|SM East's Elliot Faerber.|
All games times 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted
SM East at SM Northwest (Thursday Night Game) at SM North District Stadium
The first game of the 2011 Sunflower League schedule has the potential to be a very competitive matchup. While SM Northwest doesn’t return any big names on paper, I can guarantee you their head coach, Aaron Barnett, has been using the game against the Lancers as a proverbial carrot on a string all offseason.
Last year SM East came in and embarrassed SM Northwest, 24-0, in the opening game of the season. The Cougars stumbled to an 0-3 start before they regained their bearings. SM East, led by wide receiver Elliot Faerber, is the favorite, but SM Northwest would love to return the favor they were given in week one last year.
Olathe Northwest at Leavenworth at Leavenworth
An opening week victory—which one of these teams will collect—is a tremendous confidence booster, and could do wonders for either club in the early stages of the season. If Olathe Northwest wins they’ll head to SM South in week two, where they will likely be favored, and a 2-0 start would be feasible. For Leavenworth, a victory would signify major strides in year two under Kevin Kopecky, and it would be a great booster before their game against Lawrence Free State in week two.
SM West at Lawrence at Lawrence
The one thing we know in this game is that neither team will be breaking in an inexperienced quarterback or running back (assuming both sides stay injury free). Lawrence’s Brad Strauss will have all eyes on him as he works to build on his tremendous sophomore season, while Armani Williams will be working to silence the critics who blamed SM West’s poor end to the 2010 season on his accuracy problems. At the running back position, Lawrence will be featuring returning starter Charles Jackson while SM West will be led by Tre Burt.
Lawrence Free State at Olathe South at ODAC
Last season these two teams played each other in week one and what most people remember from the game is how Lawrence Free State ran wild, scoring 42 points with ease and handing Olathe South an early loss. Olathe South is the favorite in this one, and they have the advantage of playing at home at ODAC. All signs point to an Olathe South victory, but Free State is a wildcard, and we'll see how they perform with a relatively new crop of skill position players.
SM South at SM North at SM North District Stadium
This will be the first game as head coach for SM South’s Ryan Lonergan, and you know he and the SM South faithful would love nothing more than a victory over a conference rival in the first game of the season. These teams have played some great game in the past and this one should be a competitive, fun contest to watch. One key thing of note will be observing how much of SM West's offensive and defensive philosophies Lonergan brought with him to SM South.
Game of the Week
Olathe North at Olathe East at CBAC
This contest was selected as the Hy-Vee High School Game of the Week on KC Metro Sports, which means the eyes of the metro will be on these two teams. The action kicks off before the game with the 810 WHB and Metro Sports sponsored “High School Gameday,” which is essentially the high school version of ESPN’s College Gameday—a very cool addition to the Game of the Week, if I might add. As far as the actual game goes, it doesn’t get much better than this in the Sunflower League. These two powers will give us a good showing in week one and we’ll have a much better understanding of how much reloading each team did in the offseason.
Tonight's SME-SMNW game will be shown on smeharbinger.net starting at 7 o'clock
TheImpaler's Week 1 picks:
Last Week (0-1) Last Season (55-12)
Wow, what a great slate of evenly matched week one games! I don't think I can recall a week one where every game (well maybe all but one) could go either way. Should be a great start to the season.
SME(0-0) @ SMNW(0-0) (Thurs) This is the one that probably won't be competitive. Both teams lost some talent to graduation but whereas the question at East is primarily the QB position, the Cougs were decimated and let's face it they weren't that good last year. They did come on at the end and won a ridiculously easy district and got to face a SMW team in the first round of the playoffs whose top two tailbacks were in street clothes. This should be an easy tune up game for the Lancers and the beginning of a long pre-district schedule for SMNW.
SME 28 SMNW 10
ON (0-0) @ OE (0-0) Everybody's "game of the week" but truthfully this game is meaningless. I mean we all know both teams will go on to winning records and make the playoffs and by week 10 nobody will remember this week one tilt. Yep, totally meaningless. Other than the fact that these two teams hate each other with the white hot fire of 1,000 suns! The cross-town defection of Treshawn Root won't help any, and, oh, did the Eagles really bring in an out of state ringer named "Orange"??? How the pumpkinheads at East must love that! Still I think the loss of Fulson, Willingham and Root leaves too big a hole in the Hawk offense and the Eagles will win this one. ON 27 OE 17
SMW (0-0) @ LAW (0-0) This SHOULD be everyone's game of the week. Two teams headed in opposite directions… Or are they? A Lion win would establish their credentials and break up the big 4 (ON, OE, SMW, SME) whereas a Vike win on the road would show Coach C still has the magic and can turn last year's sub-varsity perfection into at least varsity respectability. The two teams are unique in the league (yes, I know TWO teams cannot be UNIQUE) in returning their top two players on offense. The Vikings completely dominated this game in their best performance of the year last year 55-21 and although West was hit very hard by graduation, I just can't see Lawrence closing that much of a gap even at home.
SMW 24 LAW 17
LFS (0-0) @ OS (0-0) Just like last year, everyone is predicting the Falcons to rise this year and the Firebirds to be mediocre at best. I think I was alone last year in picking LFS to win this week 1 game last year, and they did easily 42-23. Well, another year, another new QB for the Firebirds. But this game isn't at LFS, it's at ODAC plus South has the powerhouse new addition of my niece to the Falcon Marching Band which should be enough to put them over the top. OS 26 LFS 21
SMS (0-0) @ SMN (0-0) Everyone is breaking their arms patting South on the back for the hire of Ryan Longeran as head coach but even Coach Longeran cannot transform the talent bare cupboard on 107th St. into a contender in his first season let alone the first week. The Raiders did dominate this game last year 19-3 but I just have a gut feeling that SMN is going to be better this year. They finished strong last year and made the playoffs. They also gave ON one of their toughest first halves of the year. With a very soft schedule I could see the Indians winning as many as 5 games this year starting with this one. SMN 20 SMS 13
ONW (0-0) @ LV (0-0) The Pioneers broke their losing streak with a win against hapless Wyandotte in districts last year and gave SMN a real test in week 9 as well. ONW has hovered around the .500 mark in recent years but looks to be down this year. If LV was going to win a Sunflower league game for the first time in well, almost forever, you'd think this home opener against a weak Raven squad would be the time. Still, I can't in good conscience pick them until they've actually beaten a league team. Ravens get one of what may be only 2 wins this year. ONW 16 LV 13
TheImpaler you are the man. HAHAHAHA SMS comment is the funniest ive read on this site so far. Good picks i agree with most. except i think that Lawrence will win and beat SMW 31-24
And, Harbinger, tonights game will also be show on the much more obscure Metro Sports channel on Time Warner, btw. TW/MS is showing games on BOTH Thursdays and Fridays this year with LOTS more Sunflower League games on the schedule. Hurray for Metrosports!
TheImpaler is 1 for 1. predicting sme points on the money. Elliot Faerber clearly lived up to the hype. with 2 TDs. and over 100 yards. GO Lancers
Pretty good picks. ON didn't bring in an out of state RB, let's be real, players are lined up to be the next ON RB.SMW....may be time for Callahan to go......
eagles #1 yes orange is from Arizona transferred in last year. and don't flame because i just graduated from north last spring. North football forever!
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