Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Week One Game Previews

Olathe East's pep motif. @Hayden_frazier3.
Leavenworth (0-0) at SM North (0-0) at SM North District Stadium
(Thursday Night Game)

I'm glad this is the first game of the season.  It will really be a put-up-or-shut-up moment for both teams.  We've heard all offseason about how Leavenworth is supposedly ready to start making some headway as a program.  This is, quite frankly, a foreign concept in the league and hard to grasp as it pertains to Leavenworth.  The Pioneers do have a ton of returning talent--but it's talent off a team that went 2-8 last year.  SM North on the other hand has a chance to return a loss to the team that ended their season cold and left them out of the playoffs a year ago.  I don't think either team could have any more motivation to come out and get after it in this game.  For that reason, I expect a hard-fought contest.

SM West (0-0) at Lawrence (0-0) at Lawrence High Stadium

This is the second year in a row in which SM West has kicked off the season at Lawrence but both teams look to be significantly improved from their 2011 form--at least in terms of maturity and win potential.  Last year SM West's defense had no answers for Lawrence's high powered spread attack, and Brad Strauss had his sort of breakout game on the league scene.  This year's game should be more evenly matched and both teams will probably be able to stick to their respective fortes to try and start the season out with a W.

Lawrence Free State (0-0) at Olathe Northwest (0-0) at CBAC

It wouldn't surprise me if this game turned out to be a high-scoring affair as both teams tend to focus their efforts on the offensive side of the ball.  New names are going to emerge for Olathe Northwest.  Meanwhile, Free State will be working on getting their big-name returning talent such as Kyle McFarland, Joe Dineen and Tye Hughes comfortable and back to the outstanding levels they played at in 2011.  One thing to look out for is just how many chances Olathe Northwest takes through the air.  If the Ravens throw the ball as much as they have in the past and struggle with completions, it will allow Free State's offense more time on the field and that could be recipe for disaster for Olathe Northwest.  It wouldn't surprise me if the Ravens stuck to the ground early in this game to sort of feel out their new offensive unit.

Olathe North (0-0) at SM Northwest (0-0) at SM South District Stadium

If you've followed the Sunflower League to any capacity over the last decade you're probably excited to see what Gene Wier does in his first game back with Olathe North.  And if you have any experience with Central Kansas football you'll probably want to see how Linn Hibbs does in his first game with a Johnson County team.  Both storylines are tremendous and the combined eight state championships between the two head coaches speaks volumes about the level of coaching in the Sunflower League this year.  I'm interested to see what new talent Olathe North has to display as well as what type of game plan SM Northwest employs under Hibbs.

SM South (0-0) at SM East (0-0) at SM North District Stadium

This game, to me, is the most intriguing matchup on paper.  We've literally been hearing about SM East quarterback Jordan Darling for eight plus months, and it will be nice to finally see him in a Lancer uniform playing against Sunflower League competition.  I think we'll get a pretty good impression after one game of the type of impact he can have for SM East.  On the other side of the ball, SM South is a team that seems to be on the brink of really putting things together as a program.  The Raider's running back, Gabe Guild, is going to get plenty of carries and he must play well for his team to win.  Last season the Lancer defense held Guild to 106 yards on 22 carries, one of his lowest outputs of the year.  He's going to need to have a big night this time around.

Sunflower League Game of the Week
Olathe East (0-0) at Olathe South (0-0) at ODAC

There hasn't been any love lost between these two Olathe rivals.  Earlier in the week the Olathe East Pep Club posted a sign inside Olathe East High which read "State Rings Won't Help You Now!" in obvious reference to the matchup this Friday.  This set off a Twitter firestorm, and I can't really say things have cooled down.  They won't until the game's over.  Olathe East enters this matchup as the underdog, but they have plenty of talent--we just haven't seen that talent perform much on the varsity level.  Olathe South will be getting their first taste of what it's like to be a defending state champion and it'll be interesting to see if that will cause any jitters early on.  Both teams and fanbases are pumped up for this game and it will be an electrifying atmosphere for high school football in week one.


Slugger said...

Be interested to see everyone's predictions this week. Here's mine with no basis what so ever.
LV 21. SMN 7
SMW 14. Law 35
LFS 28. ONW 13
ON 6. SMNW 13
SMS 27. SME 20
OS 34. OE 14

TheImpaler said...

TheImpaler's Week 1 picks: Last year 49-12, last two years 104-24

Well, no matter what you say about SL scheduling, the upside for fans is it invariably produces some huge matchups right out of the gate and this year is no exception. SMW, LAW, OE and OS arguably the top four teams in the league all play each other in week one. Looks like sloppy conditions may prevail. Should be a fun night.

