, but just 1-4 against league competition) for districts and playoffs. Their matchup with Lansing this Friday might be the most hyped game in program history.

8. SM West (4-4): SM West's 11-game stretch between week four of the 2013 season and the week five of 2014 campaign, where they went 2-9, seemed to last forever.  But they're now on a three-game winning streak and can finish the regular season with a winning record, and ensure a playoff berth with a victory against BV North this week -- two things we've grown to expect from the program.

9. SM South (2-6): It's win-or-go-home time for the Raiders. They've battled inexperience, injuries, and a lack of true playmaker(s) all year, but the fortuitous district draw mans they can probably clinch a playoff berth with a victory against SM Northwest Friday. The Raiders basically need to win by four points or more to ensure the playoff berth.

10. Olathe East (3-5): There's not much left to say about Olathe East's 2014 season. They've been eliminated from playoff contention and are basically playing for pride in this final week of the regular season. I've alluded to this on multiple occasions, but after watching them defeat Garden City in week one, there's no way I would have believed they would have finished so poorly at 4-5 or 3-6.

11. SM Northwest (2-6): The Cougars showed up offensively against BV North as they have in many of their games this season, but a complete lack of defense did them in, as they allowed 45 points. SM Northwest should be thankful two losses and a 31-point deficit hasn't eliminated them from the playoffs. To get in, for instance, in one scenario they need to beat SM South by at least 20 points, and have BV North lose by 9+ points.

12. SM North (2-6): Lose 25-straight games, then win two in a row. Winning in high school football can be a funny thing at times. The Indians face a stiff test against SM East this week, but they've already qualified for the playoffs and the game will be an excellent gauge for where the team's at as they conclude the regular season.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunflower League Week Eight Game Recaps

Free State quarterback Bryce Torneden was in
on four touchdowns Friday. Photo LJWorld.
Lawrence Free State 35, Manhattan 14

The Firebirds got up early on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Torneden to Tye Carter to go up 7-0 in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Free State scored again on a 55-yard pass from Torneden to Joel Spain to push the lead to 14-0. Free State made it 21-0 when Torneden found Carter on a five-yard touchdown pass at the 6:32 mark in the second quarter. Manhattan stayed alive when just before the half when Eric Prockish connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Keadrian McDonald. The score came with 14 seconds left in the half and made things 21-7, Free State, at the intermission. The Indians had a solid start to the second half, scoring on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Prockish to Jake Olson to cut the lead to seven. Free State was able to answer with a 19-yard touchdown run from Torneden, to bump the lead to 28-14. In the fourth quarter Khaury El-Amin scored on a nine-yard touchdown run to give Free State a 35-14 victory.

SM East 56, Wyandotte 12

A 42-point first quarter lead is about what we've come to expect from the Lancers against inferior competition. The scoring began with a 32-yard touchdown run from Sam Huffman. That was followed by three consecutive touchdowns pass from Gunnar Englund. The first went 21 yards to Sky Tate, the second 36 yards to Alex Dean and the third was a 31-yard pass to Jackson Gossick. SM East's fifth touchdown of the first quarter came on a nine-yard run from Jack Tyler. Englund found Carl Young on a 39-yard touchdown pass to make the game 42-0 in the second quarter. Wyandotte finally scored on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Marlon Chinn to Jeffrice Wilson. The Lancers pulled back the troops, and scored just one second half touchdown on a 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown by John Aliber. Wyandotte's final touchdown came on a 56-yard pass from Chinn to Steven Ford.

SM West 27, SM South 23

This proved to be the most competitive game of week eight around the league. SM West scored first on an eight-yard interception return for a touchdown by Asher Goldston. SM South came back with 10 points in the first quarter -- a 44-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hollingsworth to Brendan Brooks, and a 26-yard field goal from Cody Corbin -- before SM West evened things with a field goal from Tyler Thayer. Next, SM South went up 17-10 on a Dalton Lewallen run of five yards. SM West's Isaiah Macklin returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown, before the Vikings added another touchdown on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Adam Rellihan to Isreal Watson to give SM West a 24-17 edge. SM South added a Marshall Bland touchdown run of 37 yards in the third quarter, but a missed PAT kept them down a point, at 24-23. SM West added the game's final points on a second field goal from Thayer.

Blue Valley North 45, SM Northwest 35

SM Northwest is accustomed to shootouts (they beat SM North 34-32 on a last second field goal a month ago), but this time around they weren't able to come out on top. Sam Sullivan started the scoring with a 36-yard touchdown run to give the Cougs a 7-0 lead. BV North's Joey Dolan then found Josh Tederson on a 43-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7. Sullivan came back with a 60-yard touchdown run to making things 14-7. But Dolan answered back himself, on a 15-yard touchdown run to tie the game up at 14. Next, BV North recorded a safety and went up 16-14. SM Northwest's Alex Quinn managed a 79-yard touchdown run to put the Cougs back up, at 21-16, early in the second quarter. Cooper Lantefield then scored on a three-yard touchdown run to give the Mustangs the edge, 24-21. Duron Lowe returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, which made the game 28-24 in SM Northwest's favor. Dolan answered with a six-yard touchdown run before halftime, which put BV North up 31-28 at the intermission. In the third quarter Lowe had a 75-yard touchdown run which gave SM Northwest their last lead of the game at 35-31. BV North scored a third quarter touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Dolan to Alex Blake, then iced the game with another touchdown pass from Dolan to Blake in the fourth quarter.

Blue Valley 49, Olathe South 0

Few saw this outcome coming. Blue Valley scored two touchdowns in each of the first three quarters, while also managing to become the first team all season to effectively slow down the Falcons in the first half. A 14-yard touchdown run from AJ Totta, followed by a 21-yard touchdown run from Williams Evans gave the Tigers a 13-0 first quarter lead. In the second quarter they added touchdowns runs from Evans and quarterback Colton McCumber to take a 28-0 lead to halftime. The third quarter saw touchdowns runs from Totta and McCumber to push the lead to 42-0. In the fourth quarter the Tigers added an 11-yard touchdown run from Evans to coast to the 49-0 victory.

Olathe North 27, Lawrence 0

Olathe North had no trouble against Lawrence's physicality, and really seemed to thrive in the smashmouth type of game. The Eagles scored two first half touchdowns on a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown by Venus Triplett, and then a two-yard touchdown run from Triplett. They took a 14-0 lead to halftime. In the third quarter Olathe North added a 34-yard touchdown pass from Cole Murphy to Mark Keeling to go up 21-0. The Eagles' final score came in the fourth quarter on a 23-yard touchdown run from Isaiah Simmons.

Leavenworth 59, Washington 16

No box score was reported. The Pioneers clinched a second playoff berth in as many years with the victory. Sanchez Williams had 11 carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns, and Isaiah Ross added another two touchdowns himself. 

Olathe Northwest 34, Olathe East 7

No box score was reported. Olathe East dropped their fourth game in a row, and was eliminated from playoff contention with this loss. Olathe Northwest kept their playoff hopes alive, while defeating Olathe East for the first time in school history.

SM North 41, Harmon 6

No box score was reported. SM North won their second consecutive game, and pushed their record to 2-6 with the solid outing against now 0-8 Harmon.