Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunflower League Week Three Review

Free State's Bryce Torneden. LJWorld.
Three Up

It is extremely rare for me to put a team in the 'Three Up' category after a loss, but I think the Chesty Lions -- despite losing in the waning seconds to SM West -- found their swagger in the loss and could be a completely different looking team from here on out.

SM East
Could anyone have mapped a more exciting start to the Dustin Delaney era? Two blowout victories followed by a last second victory on a Hail Mary on a day known as "Lancer Day" among the SM East faithful.

Lawrence Free State
After trailing 20-7 at halftime, the Firebirds clicked in the second half and rattled off three touchdowns in an impressive offensive display. Theirs and SM West's comebacks in week three have set up a phenomenal mid-season game between the two this week at Free State.

Three Down

Olathe Northwest
The Ravens have plenty of positives to take away from their close loss to SM East. They fought hard, never gave in, and even converted a pressure packed two-point conversion to take a late lead in the fourth quarter. But I'm not sure I've ever seen a Sunflower League team lose an upset bid on such a heartbreaking last play.

Olathe East
The Hawks, at 1-2, have led in the fourth quarter of both their losses. Granted, they've played as tough of a schedule as anybody in the league, but they've had some bad defensive lapses in each game. Clean up the lapses and I could see them finishing the regular season 7-2.

SM North
Giving up 62 points hurts. Bad. But the Indians' Performance Line (0 wins, 21 points scored, 142 points allowed) through three weeks is still 34 points above the baseline worst we've seen in the modern era, courtesy of the 2009 Leavenworth Pioneers who through three weeks had the most awful PL (0 wins, 6 points scored, 161 points allowed) we've ever witnessed.

Week Three Players of the Week

Ra'Keim Abdul, SM South: Abdul recorded three rushing touchdowns and 110 yards rushing on 17 carries, in addition to returning a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown, and recording an interception to seal the victory.

Venus Triplett, Olathe North: In a dominating victory against SM North, Triplett carried the ball 23 times for 236 yards and three touchdowns -- more than doubling his output from the first two weeks of the season.

Week Four Power Rankings

1. SM West (3-0): Good cop -- the Vikings have found a way to win all three of their games despite playing well below their ceiling. Bad cop -- the Vikings will get smoked on Friday if they play the way they did the first 46 and a half minutes against Lawrence.

2. Lawrence Free State (3-0): The Firebirds, like the Vikings, haven't exactly been world-beaters since their week one thrashing of SM North. Still, they came back and beat a very good Olathe East team this past week and they'll be playing for Sub-State revenge this Friday.

3. SM East (3-0): To be fair, most of us expected the Lancers to begin the season 3-0. Week four is when the team will begin showing their true colors, as they start a five game stretch that includes Olathe North, SM South, Free State and SM West.

4. SM South (2-1): The Raiders quietly put together an impressive first-third of the regular season. Their remaining schedule isn't exactly daunting, and includes two teams who are currently 0-3. Their next two games will set the tone for what to expect from them in districts.

5. Olathe North (2-1): The only thing the Eagles proved this past week was that they could score a ton of points against the league's worst team. Their matchup this Friday with SM East is intriguing on many levels and I could really see it going either way.

6. Olathe East (1-2): The Hawks' record is quite deceptive, and I think this will be the lowest they dip in the rankings. Matter of fact, don't be surprised if the Hawks carry a six-game winning streak into the playoffs. They'll likely be favored in their next five games.

7. Olathe South (2-1): The Falcons pulled out a gritty and impressive road win this past week at Leavenworth. That being said, it's still very difficult to gauge this team's potential. For now, they're 2-1 with a good shot of finishing above .500 on the regular season.

8. Olathe Northwest (1-2): Change is subtle. While the Ravens' last-second loss to SM East seemed almost cliche given the program's repeated near-misses, the effort and fact they stormed back to gain the lead with under a minute remaining is a hint of where this program's headed.

9. Lawrence (0-3): Something clicked for the Chesty Lions, despite their loss. Maybe it was the 13-play, 94-yard drive they used to tie SM West late. Maybe it was the 62-yard Nyle Anderson touchdown run to gain the lead. Or maybe the Chesties are just sick of losing.

