|Free State hopes to perform better against Olathe South
this time around than they did in last year's 35-14 week
one loss to the Falcons. Lawrence Journal World.
Olathe South (2-0) at Lawrence Free State (2-0) at Free State Athletic Stadium
Game of the Year Part I. The season is still green but we couldn't have asked for a more exciting pairing in week three than this matchup.
Let's look at some of the facts: Olathe South, widely regarded as one of the top two or three teams in Kansas City, has won 21 of their last 24 games, including last year's 6A state championship. They have all of the momentum in the world right now, with a roster buoyed by an elite level of talent and experience that most programs could only dream of having. Quarterback Frank Seurer carries a 21-5 career record, while the defense is stacked with talented players like Remington Whitley, Braden Smith and Sawyer Hawkins among others.
On the other side of the ball, Free State looks like one of the only teams in the league with the horses to contest all of that. The Firebirds are led by an array of skill position players including Kyle McFarland, Joe Dineen, TJ Cobbs and Tye Hughes, which rivals the gamebreaking units they put on the field in 2006 and 2008. This game is full of top-flight talent and it has the makings a great one. One thing to keep in mind is that Olathe South's last loss came in 2011 against Blue Valley Northwest, a team who runs a spread offense very similar to what Free State operates. Olathe South has at times struggled to defend that type of offense in the past. How they perform against it this Friday will be a very strong indication of their development on the defensive side of the ball compared with last year.
*Olathe South fans attending the game in Lawrence may want to depart earlier than usual. Westbound K-10 has (as of earlier this week) minor construction projects that at times limit the highway to one lane. And remember, Free State Athletic Stadium is on the far Northwest corner of Lawrence, the complete opposite side from where K-10 enters the city. Plan accordingly.
SM Northwest (1-1) at Leavenworth (1-1) at Pioneer Stadium
Who wants to redeem themselves more? Both teams looked fantastic in week one before playing poorly in week two losses. Quite frankly the jury is still out on both of these squads. Players like Leavenworth's Jason Randall and Judson Cole will be going up against SM Northwest's Kelby Quinty and Jake Horner, which should make for a good showing. More simply, the game isn't absent of exciting players. It's really just a matter of which unit is more hungry for their second win.
SM West (1-1) at Olathe North (0-2) at ODAC
This game has some interesting nuggets from a coaching perspective. SM West's head coach, Tim Callaghan, was a member of five state championship teams as an assistant coach under Gene Wier during Wier's previous tenure at Olathe North. Having watched Olathe North play last week, I can tell you that Wier is running a different offense from the one he ran during his previous tenure at Olathe North, when Callaghan was an assistant. In fact, the only school running Wier's offense from that time period, today, are SM West and in some respects SM South (SMS head coach Ryan Lonergan served as an assistant at Olathe North in 2002 and with SM West from '03 through '10). As far as the game goes, SM West has the talent and experience to win, but they cannot afford to overlook the threats posed by Olathe North's young skill position players. Namely, Venus Triplett. Olathe North and SM East were neck and neck for a quarter last Thursday while Triplett was having success running the ball. He has to be SM West's number one focus.
SM East (2-0) at Olathe Northwest (0-2) at CBAC
If you're looking for an exciting offensive game and can't make it to Lawrence, I would suggest you find your way to CBAC this Friday. The Lancers and the Ravens are arguably the top two passing offenses in the league and they seem to put up gaudy numbers week in and week out. SM East has a ton of momentum right now but this is going to be the first true test for their secondary. In week one SM South hardly threw the ball with the rainy weather and they faced a mostly ground based attack from Olathe North in week two. We know the Lancers have a top flight front eight, but their secondary is going to be tested on Friday. How they respond will have a major impact on the outcome of this one.
SM North (0-2) at SM South (1-1) at SM South District Stadium
While no non-district game is necessarily a "must-win" situation, I feel a victory here for SM South is as close to a must as you're going to find for a team in their first six games. After playing poorly in week one against SM East the Raiders put together a nice all-around victory over Leavenworth last Friday. They now face SM North, a team being labeled as the worst in the league. Whether or not that title is fair remains to be seen, but the Raiders can't be overconfident. I feel their program has some momentum going and they can't afford to trip up now, especially at home against SM North. For the Indians, all bets are off. They really have nothing to lose going forward and I expect them to continue to work their rushing attack in the hopes of collecting their first victory.
Olathe East (1-1) at Lawrence (1-1) at Lawrence High Stadium
Two clashing offensive styles will go head to head in this game. Olathe East will be sticking to their ground and pound game, hoping to limit LHS's offensive possessions while also wearing down the Chesty Lions' defense. Hayden Frazier could very well have over 30 carries again this week. LHS on the other hand needs to find offensive success early with the hopes of blowing the game up in the first half. Historically, LHS has shown a tendency to play tight when the score is close late in a game (see their week one loss to SM West). The Chesty Lions will be hoping to establish an early lead to feed off of into the second half.
*Olathe East fans attending the game in Lawrence may want to depart earlier than usual. Westbound K-10 has (as of earlier this week) minor construction projects that at times limit the highway to one lane. Plan accordingly.