Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunflower League Week Seven Game Recaps

Lawrence's Dearion Cooper tackled Olathe Northwest's
Manny Psihountas. Lawrence won the game, 20-17.
Photo Lawrence Journal World.
SM South 21, Blue Valley North 9

SM South was able to pick up a key district victory, while also ending their five-game losing streak. The Raiders have now defeated Blue Valley North in each of the last four seasons. Blue Valley North actually got on the board first, knocking in an Emmerson Womble field goal to go up 3-0. SM South answered in the third quarter with a 33-yard touchdown run from Tyler Perdue, and led 7-3 at the half. In the third quarter Dalton Lewallen tacked on a 12-yard touchdown run to make things 14-3. Marshall Bland caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hollingsworth in the fourth quarter, pushing the lead to 21-3. Blue Valley North's final push came on a five-yard touchdown pass from Joey Dolan to Cooper Lantefield.

SM East 83, Harmon 0

SM East set the record for points scored in a Sunflower League game with this effort, even despite the fact they pulled their starters after the first quarter. The Lancers scored 12 touchdowns, and they came, by quarter, as follows. First Quarter: 42-yard run by Wyatt Edmisten; 52-yard pass from Gunnar Englund to Jackson Gossick; 41-yard pass from Englund to Charley White; 28-yard run by Gossick; 35-yard run by Edmisten. Second Quarter: 30-yard run by Calvin Jones; 50-yard run by Mike Banford; 12-yard run by Luke Kaiser; 10-yard run by Parker Shirling. Third Quarter: Two-yard run by Jackson Lovelace. Fourth Quarter: four-yard run by Tommy Barreca; 15-yard run by Carl Young.

SM West 36, SM Northwest 10

The game started with the teams exchanging field goals, SM Northwest's coming from Jonathan Killeen and SM West's from Tyler Thayer. Midway through the second quarter SM West went ahead 10-3 on a three-yard run from Tarik Watson. Then, just before the half, SM West faked a punt and Andrew Fergurson took the ball 47 yards for a touchdown to make things 16-3 heading into the intermission. A one-yard keeper from Adam Rellihan made the score 23-3 early in the third quarter. Next, Watson scored on a 21-yard touchdown run to make the lead 29-3. Late in the fourth quarter Asher Goldston intercepted a pass and returned in 85 yards for a touchdown to make the game 36-3. SM Northwest added a late touchdown run from Sam Sullivan to make the final score 36-10.

Olathe South 42, Blue Valley Northwest 20

The Falcons jumped out to an early lead (like always) and carried the momentum through for a huge district victory. Olathe South struck first on a 37-yard touchdown run from Jake Seurer to go up 7-0 early in the first quarter. Shortly thereafter, Seurer found Jordan Wall on a 31-yard touchdown pass to make the lead 14-0. A Zach Zegunis run before the end of the quarter made things 14-6. Olathe South answered with a 26-yard touchdown run from DaeVonte Nance to push the lead to 21-6. Seurer then connected with Jonathon Sands on a 58-yard touchdown pass to go up 28-6. Blue Valley Northwest kept things somewhat honest, adding a 10-yard touchdown pass from Zegunis to Dalton Schoen to make the game 28-14 at halftime. Zegunis found Schoen on a 33-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, which pulled the Huskies to within eight, at 28-20. But Olathe South put things out of reach in the final quarter, adding a four-yard touchdown run from Nance and a eight-yard touchdown pass from Seurer to Cole Browning to claim the victory.

Lawrence 20, Olathe Northwest 17

This was just week one of districts, but it very well may have determined the playoff fate of both teams. Olathe Northwest got on the board first with a 27-yard Devin Antcil field goal in the first quarter. Toward the end of the first quarter, LHS added a 48-yard touchdown run from JD Woods to take a 6-3 lead. Olathe Northwest came back with the only score of the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run from Dominique Bruce. The Ravens led 10-6 at halftime. Woods opened the second half with an 85-yard touchdown run to put LHS back up, 13-10. Later in the quarter, Jack Hatzfeld tacked on a 14-yard touchdown run to put the Ravens back in front, 17-13. Woods proved to be the difference, however, adding his third touchdown of the day on a 76-yard touchdown run to give LHS a 20-17 lead. Both defenses held their ground in the second half, which resulted in LHS' fourth victory of the season.

