Eli Underwood's musings on high school football in the Sunflower League
Side note, but the KSHSAA football classifications for the 2014 and 2015 seasons came out today, and Leavenworth has dropped to 5A. SM South, who was presumed to make the drop as well, did not, and will remain in 6A for football during the next two seasons. SM South is the smallest 6A school, for the record.
That actually bodes very well for Leavenworth. Geographically, the closest schools in 5A East to them will be Schlagle, Turner and Washington -- which will most likely constitute their district. Those three are a far cry from the five SFL games they'll be playing as a prelude.Here's the link:http://www.kshsaa.org/Public/Football/PDF/Football%20Classifications13.pdf
Good to see LV in 5A where every week they won't have an up hill fight yet still maintaining their Sunflower ties.
Good news for South but this is tragic for districting. You may not have notice but the worst has happened. KC Harmon and BVHS moved up while LV moved down. This means there are now 17 6A school east of Topeka. Now, Free State has to move to the west side of the state for districting unless they're going to do something really bizarre like moving Gardner Edgerton. This combined with the split in the SFL means LFS AND LAW WILL NOT PLAY FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't see any way around this.
I suppose they can use their free game to schedule each other or the SFL can revamp their plan and make a permanent Olathe/Lawrence division and a permanent Shawnee Mission/Leavenworth division.
Very odd that it worked out like that (15 West/17 East). And yes, it looks like Free State -- since they are the furthest west -- would potentially be in a district with the Topeka, Washburn Rural, and then I guess one of Manhattan or Junction City. We'll see what happens when districts are released.
I find it extremely exciting this fall to watch the Sunflower League Football games in the State of Kansas. I have been so impressed by the versatility and the strength of the teams. Even my old team, the SMN Indians, seem to be improving and I look forward to a winning future!This week, there is one serious match-up between two 3-0 teams. Lawrence Free State has a group of tremendous athletes and a phenomenal offense, while Shawnee Mission West has some serious talent. Free State's qb has committed to KU and Andre Maloney has committed to KU, the talented multi-player and in my opinion, a shoe-in finalist for the Simone Award. West has some big linemen to contend with in Austin Chambers and Carter Pembridge, and also Lee Spight seems to be healthy. This should be good!I am so impressed with SME- I think they could win State easily, and I am really looking forward to them playing West as well. Since I live in the Overland Park area, it's easier for me to get to the local games. I am tormented between making the trip to Lawrence tonight or watching the game on television.Good luck to all teams this weekend! Very exciting stuff!-Victor
Well I think the Vikes needed a good ass kicking. Too many turnovers, too sloppy, lost the onside kick, too many penalties. Learn from this boys. Get back to work next week. The rest of the games are in SM stadiums no reason not to go 8-1...other than maybe the cardiac Lancers.
SMS needs to quit beating themselves with penalties. I don't know what to think about the int. Still a bit stunned
Before the game: SMW coaches, you have to inform your team that they cannot run out of the locker room to the middle of the field (on the logo) for their rah-rah session. They are to go to their sideline. Don't be surprised to find a reprimand in your inbox Monday from your AD and/or KSHSAA. Kudos to the officials for ATTEMPTING to send West to their sideline and for being nice. By rule, this act can result in an unsportsmanlike penalty. (Similar to dunking during pregame can be called a technical foul.) Also SMW student section: you are suppose to chant, "I believe that we will win" after you score, not before the game even starts. I do not want to insult you, but that is not a very classy move. Once the game started, however, there were many instances of great sportsmanship from both teams.As for the game, all FS. Sounding like a broken record here, but four offensive touchdowns by four different guys and a defensive TD. FS is not unbeatable, but they have tons of weapons to deal with. This game was won in the trenches. Shout out to the beef-eaters on the o-line: Hofer, Houk, Buckingham, Sampson and Franz. Great protection all night for the pass and opened holes to run. They played great and controlled the game. Enjoy the win, but realize it is a short week with a Thursday game to prep for. Go 'Birds!
Have to say, the O-Line here at LHS is flat dominating folks, if you get a chance check them out. Holes open all night!
Free State Fan, the "I believe" chant, made popular by the Utah State Baskeball fans, does start the game. That's why you say "I believe that we WILL win"- future tense. It's not "I believe that we are winnng" Sorry, but for some reason that bothered me. SM West basically rips their whole fan section routine off of the Utah State Basketball fan routine. Check it on you tube. Includes "Do you see the scoreboard?" chant at the end of the game.
SMW, I hope your film guys captured your pre-game vanity at mid field. There's simply no excuse for that, none. You know the rules, you know what and where mid-field is... it speaks volumes about your team's and your coaching staff's character.Oh, and I'd like to especially point out the one skinny kid who left the scrum as the ref's were pushing them towards their own sideline (a task their coaching staff should have been doing). That skinny kid left the scrum, headed back to mid-field, faced the LFSHS home bleachers and did some kind of WWF or Powder Puff Girls gesture with his forearms raised in the air in the form of an X then sliced them outward and pointed to the home team bleachers. Skinny kid defies the referees, leaves the scrum that was starting to move towards their sideline, returns to mid-field, turns towards LFSHS bleachers and makes that gesture. I remember thinking "Who's that little skinny #19 punk, that's going to come back and bite him in the ass".