SMW (0-0) @ LAW (0-0) One of two huge games in week one. Probably bigger for the Vikes than the Lions though as West has been in a slow motion decline since the pinnacle season of 2006. Still, they have not had a losing season in 9 years but the schedule is not kind to Coach C's Vikings with an 0-4 start looking very possible, putting them just a loss to SME away from the first loser in modern memory. Two years ago, SMW made monkey meat of the Chesty Lions and last year, LAW returned the favor. Can Strauss get it done without Buffalomeat? Can Andre Maloney and the experienced Vikings D step up and keep Strauss in check? I look for a tight one here but the Lions get it done at home. LAW 23 SMW 21

LFS (0-0) @ ONW (0-0) Like last year, this looks to be a long year for the Ravens who lost pretty much all their talent to graduation. They made us prognosticators look pretty bad last year, we'll see if they can do it again. Coach Lisher always has the Firebirds in a competitive place and they SHOULD have an easy warm up game here. LFS 31 ONW 13

LV (0-0) @ SMN (0-0) This has been for a playoff spot the last two years but no more with redistricting. Everyone kees talking about LV being better but this is the same team that lost to SMW 52-7 in the playoffs last year, I don't see it. The Pioneers still have Wyandotte as a hope for a win later in the year but this may be the Indians' only chance. I still think they can get by Leavenworth at home. SMN 21 LV 20

OE (0-0) @ OS (0-0) The other major battle in week one and clearly the game of the week. The Hawks were slaughtered by the Falcons twice last year and are looking for revenge. Both teams were hurt but not killed by graduation and Coach Myers always has the Hawks ready to play. Later in the year this game may go the other way, but I'm taking the upset and going with the hated Orange here. OE 27 OS 24

ON (0-0) @ SMNW (0-0) Some years this would be a good game but not this year. SMNW is a program looking for a direction and the Eagles have a lot to prove after a miserable 2011. Look for new coach Wier to notch victory #1 here. Wait, maybe he's one a few games before…not sure. ON 34 SMNW 7

SME (0-0) @ SMS (0-0) An intriguing matchup if not quite as high profile as SMW-LAW and OS-OE for week 1. Features one of last year's surprise best players in Gabe Guild against this year's most hyped player in Jordan Darling. This is the kind of game the Raiders need to win if they are going to elevate their program to where Coach Longeran expects them to be (also of course the BVNW game). Still they're going to have to prove to me that the broccoli and cheese can win. SME 35 SMS 21

Slugger said...

You must have a personal vendetta against OS. No way OE wins. Myers will certainly have them ready to play and OE will have an emotional edge early, but OS returns too much talent ( 2 all state, 1 - 1st team all-conf, and 4 2nd team all-Conf) against OE which returns a all conf kicker and an hon mention QB. No way east wins this.

TheImpaler said...

Personal? Of course not, slugs. In fact I have a niece at OS. And anyone here who's read my tells knows the team (or at least fans) that I (like most SMW fans) like the least are O East's. But I always try to pick who I think is going to win. I'm picking against the Vikes this week and I've only missed 24 games in the last two years. Just not convinced South is going to be that good this year. One title (which you were darn lucky to win - Heights dropped the ball twice on your one yard line) doesn't make you an invincible dynasty. You can always prove me wrong on the field. Now, talking of personal vendettas, taking the Cougs over O North? Really? Well, we'll see who has more games right at the end of the year.

Slugger said...

Impaler. I appreciate the back and forth here. I won't claim to have the history on all the sunflower league teams that you or others have. I just see what's in front of me and the math says OS wins this one.

By the way. Heights fumbled once on the 1 yard line. South earned that victory. It wasn't handed to them. A great game by two very good teams. No one has said south is a dynasty. That's a discussion for 10 years down the road

MahValley said...

SMN over LV
SMW over Law
OWN over LFS
SMNW over ON Coach Hibbs has said he would have the best 11 players will be on the field for smnw(we'll see)
SMS over SME
OS over OE

footballer21 said...

i think friday night will show us if south will be a good team, or if the new players will step up and make a great team eitherway i think they win this one though

Eli Underwood said...

Having read TheImpaler's comments the past several years I've learned two things. He's great at predicting outcomes and he is not the world's biggest fan of Olathe East.

I'm pretty much a fan OF the Sunflower League's collective success anymore but there were countless instances of friction between OE and SMW during my time in high school and I'm sure that hasn't changed much. It's a great non-district rivalry though, and I'm looking forward to those two teams matching up in week four.

Adam Sullivan said...

Leavenworth up 16-0 end 1 over SMN

Adam Sullivan said...

LV 41 SMN 16 in the 4th

What Do I Know? said...

We hate Olathe East... Just a rivalry though. Not literally. Nice dudes

Who's Your Daddy said...

All you guys that give Coach Meyers all this credit for having his teams ready are insane. Year after year Coach Meyers has some of the best talent in the State. If you put any innovative, positive coach in that position they would have at least a half a dozen State Championships. Its sad that the opposition dozen't even scout Meyers anymore because he is so predictable. OE could very easily go 3-7 this season. Its a catch twenty two We love Olathe East but Please let Jeff Meyers retire. Enough Already!!!!!