Lawrence Free State 42, Topeka Washburn-Rural 14

The Firebirds pushed their record back above .500 with this convincing victory. Free State led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter after Bryce Torneden closed out a drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Next, Khaury El-Amin scored on a 20-yard touchdown run to make things 14-0, before Torneden found Tye Carter on an 18-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 21-0. Paul Bittinger intercepted a pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown push the lead to 28-0. Before the half, Washburn-Rural got on the board with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Blake Peterson to Drew Lewis, making things 28-7. Torneden added a touchdown run midway through the third quarter to make the score 35-7. Washburn-Rural responded with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Peterson to Jovon Hall to put the game at 35-14. Free State closed the door with a 38-yard touchdown run from El-Amin late in the third quarter.

Leavenworth 29, Schlagle 8

Leavenworth recorded a nice victory, their third of the season, to push their record to 2-0 against 5A competition. The Pioneers scored first on a six-yard touchdown run from Sanchez Williams to go up 7-0. Later in the second quarter, Isaiah Ross intercepted a pass and returned in 30 yard for a touchdown to make the game 14-0. In the second half the Pioneers would add a four-yard touchdown run from Williams, and a 27-yard touchdown pass from Landry Hodges to Ross to close out the victory.

Olathe North 49, Olathe East 3

The Eagles found a way to get all of their playmakers involved in this one, as five different starters scored touchdowns. Meanwhile, on the other sideline, Olathe East continued an unprecedented midseason slide which has cast a shade of doom and gloom onto the program. Venus Triplett added two first quarter touchdowns of 52 and one yards to make things 14-0. In the second quarter, Marcel Spears scored on a 17-yard run, and then Isaiah Simmons added a 24-yard touchdown run. At halftime Olathe North led 28-0. Triplett added a touchdown to start the third quarter, making things 35-0, before Olathe East put their lone points on the board courtesy of a 36-yard Chris Diddle field goal. A two-yard touchdown run from Cole Murphy gave the Eagles a 42-3 advantage entering the fourth quarter, and they finished things off with a 12-yard touchdown run from Vinnie Shabbaz.

SM North 58, Wyandotte 13

No box score was reported. SM North finally snapped their losing streak, and in the process set themselves up for a likely playoff berth if they can win one of their remaining two games. Their next opponent, Harmon, stands at 0-7 on the season, and is coming off an 83-0 loss to SM East.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sunflower League Week Seven Game Scores

Thursday, Oct. 16

SM South 21, Blue Valley North 9
SM East 83, Harmon 0

Friday, Oct. 17

SM West 36, SM Northwest 10
Olathe South 42, Blue Valley Northwest 20
Lawrence 20, Olathe Northwest 17
Lawrence Free State 42, Topeka Washburn-Rural 14
Leavenworth 29, Schlagle 8
Olathe North 49, Olathe East 3
SM North 58, Wyandotte 13

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sunflower League Week Seven Game Previews

SM Northwest's Nehemiah Jones looks to recover
a fumble against Lawrence on Sept. 26. The Cougs
and Vikes will be squaring off in the biggest game
of their respective seasons this Friday. LJWorld.
Game of the Week
SM Northwest (2-4) at SM West (2-4) at SM South District Stadium

In week nine last year, SM Northwest beat SM West, 17-14, to clinch a playoff berth and send SM West packing ... these teams' combined four wins have all come against Olathe East and SM North ... the Cougars defense ranks last in the Sunflower League, surrendering on average 417 yards per game ... the Vikings offense ranks last in the Sunflower League, managing on average just 242 yards per game ... SM West leads the series 8-3 over the last decade ... Cougar running back Duron Lowe and Viking running back Tarik Watson are two of the league's speediest tailbacks, and should make for a good showing.

Olathe South (5-1) 
at Blue Valley Northwest (4-2) 
at BVDAC

These teams last faced off on Oct. 13th, 2011 ... Blue Valley Northwest won that game, 49-34, and it was significant because it was the only loss Olathe South suffered in 2011, as the Falcons went on to go 12-1 and win the state title ... Olathe South's one loss was by one point in double overtime to undefeated Olathe North ... the Falcons have outscored their opponents 191-102 through six games, with a defense that ranks fourth in the league and an offense that ranks fifth ... Olathe South's defense has forced 15 turnovers, the most of any team in the league.

