The Lancer's 13-12 victory over SM Northwest was one of the bigger upsets of the season in the Sunflower League. After a tumultuous 0-3 start it looked as if the Lancers were on pace for another very mediocre season. Since that time the team has gone 4-1, and with their victory Friday night they sealed a playoff berth.
Olathe NorthwestOlathe Northwest may have represented themselves poorly against the other Olathe schools, but they will be making the playoffs in 2009, which is ultimately the bigger goal. Granted, the Raven's two district wins have come against teams that are a combined 0-16, but the dominate fashion of their victories provides evidence that the team may be clicking.
Olathe North (below)
The Eagles took care of business for the eight time this season, and their star running back James Franklin was able to rest the entire second half. The victory over Blue Valley West sealed the district crown, and with a win against Olathe South on Friday the Eagles will also stake claim to an outright Sunflower League title. It would be the school's first since 2004.
SM NorthwestBy losing to SM East on Friday the Cougars were officially eliminated from playoff contention. No one saw this coming. The team played inconsistent football throughout the year, but it appeared the duo of Matt Nowak and John Hauk would be enough to propel the team to the playoffs. In the end the end the Cougars had no such luck.
Olathe SouthMuch like SM Northwest, the Falcons possessed a decent group of talent, but were haunted by inconsistency and a difficulty schedule. When reviewing the Falcon's stats more closely it also became obvious that the team struggled to score as many points as their stats would indicate. Tanner Dutton routinely passed for 250+ yards, but often that would only equate to one or two touchdown passes. With defensive liabilities the Falcons couldn't come through in district play.
At one point in time it looked like SM South had turned the corner and had a decent shot of improving to 4-3 through seven games. Things did not go their way and two consecutive losses have eliminated the Raider's playoff chances. With Olathe East on tap for week nine, that fourth win looks even more elusive.
**SM East's Kevin Hertel caught touchdown passes of 14 and 43 yards--the Lancers only scores of the game. The last touchdown was ultimately the score that elevated SM East to the win.
**Olathe North's James Franklin only ran the ball in the first half, but still totalled 159 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
**Josh Lemke, Brandon Bouvilom, and Cullen Phillips combined for seven touchdowns in Olathe Northwest's 63 point offensive performance. Phillips had touchdowns runs of 10 and 49 yards, Bouvilom had runs of 1 and 24 yards, and Lemke threw touchdown passes of 23, 29, and 34 yards.
**SM West's DJ Balazs collected his 20th career victory as a starting quarterback in the Viking's 49-7 victory Friday night. Balazs joins an elite group of Sunflower League quarterbacks who have accomplished the feat. Here is a list of some of the most recent members:
Name, school, graduation year, wins
Derek Miller, Olathe East, 2006, 31
DJ Balazs, SM West, 2010, 20
Tyler Lawrence, SM West, 2006, 20
**Olathe East's Hayden Groves ran the ball 22 times for 166 yards and one touchdown. He also caught a 19 yard touchdown pass in the Hawk's victory.
Week Nine Power Rankings
1. Olathe North (8-0): The Eagles are one win from claiming their first Sunflower League crown since 2004.
2. Lawrence Free State (6-2): The Firebirds will be looking to give Olathe Northwest a reality check.
3. SM West (7-1): The Vikings are peaking at the right time; their 49-7 win on Friday shows that both their offense and defense are well prepped for the playoffs.
4. Olathe East (5-3): If the Hawks take care of business against SM South they will be looking at their eighth straight playoff appearance.
5. Olathe South (4-4): A season that once showed alot of promise will be over all-to-soon for the Falcon faithful.
6. Olathe Northwest (4-4): The Ravens are already in the playoffs, but their game against Lawrence Free State will be a gut check.
7. SM East (4-4): The Lancers have already qualified for the playoffs and get a chance at their rival SM West on Friday, a team they haven't beaten in over a decade.
8. SM Northwest (4-4): The Cougars are a better team than their 4-4 record shows, but they were never able to put it all together in 2009.
9. SM South (3-5): The Raiders have nothing to lose against Olathe East; a four win season should be good motivation for the Green and Gold.
10. SM North (2-6): The Indians two wins came against winless Lawrence and Leavenworth.
11. Lawrence (0-8): It's time to see who wants it more.
12. Leavenworth (0-8): See Lawrence.
The Impaler's Week 9 picks:
7-1 last week (those darn Lancers), 28-6 for the season.
SMW v. SME (@North Thursday) Congratulations, Lancers! What a great improvement over the season, lots of hard work pays off. Now for a reward you get to play a Viking squad that looked absolutely awesome Friday night. This defense is starting to remind one of the 2006 state runner up team giving up an average of only 11 points a game and the offense (other than an early Livingston fumble) was almost unstoppable. Sadly after facing the Vikes, you're going to get the Olathe North Eagles as your first round playoff opponent too. Well, there is a saying in chess that you only get better by playing people better than you...SMW 28 SME 0
BVNW @ BVN The Huskies are NOT in the playoffs yet. That said, they will be the #3 seed if they knock off North. North has shown some signs of life lately but I just don't see them getting it done against Northwest...BVNW 34 BVN 17
BVW @ BV Blue Valley is playing very well and will provide a very daunting 3-6 opponent for our Vikings in the first round. The should roll over the fast fading Jags. BV 36 BVW 10
LFS @ ONW Free State clearly has more talent but playing on the road at an opponent who has scored 112 points the last two weeks should get their attention. In the end, I think the talent prevails. LFS 31 ONW 21
LV @ LHS The "0" Bowl. I really, really wish I could pick LV to win this game but my journalistic ethics and my desire to be right on my picks forces me to go the other way, sorry Pioneers. LHS 16 LV 6
OE @ SMS Contrary to Eli's statement merely winning this game does not guarantee OE a spot in the playoffs, at least in theory. If BVN beats BVNW (not very likely) this will come down to tie breaks. OE needs to win by at least 8 here to be CERTAIN to advance. They will...OE 42 SMS 14
OS @ ON Not the team you Falcon fans want to see on your schedule after the weak efforts put forward recently. ON has already clinched this district but if they lost this game, they could wind up as the 2 seed in a coin toss with SMW. They won't. ON 63 OS 24
SMN @ SMNW The 'who cares' bowl. Can the cougs get motivated to finish with a winning season even though they are eliminated from the playoffs? North looked like boys playing against men Friday night last. Ultimately I think NW has the horses to win this even without any motivation. SMNW 19 SMN 7
Projected first round playoff matchups:
(8) SME at (1) ON
(5) OE at (4) LFS (great rematch!)
(7) BV @ (2) SMW
(6) ONW @ (3) BVNW
How does LFS get the 4 seed when they beat SMW?
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