All game times 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted
Olathe East (6-1) at Blue Valley Northwest (1-6) (Thursday Night Game)
Olathe East didn't put on their best performance of the season last week, and it was a similar lapse to their loss against Lawrence earlier in the season. The Hawks can't afford any more of those from here on out. Blue Valley Northwest is a team known for throwing together late-season heroics, and they were fairly competitive last week in their loss to Olathe South.
Lawrence Free State (4-3) at Olathe North (6-1) (Thursday Night Game)
Olathe North has had the luxury of playing their most competitive opponents at home this season, and that trend continues this week as they host Lawrence Free State. The Firebirds' offense (with the help of Henry Vaeono, above) had its way with Olathe Northwest last week, but Olathe North's defense is at another level--and the Eagles match up speed-wise with the Firebirds. The Free State offense has also proven ineffective against top defenses (combining for a mere 20 points against SM West and Olathe East). This game will be a huge confidence booster for the winner as playoff time nears.
SM Northwest (3-4) at Leavenworth (1-6)
Can Leavenworth make it two in a row? And just how long can Stephen Mangelsdorf continue his hot streak for SM Northwest? We'll get answers for both questions in this matchup between the two District 1 teams with 1-0 records. The crazy thing is that if Leavenworth were to somehow pull an upset in this game they would basically be guaranteed a playoff spot.
SM South (2-5) at Blue Valley North (2-5)
Both of these teams need a victory or else their playoff hopes for 2010 will be flushed down the toilet. With that being said, expect both coaches to pull out all the stops in attempt to claim a victory. SM South was competitive against SM West last week and it could be a good sign for the Raiders as they take on an opponent that is equal record wise.
Lawrence (3-4) at Olathe Northwest (2-5)
Much like the aforementioned game, the loser of this contest will not make the playoffs. If Lawrence wins they will be facing Free State in week nine with playoff implications on the line--which would make the rivalry more meaningful than it has been in years. Olathe Northwest has a tall order, should they beat Lawrence. They would have to play at Olathe North in week nine and win to keep their playoff chances intact.
SM North (0-7) at Wyandotte (2-5)
Leavenworth collected their first win of the season against Wyandotte last week, and there's no reason why SM North shouldn't do the same this week. SM North is starving for a victory (they currently hold a 14-game losing streak). A win would satisfy that need, and probably also set up a week nine matchup against Leavenworth for a spot in the playoffs.
Blue Valley West (1-6) at Olathe South (5-2)
Blue Valley West gave Olathe East a scare last week, and now they will travel to Olathe South to see if they can close out a victory. The Falcon's have quietly churned out five-straight wins and look to be right on target for making the playoffs--that is, assuming they don't take Blue Valley West lightly. Also, the game is being played at ODAC, an unfamiliar field for Blue Valley West, and so that may give the Falcons an added edge.
Game of the Week
SM East (6-1) at SM West (6-1)
There is no high school football archive on the web that goes back far enough to tell us the last time SM East beat SM West. We know it hasn't happened since 1998, which is about as far back as any archives go. Even in years when SM East was the favorite--like 2001 when the Lancers went 6-5 and the Vikings went 3-6--SM West has managed to claim victory. The rivalry trophy, the "Nut Cup" hasn't graced SM East's campus in so many years that most Lancers don't even know it exists. This year's game is perhaps the most evenly matched contest we've seen between the two teams in the past decade, and it should be a great game. Metro Sports will be broadcasting the game live to the metro on Friday night.
Photo courtesy the Lawrence Journal-World