A few days ago I brought up the fact that the top four teams in the Sunflower League also had the league's top four rushers. Today I have the statistics to back that up along with some other league statistics to chew on.
James Franklin, Olathe North: 1,550 yards
Darron Harvey, SM West: 1,481 yards
Bryce Atagi, SM Northwest: 1,183 yards
JaVon Williams, Olathe East: 1,008 yards
Tanner Dutton, Olathe South: 1,083 yards
Dustin King, SM South: 1,030 yards
Byron Hadfield, Leavenworth: 950 yards
DJ Balazs, SM West: 898 yards
Marcus Webb, SM East: 467 yards
Aaron Rea, Lawrence: 426 yards
Reggie Harris, Olathe South: 412 yards
Devon Boyce, Olathe Northwest: 401 yards
The thing that jumps out to me about the statistics is the amount of rushing yards in comparison to passing yards. The Sunflower League has always been identified as a running dominated conference, and despite the fact that schools such as Lawrence and Olathe South have switched to more pass happy offenses, the running game still remains strong. Also based on the statistics, it appears that SM West in addition to having the most dominate offense in the league, may also have the most balanced. Darron Harvey and DJ Balazs both appear in the top four of the rushing, and passing yards categories.
Another Year, Another Runner
Olathe North has apparently found their dominate running back, once again, (Beno Gore, Darren Sproles , Maurice Mack, Jim Bouknight, Justin Gore, Josh Gore) in the form of junior James Franklin.
Franklin has passed Darron Harvey for the current lead on the league's rushing list. However, Franklin has also carried the ball 92 times in the past three games. Averaging 30+ carries per game has certainly bolstered Franklin's yardage totals, but that doesn't measure the wear and tear that has been put on the two-way starter.
It will be interesting to see if Franklin can keep carrying the load throughout the playoffs. Assuming, that is, Olathe North beats Olathe South in the final district game on Friday and makes it to the playoffs.
Best Football Player in the League?
Shawnee Mission Northwest head coach Aaron Barnett was recently quoted by the Shawnee-Dispatch as saying that in his opinion, running back/safety Bryce Atagi "is the best all-around football player in the Sunflower League." It brings up an interesting point. Certainly Atagi is deserving of consideration. He is a two way starter for the Cougars, and has compiled 1,183 yards rushing on the season.