Olathe Northwest (4-2) at Lawrence (3-3) at Lawrence High Stadium

A win for Olathe Northwest would tie their school record for most wins in a season, set when they finished 5-5 in 2011 ... LHS defeated Olathe Northwest, 35-20, in week four a season ago ... LHS running back JD Woods is the league's leading rusher with 873 yards and 11 touchdowns on 122 carries ... Olathe Northwest doesn't do anything spectacular, as they rank eighth in the league in total offense and total defense, but they've compiled the fourth best record in the league.

Topeka Washburn Rural (2-4) at Lawrence Free State (3-3) at Free State Athletic Stadium

These teams last met on Oct. 29th, 2004 ... Free State won that game 14-10 to qualify for the playoffs ... quarterback Bryce Torneden ranks third in the league in rushing with 675 yards, but surprisingly only ninth in passing, with just 318 yards ... Torneden has been in on 11 of Free State's 15 touchdowns this fall ... the Firebirds rank seventh in the league in total offense, but stand at .500 because of the play of their defense, which ranks third in the league.

Leavenworth (2-4) at Schlagle (4-2) at Schlagle

Leavenworth has faced one 5A opponent this season, Great Bend in week one ... the Pioneers won the game, 19-0 ... Schlagle is averaging 43 points in each of their victories this year ... Leavenworth's Anthony Hunt has 84 tackles to lead the league in that category ... Leavenworth's secondary is the best in the league, statistically, allowing just 53 passing yards per game ... the Pioneers' defensive issue has been their run defense, which is surrendering 267 yards per game ... Juwann Potts, Leavenworth's talented receiver and defensive back, has more return touchdowns (two) than any player in the league.

Olathe East (3-3) at Olathe North (6-0) at ODAC

Olathe North leads this series, 6-5, over the past 10 years ... Olathe East is 3-4 in their last seven games dating back to last season, while Olathe North is 6-1 in their last seven ... Olathe North has the top defense in the league, surrendering just 212 yards per game ... the Eagles have also forced 14 turnovers, which ranks second in the league ... Olathe East's top receiver, Zach Cahill, is averaging 28 yards per catch and has five touchdowns on the season ... Olathe North is ranked 10th nationally in the Midlands Region by Prepnation.com.

Harmon (0-6) at SM East (6-0) at SM North District Stadium (Thursday game)

The Lancer offense averages 42 points, 350 rushing yards and 120 passing yards per game, and 7.8 yards per offensive play ... their offensive ranks first in the league ... defensively, SM East is second in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (122) and seventh in pass defense (94), and they rank second overall in the league in total defense ... SM East running back Wyatt Edmisten leads the league in touchdowns with 16 ... six Lancers have rushed for over 150 yards ... Harmon has been outscored 317-62 on the season, and they have a 27-game losing streak going which dates back to October of 2011 ... SM East is ranked sixth nationally in the Midlands Region by Prepnation.com.

SM South (1-5) at Blue Valley North (1-5) at BVDAC (Thursday game)

The Raiders have dropped five games in a row after beginning the season with a victory over SM North ... last week Blue Valley North ended a losing streak of 22-games which had stretched back to September of 2012 ... the Mustangs defeated Gardner-Edgerton (0-6) 31-15 in the game ... SM South has gone 1-2 in districts each of the last three seasons, missing the playoff after losing the final district game all three years.

Wyandotte (1-5) at SM North (0-6) at SM North District Stadium

Aside from SM East, Wyandotte, SM North and Harmon are a combined 1-17 ... the winner of this game will be in good position to clinch a playoff berth against Harmon ... SM North leads the league in passing averaging 210 yards per game ... the Indians rank sixth in the league in total offense and 11th in total defense ... SM North sophomore quarterback Will Schneider has passed for 2,736 yards and 24 touchdowns in 15 games as a starter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sunflower League Extra: Part VI

SM East's Kyle Ball has a season stat line
that reads 58 tackles (19 for loss), and six
sacks. Photo LJWorld.
Week Six Players of the Week

Kyle Ball, SM East: The league's most ferocious defender had perhaps the best game of his career on Friday night. From his defensive end position, Ball recorded 16 tackles (nine for loss), two sacks and and a deflected pass. In many respects he plays like the JJ Watt of Kansas high school football. He's just a relentless pass rusher, who has exceptional speed and quickness all over the field. If he wasn't such a tweener (he's listed at 6-2, 235) he would probably have a collection of FBS offers. You can watch Ball's highlights from the game on his Hudl page linked here.