10. Leavenworth (1-2): I can't fault the Pioneers for dropping a close one to Olathe South. But if they want to gain the league's respect, they really need to take care of business against SM Northwest this week. Everyone knows Leavenworth has talent, but not everyone knows if they can turn it into victories.

11. SM Northwest (0-3): The Cougars finally came through in the scoring category, but of course it was their defense which allowed 21 points (on top of a defensive touchdown) which came back to haunt them. Maybe they'll finally put it all together when they host Leavenworth this Thursday.

12. SM North (0-3): The more repetitions the young Indians get, the better. The 48-point loss to Olathe North was pretty bad on the surface, but sometimes it's the blowout losses that make a team hungry and fuel the intensity going forward.


Wii Not Fit said...

This FS vs. SMW game will be nuts. Homecoming for Free State, the teams are now ranked #1 and #2 in the state due to the Hutch loss, I expect and standing room only Firebird Stadium. Biggest key will be whether or not SMW can stop FS on the ground and whether FS can stop the Maloney show and a much improved SMW passing attack. Holy moly this is going to be a great game.

Seth Nation said...

Funny I've watched several tapes of ONW since we are playing them this week. While Randal Byers looked decent, I would peg #50 (whoever he is) as the better lineman. Better footwork, and from an old O-Lineman's point of view definitly harder to block.

Just my two cents......should be a good game this week, Mr. Showtime versus what I consider the best offensive line in the league from LHS....They owned a 3 yard push all day against SMW...Looking forward to the "SHOW" Friday night

Marla said...

#50 ONW is Queston Bradley

Seth Nation said...

Marla....thanks for the info

Free State Fan said...

It may be rare to put a team that lost in the up column, but I agree with you that LAW is heading in the right direction. They lost so much from last year, but still have plenty there to turn this into a great season. They just didn't get their snaps last year and are getting that experience now. They should have no problems making the playoffs, IMO, and will be battle-tested and ready to make a run, you heard it here first - mark my post!

Mr.Gridiron said...

That was nothing but two cents. Why would someone hate on a kid? You must be blind! Lmao

Mr.Gridiron said...

No one doubled on 50.

Mr.Gridiron said...
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Mr.Gridiron said...

Who is blind and they can't see. The numbers are close but not close enough. The number 50 is a good player, but 56 was doubled all night. He dish ragged the o line. What kind of person hates so hard on a kid. He isn't on here making comments lol.

Seth Nation said...

Dear Mr. Gridiron (I'm assuming that's your real name, since you guys don't use nicknames),

You do realize that no one is "hatin" on Randal Byers. This blog is a forum for all of us who like to discuss high school football. The information is outstanding and there is an informal amount of comraderie despite the fact that most of us are all rivals. Alot of us participate, comment, offer opinions, and criticism on nearly everything posted. We pick winners and losers, and love to debate Eli's posts.

With that said, when the Byer clan began openly campaigning for the defensive player of the year award in preseason, when hardly any of us knew who he was, you opened yourself up for the same comments, opinions, and criticism. The fact that you all are so blindly unaware of this to the point, where you can't even accept compliments towards other members of the ONW squad (ie: Kennedy and #50) is disturbing. It would be no different if someone came on here bragging about such and such quarteback from this or that school, and then the next night he throws four picks, of course people will comment, because it is an opinion that you initiated.

For the fourth time I sincerly hope Mr. Showtime goes D1 and has a successful career as well as a well earned college degree, but if he does make it that far I hope all of you are able to take criticism a hell of alot better, otherwise you'll be commenting on an awful lot more blogs and message boards.

Stop being so defensive, and claiming everyone is "hatin" and enjoy the comraderie.


Nearly every single person who follows the Sunflower Blog

Seth Nation said...

Free State Fan, though bitter cross town rivals, I sincerly appreciate your comments. The boys have had a tough three weeks and hopefully will get a W against ONW this week. Good luck with SMW should be a great battle, between two very good teams.

4cornerstones said...

Thank you Pub, always enlightening. Great game last week, and good luck this week.

Ravens Mama said...

