Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunflower League Week Two Recaps

Juanyae Stallings and SM West rolled past Olathe
South despite not doing much in the running game.
Photo KC Star.
Game of the Week
SM West 23, Olathe South 8

The battle of the last two 6A state champions was won through the air, surprisingly, considering both teams have traditionally lived on the run game. After Olathe South was unable to score from the three-yard line on one of their first quarter drives, SM West regained possession and a few plays later AJ Verdini found Andre Maloney on a 72-yard post route to put the Vikings up 7-0. Later in the half Verdini found receiver Justin Hobbs on a similar play, this time from 54 yards out.  A Tyler Thayer field goal gave the Vikings a 16-0 halftime lead.  In the fourth quarter Maloney iced things when he returned a punt 55-yards for a touchdown. Olathe South got on the board in the fourth quarter when Tom McCue took a carry in from 19 yards out to make things 23-8.

SM South 10, Olathe North 7

If you go back in history to 2002, you'll notice there was one anomaly in Olathe North's 13-0 state champion season. In week four, it took the Eagles overtime to beat an 0-3 SM South team, 42-35. In the game SM South quarterback Brian Salsgiver shredded the Olathe North defense for over three touchdowns and 300 yards passing. And mind you, Olathe North had a 28-game winning streak going at the time. Well, maybe it just took 11 years for that momentum to come full circle. After a slugfest first half with little activity, SM South got on the board late when Matt Hollingsworth found Nick Oliver on a 21-yard touchdown pass to go up 7-0. Olathe North tied the game on a one-yard quarterback keeper with seconds remaining in the third quarter. SM South regained the lead when Marcelo Regis nailed a 31-yard field goal with just over seven minutes left to play in the fourth quarter. Olathe North had a few chances, but a final missed field goal in the waning minutes effectively ended the game.

Olathe East 38, Olathe Northwest 21

Olathe East entered this game hoping to not only extend their all-time record against Olathe Northwest to 11-0, but to also put to rest the mistakes that haunted them in last week's loss to Olathe North. In winning comfortably, they did both.  The Hawks jumped out to a 17-0 lead before anyone even knew what was going on. First, Connor Leach hit Nathan Guthrie on a 30-yard touchdown pass. Next, Jalen Branson capped a drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. A 34-yard field goal from Chris Diddle pushed the lead to 17. Olathe Northwest answered late in the first quarter with a seven-yard run from Adam Harter to make things 17-7. But Olathe East answered right back with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Leach to Connor Alexander, to go ahead 24-7. Olathe Northwest surged just before half on a one-yard touchdown run from Jack Hatzfeld and then a 15-yard touchdown pass from Hatzfeld to Nathan Power. Just before halftime Harter picked off a Leach pass and nearly returned it for a score, but came up short, as the Ravens headed to the half down 24-21. Olathe East was able to separate themselves in the second half, scoring on a one-yard run from Leach and a 21-yard pass from Leach to Alexander to give the Hawks a comfortable 38-21 victory.

SM East 26, Lawrence 3

Flexbone offense: 2, Sunflower League: 0, at least that's how many are reading the ledger after two weeks of play. The Lancers put together another dominant all-around performance in what seems to be becoming a trend. LHS, just like last week, kept things close in the first quarter and took the first lead on a 40-yard field goal from Ellis Springe. But from there the Lancers put a hurting on the Chesty Lions in the next quarter and a half. Christian Blessen first kept the ball and went 56 yards for a score. Early in the second quarter a Lancer drive was capped off with a five-yard run from Blessen, to put SM East up 14-0. Midway though the second quarter Blessen found a wide open Mitchell Tyler on a pass which Tyler took 76 yards for a touchdown. The final blow came when SM East was able to get into the endzone with four seconds remaining in the half, when Blessen found Alec Dean on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The Lancers didn't score after that, but they didn't need to. Their defense did all the work.

Lawrence Free State 20, SM Northwest 3

It took some time for Free State to get over their hangover from last Friday, but they managed in time to come away with their second victory of the season, and 12th in their last 14 games. SM Northwest's slow and methodical approach shut out the Firebirds in the opening half. Meanwhile, the Cougar's kicker, Jonathan Killeen, booted true a 44-yard field goal to give the team a 3-0 edge at the half. Free State finally got on the board with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter on a drive that was capped off with a three-yard touchdown run from Joe Dineen. The Firebirds added to their 7-3 lead in the fourth quarter with touchdown passes from Dineen to Blake Winslow of 22 and one yards to put the game away.

Leavenworth 33, SM North 0

The Pioneers of Leavenworth were defeated 34-0 in week one, and nearly flipped the score in a victory on Thursday. Junior Landry Hodges led the team, scoring two rushing touchdowns and passing for two others. The highlight of the night came in the third quarter when Hodges found running back Jason Randall five yards ahead of the line of scrimmage on what looked like a short completion. Randall snagged the pass out of the air, one-handed, collected himself, reversed field and took the ball 59 yards for a touchdown with the help of some ground-shaking blocks. To put it simply, we might not see a better play in the Sunflower League this year.


Free State Fan said...

Parity. That's all I can see so far after 2 weeks. Only 3 teams stand at 2-0: FS, SMW and SME. None have looked ready to run away from the league, but all three have been able to win - which is the name of the game. Gotta bring your A game every Friday, just ask FS. They left theirs in Lawrence last week and almost paid for it. Still, I love my guys! Go 'Birds!

SMEaster1214 said...

All do respect, FSF but I believe SME has earned more than "...have been able to win".

Granted, SME has not played world beaters, nor do I believe they themselves are world beaters. Heck, if they win 6 games this year I'd be pleasantly surprised.

Having said that, they are 2-0, in 2 road games, and have out scored their opponents me that deserves a little more then "have been able to win"!

TheImpaler said...

SME has played teams which figure to finish in the lower half of the standings but yes, they've been impressive. Free State has played perhaps the two worst teams in the league (unless you put LV behind SMNW) and struggled in their second game. SMW by far has played the toughest competition with two teams that should be in the top half of the standings and in the playoffs. Vikes clearly #1 at this point in my opinion. 2-3 LFS, SME is a coin flip, then 4-11 is a complete crapshoot.

Wii Not Fit said...

SMNW will give people fits this year. Tough on defense and a decent run game to go with it. I can't see them winning too often but their defense will keep them in games. Definitely not a push over like we all thought and it almost cost Free State. OE will be a tough test but Free State has enough talent to win a state title, it'll be all about whether they can pull it together on offense and eliminate the stupid mistakes.

Move the Chains said...

For those that have not seen the Jason Randall catch and run Eli mentioned, go to and scroll down to LV - SMN game. Well worth the viewing and great play to watch.

Free State Fan said...

No disrespect intended, SMEaster1214. FS has it's 2-0 against the lower teams too. SME didn't score in the second half against LAW and had 8 funbles (according to the Lawrence paper), so yeah, being able to win I believe is fitting. Against a team that could have taken advantage of those miscues could have turned the game the other way, just like FS's miscues could have cost them. Like I said in an earlier post, it'll be 3-4 weeks playing against different styles and levels before anyone really knows anything. Go 'Birds!

Free State Fan said...

Final thought, FS is up 67-10 after two games (similar to SME), but they only deserve the "have been able to win" label... which isn't a bad or negative label to wear, btw. It shows resiliency. FS has yet to play a full game (or even 3/4 of a game for that matter) where they resemble the team they need and want to become.