Jonathon Sands, Olathe South: Sands had the type of game every defensive back dreams of, recording three interceptions, including a game-clinching pick in his team's own endzone with 18 seconds left in the game. Sands is now tied for the league lead in interceptions with five. Tallying three interceptions is like a golfer knocking in a hole-in-one -- we just don't see it very often. The last time a player recorded three picks in a game was when Olathe East's Junior Williams snagged three in a Regional playoff game against Olathe Northwest in November of 2011. The modern record? Olathe East's Anthony Parks intercepted four against SM North in 2002.

Week Six Coaches of the Week

Gene Wier, Olathe North / Dustin Delaney, SM East: The head coaches of the league's co-champions share the top honors this week. And here's why -- both of these teams entered the season with targets on their backs. We still have a long ways to go, but through six weeks each coach has their team sitting at 6-0, which is all you can ask for at this point. Olathe North has had a much more difficult schedule, and Wier's been like a wizard navigating his team through every game. SM East hasn't played the schedule of Olathe North, but let's not overlook the way SM East has blown out every team they've played. It says something when you can get your team fired up for even the easy opponents.

Statistics

Passing Yards (QB Rating)
Will Schneider, SM North: 1,258, 12 TDs (76)
Chase Miller, Olathe East: 736, 6 TDs (57)
Gunnar Englund, SM East: 719, 9 TDs (113)
Jake Seurer, Olathe South: 652, 5 TDs (85)
Landry Hodges, Leavenworth: 621, 5 TDs (50)
Jack Hatzfeld, Olathe Northwest: 557, 4 TDs (76)
Adam Rellihan, SM West: 434, 5 TDs (48)
Matt Hollingsworth, SM South: 387, 2 TDs (21)
Bryce Torneden, Free State: 338, 3 TDs (55)
Cole Murphy, Olathe North: 338, 5 TDs (78)
Alan Clothier, Lawrence: 233 (21)
Zach McQueen, SM South: 211, 1 TD (52)

Rushing Yards
JD Woods, Lawrence: 873, 11 TDs
Venus Triplett, Olathe North: 768, 11 TDs
Bryce Torneden, Free State: 675, 8 TDs
Wyatt Edmisten, SM East: 674, 16 TDs
Jalen Branson, Olathe East: 535, 5 TDs
Tarik Watson, SM West: 476, 3 TDs
Duron Lowe, SM Northwest: 454, 4 TDs
Collin Fischer, Olathe South: 448, 5 TDs
Calvin Jones, SM East: 411, 3 TDs
DaeVonte Nance, Olathe South: 403, 4 TDs

Receiving Yards
Nick Perez, SM North: 625, 6 TDs
Alec Dean, SM East: 431, 6 TDs
Zach Cahill, Olathe East: 367, 5 TDs
Jeighlon Cornell, Olathe North: 299, 4 TDs
Tyler Burnett, SM North: 254, 2 TDs
Isaiah Ross, Leavenworth: 251, 2 TDs
Manny Psihountas, Olathe Northwest: 206, 1 TD
Juwan Potts, Leavenworth: 194, 1 TD
Coleman Clanton, Olathe South: 165, 2 TDs
Jake Langley, SM North: 139
Isreal Watson, SM West: 139, 2 TDs

Tackles
Anthony Hunt, Leavenworth: 84
David Burton, Olathe Northwest: 81
Price Morgan, Lawrence: 81
Nick Perez, SM North: 76
DJ Turner, SM West: 76
Zach Gerber, SM South: 69
Josh Morgan, Leavenworth: 64
Dalton Lewallan, SM South: 59
Kyle Ball, SM East: 58
Sean Young, Leavenworth: 57
Josh Compton, SM West: 56
Caesar Salgado, SM North: 54
Jake Seurer, Olathe South: 54
Micquel Riddle, Leavenworth: 53
Joe Fales, SM South: 52

Sacks
Amani Bledsoe, Lawrence: 9
Kyle Ball, SM East: 6
Parker Soukup, Olathe South: 4.5
Eli Pruss, Olathe Northwest: 4

Forced Fumbles
David Burton, Olathe Northwest: 3
Nick Perez, SM North: 3

Fumble Recoveries
(11 tied with two)

Interceptions
Isaiah Macklin, SM West: 5
Johnathon Sands, Olathe South: 5
Andrew Keating, Free State: 4

