Thursday, November 3, 2011

Regional Round Playoff Preview

Jason Randall and Leavenworth will try to pull the
upset this weekend against SM West.  Photo courtesy
the Leavenworth Times.
Leavenworth (2-7) at SM West  (6-3)
Where: SM South District Stadium
Spread: SM West +31.3
Last Meeting: SM West won 41-14 in week six

Who to Watch For

SM West
SM West's success will be largely based on how well their two best skill position players, Brett Sterbach and Joel Spiller, perform against the Pioneers.  Both players have been key to the Vikings recent four game winning streak.  At quarterback, Armani Williams has 18 starts under his belt, including 13 victories.  The more composed he is this time around in the playoffs the better the Vikings should do.

The Pioneers get the majority of their offensive production from the trio of running back Jason Randall, quarterback Mark Dabeck and Judson Cole.  The Pioneers are led by second-year head coach Kevin Kopecky who experienced a good deal of success in the playoffs while he was head coach at St. Thomas Aquinas throughout the 2000s.

Historical Stat
SM West's last playoff victory came against Lawrence Free State in November of 2006, despite the fact that they've made the playoffs three times (not including this year) since 2006.  For Leavenworth, this is the first time the program has qualified for the playoffs in over 15 years.

What to Expect
A monkey off SM West's back.  No really.  SM West's early exit playoff losses the past three seasons have hampered the perception of the football program, despite the fact they they averaged eight wins during the regular season in that time frame.  With six wins this season, the Vikings should by all means be in line for win number seven against an undermatched Leavenworth unit.  A loss here by the Vikings would be an upset.

Olathe East (7-2) at Olathe Northwest (5-4)
Where: CBAC
Spread: Olathe East +17
Last Meeting: Olathe East won 44-20 in week four

Who to Watch For

Olathe Northwest
The Ravens are an offensive juggernaut, with a plethora of weapons at their disposal.  The most notable of those weapons is the 6-foot-10 wide receiver, Willie Cauley.  With over 1,100 yards receiving, Cauley leads the state of Kansas is receiving yardage.  He also has 14 touchdown receptions to boot.  Throwing the passes is quarterback Dalton Rook, who leads the league in passing yardage and touchdowns.  Running back  Connor Middleton has 19 rushing touchdowns on the season and gives the Ravens a big threat out of the backfield.

Olathe East
The Hawks have a strong enough offensive and defensive prowess to carry them to the title game, if things work in their favor.  On the offensive side of the ball the three-headed rushing attack of John Kelsh, Kendall Kelly and Hayden Frazier exists as the primary force in the Hawks offensive attack.  Defensively, bookend corners Junior Williams and Marcus Banks have combined for eight inteceptions on the season and make passing at Olathe East a nightmare.

Historical Stat
Olathe Northwest has never won a playoff game, but they have previously qualified for the playoffs twice, in 2006 and 2009.  Olathe East on the other hand has qualified for the playoffs in every season since 2002.

What to Expect
Olathe Northwest is as hot as any team in the Sunflower League right now, while Olathe East is coming off an 18-point loss at the hands of Olathe South.  This has the makings of a great game, but for Olathe Northwest to hang with the Hawks they must step it up on the defensive side of the ball.  If not, Olathe East will simply use their power rushing attack to notch win number eight on the season.

Lawrence (6-3) at Olathe South (8-1)
Where: ODAC
Spread: Olathe South +5.7
Last Meeting: Olathe South won 33-22 in week two

Who to Watch For

Olathe South
The Falcons are a hard team to place a finger on because they have so many players who contribute to the cause.  You could start with running back Jordan Ward, who's big game last week propelled Olathe South to a playoff berth.  He's joined in the backfield by fellow running backs Teddy Colbert and Fritz Wilbur who have all made big contributions.  Frankie Seurer, Matt Elliot and Drew Johnson round out the offensive playmakers.  Defensively, linebacker Remington Whitley may be the top defensive player in the league.

The Chesty Lions' quarterback Brad Strauss was injured last week and did not play.  If Strauss is still unable to go this Friday, the quarterback duties may rest in the hands of running back Tyrone Jenkins, who filled in at the positon last week.  Lawrence also features top-flight receivers Anthony Buffalomeat and Erick Mayo, both of whom have been known to cause opposing defenses headaches.

Historical Stat
The last time these two teams met with any real significance was in the Sectional Round of the 2005 playoffs.  Both teams were 9-1 at the time.  Olathe South had won the regular season matchup, but Lawrence took the cake in the playoffs, winning by a score of 21-10.