I decided to venture to Lawrence last night, and I saw the debacle. WOW to the QB for Free State. Incredible player, getting in on those 4th downs, incredible defender, incredible athlete. Made me forget about Andre Maloney. And how about number 3, the running back- wow! I don't have the roster right now, sorry for not knowing his name. Gotta get to more FS games, impressive! East and FS are my favorites for State.Free State Fan- I didn't take any offense to the 'I Believe' chant as I've seen the Vikings do it before, and other schools, but I thought the 'Overrated' chant by the students at Free State at the end of the game was in bad taste. However, I realize it's rivalry between the kids and it's not like the parents were doing it. (I hope!) We all have to remember that these are teenage kids I suppose. I remember in my day I really wasn't much different.Coach C at SMW needs to give his big boys a break. Chambers as pointed out on the film too, plays both ways as does Pembridge. I think I even saw Pembridge long snapping last night. Both of those kids are so impressive, but West needs to put some Velcro on the ball. Can't see them doing much after last night, and I don't think they'll beat East to be honest. The road to State is lit for FS or East IMO. Should be interesting!-Victor
The road to state seems to be lit for east everyyear til they play shawnee mission west. Don't make the mistake of counting out west just yet.
A couple points of note:- Regarding the SM West "logo stomping" issue... that routine was in place when I began at West in 2004, and it had nothing to do with stomping on the other team's logo. Back then, nobody had a logo in the middle of their football fields (there was ODAC, CBAC, SMN, SMS, Abeles, and Haskell, not personalized home stadiums the way we have today). It's actually just jumping up and down to get pumped, and it takes place in the middle of the field every game, regardless of venue. I've seen rumblings from LHS and Free State folks over this the past two years but you've got to realize that routine was in place long before the logos were put on the turf, and it has nothing to do with disrespecting an opponent (but perhaps it should be re-evaluated since it's obviously rubbing some programs the wrong way, unintentionally). Callaghan and his staff are among the classiest in the league, and to call them anything else is BS. Matter of fact, I've seen nothing but class from league coaches since I started this blog. Any talk about a staff being classless is incorrectly based.Now, I can't speak to the actions of specific individuals, but when I played at West my a** would have been grass had I gotten into it with the opposing fanbase, but I've noticed the level of fruitless showboating across the league has increased quite a bit the last five years (probably because there hasn't been an Olathe North dynasty type team to curb stomp everyone and bring them back to reality once or twice a year), but it is what it is.- Free State seems upgraded across the board this year (which is crazy considering they went 10-2 last fall). I've seen the Firebirds play twice now and I've come away most impressed with their team speed. Lane, Winslow, Skwarlo, Dineen, Spain, Torneden, Loneker, Bickling, etc., etc. Position by position they are a matchup nightmare. SM West was able to match up on the outsides, speed wise, but Free State made their living on drag routes to their slot receivers, who basically outran SM West's outside linebackers. And when that wasn't working, Joe Dineen would lower his head and ram out another 4 or 5 yards scrambling. They also seem to be making better halftime adjustments this year. For years the knock against Free State was that they were a first half team who couldn't make the adjustments to win in the second half (and the results supported this). But against SM Northwest and now SM West they've come out with a second wind and a better strategy in both second halves, and it's been impressive to say the least. Their game at SM East in two weeks will be a dandy.- SM West played the same way they've played all season -- flashes of brilliance clouded by an ineffective run game and an inability to get off the field on defense. The difference was that Free State was the better team on Friday night. It starts with focus and the Vikes just haven't shown it this year. Let me give an example. At one point in the second half SM West was in Free State territory, threatening to score, when they lined up Andre Maloney wide to the left. Verdini looks at Maloney, makes a hand gesture (and I'm thinking, along with everyone in the stadium, there's no way they just made a slant route audible that obvious, it must be a decoy, it must...) and then Justin Narcomey jumps in front of the slant route and takes it 70+ yards for the score (props to Narcomey, by the way, it was just his second varsity play and he read it to perfection). And I'm not bagging on Verdini, he's the only QB in the league with a ring and when he plays well the Vikings roll, but that was a microcosm of what I've seen from them all year. Like Imp said, the loss was probably good for them at this point.
...continued because Blogger only allows 4,096 characters...- SM East has made quite the run thus far, and while I'm cautiously hesitant to jump on their bandwagon -- given the way they've faded down the stretch in recent years -- if they win the next two games they'll be seen as the top team in 6A (and I would probably be driving the Lancer bandwagon at that point). Right now only two programs in the league have coaches who've faced a true flexbone in the past five years, and those two are Olathe South who faced it against Wichita Heights in '11 and SM West who faced it against Hutchinson in '12. It's a really difficult scheme to defend especially if it's your first time playing against it. This bodes well for SM East. Very well.