Kick Return/Punt Return Touchdowns
Juwan Potts, Leavenworth: 2 KR TDs
Nyle Anderson, Lawrence: 1 KR TD
Venus Triplett, Olathe North: 1 PR TD

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week Seven Power Rankings, News & Notes

SM West is hoping their 18-7 victory against Olathe East will carry over to districts, while the Hawks are
searching for answers after losing a second game in a row and falling to 3-3. Photo courtesy David Compton.
Eli's News & Notes

**With their Thursday and Friday victories, Olathe North and SM East, respectively, each claimed a share of the Sunflower League title. It was Olathe North's 13th league title, and their 10th under Gene Wier. For SM East, it was the sixth of its kind in program history, and the third in the last five years.

Sunflower League Championships

Olathe North: 1991, '95, '96, '97, '98, '99, '00, '01, '02, '04, '09, '10, '14

SM East: 1961, '64, '66, '10, '13, '14

**With the completion of non-district play, two league teams -- Lawrence Free State and Leavenworth -- will more or less drop off the league scene for the remainder of the year. Leavenworth, the league's lone 5A program, if off to their outside district, and depending on those results, the 5A state playoffs. Meanwhile, due to the attendance influx in several East 6A schools which were formerly 5A, Free State is being shipped out to 6A West for districts and, (if they qualify) the playoffs. The only chance we see the Firebirds in a league contest again is if they make it to the 6A state title game, as the 6A West representative, and match up with a league team representing 6A East. Hey, we can dream, can't we? That being said, coverage of both programs will continue as normal.

**If you're not completely in-tune with the world of Twitter, you might have missed the incredible week Lawrence defensive tackle Amani Bledsoe had on the recruiting trail. In the course of 24 hours, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas Tech all offered the talented 6-4, 275-pound junior. And then today Missouri threw their hat into the ring. Bledsoe previously held offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and NC State. He was held out of Friday's loss to Olathe South with a sprained MCL, but he's expected to rejoin the starting lineup for districts.

**To touch on last week's league discrepancy comments, the league's top four teams (Olathe North, Olathe Northwest, Olathe South and SM East), based on record, are a combined 21-3, and two of those losses have come from within. The league's remaining eight teams are a combined 16-32.

Trending Up

SM West: Sure, Olathe East may be a lame duck at this point, but the Vikings needed a victory against a marquee opponent, and their 18-7 outcome on Friday was right on point. Despite a poor season overall to date, if you look ahead to their district, the Vikes actually have a decent shot at finishing the regular season above the .500 mark. SM West's current seniors were sophomores during the program's 2012 state title run -- so you know they know how to win. The question is more can they win (out?).

Olathe Northwest: In all my time of conducting regular season weekly Power Rankings (51 weeks to be exact) the Ravens have never been ranked above the No. 6 slot. Until now. Olathe Northwest doesn't have a signature win on the season, but they've done the single most important thing to being competitive in the Sunflower League -- they've defeated all of their lesser opponents. I know, sounds simple. But it's not an easy practice (Olathe East has written the book on how to do this), especially when you don't have a roster dotted with FBS recruits or many returning All-Sunflower League honorees. This week's game against LHS loom enormous. Beat LHS and then defeat one or both of Olathe East and Olathe North and it may be a sign the program has finally arrived.

Competitive Districts: It's do-or-die time across the league and some of the district matchups will be quite compelling. In District No. 2, you have BV North (1-5), SM Northwest (2-4), SM South (1-5), and SM West (2-4) singing hallelujah they still have a shot at making the playoffs. We'll find out real quick who's ready to hand in the pads versus who wants to make something of their season. District No. 4 offers Lawrence (3-3), Olathe North (6-0), Olathe Northwest (4-2), and Olathe East (3-3). Olathe East is searching for air, Olathe North is seeking supremacy, Olathe Northwest wants to gain respect among the Olathes, and LHS is trying to see if they can smash-mouth their way into the playoffs. And don't forget District No. 3, where Olathe South (5-1) will try to end a two-year playoff drought in a district that includes Blue Valley (5-1) and Blue Valley Northwest (4-2).