Pubhouse Nation - the 4:58 blog post was well said, as a Ravens Mama it embarasses me to have someone tout their own kid over all of the others and to even call out other kids stats and say they aren't true. ONW has a lot to be proud of and excited for this year and love that lots of you are seeing it, even with the distractions. Now the 5:00 blog post, we have to talk about that one ;) See you in Lawrence!!

Seth Nation said...

Raven's mama, also well much as I hype our O-line, and ONW hypes the D-line, we all should enjoy an epic battle come Friday night.....mostimportantly no one gets hurt.

Enjoy oyur trip to Lawrence it is a great place to play and is always lively!

Free State Fan said...

Pub - I say it every year. I hope FS goes 9-0 and LAW goes 8-1. I always root for the Chesty LAW unless they're playing FS. Go Lions and 'Birds!

TheImpaler said...

And every year I hope both Lawrence and Free State go 4-5 beating all Olathe schools and losing to all SM schools....but then everyone knows my favorite teams are SMW and whoever is playing O East. I'd be curious to hear who everyone considers to be their biggest rival (other than the obvious like LAW-LFS). OE had long been our most bitter rival with quite a bit of bad blood but of late we haven't played them much and perhaps the rivalry has cooled a bit. Our biggest games seem to be against Free State anymore so that's becoming more of a rivalry but one based more on mutual respect than the enmity of the SMW-OE slugfests. What about the rest of you...who do you feel is your biggest rival?

Wii Not Fit said...

That's a great post Imp. I think just because the magnitude of the games the last few years the FS vs. SMW is becoming a rivalry, but like you said not for bad blood but because they have been 2 of the best teams in the state the last few years. OE seems to have it out for FS but the feeling doesn't seem to be mutual on the other side. SMN and SMNW has always been a good rivalry. I've always thought OE and ON have been bitter due to the tradition of both programs. Aside from those and the obvious FS vs. LHS there doesn't seem to be too many heated rivalries. Please comment should you have other view points and information, Imp has me curious now.

Wii Not Fit said...

Oh and thank you Pub that was very well written and hit the nail on the head.

Slugger said...

Imp, That's a great question on who is your biggest rival. Aside from the school/location ties (SMNW vs SMN, OE vs OS, OS vs ON, etc.) it probably depends on the programs success. ON vs. LAW in the 90's were two rivals. LAW was coming down from their dominance and ON was on the rise. For the boys, I think it typically comes down to who they know on the other teams. My son, who played for OS, felt that OE was the biggest rival with ON a close second because he knew so many boys on those teams.

Slugger said...


Great writeup. When someone calls out a certain player, you can bet we all will specifically watch them. If they don't live up to the hype, then, well you get what you get. We all know football is a team sport and there is no "i" in team.

Seth Nation said...
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Seth Nation said...

I would agree with most of you guys about the school connections with the kids. Here in Lawrence.... Free State is definitly the big one, but SMW has been a thorn in our side espescially last year. Those guys wanted that game bad Friday. I don't know if it's a true rivalry but they have had some great games the last few years

Oh and thanks folks....that ONW stuff is getting OLD I've played, coached, and spectated for 30+ years, I've never wished ill will on any player, unless he they were lined up against me

Unknown said...

Shawnee mission east is west's biggest rival. By far. Players get hyped up for that game. At least the past 3 years that was the game we circled every year.

Free State Fan said...

Ditto Wii. The magnitude of the FS-SMW in the past few years has created a short-term rivalry. Keep in mind, FS has only been around for about 15 years. Aside from LAW, there hasn't been enough historic time to develop another rivalry with the schedules switching every few years. With the coming changes, I am VERY curious how the other, long-term rivalries will play out.

SMEaster1214 said...

After watching the SME v ONW game last Friday, and at the risk of getting beat down by Mr. Gridiron, my thoughts on the ONW defense is this...

Byers is good and was doubled most of the night...but some of us had a conversation during the game about who was better, Bradley (#50 from prior posts) or Adam Harter-that kid was EVERYWHERE and for my money was the best player on that side of the ball for ONW. What's really scary is thinking about what Sherman will do with that program as time goes on!