|SME's Christian Blessen. SME Harbinger.|
The Eagles, despite a up-and-down season, maintain playoff hopes after soundly dismantling Olathe Northwest 40-7 on Friday night. It's not going to be easy collecting a second win with Gardner-Edgerton and Olathe South remaining, but the key is that they're still in legitimate contention. Who knows, maybe Olathe North and Gene Wier have some of the magic they used in the 1998 6A state title game leftover to sprinkle on before they play Gardner-Edgerton this Friday?
The Hawks have won two games in a row after starting the season 1-4. They haven't exactly defeated powerhouses, but you can definitely sense a positive shift in morale with the program. A big game awaits this Thursday with Blue Valley Northwest.
The best way to overcome a loss is to come back and stick it to your next opponent, and that's just what the Lancers did on Friday. Their defeat of SM Northwest was pretty much expected, but it was a good sign considering they were coming off a shutout loss to Free State.
It's a bit scary when one of the league's best teams loses to a then 3-3 EKL foe by 14 points and in the process allows that team's running back, albeit a talented one, to rush for 308 yards. No one saw Olathe South with three losses through seven games.
The Raiders lost another game, their third in a row, to fall below .500 on the season. While they can still make the playoffs by winning out (and it wouldn't be a surprise if they did), running back Gabe Guild has a gimpy ankle, there's no word on Ra'Keim Abdul's health and they continued with the stupid mistakes against Blue Valley Northwest.
Having arguably the league's most productive offense last season left the Ravens with a 5-5 record. Having a seemingly decent but inconsistent offense this year leaves the team at 2-5. The reason? A terrible defense over that time span, one which has allowed at least 20 points in 14 of their last 15 games . That being said, the Ravens only produced seven points on offense on Friday night.
Week Seven Players of the Week
Venus Triplett & Elbert Johnson, Olathe North: The combined efforts of Olathe North's two running backs would be impossible to overlook. All told, the two rushed for 370 yards and four touchdowns on just 36 carries.
Brett Sterbach, SM West: Sterbach carried the ball 19 times for 240 yards and three touchdowns in a homecoming rout of SM North. His 15 rushing touchdowns lead the league in the category.
Hayden Frazier, Olathe East: The Hawks' senior running back basically powered his team to victory over Blue Valley North. Frazier churned out 248 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.
Gabe Guild, SM South: Had Guild not rolled his ankle in the second half against Blue Valley Northwest his team would have been in a much better position to win the game. He still managed 244 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
Week Eight Power Rankings
1. Lawrence Free State (6-1): The Firebirds beat teams by forcing turnovers on defense and producing explosive plays on offense. They lead the league in interceptions with 11 and probably have the most exciting collection of playmakers on their roster of any team.
2. Lawrence (6-1): As has been alluded to in the comments section, it appears as though the only way to shut down Lawrence is to hold them under the 20-point mark. In their week one less to SM West they were held to 14 points--in the six wins since then their lowest scoring output has been 28.
3. SM East (6-1): The Lancers had a nice bounce back game against SM Northwest. Their defense is still probably the best in the league and they'll need a great effort this Friday when they take on SM West's power rushing attack.
4. SM West (6-1): See SM East. The Vikings have won five straight games and they've done so in a methodical nature, introducing more passing each and every week. How they do on Friday against SM East will tell us a ton about how much they've improved since their week two loss against Free State.
5. Olathe South (4-3): Regardless of the fact that they were just blasted by Gardner-Edgerton, you still can't rule out the Falcons. They have more playoff experience than any team in East 6A and I wouldn't be surprised if they made a playoff run ala 2007.
6. Olathe East (3-4): We'll see if Olathe East can keep the momentum going this week against boundary neighboring Blue Valley Northwest. The Huskies spread attack is the type of offense that's given the Hawks a ton of headaches this season. If Olathe East can come away with a win it will be a huge sign of a turnaround on the season.
7. SM South (3-4): SM South is now at a do-or-die point in the season. That can be good or bad, depending on how they handle the pressure. Blue Valley North was one of the two teams the Raiders beat last year--but the Mustangs are much improved from 2011. And so are the Raiders. It will be a big game indeed.
8. Olathe North (2-5): The Eagles' victory over Olathe Northwest was a nice, sound effort and a step in the right direction. Olathe North's two remaining opponents are a combined 8-6, but both teams are much more talented than their records indicate. It won't be easy, but give Wier a week to prepare and you never know what his team could do.
9. Leavenworth (3-4): The Pioneers played well on offense on Friday night but their defense couldn't get many stops against the the LHS offense, and it showed as they allowed 46 points. Their season is on the brink this Friday when they take on Free State.
10. Olathe Northwest (2-5): The Ravens have nothing to lose when they play Olathe South this week. The odds seems to be stacked against them to make the playoffs at this point in time, but you never know what crazy offensive attack they could pull out to attempt to outscore the Falcons.
11. SM Northwest (1-6): The Cougars have a tremendous opportunity to pick up a win this week and at the very least keep themselves in playoff contention through week nine. It's the Hula Bowl and school pride is on the line--even if it's a matchup between teams with a combined record of 1-13.
12. SM North (0-7): See SM Northwest. The Indians were throttled last Friday against SM West but that's in the past. What lies ahead of them is a rivalry game with their most heated opponent, SM Northwest. The season could have a completely different outlook if they're able to rally and defeat the Cougars this week. It would also pull them out of the proverbial cellar.