Eli,Great follow up, perspective on SMW traditions and coaches. Your willingness to consider how the team's reputation can be influenced by something like the long standing mid-field tradition when most everyone outside of SMW isn't aware of it's history is very classy and appreciated. Now it's perfectly clear why their coaching staff did not intervene. Michael Jordan said his dad used to tell him "Someone out there today is going to be seeing you for their first time and someone is going to be seeing you for their last time, it's up to you how they remember you this day"So now that I'm aware of the tradition, it's not as bad. I'm sure the one guy learned a lesson in humility, which is probably a bad thing for his opponents the rest of the season.I wish I could attend more than one SFL game every Friday night.
I don't know if I'm ready to jump on the SME bandwagon quite yet. They've had to beat a team with a hail mary and only won this last week because of a penalty that called ON's game winning touchdown back. Could easily and probably should be 2-2. However I'll be the first to volunteer to be the driver of the FS bandwagon. Probably one of the most dominating performances I've seen in a while (since the sub state game anyway) and it was against a team who we were all convinced was the better team. Like Eli was saying, I don't see any weaknesses in the Firebirds. The offensive line, which was thought to be a weakness stepped up and rushed the ball for over 200 yards against what is thought to be the best D-line and linebacking core in the state. Without a doubt a statement win for FS and puts them in the drivers seat on the East side of class 6A. Two weeks for the match up of the 2 remaining undefeated teams. However FS also has a tough Thursday night game against ON this week, keep an eye on that one.
Eli, et al, While I can understand the "tradition" of running out to mid-field, it is uncalled for in this day and age where everyone is watching for any act they deem as one of disrespect. (Perhaps I am guilty of that in this case, but I also strongly feel it IS disrespectful.) Also, please excuse my ignorance, GG, on the Utah State pregame chant. I don't follow Utah State, but it doesn't make any logical sense to me to call out a winning chant before you even score?? To date, I have not seen any other high school FS has played do either of those acts, so it rubbed me and some other FS fans the wrong way. Explanations aside, simply put, we were offended. As also mentioned in this string, we all wish teens would act a little more like adults and consider how their actions look to others. Problem is, we adults do the same thing. The golden rule has been around for a long time for a reason. Keep it simple, IMO, live your life with the motto of "Be Nice" and all this other junk falls away. I genuinely appreciate the bloogers in this venue and that we respect each others opinions.
vpakingdom, YES, I totally agree with you on the "overrated" chant!! I cringe every time someone does that, FS included. Yet another sign of disrespect, IMO, our society can do without.
FSFan,If you havent seet the "I Believe" chant, then you havent attended any of the FS-OS games the past two years. The OS fan section started doing this chant during the 2011 championship season and it became the team motto "I Believe". This continued on through 2012 and even this year. I would hope that every team playing on Friday night beleives they can win even before the game starts or they can score. I don't think it is any disrespect for the other team as it is a means to get your own team pumped up. I love seeing an active student section and as Eli will attest, it would be hard to see one any better than OS. It shows that the student population is close and supports each other. It's not just football players and cheerleaders on Friday nights.I will say that I recently heard the OS student section do a "I know we will win" chant late in the game. To me that is uncalled for and poor sportsmanship.Youv'e got a really good team this year. Relax and enjoy the ride.
It's competitive for a reason.... trash talking comes with it, just watch your kids play and don't worry about the student sections, unless they really cross the line. Boys will be boys..
I know that both SME & every team they've played over the last few years has done the "I believe..." chant to begin games...and the "I believe that we just won" chant when the game is in hand. It's also done at the beginning (and throughout) all Sporting games, and most every MLS game. I have no problem with either...nor do I have a problem with high school student sections being, well...student sections! Almost always good clean fun...and some are down right clever! For my money SMW & OS seem to be the most active and most clever in the SFL. SME has been a little better this year. However, nothing matches the noise, participation or cleverness of Rockhurst.Listen, "I believe that we will win" is A LOT better then a variety of other chants they could be using. As to the team at mid field? Eli explained it satisfactorily for me. Tha kid taunting the home crowd? Certainly not called for but my guess is he's heard enough about that from teammates and coaches a like, not to mention, I'm assuming, the FS student section as the game went on.
I believe South has plenty of talent. They need to find a way to not make mental mistakes. Play the second half the way they play the first and this team could be undefeated. On a side note I was very impressed with #64 on the offensive line. This kid stood his own with Smith who is a D1 prospect. #64, I believe his name is Terry Adams showed very good strength and ability for an undersized offensive lineman but what he lacks in height he far than makes up for it with athleticism, strength and intelligence. Way to go kid!
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