Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday Report: BV Northwest Week

Overcoming Expectations

Coming off a 5-4 season in 2007, many media pundits were down on the SM West program. Prior to the season I was amazed at how average of a season many expected SM West to have in 2008. Most of that basis came from the four straight losses that ended the 2007 season, but it wasn't that simply.

In 2007, the Vikings lost current star Darron Harvey in game three to a torn ACL. JD Steffen, an all conference performer the previous season, went down in week five of 2007 with a high ankle sprain. The two players were both two way starters and therefore the team lost four positions with those two injuries.

SM West was 5-0 when Steffen went down, and went on to face four teams who combined to win 28 games. The 0-4 end to the 2007 campaign shouldn't have been as indicative on this current season or the SM West program as many of the preseason polls exclaimed, but nevertheless the Vikings weren't a hot item entering the current season.

The Vikings weren't ranked in the Metro Sports Power 25. Nine wins later SM West sits at #4 overall in their poll of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The Sunflower League Coaches poll may be even more of a laugher. Here is how the coaches ranked the teams in August:

August 15, 2008 Coaches Poll

1. Olathe East
2. Olathe North
3. Lawrence Free State
4. SM Northwest
5. Olathe South
6. SM West
7. Lawrence
8. SM East
9. SM South
10. Leavenworth
11. Olathe Northwest
12. SM North

Here is how the final rankings looked:

t1. Olathe East, SM West
t3. Olathe North, SM Northwest
5. Lawrence Free State
6. Lawrence
7. Olathe South
8. SM East
9. SM North
10. Leavenworth
11. Olathe Northwest
12. SM South

SM West was predicted to finish sixth overall in the conference, but ended up tieing with Olathe East for the top spot in the final standings. Overall the coaches were fairly accurate, but I find it interesting that SM West would end up five spots higher than their originial projection.

I think it's safe to say SM West is has erased alot of doubt that existed at the beginning of the season. And the Vikings will be working to make those pre-season polls look even dumber the rest of the way.

Final Regular Season Stats

Here is a glance at how the regular season statistical leaders finished off the regular season:

Name, School: Carries, Yards
James Franklin, Olathe North: 213, 1,667
Darron Harvey, SM West: 169, 1,598
Bryce Atagi, SM Northwest: 199, 1,167
JaVon Williams, Olathe East: 184, 1,165

Name, School: Complete/Attempts Yards
Dustin King, SM South: 81/210 1,162
Tanner Dutton, Olathe South: 97/177 1,129
Byron Hadfield, Leavenworth: 89/215 1,081
DJ Balazs, SM West: 69/120 961

Photo: DJ Balazs, center, finished the regular season fourth in the Sunflower League in passing yards. Photo courtesy KC Star.

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