What to Expect
It's going to be tough for Lawrence to claim another victory running the pseudo-Wildcat formation that they installed last week.  If Strauss doesn't play, you can bet that Olathe South will load the box with eight or nine defenders on every play to shut down the one dimensional Chesty Lions.  Lawrence's defense played great last week at Free State, but Olathe South is a whole different animal when it comes to their offensive sets and how they attack you on the ground. 

SM East (5-4) at SM Northwest (4-5)
Where: SM North District Stadium
Spread: SM East +10.8
Last Meeting: SM East won 28-3 in week one

Who to Watch For

SM Northwest
The Cougars haven't showed a whole lot on the season, but they do have some decent playmakers capable of making this is a good game.  Danny Manning leads the team from the running back position and he'll be leaned on heavily in this contest.  Jake Horner is the Cougars best big-play threat, and he'll need to play a big game for SM Northwest to have a shot at the win.

SM East
A healthy SM East team has as many weapons as any team in the league.  Quarterback Dakota Collins will be passing the ball to his top two receivers, Elliot Faerber and Connor Rellihan, and handing off to the team's top two running backs, Jeff Cole and Adam Lowe.  Assuming there aren't any unreported injuries, this could be just the second week of the season in which the core of the SM East roster is healthy (by week 10 standards that is).

Historical Stat
SM East's emergence as a competitive unit in the Sunflower League is, in many ways, tied to their successes over SM Northwest.  In 2009 SM East captured a breakthrough win when they defeated a favored SM Northwest team 13-12 in district play.  The win propelled the Lancers to the playoffs.  In 2010 SM East started off their magical 8-2 run with a 24-0 shutout of the Cougars, and they began this season with a 28-3 victory over SM Northwest.  Needless to say, SM Northwest would love nothing more than to pull another first round upset the way they did last season.

What to Expect
SM East is favored to win this game, but you can't count out the Cougs.  Last year SM Northwest rounded out the regular season with three straight wins--it seemed that was simply attributable to their easy district... that was until they upset SM West in Regional play, then took Olathe East down to wire before losing in Sectionals.  SM East certainly cannot afford to overlook SM Northwest.


TheImpaler said...

TheImpaler’s Week 10 picks
Last week (2-5 [OUCH!!!]) Season (43-16) (Even with Palmer for season)

It's playoff time, baby! And every first round game is a rematch of a regular season Sunflower League game.

LV (2-7) @ SMW (6-2) If the Vikings can't snap their three year opening round losing streak here, they should probably just drop their football program. It's easy to say well, SMW barely beat a bad BVN team last week and LV looked stronger in districts but West had nothing to play for last week and anyone who says that doesn't understand how BAD LV's district was. The fact is the Viking starters beat LV 41-0 through 3 quarters in Week 6 and I don't see anything different happening here (except Whitrock won't miss any extra points). SMW 42 LV 14

OE (7-2) @ ONW (5-4) Ravens, I sold you short this year. Making the playoffs as a seeded team out of your district was one heck of an accomplishment! Congrats. Now I'm going to sell you short again. East looked awful last week in stumbling to an embarrassing loss to South and the Ravens look to be on fire but I just don't see the ONW D holding back the OE running game. Cauley and Middleton will keep it close but in the end I like the OE pass defense. OE 33 ONW 27

LAW (6-3) @ OS (8-1) Lions did an amazing job shutting down Free State last week. But South is not LFS. South has too many scat backs to count and with Strauss' situation looking grim plus the fact that OS will have film to look at what the Lions did without Strauss last week, I just can't see the Falcons falling here. OS 30 LAW 21

SME (5-4) @ SMNW (4-5) Both teams are real question marks this year, neither one up to their standards of last year. East won this going away in week 1 and even though the Cougs won their district, they didn't really look as if they had improved, barely squeaking by 2 very bad teams. Lancers waltz here. SME 35 SMNW 16

MahValley said...

Have the lancers gotten ALL their injured;) players back?

Save the celabrations this time for when you really accomplish something.

Pitt80 said...

Hold The Rope

Slugger said...

One Heart Beep!

Todd Haley said...

SMW 33 LV 7
ONW 41 OE 35
OS 38 LAW 27
SME 41 SMNW 10

Harbinger Online said...

There will be a live broadcast of the SME-SMNW game on at 7 tonight