|Andre Maloney added 122 of the second half|
rushing yards for SM West. KC Star.
****SM West put up 222 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the second half of their victory against Lawrence.
****The two league teams who finished the regular season with the best overall records are meeting for supremacy. In the last eight weeks of play SM West and Free State have combined to go 15-1. Sure, upstart stories are fun, but it's good to see the top two teams face off to prove who's the best.
****Lawrence's eight wins this season was the same amount of losses they recorded in 2009. It proves that three years, an improved offensive philosophy and a strong core of players can make all the difference.
****Officiating played a much bigger role in the Free State vs. Olathe East game that it should have, for both teams. Over the weekend I've heard a bevy of complaints from both sides so it's not like the calls were one-sided. Usually I don't hear much about officiating.
****This is the last time in 2012 that we'll have two Sunflower League teams squaring off with one another. It's been a great season--probably the most exciting I've seen in the past five years. At least we know there will be a league team playing for a title the following Saturday in Topeka.
****Olathe East's Achilles heel, its passing game, came back to haunt them against Free State. They only managed two completions for 20 yards on the night. What's more, the rushing attack they'd relied on all season only produced 145 yards against a stingy Free State defense.
****In the last seven seasons only five of the league's 12 programs have appeared in the Sub-State game--Free State, Olathe East, Olathe North, Olathe South and SM West.
Sectional Round Players of the Week
Joe Dineen, Free State: Dineen, who's going to be one of the league's top returning players in 2013, made another statement in 2012 with a big game Friday. He rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries, including a 72-yard touchdown run off an option pitch in the second quarter which set the tone for the game. He also made his presence felt from his safety position.
The Remaining Four
Lawrence Free State (10-1): The Firebirds continue to roll the way they have all season. On Friday their stellar defense held Olathe East to 165 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers. Offensively they have more weapons than most people can count, and their balance allows them to score in a variety of ways.
SM West (10-1): The Vikings added their ninth straight victory of the season against Lawrence, marking the school's longest winning streak since 2008. The impressive thing is that they really seem to be getting better every week, adding more to their offensive approach and tightening things down on the defensive side of the ball.
Hutchinson (9-2): The Salthawks went into the half down against Topeka, 20-14, but managed to rally and score 21 points in the third quarter en route to a 42-33 victory. This isn't your older brother's Hutchinson team, but they're still dominant and they'll be a headache if they make it to Topeka.
Derby (10-1): The Panthers rolled Dodge City, 42-19, Friday night. They lost to Hutchinson earlier in the year so revenge could play a major factor this week. Led by quarterback Chandler Shantz (6-4, 215) and running back Tyler West (6-0, 210), Derby likes to line up in the shotgun and run straight at their opponents.