Trending Down

Olathe East: I typically don't put team on the "Trending Down" list more than one week in a row, but it's almost impossible to overlook the Hawks' woes at this time. They can't pass the football, they can't score the football, and they've completely lost their sense of team. Who knows -- maybe they'll simply use their rushing attack and bully their way into the playoffs like they seemingly do every year. But you sort of get the impression that's looking like a long-shot, especially considering they've been outscored 45-14 the past two weeks against teams who are a combined 4-8.

SM South: In baseball we talk about a pitcher's run support, or lack thereof. In football, for whatever reason, we tend to understate the toll a poor offense can have on what would be a solid defense. That's the case with SM South this year, as their offense has done little to compliment their defensive efforts. The defense has held four of their six opponents to 21 points or less, but the offense has only managed 13 touchdowns (side note: six of those came in a week one victory against SM North).

6A East District No. 1: Aside from powerful SM East, the district's three other teams (Harmon, SM North and Wyandotte) are a combined 1-17. This is unlikely to happen, but you could potentially see a team making the playoffs out of that district at 1-8. Obviously teams have no control over their district placements, but at a certain point you almost have to ask, why are we even using districts? How hard would it be to simply divide Kansas into East and West, then take the top eight teams (record wise) from each side, with head-to-head matchups serving as the tie-breaker? It would have to be slightly more complex than that, but you get the idea. We've seen enough 6-3 and 5-4 teams miss out on the playoffs in favor of 3-6 or 2-7 clubs to recognize the system is flawed.

Week Seven Power Rankings

1. SM East (6-0): The modern record for points scored by a league team in the regular season is 407 by Free State in 2006. SM East sits at 254 points through six games, which means they would need to average 51 the next three games to tie that record. But I think the Lancers have bigger goals than that.

2. Olathe North (6-0): When Olathe North flexes their muscles they're better than just about everyone. Sometimes they just need a punch in the gut to get going. After SM North tied the Eagles at 14 on Friday, Olathe North rattled off four unanswered touchdowns and cruised to victory No. 6.

3. Olathe South (5-1): The Falcons roared to a 29-0 halftime lead against LHS on Friday, and have outscored their opponents 134-32 in the first halves of their six games. Like solid special teams, big plays, and forcing turnovers, playing well in the opening quarters almost always equates to victories in this league.

4. Olathe Northwest (4-2): The Ravens are playing well and at the right time. They just dismantled a SM Northwest team that had a great deal of momentum heading into week six. The upcoming three district games can probably be dubbed the most important three games in Raven football history to date.

5. Lawrence Free State (3-3): Based on their performances so far, the Firebirds are either going to get shelled in districts and miss the playoffs altogether, or go on some sort of impressive run through 6A West. It's hard to tell which team Free State will show up, but that's life with a young roster.

6. Lawrence (3-3): What killed the Chesties this past week (aside from a terrible first half overall) was throwing three interceptions. At the end of the day, LHS is best when they place reliance on their talented running backs -- not when they have to open up their offense and try to attack defenses through the air.

7. Olathe East (3-3): This is sort of uncharted territory for Olathe East, and nobody would have imagined they would be sitting here after that impressive week one victory over Garden City. Push will really come to shove if they show up unprepared against district rival Olathe North this Friday.

8. Leavenworth (2-4): Farewell to the Pioneers, as far as league competition is concerned. They've had their ups and downs, but I think they've improved as much as anybody these past six weeks even though the results don't necessarily show that. It's time for the Pioneers to make some noise in 5A.

9. SM Northwest (2-4): So, that 27-7 victory against Olathe East -- was that fact or fluke? It's hard to say following the Cougs' 31-0 loss to Olathe Northwest. SM Northwest's biggest game of the season -- hands down -- comes this Friday against SM West. The winner will be primed to make the playoffs.

10. SM West (2-4): There's really no telling what the Vikings will do from here. They've settled in at the quarterback position, given their inexperienced juniors and sophomores ample playing time, and picked up a couple victories. But neither a 3-0 nor 0-3 finish to the season would come as a surprise.

11. SM South (1-5): The Raiders' woes have been well documented, but the problems begin and end with their offense, which has thrown 10 interceptions and scored a mere 39 points their last five games (5.8 ppg). Even with an evenly matched district, they stand no chance at the playoffs if those numbers continue.

12. SM North (0-6): The Indians are the league's most pass-happy team, so when it was pouring rain an hour before kickoff against Olathe North, it was safe to say their chances of a glorious upset had taken a hit. Their game against Wyandotte this week should end the thing which shall not be named