Monday, September 30, 2013

Sunflower League Week Four Review

Lawrence's Drew Green had a stellar performance
in his team's first victory of the season. LJWorld.
Three Up

Lawrence Free State
With their win Friday, the Firebirds are 20-5 in their last 25 games. Which is a discrete way of saying this program has really flown under the radar the past few years, and it's easily among the league's best.

The Chesty Lions churned out 204 rushing yards in the first half of their victory against Olathe Northwest. If they can keep up the production running the ball the way they have the past six quarters they'll be a hard out for anyone.

SM Northwest
The Cougars' offense finally showed up to play and the result was the team's first victory of 2013. They still have a long ways to go but their improvement has been more transparent than maybe any league team.

Three Down

SM West
The Vikings' loss to Free State was ugly, especially considering they trailed 35-7 at one point in the second half. The good news for SM West is that, comparatively speaking, they probably have the league's easiest five-game slate to end the regular season.

The Pioneers are struggling to find their footing in season one under Mark Littrell. And it really doesn't get any easier from here, as they have SM West, Olathe East and Free State all remaining on their schedule.

SM South
The Raiders have scored just 48 points on offense, which ranks second-worst in the league ahead of SM North. By comparison, the 10th ranked team, SM West, has scored 61 points. The Raiders need offensive production, and they need it bad.

Week Four Players of the Week

Joe Dineen, Lawrence Free State: If you want to point to an X-Factor in Free State's victory against SM West, look no further than Dineen. He went 8-of-15 passing for 181 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to adding 56 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Drew Green, Lawrence: The talented do-it-all senior carried the ball 22 times for 171 yards and a touchdown in Lawrence's 35-20 victory over Olathe Northwest. He was also a defensive stalwart, recording 15 tackles and a sack in the win.

Jake Seurer, Olathe South: Forget that this kid plays quarterback. His defensive stat line -- 29 tackles -- is as many as I've ever seen recorded in a long time, and approaches Jason Thoren and Justin Dyer territory.

Week Five Power Rankings

1. Lawrence Free State (4-0): The Firebirds are playing extremely well right now, and they haven't even reached their ceiling. They have a challenging two-week slate coming up with Olathe North and SM East, but they're well prepped for it.

2. SM East (4-0): The Lancers will be facing the best defense they've played all season this Friday against SM South. That being said, it's hard to imagine anyone getting in the way of the Lancer Magic that we've seen so far this year.

3. SM West (3-1): The Vikings really haven't looked like defending state champions so far, but they're still 3-1, and they have a schedule that makes 8-1 seem possible and 7-2 seem very likely -- if they play to their potential.

4. Olathe East (2-2): Olathe East's offense has been excellent this season -- among the league's best -- and so long as their defense shows up they can beat anybody. Once again, don't be shocked if the Hawks manage to finish the regular season 7-2.

5. Olathe South (3-1): Olathe South is a young team, but don't tell them that. At 3-1 they have their biggest rival on tap for week five, and a victory would be huge in terms of momentum for this year, and the next.

6. SM South (2-2): The defense has clearly developed more quickly than the offense for this year's Raiders club. The defensive efforts will keep them in every game, but they must execute on offense if they want to extend their season past nine games.

7. Olathe North (2-2): No team is gaining as much close-game experience at the Eagles, but that's little solace when your two losses have been by a combined four points. They Eagles could make up for those with a win against Free State this week.

8. Lawrence (1-3): If the Chesty Lions play as well over the next five games as they have the past three halves they'll finish 4-5 at worst, and make the playoffs. It's not going to be easy, but they've clearly shown they have the ability to do it.

9. Olathe Northwest (1-3): Coming off three consecutive losses, the Ravens caught a good week to be playing the 0-4 SM North Indians. This game is pretty much a must-win for the Ravens' confidence leading up to district play.

10. SM Northwest (1-3): The Cougars finally played a complete game and took home a victory. They've been knocking on the door for some time now, and maybe that was the win that put them over the hump. We'll find out real soon when they play Lawrence Friday.

11. Leavenworth (1-3): I feel for the Pioneers, as in just when it looked like they were ready to take their game to the next level their coach bolted. Littrell is the right coach for the job, but if they don't turn it around soon their current seniors won't get proper recognition for how they helped turn around a dead program.

12. SM North (0-4): What do I think of back-to-back weeks schools putting 60+ points on the board against the hapless Indians? That's another discussion for another day. What I do know is that Don Simmons is taking notes, and if they ever get this thing turned around, favors will be returned.


SMS watcher said...

SMS lack of offensive scoring is a problem -- but probably not insurmountable. They move the ball fairly well but don't score. Quite often, they move the ball down the field and then a penalty or sack pushes them back and the drive ends. I'd be surprised if they didn't have a time of possession advantage in every game so far this season. Offense needs to focus a bit more.

Viking Fan said...

SMS watcher, that sounds pretty similar to my Vikes. Just all over the place on O. Big play score, long drive fumble/penalty, 3 and out. Seem to lack consistancy except for the fact we can only scrounge together 2 touchdowns a game.

Free State Fan said...

I like where FS is at, of course, at this point, in all three phases of the game, but the schedule gods were on their side with 3 of 4 at home to start the season. They now have 3 in a row on the road starting with ON Thursday. I am anxious to see if they can take the Firebird show on the road.

I can't believe I am saying this, but of the two undefeated teams left, SME may just have an edge at this point because the schedule gods made them have to win on the road 3 of 4 times so far. Regardless of who they've played, with the proven parity in this league, that is impressive. Go 'Birds!