Eli Underwood's musings on high school football in the Sunflower League
Sluggers picksSMW. 35. LFSS 28DErby. 28. Hutch 24
I didn't pick a winner for the West bracket, but I did pick SMW to beat LFS in another comment thread earlier this week.
34-6 SMW in the 3rd.Total domination.
21-14 Derby in the 3rd
What an absolute ass whooping. West starters gave up 6 points on first drive then scored 41 straight points. West defesnse was aboslutely unbelievable. McFarland didn't have an open receiver all night, LFS' only offense was McFarland scrambling but he got sacked a lot too. My MVP: Joey Reed...great game 2/2 on FGs 5 extra points and 3 touchbacks. Bring on the Salthawks. De ja 2006. It's revenge time boys.
SMW has impressed me all year. This result is not a surprise. Best wishes in Topeka!
Im not surprised SM won, but I didnt think they'd blow out LFS. SMW played exceptionally well. LFS obviously wasnt expecting the passing early on. Verdini has a strong arm and is accurate when his feet are set. FSdidnt get any pressure on him. Blocking their own punts didnt nelp FS cause.
More to come tomorrow, but my biggest takeaway point: have we ever seen a quarterback improve during a single season the way AJ Verdini has this year? Week one he goes 0-4, with an interception and he loses two fumbles. Week two he comes out and goes 5 for 13 and tosses two interceptions. Tonight he did whatever he wanted through the air. Free State's defense was only giving up 71 passing yards a game--Verdini nearly threw for that many yards on his two touchdown completions alone.
That's a great point Eli..I know my only time seeing him prior to the 2nd LHS game was the first game of the year, and I thought he was awful, and a big reason I thought LHS would win the 2nd game. He was very improved....Man the score last night was nothing how I figured it would be. SMW let's represent on Saturday. Great season!
Eli, Verdini is a classic example of what can be achieved with a good play action offense. With Sterbach running the ball the play action game is devastating. I have to give Coach Callahan big time credit. He utilizes his talent flawlessly. Last week going to the wildcat and this week airing it out. The guy is a genius. Coming from an Olathe North background makes it even more impressive. The guy has my respect for ever. Go Vikes!!!!!!
There was a sign hanging under the press box that read something like, "Dominate, Terminate, Eliminate Free State." That pretty much says it all in this one. FS owned the first 6 minutes taking the opening kick of for an 89 yard drive and scored a TD. SMW owned the other 42 minutes and it is as simple as that. SMW played a fantastic game in all three phases of the game. They are very worthy of a state title shot and this Free State Fan will be cheering for them next week to keep the championship right here in the Sunflower League where it belongs.To Free State Nation: Coaches, Thank You. You took an extremely talented team and made them great. Your efforts are appreciated and your dedication to helping them become great young men is a testament to the program you've built. Players, What a ride! You are a thrilling team to watch. You play with class and play the game hard and with sportsmanship. Seniors, the bar of excellence at Free State is set to compete for District, League and State Championships EVERY year. You did, you competed and upheld the standard. Years from now people will look at this team and say, "That was a great team." Your leadership this year served this team well and those traits will stick with you for the rest of your lives and you will compete for the best life has to offer and be successful. Underclassmen, there will always be a next year for the program. It is now your responsibility to carry the torch. Do so with the pride and winning tradition that this team brought.Fans, you're the best! It is an honor to cheer on this school year in and year out together. To the Vikings: only one message... WIN STATE!!!
Classy post, Free State Fan! Well said.
Free State takes the opening drive 91 yards on the ground for a TD and miss the kick. They turn around and give up a quick 70 yard drive primarily on 2 long passes and make the kick. Then Free State panics, tries to throw on 6 straight plays resulting in two three and outs, the first punt hits the back of their blocking back resulting in 7 more for West. I said first to 21 wins but this one was essentially over at 14.West played like sharks with blood in the water. To their credit, they shook off that opening drive and then played one of the most oportunistic halfs of football I have ever seen in a meaningful game. Kudos to West.Here's what I like about West: they believe. They show up to the game expecting to win, either good coaches or great leaders on that team. Their secondary is big and physical and their QB has developed so much over the season. Sterbach has been very consistent and reliable and Maloney is just a straight out athlete and has stepped up as a runner, receiver and kick returner; not sure what else he can do but I'm pretty sure we haven't seen it yet. Joey Reed is an unaccounted weapon as well. Making teams go 80 yards and making 40 yard field goals will cause teams work even harder to win.I'm sure Hutch will be favored next week but I'm pretty sure West doesn't care. They are playing pretty well with a chip on their shoulder.Good luck Vikes, see you in Topeka.
Verdini is only a junior and has made tremendous strides this year. Good luck at state and with what SMW has coming back next year the expectations should be very high.
What I took from last night was that FS came in very over confident and almost felt like since they beat them once they should have no problem beating them again. After the first drive it seemed that way. But after a little bit of adversity they collapsed and a lack of offensive cohesiveness and many stupid mistakes on special teams called for the end of Free State's season. And what a magical season it has been. Props to SMW, they dominated in every phase of the game last night and played a much cleaner game than in week 2. Good luck in next Saturday.
Wii, IMO West just put on a defensive clinic last night. Nothing more, nothing less. West offense has also made improvements since the start of the year and it did not matter who was playing West last night the vikes were going to roll them. It happens some times.Next season will probably come down to these two teams again since they both good depth.As far as next week goes, if the vikes defense can play with one more game the way they did Friday night, SMW will be hoisting the State Champ trophy.
MahValley, I agree with your statement as far as the SMW secondary was very solid and blanketed FS receivers all night and the SMW pass rush left McFarland with very little time to throw. FS was able to run the ball pretty well for a good portion of the game. IMO FS abandoned the run too early and also tried to do too much to early on. Special teams blunders I really think put the nail in the coffin for Free State. And like you said, both teams are returning a lot of talent. Could be a sub-state repeat next season.
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