Monday, September 9, 2013

Sunflower League Week One Review

Olathe South's Dresden Wilbur leaps past
a defender in his team's 33-20 victory on
Thursday. Photo LJWorld.
Three Up

SM East
New offense? No problem. Heading into their game at Leavenworth the matchup read like a push, with no clear favorite. Thirty-four points and a shutout later, the Lancers look like a well-oiled machine that's capable of competing for a league title and then some.

Olathe North
The biggest takeaway from the Eagles' win wasn't how well they played on offense or defense, or about how athletic they look from top to bottom. Rather, how impressive it was that junior quarterback Cole Murphy orchestrated a game-winning 12-play drive in the final minutes.

Olathe South
The end of the 2012 season left a sour taste in the mouths of the Olathe South faithful. That's why Thursday's performance against Lawrence was so impressive -- not only did it earn the team a victory, but in doing so it helped get some momentum under the program going forward.

Three Down

Week one was an aberration... Week one was an aberration, right? The team Leavenworth trotted out on Friday night -- on paper -- is better than the 34-0 beatdown they suffered at the hands of SM East. There's no telling the kind of impact that can have on a team's psyche.

SM North
Friday's loss to Free State marked the 20th-straight road loss and the 11th-straight loss for the once proud SM North football program. They haven't hit rock bottom yet, but they aren't far from it.

SM Northwest
SM Northwest, by all accounts, did not play well on Friday. And despite this they were still able to force overtime, where they came up a yard short of the victory. The effort was great, but losing those types of games is wearing especially for a program coming off a 2-7 campaign.

Week One Players of the Week

Jake Suerer, Olathe South: One Seurer leaves and another fills his place. In his first varsity start as a quarterback Seurer went 8-of-13 passing for 219 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 39 yards rushing on four carries. In doing so he helped lead the Falcons to a 33-20 victory.

Venus Triplett, Olathe North: Triplett toted the rock 16 times for 71 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to returning a punt 67 yards for a touchdown. His second rushing touchdown was a go-ahead score in the final minutes which earned Olathe North the victory.

Week Two Power Rankings

1. SM West (1-0): The Vikings' 10-3 victory against SM South wasn't the most impressive win of the weekend -- in fact SM South was even leading at halftime. However, it should be noted that SM South was also leading SM West at halftime last season when the two squared off.

2. Lawrence Free State (1-0): The Firebirds did everything you could ask for in week one. They played opportunistic defense, dominated on offense and their special teams were solid. Free State has never won a state title in their 16-year history. Is this the year?

3. Olathe North (1-0): Triplett's punt return for a touchdown helped the Eagles avoid one of the most abominable special teams performances we've ever seen which included a botched punt which set up an Olathe East touchdown, a punt snapped through the back of the endzone and a missed PAT. Moral of the story: they overcame all of this to beat a really good team.

4. SM East (1-0): I'm not sure anyone could have predicted the Lancers' 34-0 rout of what we thought would be an evenly matched Leavenworth club. SM East will be favored in their next two games and could easily find themselves at 3-0 when they visit Olathe North in week four.

5. Olathe East (0-1): The Hawks played an excellent game on Friday, but it won't be remembered because of the amazing fourth quarter drive Olathe North put together to beat them. That being said, Olathe East is one of the league's best teams, as always.

6. Olathe South (1-0): The Falcons played exceptionally well in the second half of their Thursday game with Lawrence, and in doing so they ended an ugly two-game losing streak which ended their 2012 season. All eyes will be on the Falcons this Friday to see if they can end SM West's 12-game winning streak.

7. SM South (0-1): The Raiders impressed me on Friday with their interior play and the speed of their skill positions. Of course, beginning the season with games against SM West and Olathe North is no cake walk and their improvement might not be evident to the league until mid-season.

8. Olathe Northwest (1-0): The #8 slot seems about right for the Ravens given their performance on Friday. They've got a long ways to go to reach Sherman's standards, but a win is a win and it's important they notched it considering they have a tough schedule remaining.

9. Lawrence (0-1): As expected, the Chesty Lions rolled out an inexperienced roster and it caught up with them in the second half. They'll be competitive in every game, but it won't be 2012. On the plus side it looks like they'll be battling it out with Leavenworth and Wyandotte (and Free State) for a the playoffs, which looks more than manageable.

10. Leavenworth (0-1): There's nowhere for the Pioneers to go but up. They played terrible against SM East, but I don't expect that trend to continue. A .500 or better record and a playoff berth are still very achievable at this point.

11. SM Northwest (0-1): Despite a less than stellar performance the Cougars nearly stole a victory away from Olathe Northwest. As it stands, SM Northwest is 2-9 in their last 11 games. They need to win some contests this season against teams other than SM North.

12. SM North (0-1): The Indians started a freshman quarterback on Friday. While that might seem asinine it may also be a brilliant move down the road. The program's ranks are clearly not up to par in the Sunflower League and the best way to change that may be with various three and four-year mortgage policies at key positions like quarterback (see Leavenworth starting Jason Randall as a freshman).

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