Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Season Grades

A few things to note before you read to much into the grades. First off, and most importantly, the grades are based on how each team performed given their talent, expectations, and history. Some teams received higher rankings because, in my opinion they achieved more in 2009 than what was expected of them. Whereas some teams that finished the year with more wins had lower rankings, and that was because I felt some teams underperformed.

Olathe North (13-0): The Eagles capped an undefeated regular season by running through the 6A playoffs en route to a 6A state championship. The state championship was the first for Olathe North and the Sunflower League in six years. Anything less than a perfect grade for the Eagles would have been stupid.

Lawrence Free State (left) (8-3): The Firebirds followed their 6A Runner-Up season in 2008 with a successful 2009, and an appearance in the Sectional Round of the playoffs. Two of the team's losses came to Olathe North, while the third looked to have been an early season road bump. Although 2009 wasn't as magical as 2008 for the team from Lawrence, the season still grades out well.

SM East (4-6): Chip Sherman's first season at the helm ended on a much higher note than it began. After starting out the year 0-3 the Lancers went on to win four of their next five games including a district upset of SM Northwest. The Lancers earned a playoff berth, and for a half gave Olathe North a run for their money in the opening round of the playoffs.

SM West (8-2): SM West continues to build on the program's success, and the school has now won 52 games in the past six years after having only won 23 games in the six years before. SM West was very close to getting an A grade, but their third consecutive season without a playoff victory leaves some room to be desired. Nevertheless, the Vikings had another very solid year.

Olathe East (6-4): Early on it looked like Olathe East was primed for a big time season despite losing nearly every starter from 2008. It may have been the youth of the team, or just the typical grind, but the Hawks faded some towards the end of the season and never seemed to reach their peak level of play. On the positive side, the team is loaded with returning talent that should be primed for a playoff run in 2010.

SM South (3-6): Even though their record didn't necessarily show it SM South was a much improved team in 2008. In fact, SM South was close to having a winning record through seven games (a 21-3 loss to Blue Valley North eliminated those hopes). The team played a competitive brand of football that hasn't traditionally been a staple for the program. For that reason, they grade out at a B.

Olathe Northwest (4-6): The Ravens had an up and down year overall. They set a school record of points scored with 49 in week six, before topping that with 63 in week seven--both victories. However, they failed to capture the school's first ever playoff victory, and went 0-3 against their fellow Olathe schools.

Olathe South (4-5): Olathe South started the season playing a very impressive brand of football--in fact they were two touchdowns away from being 6-0. Their defense, however, wasn't quite able to catch up to the firepower of their offense. Olathe South surrendered the fourth most points in the league and it prevented them from having a successful end to the season. An 0-3 skid kept the the Falcons out of the playoffs.

SM Northwest (5-4): SM Northwest's 5-4 record was quite puzzling. The team had a solid core of seniors, especially at the skill positions, and they took care of all of the games they were supposed to win. Of course, that was with the exception of their upset loss to SM East in the second round of district play. The loss effectively knocked the Cougars out of their third consecutive playoff berth.

SM North (right) (2-7): The 2-0 start was probably more a product of playing two teams that combined to go 1-17 than anything. After that the Indians dropped seven straight games to put quite a damper on the season. On the positive side SM North lost a nail biter to SM South in overtime, and also hung close against their rival SM Northwest in the season finale, the Hula Bowl.

Leavenworth (0-9): The Pioneers only scored 21 points while surrendering 413 this season, but it wasn't like the program had the highest of expectations coming in (the school went winless in 2005 and 2006). Their effort in their final game of the season with Lawrence really showed that the Pioneers, although winless, had alot of heart.

Lawrence (1-8): Nobody saw a one win season coming, but it happened and it will probably go down as one of the worst seasons in Lawence High history. The Chesty Lions did battle hard throughout the season though, and that counts for something. Their win over Leavenworth in week nine kept them from laying an egg in the win column. Lawrence ranks lower than Leavenworth because of the fact that Lawrence High has such a prestigious football name.

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