Perhaps the most resounding notion of the Sunflower Conference this season is the clear discrepency between the top four teams in the league and the next eight teams. Olathe East, SM West, Olathe North, and SM Northwest have a combined record of 28 wins and four losses. That is a winning percentage of .875.
The next eight teams in the league have a combined record of 20 wins and 44 losses. That equates to a mere .312 winning percentage. Cleary the Sunflower Conference has an established four powers this season, with the other eight teams battling out middle to lower tier status.
The statistics back up this notion as well. The league's top four rushers -- James Franklin, Olathe North; Bryce Atagi, SM Northwest; Darron Harvey, SM West; JaVon Williams, Olathe East -- are all the starting running backs for the power four.
The last time the Sunflower Conference showed this type of upper echelon power was in 2006 when Olathe East, SM West, Lawrence, and Olathe South all boasted superior squads to the rest of the league.
That year the power four finished off the regular season with a combined record of 33-3. In the sectional round of the playoffs Olathe East defeated SM West, and Lawrence defeated Olathe South for trips to the Sub-State game. Olathe East went on to beat Lawrence and make it to the state championship game where they lost to Hutchinson.
Sunflower League Standings:
Rank. Team (League Record, Overall Record)
t1. Olathe East (6-0, 8-0)
t1. SM West (6-0, 8-0)
3. Olathe North (5-1, 6-2)
4. SM Northwest (5-1, 6-2)
5. Lawrence Free State (4-2, 5-3)
6. Olathe South (1-5, 3-5)
7. Lawrence (1-5, 3-5)
8. SM East (2-4, 3-5)
9. SM North (2-4, 3-5)
t10. Olathe Northwest ( 1-5, 1-7)
t10. SM South (1-5, 1-7)
12. Leavenworth (1-5, 1-7)
Final Sunday Comments:
The regular season looks to conclude this upcoming Friday in status quo fashion. All of the power four teams will be heavy favorites to win their games, and the two Lawrence schools will likely finish off with victories. If the cards fall the way they should, six Sunflower League teams will make the 6A playoffs.
Olathe East, SM West, Olathe North, SM Northwest, Lawrence, Lawrence-Free State, Blue Valley, and the winner of the Blue Valley North vs. Blue Valley Northwest game will likely be the eight teams that will make up the 6A East bracket of the playoffs.
SM West has a great chance at ending the season on a high note. The Vikings can win a share of the Sunflower League title, win the 6A Ditrict-1 title, have a 50/50 chance at the #1 seed in the playoffs (assuming Olathe East wins), win the Nut Cup, and finish the regular season undefeated if they beat SM East on Friday.
SM East has a chance to ruin all of that for SM West if they can pull an upset. The game is always competitive between the rival schools so don't expect the Lancers to roll over easy.